In each year’s Eurovision Song Contest, there are five countries which proceed straight to the end of May final. These countries are usually labelled “the big five”, however; this year it has become six countries due to the exception of Australia being allowed entry into the competition. The reason for this exception surrounds the fact that Eurovision is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and Australia has been a kind of honorary participant for some time now. The other four countries (the fifth is the host country, who is automatically accepted into each year’s STF status based on the winner of the previous year’s competition) are granted said status based on the fact that they pay the most into the EBU (European Broadcasting Union.) The list of this Eurovision year’s STF countries and their representatives/song choices is as follows:
Australia: On March 6, the SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) announced that their choice for representative in Eurovision 2015 was international superstar Guy Sebastian. The 33-year-old rose to fame after winning the first season of Australian Idol more than a decade ago, and since then has released seven best-selling albums, the most recent having just come out back in November 2014. Sebastian has penned an entirely new song to perform at 2015’s ESC, entitled Tonight Again, which he finished putting the final touches on just yesterday, the day it was due for presentation at the Eurovision Head of Delegation meeting.
Austria: Four days ago marked the date of the Österreichischer Rundfunk (the Austrian national final), during which the pop rock band The Makemakes were chosen as 2015 Eurovision representative. They will be performing the song I Am Yours. Although having formed back in 2012, the band has yet to release a studio album. However, they have produced three singles other than the aforementioned track, including the #2 hit Million Euro Smile
France: 46-year-old Lisa Angell will represent the country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the song N’oubliez Pas (Don’t Forget). She has three studio albums, the first being released in 2011 and the most recent in 2014.
Germany: London born singer Ann Sophie will be performing the song Black Smoke at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. The 24-year-old’s participation in the contest has been something of a controversy, as she was not the original winner of Unser Song für Österreich (the German national final). Andreas Kümmert came in first place, but shortly after announced his decision to withdraw from the contest overall. A visibly shocked Sophie was then asked if she would like to take his place, to which she agreed.
Italy: Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo were chosen to represent the country in Eurovision’s 2015 installment, upon winning Sanremo Music Festival 2015 (Italy version of the national final, essentially). They will be singing the song Grande Amore (Great Love.) The group has released two best-selling albums, and toured quite extensively since breaking onto the music scene back in 2009.
Spain: Singer-actress Edurne (full name Edurne García Almagro) will represent the country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, with the song Amanecer (Dawn). Her selection for the competition was made by Televisión Española (TVE), back in the mid-January. Edurne has released five studio albums, taken part in three short films, and played a number of small roles on various Spanish television shows.
United Kingdom: Competing for the UK this year at the Eurovision Song Contest is electro-swing duo Electro Velvet, who will perform the song Still in Love With You. The duo consists of vocalists Bianca Nicholas and Alex Larke (Nicholas’s previous credits include stints on The Voice UK and The X Factor. The song choice has received its fair share of criticism following its release, with some even going as far as to say that it is the worst thing to have ever come out of the UK for representation at the Eurovision Song Contest.
This list represents all seven of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest’s straight-to-final countries, their representations and song choices. These individuals will take their place on the Vienna, Austria stage on May 23, 2015.
By Rebecca Grace