Australia (yes, Australia) to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

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Believe it or not, the powers that be have granted Australia the right to compete in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

In celebration of the competition’s 60th birthday, as well as in the spirit of building bridges, the country has been granted the right to compete by Eurovision’s governing body.

The total number of countries being represented in the Grand Final of the 2015 competition will now be 40.

The proposal was accepted by the Reference Group and the EBU’s Television Committee.

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest  said on behalf of the EBU: “It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying; let’s celebrate this party together!”

Michael Ebeid, Managing Director of broadcaster SBS, added: “We are very excited to have secured this historic opportunity for Australia to be represented on the world’s biggest stage at the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest and are honoured that the European Broadcasting Union has supported us to achieve this ambition. SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years and we have seen how Australians’ love of the song contest has grown during those years.”

Australia will be allowed to vote in both semi-finals, and the grand final.

Drag diva Conchita Wurst is to make a triumphant return to the Eurovision Song Contest – but as a presenter, rather than an act.

The Austrian pop diva took home the crown last year, to the dismay of some conservative countries. The next contest is set to be held in Vienna in May 2015.

Wurst performed a set in early October at the European Parliament in Brussels, and the same month performed at the United Nations – where she met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Following her victory, Russia developed plans to revive a Soviet era Eurovision rival as a ‘family friendly’ alternative, but the idea was quietly dropped this summer.