Idol Issues at Eurovision

Eurovision has heard Australia’s pleas to be involved in this European Union singing competition (and it was probably my article about why they should let us in that pushed them over the line!). But this week was filled with another European announcement . . . our representative, Guy Sebastian.

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It would be fair to say that the announcement of Guy Sebastian representing Australia at Eurovision received mixed reviews. Fans of the Australian Idol winner let their praise fill the internet in messages of support against an impressive line-up of Europeans. But there were others who weren’t quite as happy with the announcement.

Triple J went public with nine other artists who should replace Guy and Twitter was filled with tweets questioning his ability. Overwhelmingly, the comments pointed to SBS’ disposition towards sending Australian Idol contestants to the infamous competition after last year’s Jessica Mauboy appearance.

Is that really a bad thing? So these singers came through Australian Idol. It is simply another channel to rise to fame and their continued popularity is not a fluke. But this Australian Idol connection is actually a good justifier for sending these contestants over to Eurovision (even if Triple J doesn’t get it).

Here’s the marketing reason why . . .

Eurovision is essentially a popularity contest. Much like Australian Idol, singers perform and then the audience votes based on how much they like their performance. These similarities with Australian Idol are actually a great qualifier for sending the winners (e.g. Guy Sebastian) and runners up (e.g. Jessica Mauboy) over as our representatives because their brands have proven that these singers have the ability to provide entertainment with mass appeal.

These singers were able to give performances which resonated with the general public. That was why they won the competition because their performance style held great sway in getting audiences to pull out their phones and vote.

Other bands, such as those suggested by Triple J, don’t have the same performance style. Empire of the Sun, The Presets, Sia, Gotye and many other Triple J options I have never heard of before have all gained fame through various other means. Whether those methods are YouTube, guest appearances on television shows or developing an Australian cult following, they are all rather different to the Eurovision voting model.

With a population size that ranks tenth when combined with all the other European countries, we will have to garner a lot of international votes to win this competition. Therefore sending an artist who has proven experience with engendering this kind of voting popularity through creating crowd-centred entertainment can only be a benefit to our cause.

His brand encourages audiences to get behind him. And that is exactly what needs to be done at Eurovision!

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