In 2015 Australia were announced as the special guests to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision. Guy Sebastian took to the stage and ended in a very respectable 5th place in Vienna. Some Eurovision fans were not happy about the fact Australia were brought into the contest and have strong opinions about them returning in 2016.
People have stated that the EBU are breaking their own rules just to bring the Aussies into the contest. Let’s clarify this:
The public rulebook for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been revealed today, they are basically the same as previous years, and leave the door open for Australia to have a direct pass to the final.
Members from a maximum total of 26 countries shall compete in the Final. There shall be six guaranteed places therein (i.e. one for the producing organization (the “Host Broadcaster”), five EBU Members from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom)
According to this rule, should Australia be the 41st country that has confirmed, then they would be participating in one of the Semi Finals. BUT, here’s where it gets interesting. The rules go on to state:
Subject to a decision by the EBU in consultation with the Reference Group, the number of guaranteed places in the Final may be modified depending on circumstances.
So, this means that if Australia are the 41st country, then they could be given a direct pass to the final. The EBU have the right to make the decision to give a guaranteed place to a country, should they need to. There are currently 41 countries confirmed for Stockholm, even if this number does not include Australia, they could still be brought in at a later date (as in 2015).