Additions I would like to see at the ESC…
Given that it has been a relatively quiet few weeks in the Eurovision world, I thought it would be fun to think about traditions I would like to see started at this year’s Contest. Given that it is the 55th running, now seems like a great time to start!
-A special tribute to the golden anniversary (50 years) and silver anniversary (25 years) winners. It would be so easy to incorporate the winning song from 50 years ago into the opening act of the first semi-final, and the winner from 25 years ago into the second semi-final’s opening act (and the Final’s opening act should continue the tradition of reprising the previous year’s winning song). I am not saying that the entirety of the songs need to be performed, but some kind of recognition and at least the refrain needs to be highlighted. Know thy history! While I think Norway will probably choose to only honor their own past two victories (1985-La det Swinge and 1995-Nocturne) prior to 2009 – which does contain the silver anniversary winner (1985), I have a feeling France’s 1960 winner Tom Pillibi will be no where to be found.
-Allow the automatic qualifying countries (the Big Four and the host country) to perform during the interval acts of the semi-final they are compelled to broadcast and vote in. This will allow a formal presentation of the song during the semi-final like many of them want, without the added pressure of having to qualify. Besides, it’s hard to win if the fans haven’t heard the song live before the Final. Since 2004, the only song to win without being in the semi-final was My Number One (GRE2005). It would level the playing ground for the automatic qualifiers.
-A new rule that makes the Big Four responsible for hosting the Contest should the defending champion decline to do so. While this has not been an issue for quite some time (since 1980, to be exact), but almost became one in 2008 when it was unclear if Serbia would be able to host amidst all the political uproar around Kosovo. In 2008, the EBU was ready to call in the Ukraine, as it had the second place entry in 2007 (Dancing Lasha Tumbaii). However, now that only the Big Four and the host country qualify for the Final, wouldn’t that had forced Serbia, the defending champion to the semi-final, and given their automatic qualifier spot to the Ukraine? That hardly seems fair, but neither does forcing the host to qualify, either. So, I suggest, to avoid this situation with the present system that we have, the automatic qualifiers be the Big Four (Five if Italy ever stops pouting and returns to the Contest) and the defending champion country (i.e., the country that won the previous year). Thus, in the event that a defending champion doesn’t want to or can’t host the Contest (usually for money reasons), then a Big Four country should pick up the slack as to not disturb the balance.
-Limit composers to one country. As it stands right now, singers can only represent one country in one given year, but songwriters (composers and lyricists) can compete for various countries and will be included on the winner’s list for whichever of their songs win. This is not fair; they should be limited just as singers and other performers on stage are limited. In 2007, famed Swedish composer Thomas G:son had his name on both, the Norwegian entry and the Spanish entry. This should not be, but every year, some of the same composers enter four or five songs, multiple ones to their home country’s selection program (unfairly bolstering their odds of winning) and/or several songs to selection programs in other countries. Every now and then, one composer or lyricist strikes it lucky, and wins in multiple countries. This is wrong, this composer now has that much greater of a shot of winning the Contest as the others. The fair thing to do would be to make a rule stating that all individuals associated with an entry (lyricists, composers, singers, backing vocalists, backing dancers, etc…) be barred from being associated with a second entry within the same Contest. That way, every entry is unique and independent from the other.
The first three ideas I have been carrying around in my head for a long time, and wanted to get them out there before the EBU develops them on its own (like the two semi-finals idea, mine!). The fourth one is new, but I like it!