Eurovision's love-in with Australia appears to be over. The novelty has worn off. Fans gave Jessica Mauboy's grand final performance a cold reception. Of the 26 nations competing in the final, Mauboy received the lowest public vote.
Sure we may not be a part of Europe geographically but with much shared history, our multicultural make-up and the fact we have a European flag on our own flag and a European monarch as our head of state, one might argue we have more ties to Europe than the 2018 winner Israel. But that all counted for little on the weekend.
We should get the message and look closer to home for our annual kitsch music fix.
Since 2016, discussions have been underway between the European Broadcasting Union and SBS to bring Eurovision to Asia. The official marketing website states "with its brilliant pop stars, its glamorous fashion and a huge passion for pop music, Asia and Eurovision are made for each other".
It makes sense for Australia to walk away from Eurovision and play a leadership role in pushing for an Asiavision song contest. Australias various ties and relationships with countries in the region puts us in perfect stead to lead in the development and coordination of an Asia region song contest.
But given the political, economic and cultural differences, viewers would have to accept a Eurovision model with some very definite Asian characteristics.
Eurovision has served as a successful platform for social movements in recent years. In this years competition, France performed a song about refugees, Italy sang about terrorism and the winning song from Israel was inspired by the #MeToo movement. While such practices are encouraged in Europe, Asia is an entirely different story. For instance, the EBU decided to cut ties with Chinas Mango TV at this years competition after the network reportedly censored Irelands performance featuring a same-sex romantic relationship and subsequently blurred out a rainbow flag in the audience.
Political tensions sometimes surface in Eurovision, but are likely to be more evident in Asia. Chinese viewers are unlikely to judge performances from Japan solely based on music. Another geopolitical rivalry that would cause complications would be that between India and Pakistan. And what about Southeast Asian and the Central Asian countries – would they form geographical voting blocs?
I'm an optimist, I think such an initiative could bring Asia, a region dogged by geopolitics, rivalries and potential flashpoints, closer together through music. But at least at first, Asiavision would have to be about song and spectacle not social movements.
Jieh-Yung Lo is a Chinese-Australian writer, analyst and commentator. Twitter: @jiehyunglo
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