Editorials & Opinion

Why America Shouldn’t Participate in Eurovision (A Series)

Why America Shouldn’t Participate in Eurovision (A Series)

The reasons are clear. My position has not changed, but as an American Eurovision fan, the question is constantly thrown my way.
Czech Republic’s ČT must be applauded for being Eurovision pioneers with ESCZ

Czech Republic’s ČT must be applauded for being Eurovision pioneers with ESCZ

Yesterday, Lake Malawi became the second winners of Eurovision Song CZ, the Eurovision Song Contest selection format launched by ČT for the first time ahead of the 2018 contest. Eurovision Song CZ uses a format never seen before and the Czech broadcaster must be applauded for their innovation. It all started with a surprise comeback After five years away from the world’s biggest entertainment show, ČT launched a surprise comeback in 2015. Of course, with the Czech public having very limited interest in the competition, it was natural for the broadcaster to opt for a series of internal selections. The internal selection of Gabriela Gunčíková in 2016 secured the Czech Republic their first ever Eurovision grand final appearance. In 2018, ČT took another leap forward, launching their first national final since 2008. But this wasn’t an ordinary national final. Instead, Eurovision Song CZ, or ESCZ, was held purely online. It was the first of its kind: innovative and, most importantly, successful. Mikolas Josef easily broke the Czech Republic’s record finish, placing sixth in Lisbon with the undeniable pop hit Lie to Me. Noticeably; it was a break away from the three internally selected ballads in the preceding years. “Most excitement per euro” It is understandable …
Getting around the Eurovision 2019 Host City ‘Tel Aviv’

Getting around the Eurovision 2019 Host City ‘Tel Aviv’

Hey Everyone, hope you are all having a good 2019 so far. I certainly had a good one. To start my year off, I went to visit Tel Aviv ahead of the  contest in May. In this post, I will be writing my experience travelling in and out of Tel Aviv. Please note that everything mentioned below is of my own experience and  please take my opinions and experience with a grain of salt. Any further insights and tips that Eurovision fans should know travelling into Tel Aviv would certainly be welcome. Arriving in Ben Gurion Airport This trip to Tel Aviv was a present from my parents (quick shout out to Mum and Dad for supporting my Eurovision work!!!), so I chose to fly with Easyjet. Leaving the UK is normal, flew from Luton Airport. Upon arriving at Ben Gurion, all passengers that arrive will head into Terminal 3 for immigration. If you are flying a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) such as Easyjet, Wizzair, Ryanair, Israair etc. you will be taking a bus from your aircraft into Terminal 3. If you are flying with other carriers, you could be landing in Terminal 3 and it’s just walking to immigration control. When I got to immigration control, there are two different queues one for Israeli passports and one for other passports. Going through immigration control was okay. It took about 20 minutes but it’s not bad. I did notice that they do have E-Passport Gates. I’m not sure if non-Israeli passport holders are able to use them. If you have the answer to this, it would be very beneficial to know for everyone travelling to Tel Aviv. Getting around Tel Aviv There are various ways, in which you are able to travel in Tel Aviv. During my visit in Tel Aviv, I personally …
Stats time: The winners and losers of the Eurovision 2019 semifinal allocation draw

Stats time: The winners and losers of the Eurovision 2019 semifinal allocation draw

Yesterday, the semifinal allocation draw for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 took place in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. This can give us some insight into how the semifinals could go – who has the most “common voters” in their semifinal? We’ve taken a look into the stats to find out who will benefit most from the semifinal allocation draw. Keep reading to see how your country could be benefitted! 1. 1st Half vs. 2nd Half It’s commonly thought that performing in the 2nd half of a semifinal gives you an advantage over those performing in the 1st half. This may be the case for the final, but for the semifinal it makes little difference which half you perform in. In the last 5 years, only two semifinals have not shown a ratio of 50:50 qualifiers between the 1st and 2nd halves. In 2015, 6 countries qualified from the 2nd half of both the semifinals. This means that we really don’t need to pay much attention to which half each country draws. Unless you’re an uptempo song landing into a half full of ballads, you’re really not advantaged or disadvantaged either way. 2. So what should we pay attention …
Analysing the patterns amongst 12 years of Eurovision semi-final draw allocation pots

Analysing the patterns amongst 12 years of Eurovision semi-final draw allocation pots

This is an updated version of this article published on 28 January 2018 With a Eurovision Song Contest that was getting increasingly popular year on year, the one semi-final introduced in 2004 had already become unsustainable by 2007. In Helsinki, 28 countries battled it out for just ten places in the final. On the other hand, ten countries were granted automatic qualification no matter how popular their entry was in 2007. The introduction of two semi-finals in 2008 meant that every entry, with the exception of the Big Four and the host nation, would start on a level playing field. Yet, the EBU decided to make that playing field even leveller. Step forward, the draw allocation pots… That 28 country semi-final… With two semi-finals now in place after the battle royale in the 2007 semi-final, the EBU had to conduct a draw in order to allocate countries to each semi-final. Prior to the allocation draw, the countries were separated into six pots which grouped together countries who had a tendency to award points more often to each other than to other participants. By doing this, it would ensure that so-called “voting blocs” would be split evenly between the two semi-finals, thus reducing their …
‘You Decide 2019’ – the BBC’s comparative refinement of a national final?

