Eurovision 2011 – Germany: First Blog Entry!

One thing that I love about the Eurovision Song Contest is that it never sleeps.  The 2010 edition was not even fully wrapped up (we’re still waiting for an official release of all the countries’ individually split votes) and news about next year’s Contest has already started coming out

As we all know by now, the Contest will be held in Germany next year following Deutschland’s victory in Oslo.  And no fewer than eight cities are said to be in the running to host the Contest, including previous hosts, Frankfurt Am Main and Munich, as well as Lena’s hometown of Hanover.  While Germany has the resources to make Moscow’s record spending in 2009 look like chump change, I have a feeling that they will stick closer to the minimalist route taken by Oslo this year, though, hopefully not quite as minimal – it would be lovely to bring back the opening acts to the Semi-Finals (hmmm…I seem to remember a handsome blogger making a suggestion for these a few months back here).  What I think would be really cool, and make it appear as if it costs more money then it actually does, would be to host all three nights in three different cities.  Germany has two broadcasters, ARD and NDR, one could easily take over each semi-final and they could come together for the Grand Final.  They could go for a north/south thing, as NDR is literally “Northern German Radio.”  Or, better yet, they could go for the East/West thing, having a big city on each side host a semi-final and then have the Grand Final be in Berlin to emphasize Germany coming together.

Germany was the first to announce their representative for 2011.  In a feat not seen since the first years of the Contest, the winning performer will be trying to defend her crown.  Lena will become only the third performer (after Lys Assia and Corry Brokken) to compete in the year immediately following her victory.  No performer, aside from Irish golden boy Johnny Logan, has ever won more than once.  So, this could make for an interesting event, as traditionally, the winning performer opens up the Final with a reprise of the previous year’s winning song and whatever new thing they want to do.  I predict that letting Lena open up the Final will be out of the question, though, she may open up the first Semi-Final.  This will uphold tradition (sort of) without letting Lena perform twice in one the night.  Though, the EBU may not allow this unless the other automatic qualifiers get to do something similar…can you say medley!

Not to be outdone, the Netherlands has already announced its performer as well: 3JS (that’s the Three J’s, not 3-J-S).  This seems to be a smart decision on TROS’ part, as the group makes inoffensive adult contemporary music.  It also looks like they will continue the Dutch language streak, as that seems to be their language of choice.  Information regarding their song selection will be released at a later date.  I will say, we can probably expect something along the lines of a Me and My Guitar (BLG2010)/Life Looks Better in Spring (CYP2010) type of song.  Last year set two precedents for the Contest, a youth movement which hasn’t been seen since Sandra Kim’s controversial win in the mid-eighties, and a movement towards unadorned entries.  Molitva started this trend back in 2007, but it seems to have really caught on now.  Anyway, look for these guys to return the Netherlands to their frill-less entry ways.

Israel may withdraw in 2011 due to possible conflict between the rehearsal dates & first Semi-Final and two major Israeli holidays.  Apparently, a similar situation occurred in 2008, but it did not stop the nation from competing then.  However, Israel has set out once before due to conflicts with holidays, 1980.  Originally, IBA was just supposed to relinquish hosting duties, as it could not afford to host two contests back-to-back.  However, when the Contest date was announced, Israel withdrew completely because it conflicted with a national memorial day.  The Netherlands and France have both also withdrawn due to conflicts with national happenings.  The Dutch withdrew in 1985 and 1991 because the date of the Contest coincided with the Dutch day for Rememberance for the Dead and France withdrew in 1974 due to the death of President Georges Pompidou.  Something else also happened in 1980, Morocco competed.  While they claim to have withdrawn due to a poor result (after finishing 18 out of 24, the king of Morocco is quoted as saying that as long as he lives, the country will never compete in ESC again).  Many in the ESC world believe that Morocco actually refuses to return due to Israel’s presence.  Let me ask you something, if Morocco had finished in the Top Ten, do you really think Israel’s presence would have stopped the nation from showcasing it’s musical greatness at the next Contest, I think not!  Anyway it does raise the interesting notion that if Israel does indeed sit out, Muslim nations (i.e. Lebanon) might make formal debuts at the Contest – an interesting prospect.  I expect the debate over this topic to rage until Israel either announces its intent to compete or formally withdraws.

Speaking about withdraws, Hungary’s new ESC broadcaster Duna TV is said to be making great efforts to ensure participation in Germany, while Andorra and San Marino are both still crying poor.  Additionally, one country that has just been crying for the last few years has announced its intention of returning.

Austria, which last graced the Eurovision stage back in 2007 when the Contest was in Helsinki, announced its intention to return to the Contest.  Yay!  I always like it when countries return, especially former winners.  Apparently, Germany’s victory was enough for them to stop whining about the voting system and compete again.  Maybe they can bring Luxembourg and Italy back with them…  Especially since, without Italy, there will only be 24 countries in the Final next year.

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