This editorial does not reflect the views of ESC United as a whole and the article is purely personal opinion of the author.
You have probably heard by now that Australia are set to defy geographical convention and will take part in Eurovision 2015 (if not, where have you been?) but you may or may not be surprised to know this isn’t the first time an EBU competition has had an unusual participant in its ranks. Here’s a couple more instances of what happens when the organisation gets inventive…
We won’t delve into too much detail here. Israel is by and large considered part of Asia but has taken part in the contest since 1973. Many believe Israel’s presence has kept other Arab nations from joining the contest, but this is a matter of opinion. Cyprus is also similarly considered an Asian nation by some.
Eurovision 1977 – Tunisia
Unfortunately this never saw the light of day but in 1977, the North African nation of Tunisia were set to shake up Eurovision. Tunisia had stuck with the contest so far into the process that they were even drawn fourth in the running order, between Netherlands and Austria, but unfortunately the country’s broadcaster RTT pulled out in the last minute. Rumours suggest it was not wishing to participate with Israel but this has never been confirmed.
Eurovision 1980 – Morocco
The most high-profile case of a random participation from outside Europe’s borders is Morocco’s sole entry in 1980. Sadly, Samira’s “Bitaqet hobb” could only muster 7 points – all from Italy – and the North African country bowed out almost as soon as it had arrived. 2M TV wants to bring Morocco back, but it all rests on the EBU’s willingness to grant them full EBU status.
Eurovision Young Dancers 1987, 1989 – Canada
Canada?? Some may not know about the North American goliath’s foray into the Eurovision world but it was in the Young Dancers competition of 1987 that Canada made its debut appearance in an EBU production. Stephen Legate represented the country in 1987 and Cherice Barton in 1989 but neither dancer made the Top 3. Canada pulled out of the competition in 1991 and has never been seen again in a Eurovision production since.
As an aside, Canada has one Eurovision win to its name despite never entering! Well, of course it’s only partial – Céline Dion won for Switzerland in 1988.
Eurovision 2005 – Lebanon
Ah yes, the infamous Lebanon incident. The Middle Eastern nation was all set to perform in Kiev, even selecting Aline Lahoud’s “Quand tout s’enfuit” as their entry, but the country was adamant on not showing Israel’s entry and therefore had to pull out. Lebanon’s ensuing three year ban is well over now, but it remains unclear whether any broadcaster in Lebanon would be willing to take the country all the way.
Eurovision Young Dancers 2011 – Kosovo
This is cheating a bit, and is probably a very controversial decision to put this in this list, but Kosovo, although not yet a fully recognised country or member of the EBU, took part in EYD four years ago. Pristina-born Tringa Hysa represented Kosovo in the competition but once again she failed to make the Top 3. Kosovo withdrew before the next edition.