‘You Decide 2019’ – the BBC’s comparative refinement of a national final?

This week, I had the pleasure to go to the BBC and meet the UK hopefuls for Tel Aviv. The BBC’s format change of You Decide is a fresh attempt to tackle a poor result. Focusing on showcasing an acts own creativity, musical artistry and authenticity – is this the recipe for success? 2009-2019 the era of recovery? It’s fair to say that the BBC have had a tricky time when it comes to the Eurovision scoreboard. Over the last decade, the broadcaster has used a range of selection methods, formats each with varying levels of success. Looking back over the last 10 or so years, I think ‘recovery’ and ‘stability’ have been the key objectives from the broadcaster. Resetting the perception of the contest after the bruising string of last place results in 2003, 2008 and 2010 respectively. Slowly but surely, the contest has become less stigmatised and more of a seasonal part of popular modern culture. If you watch back Graham Norton’s commentary, there was a welcome appreciation for the majority of songs. Lisbon 2018 saw an increase of viewing figures, to a peak of 8.1 million, suggesting the strategy is working. Despite all of this, facts are …
“Should’ve Known Better”: SVT address app criticism but marginalise young adults

“Should’ve Known Better”: SVT address app criticism but marginalise young adults

Last week the Swedish broadcaster SVT announced the biggest changes in Melodifestivalen voting since launching the voting app in 2015. On paper some of the changes sound very bizarre, but how they will affect the results? Why the change is a good thing? Let’s first focus on the good things that come with the change. Ever since the launching of the app in 2015, Melodifestivalen has received lots of criticism about the app vote. Many people believed that only the younger audience use the app and as you can vote for free on the platform, it might seem they have more power than the traditional televoters. For the next three years, SVT didn’t make any changes to the app vote, despite the criticism, but now they are finally seeing the flaws with the old app vote system. In 2015, SVT also added an animated heart to the screen to show how many votes the entry is receiving. Usually this made it too obvious as to who will qualify, removing all the excitement from the show. This year they won’t remove the heart, but instead it will change colour based on which age group is voting for the act most. This …
Who were the PR winners and losers of Eurovision 2018?

Who were the PR winners and losers of Eurovision 2018?

In the first part of ESCXTRA’s two-part editorial on PR, we asked “What is the true value of PR at the Eurovision Song Contest? In our second and final part of the series, we are looking at the PR winners and losers of Lisbon 2018. Part one of this series focused on the value of PR from the perspective of winning the contest, but Eurovision is about so much more than just lifting a trophy. In the world’s biggest music competition there are many different interpretations of success. When you factor in the various stakeholders such as artists, broadcasters, fans, and even the EBU – each with their own specific expectations – what actually constitutes success can be vastly different depending on who you ask. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the entries from Lisbon 2018 and try to unpick what was going on from a PR point of view, and who were some of the PR winners and losers. Win – Czech Republic Source: Tom O’Donoghue We’re kicking off with the Czech Republic and an ingenious move in creating a selection process in which public voting was via the official Eurovision app. This was …
Ten ESC songs perfect for Halloween

Ten ESC songs perfect for Halloween

BOOOO…OOOO…OO…o. Ghost noises don’t really work in text format, but the point is that it’s October 31st! All Hallows’ Eve. Hallows’ Evening. Halloween. A day of feasting on expired candy and watching bad specials on TV. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, it’s the perfect time to take a look at some of Eurovision’s more  SPOOOOOOKTACULAR entries. So grab a treat and let’s go down this fright-filled road together. Lordi – Hard Rock Hallelujah Let’s get the obvious out the way first. Just look at these guys. They are practically walking Halloween decorations straight from a horror movie. . When you are Mr. Lordi, it’s Halloween ALL year round, which likely means he’s the only person on October 31st walking around WITHOUT a costume just to change things up a bit. DJ BoBo – Vampires Are Alive We all know vampires love staying up late, keeping bats as pets and a steady source of iron in their diet, but there is one more thing they love most of all. And that is euro-dance. Don’t believe us? Just watch the video above. It’s 20% aerobics, 25% Dschinghis Khan cosplay, 45% Mannequin Challenge AND there are even a few notes here that are …
Opinion: In ESC and JESC, rules don’t matter anymore

Opinion: In ESC and JESC, rules don’t matter anymore

Update: The original version incorrectly stated that the 1994 ESC was held in Millstreet, Ireland, instead of in Dublin. The article has thus been edited and corrected. Ask any devout Eurovision fan and they will almost always say that the most important element of Eurovision (and its variants) is the music itself. Music is what brings the Eurovision community together, and without the music, the contest would not exist.  At the same time, an important facet of ESC is not just the “S” part, but the “C” part as well. Eurovision is a competition at the end of the day, and as such, there needs to be rules. The European Broadcasting Union has the responsibility to make the rules of the contest and enforce them. However, in the past few years, the EBU has disregarded various rules that they are expected to enforce. Some violations occur more than others, and some violations are more egregious than others. Regardless, the EBU has done a poor job at following the rules. These upcoming five rules vary in severity and the amount of times the EBU has allowed the rules to be broken, but collectively, they show the incompetence of the EBU to …
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