The Eurovision Song Contest is nearly 60 years old now. The “big event” has kept its fundamentals but keeps changing and somehow improving from year to year. Of course some changes can be argued (the end of the orchestra, the language freedom, the voting presentation process), but at least our ESC is still alive since Lugano because it keeps evolving and that’s why we love it.
Nevertheless, something odd came to my mind last year when I was quietly watching Malmö’s final from home. I suddenly realized that amongst the 26 entrants, only 6 of them were making their first appearance on ESC stage that night: the so-called Big 5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain & the UK) along with the host country, Sweden. All other 20 songs had been through the semi-final process and the performances were already known.
These six songs were already, of course, familiar for most of the audience thanks to the Internet or the rehearsals, but let’s keep in mind that a majority of viewers and voters are not Eurovision addicts and discover the song at the very moment when the artists enter the stage (the exact same conditions we had when we were watching the show in the 1980’s or 1990’s in fact, remember?). The question is “is it really fair?”; I doubt it to be honest.
Nowadays contest is all about the performance on stage and I’m not speaking about fireworks, shirtless dancers, remarkable outfits or choreography here. ESC is a TV-show and a huge concert, and the connection between the artist and the audience, what we see and sometimes feel on screen can be important.
Some winning songs were outsiders before there were actually seen live during their semi-final (Finland 2006, when the monsters got the audience crazy). The fact that an entry has never been performed before the grand final can make a difference. And even if it doesn’t really (Germany 2010), at least all countries would stand with the same chance.
So, as far as I’m concerned, a good evolution would be to forget about those too short music videos that are broadcast during the semi-finals, and let the voting qualified countries perform during the interval act of each semi-final (without putting them in the voting process).
Hence, these songs can acquire more attention towards the final and get compared with the semifinalists, a chance they only have for that in the final. This is just a suggestion from a very basic Eurovision fan who has no connection with the EBU or any national broadcaster.
I don’t think my idea is a revolution, it is barely an opinion I wanted to express (secretly hoping fans, the EBU or DR who get inspired…). But seriously, let’s focus on one point: the Eurovision Song Contest is also ours, and we can help this big event evolve…