A tongue-in-cheek campaign to get New Zealand admitted into the Eurovision Song Contest has been launched by a Kiwi brewery who hope to catapult the "cute and non-threatening" nation onto the world stage.
The Eurovision Song Contest's membership is limited to countries that are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) or are geographically located in the European Broadcasting Area.
But the Contest has occasionally invited countries outside of Europe to participate as special guests, and Australia has been participating since 2015 as an associate member of the EBU. The special arrangement was made due to Australia's strong interest in the contest and its long-standing broadcast of the event.
The campaign calling on the competition to "open up and let NZ inside EU" is being spearheaded by New Zealand beer company Yeastie Boys, who have taken it upon themselves to highlight why the nation should be in the competition, poking fun at Australia's participation in the process.
They invitedThey'e invited fellow New Zealanders Two Hearts, a Kiwi comedy pop-duo consisting of Laura Daniel (vocals) and Joseph Moore (beats), to debut the first-ever "official/unofficial" Eurovision entry.
Their song 'Eurovusion (Open Up)' details the "plight" of the people of New Zealand and implores the world to admit them to the prestigious competition. Yeastie Boys and Two Hearts have even gone so far as to start a petition in order for the general public to help put an end to what they call a "preposterous wrongdoing".
Yeastie Boys founder Stu Mckinlay said New Zealanders "really miss having our own country to cringe at while simultaneously supporting unwaveringly."
Even though they won't be admitted as a late entry this year (the running order for the Grand Final has already been set), they hope to "make a noise, start a conversation and, hopefully, catapult New Zealand onto the world stage next year.
"New Zealanders grow up with a sense of social justice being very important and Australia being invited to Eurovision without New Zealand is like inviting someone to your wedding but not giving them a plus one!" added Mckinlay.
"Everyone loves New Zealand and finds us cute and non-threatening and that makes us a sure thing for doing well in the public vote. I mean who really likes Australia?”
How did Australia join Eurovision?
In 2015, the EBU recognised Australia's long-standing interest in the competition and its dedication to broadcasting the event for many years, and the country was invited to participate as a one-time guest to celebrate the contest's 60th anniversary.
Australia's performance in the contest was well-received, and they achieved a respectable fifth place. Due to the success and popularity of their participation, the EBU decided to extend a standing invitation to Australia, allowing them to compete in future editions of the contest.
Australia has a significant fan base for Eurovision, and the event garners substantial viewership. Its inclusion remains a special case based on their long-standing connection and enthusiasm for the event, and does not open the door for other non-European countries to join the contest on a regular basis.
If the EBU decides to expand the contest to include more non-European countries, they would need to revise the eligibility criteria and potentially create new membership categories or special arrangements. This would require a thorough review and possible amendment of the contest's rules, which are determined by the EBU and its participating broadcasters.
There are already several comparable song contest events in other continents, including the Asia Song Festival, an annual event that showcases performances by popular artists from Asian countries, and the Viña del Mar International Song Festival held in Chile, one of the largest and oldest song contests in South America which features a mix of national and international artists.
Then there's the American Song Contest, a forthcoming event planned to launch in the United States, inspired by the Eurovision Song Contest that will feature artists representing different states competing against each other in a similar format.