Eurovision 2013 – Heads of Delegations Meeting
Hello Friends! I hope you enjoyed my preview of this year’s entries – feel free to read them again here: First Semi-Final: first half, second half; Second Semi-Final: first half, second half; Automatic Qualifiers.
While I was previewing the entries, the annual Heads of Delegation Meeting took place in Malmö. During this meeting, the producers of the 39 various entries as well as representatives from each of the competing broadcasters come together to do several things to officially launch us into the final two months leading into the Contest:
1. Submit the final versions of their entries as well as submit the final version of their backing tracks for review.
2. Hear final updates from the host broadcaster, particularly the timeline of events for the next two months
3. Learn the schedule for rehearsals and Eurovision Week.
So, let’s go piece-by-piece, shall we?
1. Submit the final versions of their entries as well as submit the final versions of their backing tracks for review.
So, as you may or may not know, since 1999 to help save money and to cut down on logistical issues, the EBU gave host broadcasters the option of using an orchestra or not. Since no broadcaster has opted to use an orchestra, participating broadcasters must submit a backing track for their entries (i.e., participants can play their own music). These backing tracks must be reviewed by the host broadcaster to ensure that they a) fit the three minute time limit, and b) are free of any kind of human vocals, real or synthesized. France was caught in this way in 2008 and had to scramble to find backing singers to perform with Sébastian Tellier. In 1999, Croatia was penalized 1/3 of their points for having synthesized vocals on their backing tracks (the EBU required the host broadcaster to begin reviewing backing tracks the following year).
This is also when a lot of entries go from native languages to English. This year, as far as I can tell, the only official change we had was from Moldova, which actually went the other way. The song was originally announced to be in English, but on the first day of the meeting, Moldova announced that A Million would instead be sung in Romanian, under the title O Mie – which means “a thousand.”
2. Hear final updates from the host broadcaster…
One thing that SVT had been dragging their feet on was the design of the stage for this year’s Contest. We got to see a basic sketch of the stage in February, but we finally get to see a final rendering. The article can be found here. Below is one of the pictures released by the EBU:
As you can read in the accompanying article, the design was based on the wings of butterflies and moths, which provided the inspiration of this year’s design theme (which is at the top of this post). The taller towers are based on butterfly wings. The horizontal portion is based upon the wing pattern of a flying month.
3. Learn the schedule for rehearsals and Eurovision Week
We have the rehearsal schedule:
The first four days are for the first rehearsals of the semi-finals. Each country will have ~45 minutes on stage to set camera angles, set lighting, see how the background looks, test sound, etc. Then will have additional time in a back room to watch the rehearsal back. Instead of press conferences, there will simply be interviews at the EuroClub. This saves time and stress. The second run-throughs are shorter (~30 minutes) and will be followed by press conferences. The automatic qualifiers will rehearse on the 11th and 12th.
Something else we learned was information regarding the running order. Sweden, who had to randomly choose their spot, was drawn 16th in the running order of the Grand Final. The Big 5 will randomly choose which half of the Grand Final they will participate in during their press conferences. The qualifiers from the semi-finals will draw which half they will perform in during each of the press conferences following the semi-finals. Speaking of which, SVT said that we will have the running order for the Semi-Finals no later than the 29th of March. The deadline for the Grand Final is the 17th May at 3AM, literally just hours after the Second Semi-Final.
I do not know how I feel about Sweden knowing their spot so soon. They should draw it after they’ve placed everyone else, that is the only way to avoid the situation where they maximize themselves by choosing favorable neighbors for their performance. We’ll see…
Check in periodically, as I plan on doing several more posts in the run-up to the Contest, including a look at the semi-final running orders, the favorites to win, and at least one more post with predictions.