Editorials & Opinion

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 ­čĺů­čĆ╝ / 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 …
XTRA Debate: Which televoting sequence is best for Eurovision?

XTRA Debate: Which televoting sequence is best for Eurovision?

It is now almost expected that every year, the Eurovision Song Contest changes or amends something to keep the show fresh and engaging for an audience. Some have been less obvious to audiences, like amending the jury vote to an ‘exponential’ model last year. This year, one of the biggest changes was the way in which the televote voting sequence was presented to audiences. However, does this new sequence actually benefit or hinder the contest at large? Context: Prior to 2016 the jury and televote were ‘tethered’, which though it had its merits led to years of anti-climatic voting. For landslide victories, it became obvious far too early that no other country could catch up. Untethering them in 2016 made for a more exciting voting process! The contest has become less predictable and as a result gained a sense of legitimacy. In broadcasting the individual jury votes across Europe, there has been a reduction of problematic claims like ‘political voting’. I think this format in itself should stay the same. This year, rather than announcing the televote according to who scored the least to most, the organisers tried something different. Instead, points were announced based on the jury scoreboard. In …
XTRA Predictions: Qualifiers of semifinal 2 of the Eurovision Song Contest

XTRA Predictions: Qualifiers of semifinal 2 of the Eurovision Song Contest

After tonight, we’ll know the 26 finalists of the Eurovision Song Contest this Saturday. We already know sixteen and ten more will join them tonight. They will come from semifinal two, which takes place in less than half an hour. Time to see who our team think will make it through! A solid head start followed by chaos Our editors seem to agree quite a bit this time around. All 27 editors have opted for the same six qualifiers: The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Malta and Azerbaijan. The only other act to get more than twenty votes is perhaps surprising: North Macedonia. They haven’t qualified since 2012, but are looking good for another spot in the final. Behind that, chaos really kicks off. Four acts all end up with fifteen predictions each: Norway, Albania, Austria and Denmark. They tie for eighth place, but that means we have more than ten qualifiers… According to our team, one of these four will need to miss out, although we don’t know who. Armenia with 12 still do really well. All other acts score in single digits. At the bottom of the scoreboard we find three countries without a single prediction on the board. …
XTRA Predictions: Qualifiers of semifinal 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest

XTRA Predictions: Qualifiers of semifinal 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest

Tonight is the night. The first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is going to take place at the EXPO Tel Aviv in Israel. Seventeen acts will be battling for just ten tickets to the Grand Final. Who do our editors think will make it? Three unanimous picks 26 members of the ESCXTRA.com Team have sent in their predictions for tonight. Each of the members was asked to name their ten qualifiers in no particuliar order. The team agreed unanimously on three qualifiers. These three were the hot favourites if we’re following the odds: Greece, Cyprus and Australia. The three ladies from these countries were picked by each of our editors. At the other end of the board, no one believes Montenegro will make it, with only one editor thinking Finland will qualify. No other act scored less than five votes. Full predictions The table below displays the prediction from each of our editors. You can check out their individual choices below! We recommend viewing the table below on a desktop computer. Ryan CobbRigmo KannikeConstantinos ChristouOliver LewisMiki GligorovAivis Ind─üns┬áNatalie WalpoleAustraliaAustraliaAustraliaAustraliaAustralia AustraliaAustralia BelgiumBelgiumBelarusCyprusCyprus BelgiumCyprus CyprusCyprusCyprusCzech RepublicCzech Republic CyprusCzech Republic Czech RepublicCzech RepublicCzech RepublicGreeceGreeceCzech RepublicEstoniaEstoniaGreeceGreeceHungaryHungaryGreeceFinland GreeceHungaryIcelandIcelandIceland HungaryGreeceHungaryIcelandPolandPolandPolandIcelandHungaryIcelandPolandPortugalPortugalPortugalPolandIcelandSerbiaSerbiaSerbiaSerbiaSerbia SerbiaSan MarinoSloveniaSloveniaSloveniaSloveniaSlovenia SloveniaSerbiaNick van LithTom RyanDimitris IoannouNathan WaddellTom O’DonoghueLisa BirdIsaac SturtridgeAustraliaAustraliaAustraliaAustraliaAustralia AustraliaAustralia BelgiumBelarusCyprusBelarusBelarusBelarusBelgiumCyprusCyprusCzech RepublicBelgiumBelgiumCyprusCyprus Czech RepublicCzech RepublicGeorgiaCyprusCyprus Czech …
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