EBU: Proposal to abolish the Big 5 privilege from the contest!

The Swedish radio commentator for Eurovision , Carolina Norén , was invited as a guest on The Euro Trip Podcast. Norén shared her discussion with the Eurovision Executive Supervisor, Martin Österdahl, about a change on the Big 5 status in the contest.

The Swedish commentator, speaking to the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, suggested that the EBU should not guarantee the Big 5 a direct place in the finals. Instead, the Big-5 ( France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain ) shall be put to compete in the Semi-Finals, for a fairer result.

I think you should take away the Big Five. Let just the winner be qualified directly to the final and let everybody compete in the same way through the Semi Finals to the Final.

Although Martin Österdahl, seemed to be processing this idea, as it would be a special and big change, he nevertheless replied that at the moment there is no such possibility.

As it is known, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain constitute the Big 5. The Big 5 are the most important financial contributors to the contest as well as countries with a big Eurovision background. In addition, they pay the highest participation fees to the EBU, so they do not have to compete in the Semi-Finals to earn a place in the Grand Final.

Do you agree on abolishing the Big 5 privilege? Stay tuned on EurovisionFun for all news!

Source: The Euro Trip

Eurovision 2024: The renewed Reference Group of the contest!

EBU has announced the new Reference Group for the Eurovision Song Contest. There are several changes with departures as well as new appointments.

The tasks of the Reference Group are to approve the development and future format of the contest, to secure its funding, to modernize the contest’s brand and attract the public, to oversee the annual preperation ofthe country where the competition will take place.

All of the above takes place at meeting of the Reference Group, where on behalf of all Participating National Broadcasting Services they are called upon to take decisions for the general interest of the competition. Meetings do not exceed five per year.

As we reported in a previous article, Bakel Walden is the new Chairman of the Reference Group on the contest, where he stated that he is excited to participate in this iconic event.

The remaining members are divided into following categories:

  • Three elected members from among the Heads of Delegations of the countries
  • Two Executive Producers from countries that have hosted the contest in the past, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster
  • Up to two invited members based on competence and experience
  • The EBU Executive Supervisor for the contest

Therefore, the new Reference Group consists of:

  • Bakel Walden (SSR SRG, Chair)
  • Ebba Adielsson (SVT)
  • Rachel Ashdown (BBC)
  • Felix Bergsson (RÚV)
  • Ana Maria Bordas (RTVE)
  • Carla Bugalho (RTP)
  • Claudio Fasulo (RAI)
  • Simona Martorelli (RAI)
  • Alexandra Wolfslast (NDR)
  • Martin Österdahl (EBU)

Ebba Adielsson and Ana Maria Bordas are new appointmets, while the following have left the Reference Group:

  • Sietse Bakker (NPO)
  • Yuval Cohen (KAN)
  • Astrid Dutrenit (NPO)
  • David Tserunyan (AMPTV)

Sweden has won the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, marking its seventh victory in the contest with 583 points. Below you can watch the performance after Loreen’s victory was announced:

Source: EBU

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Eurovision 2024: SVT has announced the main team for the contest!

Following the deadline for cities to submit proposals for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, which will be held in Sweden, the team behind the organisation of next year’s contest has been revealed.

Sweden’s public broadcaster, SVT, has announced the executive team that will be responsible for organising the 68th Eurovision Song Contest. Following Loreen’s historic win in Liverpool, the contest will be held in one of the four cities, as they have put in a bid to host the contest. The cities bidding to host the contest are Stockholm, Malmö, Gothenburg and Örsnköldsvik. During the summer we will know which city will host the contest.

SVT’s newly appointed executive producer Ebba Adielsson said:

“I am very proud and excited for this extraordinary mission and I can finally present the first key roles and the leadership of the main team that will be leading the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. It is impossible to find a more experienced trio in this context and it is extremely reassuring to have them together on these giant and very complex productions.”

Ebba will temporarily step down from her role as SVT’s head of entertainment to focus on the contest duties with overall responsibility for Eurovision 2024. The people who will be part of the main team are as follows:

Christel Tholse Willers is the Executive Producer responsible for communications, press, branding and the event in collaboration with the host city. Christel had a similar role when Malmö hosted the Competition in 2013 and has a solid background in Melodifestivalen, where she is the Executive Producer.

Tobias Åberg is responsible for the overall technical production as Executive Production Controller and was also part of the core team in 2013 and 2016. Since then, he has served as Head of Production or Technical Expert on Eurovision Song Contest productions for the last eight years.

