Over six years after it was first commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has officially axed its plans to develop an Asia-Pacific spinoff of the Eurovision Song Contest.
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TV Tonight reports that Eurovision Asia was cancelled after producers failed to galvanise a relationship with China for the competition.
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve rescinded our rights,” Josh Martin, the SBS’ Commissioning Editor and Australian Head of Delegation, told the publication. “We spent a number of years trying to figure out how to do it and then the global pandemic came along.
“It’s very different to the way Eurovision started post-World War Two, as a means of bringing people together. There was a real purpose in establishing it.”
SBS were first announced to be spearheading the Asia-Pacific version of Eurovision in March 2016, with plans for the competition to take place in Australia the following year. However in 2017, the project was put on an indefinite hiatus, with all media promotion ceasing.
Previously, the copyright for Eurovision Asia was licensed to Asiavision Pte. Ltd, who were also tasked with developing events for Macau and Mumbai. None of those events have since materialised.
“Eurovision Asia is difficult for a number of reasons: timezones, language barriers, all sorts of issues,” Martin said. “We tried so hard but that was one that we just could never quite pin down.
“It’s kind of like any TV show. You put a lot of things into development, and not all of them get up. So that was one that we could not, for whatever reason, make work.”
The 2021 incarnation of the primary Eurovision Song Contest was held earlier this month, with Italian group Måneskin taking out the top prize; shortly after being crowned the winners, however, they were embroiled in controversy with frontman Damiano David alleged to have taken cocaine during the ceremony.
Speaking to NME yesterday (May 26), Måneskin bassist Victoria De Angelis said of the allegations, “For us, this wasn’t really a problem at all. We knew it was bullshit. We never did that and we would never do such a thing on live television with 180million people watching us.”