Hello Dear Readers!
Eurovision continues is reaching a wider audience than ever before! I’d thought it would be a good idea to create a quick reference post for newbies to the Contest. Here are the top ten things you need to know in order to understand and enjoy Eurovision.
1. The Contest began in 1956 in order to bring together war-torn Europe. Starting with just seven countries, the Contest has exploded as Europe welcomed new countries. There are a total of 42 countries involved in ESC 2017, spanning the continent and beyond.
2. The participating countries are randomly split in half based on their voting history and must compete in one of either two semi-finals. Ten songs qualify from each semi-final and meet the automatic qualifiers in the Grand Final.
3. The automatic qualifiers are the host country, which is the defending champion, and the Big Five. These are the countries with the five largest television audiences in Europe and pay the most to the EBU (the organization that runs Eurovision). These countries are: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
4. The competitors are broadcasting companies (typically government-run) that select a representative to fly the flag. Countries can choose their entries any way they like. Some opt for a competition in which artists compete with songs, some choose an artist and song internally, and some do a combination of these things.
5. Songs can be in any language, but most choose English (or partially English) to broaden their entry’s appeal. Songs cannot have offensive, overtly sexual, political, or overtly religious lyrics. All lyrics can be found, in English and French, on the official website: eurovision.tv.
6. All performers (singers, backing singers, and dancers) must be at least 16 on the day of their first night of competition. No animals are allowed on stage. All music must be provided by backing track, but all singing must be done live. Songs must be no longer than three minutes.
7. Voting results are a 50/50 combination of professional juries and public vote (televoting). Each country provides a jury of five music professionals; they watch the second dress rehearsal (the evening before the televised show) and cast their votes then. Televoting occurs during the televised show during a fifteen minute window after the last song is performed.
8. Every competing country, regardless if they qualified for the Grand Final, vote for the winner. The results of the jury are revealed, country by country. The televoting is then revealed in ascending order, from least points to most points.
9. The winning song has the honor of being reprised at the end of the show. The winning artist gets a crystal trophy shaped liked a microphone. The winning composers and lyricists receive plaques. The winning broadcaster and country get to host the Contest the following year.
10. The Eurovision Song Contest is for EVERYONE. Despite the stereotypes, Eurovision is enjoyed by all kinds of people across the world and has the goal of uniting us ALL through music for one week a year.
Craving for more information about Eurovision? Check out my ESC Notes that give a look at the history, rules, and notable quirks about the Contest. They were written with a particular eye towards those new to the Contest.
Want more information specific to ESC 2017? My country profiles will satiate your appetite as they cover information for each competing nation – their history and the background of their competing artists.
Wondering how you can hear great hits from Eurovision’s past? I have assembled playlists capturing different elements of Eurovision. This includes an Eurovision for Beginners playlist with twenty of the most influencial and historically important entries of all time.
Last year during the Second Semi-Final, two great productions were made wherein hosts Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw explain the Contest in fun ways.
Hello Dear Readers!
Finally, after much struggle and anguish and many hours, I have finally resolved enough of my technical woes to finally be able to post my notes for y’all!
Reactions from the Jury Final
Last night was the jury final and I can safely say that only one country had a bad enough performance to hurt themselves. Though, Italy had, by far, the worse performance. It was pretty flat. This will definitely be Italy’s worse finish since returning. Even if Emma has a mind-blowing performance tonight, I see little reason to believe that she will score any higher than 15 based on the jury performance alone.
The UK also had some minor issues when a backing singer tried to end the song a few seconds early. I am sure that will not happen again tonight. Poland also seemed to suffer from some timing issues that affected the performance.
A few countries also helped their case. Azerbaijan, a song that was already jury fodder, will likely score very highly for the performance she gave last night. Likewise, Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland also gave exhilerating performances that are sure to go over well with the juries. I won’t go into more detail because they were minor improvements to their semi-final performances. Spain gave a good performance as well. Valentina Monetta from San Marino was the most improved from her semi-final performance and has secured that she will at least be spared the embarassment of a null points.
Well, I think (and really, really hope) that this will be the closest Contest in quite some time. The odds favorite is now Austria, with Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK right behind. After that, the odds begin to drop. After much back and forth and consultation with my new friends waiting in line for the shows, I truly think that Sweden will take the crown. Denmark’s song and staging is weak. The Netherlands will benefit from being so close to the end and so different from everything else, but at the end of the day, country has never placed higher than second at ESC and I do not think that will change this year. I do not think the juries will be as enamored with the UK entry as the fans are. Even though the Austrian entry is my favorite this year, I do not think it will be a winner. Aside from Conchita Wurst’s look, songs in this style – big, dramatic, ballads that sound like they should be on a James Bond soundtrack – do not have as much mass appeal as one would think. Especially, not compared to more traditional pop ballads such as the one Sweden has. Sweden has a simple staging that emphasizing the song; its subtly and power seperate it from the other entries, the juries traditionally like these kinds of songs, and the drama is just enough to captivate audiences without scaring them off. Undo has the perfect combination of factors to carry the trophy, and the Contest, back across the Øresund for the sixtieth edition in 2015
After Sweden, I think the remaining Top Ten will be:
- The Netherlands
As far as the Bottom Five, I would predict Italy, Belarus, Iceland, Slovenia, and Finland. These five lack a combination of adequate public appeal, public interest, and stagning.
Final Thoughts Ahead of the Grand Final
Let’s try to keep the politics out of ESC! This goes both ways. As far as Russia is concerned, booing Russia does not help anything and only encourages the true villains more. What happens when you boo the Tomaschevy Twins is that you are booing 17 girls who are Junior Eurovision champions – that’s all. The best way to handle the situation is to sit quietly; lack of reaction is much more impactful. Additionally, with Austria. What the character of Conchita Wurst represents is great, but that is no reason to vote. Give Austria points because Rise Like a Pheonix is an amazing song, not because you want the drag queen to win.
And with that, enjoy the show!! It promises to be fantastic! I will be keeping live notes the best I can from the ESC party that I am attending. See you this evening!