Johan Bernhagen, together with Martin Österdahl, was Executive Producer for the competition in 2016 and Head of Production in 2013. This time, he will be Executive Producer and responsible for finances and overall technical production together with Tobias Åberg.

A short while ago, the EBU announced the new chairman of the Reference Group on the contest. Bakel Walden, who is currently working as Director of Development and Bidding at the Swiss state channel SGR. Bakel’s CV is quite enriched, as he has also worked as Head of Planning and Programme Development at the Greek channel Alpha TV between 2009 and 2012.

Speaking on his appointment, Bakel said:

“I am honoured to have been selected as the new President of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. The Eurovision Song Contest is an iconic event that has been bringing people together for nearly seven decades, and I am thrilled to join the team at a time when the contest has never been more popular and exciting. I look forward to working with the members and relevant reference group stakeholders to promote this unique event on digital media, while ensuring that the competition continues to be a celebration of music and diversity that unites the world.”

Sweden has won the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, marking its seventh victory in the contest with 583 points. Below you can watch the performance after Loreen’s victory was announced:

Source:  και EBU

Follow us in all our social media, so that you’ll not lose a thing of what’s happening Eurovision:

Stay tuned to EurovisionFun for all the news about Eurovision 2024, which will be hosted in Sweden next May!

USA: Partners looking at options for the American Song Contest!

The EBU provided an update on the status of the American Song Contest following its cancellation by NBC earlier this year.

The American Song Contest was cancelled after its first season on NBC due to disappointing ratings and lack of impact on the music charts. Martin Österdahl the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest commented at a press conference in Liverpool earlier today:

Partners in America are looking at other options

The Eurovision franchise in the US is operated by Voxovation, which holds the exclusive rights to the Eurovision brand beyond the European region.

The winner of the 2022 Contest was AleXa, from Oklahoma, with the song Wonderland.

Source: Eurovoix

Stay tuned at EurovisionFun for all the latest news regarding the American Song Contest!

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Canada: Eurovision Canada Has Taken a Step Back!

It seems like the launch of Eurovision Canada in 2023 is unlikely after what was said at the EBU press conference today in Liverpool.

Martin Österdahl talked about Eurovision Canada at a press conference for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. He said that ever since the contest was announced in 2022:

“We thought it would happen and it kind of took a step back, we are still hoping. The original avenue that was pursued closed, but we are hopeful”

The Eurovision franchise in Canada is operated by Voxovation, which holds the exclusive rights to the Eurovision brand beyond the European region. The announcement of the competition was made for the very first time in April of 2022.

The competition was designed to feature artists from every Canadian province and territory, who would vie for victory through a series of Qualifying rounds, Semi-Finals, and a Grand Final.

Source: Eurovoix

Stay tuned at EurovisionFun for all the latest news regarding Eurovision Canada!

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Eurovision 2023: Russia will not be able to vote in the “Rest of the World” category!

An interesting change coming to Eurovision 2023 is the introduction of the “Rest of the World” category, which means that people from non-participating countries will be able to vote for their favorites in this year’s contest. The votes received from all around the globe will be counted as the votes from a single country, which translates to a total of 58 points. There is slight advantage to the audience votes this year, because there will not be a “Rest of the World” category in Jury votes.

In today’s press conference, the executive supervisor of Eurovision, Martin Österdahl, mentioned that the “Rest of the World” category was inspired by Junior Eurovision that uses an Online vote since 2017.

I was taken aback that 182 countries voted in Junior Eurovision 2020 in Warsaw, and says something about Eurovision becoming a global phenomenon.

It was also confirmed that EBU will not publish the list of countries that will be eligible to vote using the “Rest of The World” platform. On the other hand, it was known that some countries will not be eligible to vote. One of these is Russia, because payment providers have suspended operations in the country.

Russia, as a result of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war since February 2022, is expelled from the European Broadcasting Union(EBU), losing its rights to participate and broadcast the EBU programs, including Eurovision. The same might apply also to Belarus, that had its broadcaster expelled from the EBU in 2021 and can reapply for membership in 2024.

Follow us on all social media, so you do not miss a moment of what will happen in Liverpool:

Stay tuned at Eurovisionfun for all the latest developments regarding the the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, that is held in Liverpool!

Österdahl: ‘new’ qualifier announcement system not an improvement

The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Master Österdahl reflected about the proposed changes to the qualifier announcement system.  The qualifier announcement for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 would have changed according to a proposal.

