For better or for worse, key changes have been part of the Eurovision soundscape for decades. We present eleven tried and tested methods of deploying this musical weapon to an unsuspecting continent. Please drink responsibly!

Stop, look and listen

The Scandi staple. Why compose a way to change key when you can just stop the music, press the “+1” button, then go again? As used by the Olsen Brothers, Charlotte (under both names and faces), Carola, Wigwam, Chanee & N’evergreen… Why do the Nordics love these so? Je ne sais quoi.

Rise up

If you’re shifting the song up, why not do the same to your singer?

All change

Why only change key when you can change tempo, change time signature, change costume and change the on-stage weather conditions?

Machine gun

Eurovision’s First Hot Mess offers three rapid fire key changes in the space of thirty seconds. Sheer joy!


The whole three minutes is all about one note. One note, two keys.

I’m’a hold this note ‘til you forget what key you were in to start with

Seem bit familiar to Pastora’s effort? Funny that…

 The great leap

Eurovision key change are usually a little step up. A semitone almost invariably. Some feel the urge to take a tritone leap into the wilderness, or, as my contorted concentration-face in the latter part of this video demonstrates, a leap into five sharps.


The song and performance are pretty inconsequential, but what happens between 2min15sec and 2min30sec is worthy of fourth place alone.


The emotion. The soul. The torment. The knees. The hair. The sheer Greekness.

Krank the wheel

Shift it up. And again. And again. And again. It’s a winning formula.

The effortless

Just because she can.


Chief Editor: A non-schlager Europhile who's been doing this ESC writing malarkey since 2008, usually championing Eurovision's alternative or quirky offerings. My role at Xtra isn't too dissimilar from my previous life as a school teacher, but they're a well behaved class. Also responsible for dropping bum notes on a piano.

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