Editorials & Opinion

Looking back at the Eurovision host entries of the 21st century

Looking back at the Eurovision host entries of the 21st century

Today, AVROTROS confirmed that The Netherlands would select their entry for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest internally. This makes the Dutch the first host nation to select their entry internally since 1999, thus the first to do so since the turn of the millennium. That’s quite a statistic… right? Full national finals are the most common choice for host broadcasters Remarkably, the last time a host broadcaster selected their entry entirely behind closed doors was Israel’s IBA in 1999. In the twenty contests to take place this century so far, fifteen host entries were selected via a full national final in which the public selected both the artist and the song to represent them in their home contest. Of the remaining five, two of them chose to select their artist via a national selection with the song choice remaining in the broadcaster’s hands. Kobi Marimi won HaKokhav HaBa in 2019 and represented Israel in Tel Aviv with the internally selected “Home”. Seven years earlier, Sabina Babayeva won her national selection in Azerbaijan and broadcaster Ictimai TV internally chose “When The Music Dies” as her entry in Baku. How about handing over the song choice? The other three we’ve yet to …
Experience Eurovision 2019 behind-the-scenes with Tim!

Experience Eurovision 2019 behind-the-scenes with Tim!

It’s hard to believe that three months ago I was in Tel Aviv and was having the time of my life with a lovely bunch of people. Before the 2020 season comes into full swing, I just wanted to take this time to reflect on this amazing experience I had in Tel Aviv. Click through the pages below to find out more from what happened behind-the-scenes with myself and the ESCXTRA team! Going to Tel Aviv Of course, the first thing we have to do is to get to the host city. I travelled on the Friday prior to the start of rehearsals and I was really giddy and excited as it was the first time that I was going to experience Eurovision for the full two weeks of rehearsals and shows. I could not contain my excitement and I had to make sure I was prepared… I brought a lot of stuff with me! 50% got it right 😂😂😂 2x luggage and 1x Carry-On pic.twitter.com/4jknY4Y0eD— Timvision (@eurovisiontj) May 3, 2019 First day of rehearsals There’s no rest as after a brief few hours of settling in, it was already Saturday and the first day of rehearsals. It was my …
MyHeritage and Eurovision 2019: A (DNA) match made in heaven!

MyHeritage and Eurovision 2019: A (DNA) match made in heaven!

For this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, MyHeritage was announced as one of the main partners of the event. It turned out to be a superbly inspired choice, with the values of MyHeritage enriching the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest experience for participating artists and visiting press members and fans alike! An unprecedented level of commitment At the Expo Tel Aviv, MyHeritage set up a special booth that was open to participating artists and delegations as well as accredited press and fans. Their level of commitment to the event was unlike anything else I’ve seen from a Eurovision partner in the three years I’ve been on the ground at a contest. From creating Eurovision-themed DNA kits, to DNA-testing endless Eurovision artists from both 2019 and the contest’s history, to allowing fans and press to get once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to delve deep into their DNA and family trees. View this post on Instagram Team @escxtra and @eurovoix opening our new special #Eurovision @myheritage_official DNA kits! Stay tuned to escxtra.com for more #MyHeritage content! A post shared by ESCXTRA (@escxtra) on May 5, 2019 at 8:59am PDT British? No, I’m proud to be European Being able to submit my DNA for testing …
Eurovision 2020: Evaluating the bids – who comes out on top?

Eurovision 2020: Evaluating the bids – who comes out on top?

Five cities have handed in their bidbooks to the Eurovision 2020 organising committee at NPO today. Delegations gathered in Hilversum to present their ideas to NPO president Shula Rijxman. One of Rotterdam, Maastricht, Den Bosch, Arnhem or Utrecht will get to host the most prestigious music event of the year next year. That is why we at ESCXTRA.com have decided to evaluate the bids. We will weigh all options and see who comes out on top. For that, we will be judging the bids on several criteria. These criteria are: VenueHospitability and cultureAccomodation and transportFinancesLocal support Venue: More than a TV show The venue is a very important part of the Eurovision Song Contest. In fact, without a venue, there is no contest, so it’s good to start off by looking at the venue and see who takes the first ‘point’. A venue needs to have more than just a nice hall to broadcast the show from. You need a lot of other rooms, halls and spaces to accomodate everything. Just think of dressing rooms, interview rooms, press conference hall and the press centre. That is why conference and convention centres often have good cards to host the show. Just …
XTRA Debate: Should the free language rule be amended?

XTRA Debate: Should the free language rule be amended?

One of the best by-products of the Eurovision Song Contest is the celebration of culture. Costume, movement and visual allusions all weave a rich tapestry of a national/transnational identity. Given the nature of the contest, language is the most obvious and intriguing component of identify and diversity. However, as we all know, the majority of Eurovision songs in the modern contest tend to be solely in English. In Junior, songs are required to be in the national tongue, with up to 40% of the song in English. Should the adult contest adopt a similar type of guideline? Eurovision and language The rules surrounding language , much like the role of the juries will forever be a moot point of discussion in the fandom. On one hand, the contest should be seen to encourage cultural diversity, so a rule enforcing that would be the easiest means to achieve that goal. However, participating countries and most importantly the acts should not be forced into performing something inauthentically. There are arguments about English being a ‘superior’ language which explains the UK and Ireland struggling since the free language rule in 1999. I’m not convinced by that claim. Either way – it seems somewhat …
XTRA Debate: Should the Grand Final running order be 100% producer-led?

