Eurovision presenter Graham Norton has risked starting a geo-political row – by branding it ‘kind of stupid’ that Australia is allowed to compete.
Australia was asked to join the European talent contest as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations in 2015, and has been invited back to the competition in Stockholm this year.
— Dami Im (@damiandmusic) March 3, 2016
Graham told The Sun: “I just do not understand why they are in the Eurovision Song Contest. Get rid of Australia.
“I know some countries aren’t technically in Europe but, come on – Australia is on the other side of world.
“Last year they said it was a one-off as it was a celebratory anniversary and you think ‘OK’ – but they are back again.
Graham Norton (Jonathan Brady/PA)
“What’s that about? People go ‘Oh, you are so anti-Australia’. I’ve got nothing against Australia. I just think it is kind of stupid.”
Having finished fifth in the competition last year, Australia will be represented in Stockholm by Korean-Australian singer and songwriter Dami Im.
“The feedback we got from viewers, fans, press and the broadcasters after Australia’s participation in Vienna was overwhelmingly positive,” executive supervisor of the contest Jon Ola Sand said when the decision was announced in November.
“We strongly believe the Eurovision Song Contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event.”
The UK’s Eurovision contestants Joe and Jake (Ian West/PA Wire)