EDITORIAL – The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be the 62nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It will take place in the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, following Ukraine’s victory at the 2016 contest in Stockholm with the song “1944”, written and performed by Jamala. This will be the second time the contest takes place in Kiev, after 2005, and the fourth Eurovision event after hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contests in 2009 and 2013. The contest is expected to consist of two semi-finals on 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May 2017.
Forty-two countries will participate in the 2017 contest. Portugal and Romania are to return to the contest, both having been absent from the 2016 edition. After returning in 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina has withdrawn again due to financial difficulties. Russia announced their withdrawal on 13 April 2017, after their singer, Yulia Samoylova, was banned from entering Ukraine after the government said she had illegally travelled directly to Crimea, a region that was annexed by Russia in 2014, to give a performance. The European Broadcasting Union condemned Ukraine’s actions.
The contest will take place in the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, following Ukraine’s victory at the 2016 contest with the song “1944”, performed by Jamala. The International Exhibition Centre, which was announced as the host venue on 9 September 2016, has a capacity of approximately 11,000 attendees and is the largest exhibition centre in Kiev. Located in the western portion of Livoberezhna microdistrict, the centre was opened in October 2002, and the head of the centre since its construction was Anatoly Tkachenko.
NTU announced on 22 July that the bids from Dnipro, Kiev and Odessa had been shortlisted for further consideration. The EBU announced on 30 July that the host city would be announced “in due course”, rather than on the previously stated date of 1 August, with Executive Supervisor of the contest Jon Ola Sand stating that the EBU “really want to take the time it takes to come up with the right decision”. The Deputy General Director of NTU, Oleksandr Kharebin, stated on 10 August that the host city would be announced on Ukrainian Independence Day, 24 August. The announcement was later scheduled to take place on 25 August; however, it was postponed at 14:00 EEST, one hour before it was due to take place, with NTU citing the need to further consider some fine details regarding the decision. After several delays in announcing the host city, NTU announced on 8 September that they would be meeting with the Ukrainian Government and the LOC on 9 September and that a press conference to announce the host city was scheduled to take place at 13:00 EEST on the same day from the Government Press Centre in Kiev. Kiev was announced as the host city for the contest with the International Exhibition Centre selected as the venue.
The preliminary dates for the contest were announced on 14 March 2016 at a meeting of Heads of Delegation in Stockholm, with the semi-finals expected to take place on 16 and 18 May and the final on 20 May 2017. These preliminary dates were chosen by the EBU to avoid the contest coinciding with any major television and sporting events scheduled to take place around that time. However, the EBU announced on 24 June that the preliminary dates for the contest had been brought forward a week, with the semi-finals scheduled for 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May. This was reportedly due to a request from NTU, as the initial preliminary dates conincided with the Remembrance Day for the victims of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars on 18 May. However, the current preliminary dates coincide with the second leg of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
On 30 January 2017, it was unveiled that the theme for the 2017 contest would be Celebrate Diversity; executive Jon Ola Sand explained that “The notion of celebrating diversity is at the heart of Eurovision values: it is all-inclusive and all about countries around Europe, and beyond, joining together to celebrate both our common ground and our unique differences, as well as some great music.” The logo and visual design of the contest incorporates imagery of stylized beads, with the main logo using the beads to form a traditional neck amulet.
On 27 February 2017, it was announced that the presenters for the contest would be Oleksandr Skichko and Volodymyr Ostapchuk, Timur Miroshnychenko being the “Green Room” host. It will be the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest will be presented by a male trio, and the second time, after the 1956 edition with a solo male presenter, that the contest won’t feature a female presenter. Miroshnychenko has previous experience in hosting Eurovision contests, having presented the Junior Eurovision Song Contests in 2009 and 2013.
On 31 October 2016, EBU announced that forty-three countries will participate in the 2017 contest, equalling the record number from 2008 and 2011. Portugal and Romania will return after being absent from 2016 contest, while Bosnia and Herzegovina withdrew due to financial difficulties.
O’G3NE (Lisa, Amy and Shelley) will return to a Eurovision event after having previously represented the Netherlands in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with the song “Adem in, Adem Uit”.
Imri Ziv will return to represent Israel after being a backing vocalist for Nadav Guedj in 2015 and Hovi Star in 2016.
Omar Naber will return to represent Slovenia after previously representing the country in 2005 with the song “Stop”, which failed to qualify for the final.
The SunStroke Project will return to represent Moldova after previously representing their country in 2010 alongside Olia Tira with the song “Run Away”, which placed 22nd in the final.
Tijana Bogićević will return to represent Serbia after being a backing vocalist for Nina in 2011.
Koit Toome and Laura Põldvere, who will perform as a duo representing Estonia, have both represented their country in different years: Toome performed as a solo artist in 1998 with the song “Mere lapsed”, reaching 12th place with 36 points, and Põldvere performed in 2005 as a member of the group Suntribe with the song “Let’s Get Loud”, which failed to qualify to the final.
Valentina Monetta will return to sing for San Marino. She previously represented the country in three consecutive editions of the contest: 2012, 2013, and 2014. She will perform in a duet this time, accompanied by Jimmie Wilson.