XTRA Debate: Should the Grand Final running order be 100% producer-led?

For most Eurovision fans, the running order is an all-important part of the contest. Understandably so, it is how we consume and digest the Eurovision Song Contest. There will always be rumours, arguments and debates of how much power the running order has to make or break a song… but should there be a radical shake-up? Something to make the contest even less predictable and harder to predict. Should we consider scrapping a ‘first’ and ‘second’ half format in favour of blocks of four? Or perhaps find an alternative arrangement to 100% producer led draws? Luck of the draw? For many years, the running order for the final was determined by sheer luck. Typically, this involves pulling a country and performance slot out of a hat. In 2003 for example, the running order was decided all the way back in November! During the 2004-2007 era, the countries who had already qualified for the final (generally Big 4 + Host + top 10 from the previous year) were picked at random in advance. The missing slots were filled in by the qualifiers during the live broadcast of the semi-final. While the qualifying countries were announced in a random order, the static …
XTRA Debate: Risk-taking at Eurovision, is it worth it?

XTRA Debate: Risk-taking at Eurovision, is it worth it?

Eurovision 2019, like any other year, featured a mix of songs of different languages, tempos and genres. Within the contest, however, some songs pushed more boundaries than others. While we always have our standard EDM bangers and power ballads, the contest also featured songs that had less of a mass appeal. In this edition of XTRA Debate, we will be weighing the benefits and drawbacks of sending ‘risky’ entries to Eurovision over ‘safer’ choices. In this context, the term ‘risk’ is a fluid one. In my view, I define a ‘risky’ entry as something that is challenging, something divisive. This is often linked to the showcasing of national or regional culture, making it less accessible to ‘outsiders’. A risky Eurovision entry is one that no listener or viewer can be neutral on. A risky entry either evokes absolute adoration, or disgust and confusion. The antithesis of a risky entry is a generic song that you would expect to hear on your Discover Weekly. It can also be a dated ballad that you could SWEAR participated in the contest a few years back. There is no centralised mechanism through which entries are selected. Therefore, there is no means to guarantee neither …
XTRA Debate: Considering welfare in the Eurovision Song Contest?

XTRA Debate: Considering welfare in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Over the decades, the contest has become a space of inclusivity. Women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and disabled persons have all been accommodated and celebrated. However, despite these progressive traits, does the contest need to reconsider the role of welfare, health and safety and safeguarding for fans, acts and production alike? We have already previously discussed the role and impact of rehearsals. Prior to the contest, I suggested: However, like many things in our society which is bending to instant gratification, our desire to see and know everything can easily become detrimental. A slip-up of any sort can too easily be brought up in a press conference in the form of many uncomfortable questions. Reports or anecdotes may hit national media outlets, leading to a lot of excessive stress/anxiety for delegations.XTRA Debate: Should we have more or less access to rehearsals? Now there has been a bit of time to reflect on the 2019 contest, I still think the point sadly rings true. The issue with rehearsals? Generally speaking, the rehearsal schedule is almost identical year to year. Rehearsals typically begin the week before the final, either on the Saturday or Sunday. Every act is given two official rehearsals, …
XTRA Debate: A call to end simulated votes

XTRA Debate: A call to end simulated votes

Days after the Eurovision Song Contest took place, we heard how the European Broadcasting Union were forced to change the results in hindsight. The problem? A wrongly calculated simulated Belarusian jury vote. The jury voting got a different winner due to this issue. In this debate, we’re going to take a look at these simulated votes. Nick will explain why he’s not a fan and of course come up with possible solutions. What is a simulated vote? The simulated vote is a new phenomenon in the Eurovision Song Contest. When the new voting system saw the light back in 2016,we saw the televoting and jury points as two separate voting. As we all know, we now first see all jury results. Afterwards, we get the public result where all points have already been combined. However, there’s a slight issue for countries where either televoting or juries cannot actually take place. We spoke about that when the new voting system was introduced, as you can read here. In practice, it comes down to this: If a country cannot deliver either set of votes, the EBU will make up the result themselves based on a pre-determined group of countries. We however never …
UK media say “Europeans have no taste” in Eurovision fall-out

UK media say “Europeans have no taste” in Eurovision fall-out

This editorial is written together by Nathan Waddell and Oliver Lewis. To understand why the United Kingdom does not do well at Eurovision, we must look at the dialogue created by the British media about the contest. The clip below is an excerpt from weekday morning magazine television programme Lorraine, broadcast on ITV. It is presented by self-confessed Eurovision lover Lorraine Kelly. The clip perfectly summarises the issues faced by the UK surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest. Joined by ‘showbiz reporter’ for The Sun, Dan Wooton (originally born in New Zealand), the pair obnoxiously tear the contest to shreds and say “Europeans have no taste” in describing why the UK came last in 2019. We would say enjoy the following clip, but you won’t: What a take pic.twitter.com/rUFzXj9Kmm— Mahmood was robbed 💅🏼 / Anke, Danke (@NorthernWhinger) May 23, 2019 Our ‘measured’ response to this clip. We’re sure you agree. “What kind of stars have North Macedonia ever produced?” Well… the winner with the professional juries to be exact… It says a lot that the magazine show suggested that North Macedonia as a country which has never produced a star when they literally won the jury vote in Saturday night’s Grand …
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