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Australia To Compete In The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest

Singer Conchita Wurst, representing Austria, performs the song "Rise Like a Phoenix" during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wurst, who won the competition, placed seventh on Google's list of 2014's fastest-rising global search requests.

If you open an atlas, you'd see pretty quick that Australia is nowhere near Europe. That doesn't seem to matter to the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest, who have decided that Australia can compete this year. The decision to allow Australia into the 2015 competition for the first time was announced on a Eurovision website, followed by the line: "Yes, you read that right!"

It's a one-off opportunity - unless, of course, Australia wins the competition that brings in 195 million viewers annually. In that case, the contestant from Down Under would have to defend the title.

Australia has a huge fanbase for the European talent contest, pulling in an audience of about three million people, according to the BBC, and has been fast-tracked to the Grand Final of the song contest in Vienna, Austria, on May 23.

This isn't the first time Eurovision has invited countries outside of Europe. Participants must be part of the 60-year-old European Broadcasting Union. Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has been with the EBU for about three decades.

The big question now is whom Australia will send to compete? In an online video, SBS's Eurovision co-host, Julia Zemiro, says the artist and song will be revealed soon. The video shows Australians in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge cheering the news.

Olivia Newton-John? AC-DC? Midnight Oil? Whoever takes the stage in May will have to unseat the defending champ, Conchita Wurst, the Austrian who collected the trophy last year sporting a beard, a gold-colored evening gown and fake eyelashes.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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