In Depth

Guy Sebastian: why is Australia in Eurovision 2015?

Australia's wildcard competitor says he is 'pumped', but to win he will have to overcome Eurovision's notorious voting blocs

The white sails of the Sydney Opera House provided the backdrop for the naming of Australia's first Eurovision competitor: a former winner of the televised Pop Idol contest named Guy Sebastian. So who is he, and could he win?

Why is Australia in Eurovision 2015?

Australia's inclusion is a "one-off" invitation to the high camp song contest. The annual competition is hugely popular in Australia, the BBC reports. Three million people watched the competition last year – 13 per cent of the country's population.

However, this is not the first time an Australian has sung in the contest. Olivia Newton John sang for the UK in 1974 – she came fourth – and Gina G did the same in 1996. Another Australian, Jane Comerford, sang for Germany in 2006.

Sebastian said he is "pumped" to appear in the competition. "I want [my song] to represent us as a nation well but also just be fun or be emotional," he said. "Either super fun or like a big ballad or something that showcases my voice."

Who is Guy Sebastian?

Guy Sebastian, 33, was born in Malaysia and arrived in Australia at the age of seven when his parents moved to Melbourne, Victoria. The family later relocated to Adelaide where Sebastian became a chorister in one of Australia's largest churches. At the age of 21 he entered and won the first ever Australian Idol competition and subsequently went on to release eight top ten albums that included six number one singles. He was a judge on Australia's version of The X Factor between 2010 and 2012.

Is he any good?

Sebastian has won four ARIA awards (the Australian equivalent of a Brit award) and been nominated for 20 more including Best Pop Release and Best Live Act. His career has taken him on a journey "from inspiration anthems to bewilderingly odd pop to mildly diverting R&B", The Guardian says. He is known as the "Mr Nice Guy" of Aussie pop, but his albums have not all received glowing reviews.

Can he win?

It is unlikely. Eurovision is notoriously partisan, with geographically and politically aligned countries voting for one another in blocs, which means Sweden often profits from the support of Denmark and Norway, while Greece tends to benefit from the support of Cyprus.

There is the possibility that Australia's wildcard inclusion in the contest could see it gain some support, but it is unlikely to dislodge the long-standing political affiliations of Eurovision's major players.

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