During the first Dress rehearsal, the competing acts had to stand on stage.  After that the presenters announced the names of the candidates who would have qualified for the Grand Final.  This would have been a big change in the rules.  Before the candidates waited with their teams in the Green room for the qualifiers announcement.

However, the proposal was finally dismissed just two hours before the preview show.  Österdahl has reflected in the aftermath of this failed proposal.  The executive producer explained that it is a part of Eurovision to try new things every year to keep the show relevant:

“I think it’s really important to keep the show contemporary and keep it relevant. We usually say that we want to tweak 10% [of the show] every year (…) The BBC are great producers. They’ve done so many great shows. They’ve got some great ideas and have made a lot of great improvements already (…) We felt when we tried this out that it was not an improvement, so the decision was not to do it.”

The change in the announcement system was not well received among fans and even some of the member delegations.  According to The Euro Trip, a member of one country’s delegation in the First Semi-Final said the new announcement system was “like the Hunger Games”.

100% Televote for the Grand Final?

Nevertheless, there is one big change for this year Eurovision.  For the first time since 2009, a 100% televote made the result of the Semi-Finals.  In addition to this we saw for the first time a “Rest Of the World” televote for the viewers outside the competing countries.

Moreover, Mr. Österdahl does not discard more changes in the voting system including a 100% televote for the Grand Final:

“We’ll see (…) I’d like to take it step by step. We always review the rules [and] the entire rule book of the Eurovision Song Contest on an annual basis (…) So if we try something one year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gonna be like that forever.”

Source: The Euro Trip

Do you like a return to the old qualifiers announcement system? Would you like to see a return to 100% Televote for the Grand Final?  Let us know in the comments!

Martin Österdahl: “The decision to exclude Russia from Eurovision was hard”!

The executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest said the decision to exclude Russia in 2022 was “hard”.

In a recent interview, Martin Österdahl, the executive supervisor of Eurovision, said although the contest was not political it must always reflect the basic values of democracy.

Martin Österdahl made the comments whilst speaking to Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, who was guest editing the flagship UK radio show, BBC’s Today program.

Asked if the decision to exclude Russia from the contest earlier this year was hard, Osterdahl replied:

Eurovision 2022: Two scenarios are being considered for Turin!

An important revelation in view of Eurovision 2022 was made by the Executive Supervisor of our favorite competition, Martin Österdahl. Speaking on the sidelines of Junior Eurovision 2021 on the OGAE Sweden channel, Österdahl revealed that there are two scenarios on the table in view of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest.

Occasioned by the second Junior Eurovision since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Swedish Executive Producer of Eurovision Song Contest answered about the differences between Warsaw 2020 and Paris 2021:

There were definitely differences. Every year has its challenges, as we say with my team. In Warsaw, last year, we were fortunate that TVP had hosted the 2019 competition and had the necessary experience to host an event like that. Also, the pandemic was at a much earlier stage than now. It was different than this year. Today we know more about the pandemic, but we saw that three or four weeks ago we had the appearance of the Omicron variant that caused a lot of concern to all of us. The point is, when it comes to producing live TV shows, you have to be prepared for the worst and have an alternative scenario ready. But the pandemic complicates the situation.


Asked about the four scenarios that were used for Rotterdam 2021 and whether they would be kept in view of Turin 2022, Martin Österdahl replied:

We have more or less the same mindset that we are still in the middle of the pandemic. We have to prepare in the same way for the competition here in Paris but also for the Eurovision in the spring in Turin. Hopefully, we do not have to continue working with four different scenarios for Turin, as we did for a long time in Rotterdam. Maybe two is the realistic development for Turin. We hope that as the temperature rises, the pandemic will be less complicated.


At the same time, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest explained the EBU’s decision to maintain the use of live-on-tape as an alternative in case something goes wrong:

We have now seen how the new variant affected travel instructions and led to the application of new restrictions. We can not take the risk of this happening again. It is a huge production. There are 41 countries that are going to participate in Eurovision Song Contest in the spring. It is a huge investment on the part of RAI, the organizers of the competition. We must ensure that there is a competition and live-on-tape is the last guarantee that we will have a competition.
With the Omicron mutation spreading rapidly across the length and breadth of the Old Continent, Martin Österdahl’s responses give us a first taste of the EBU and RAI plans for Turin. In any case, the evolution of the pandemic is so unpredictable that any prediction of how Eurovision 2022 will be conducted is risky.

We remind you that the 66th Eurovision Song Contest will take place at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, on 10, 12 and 14 May 2022, with 41 participating countries.Stay tuned to Eurovisionfun for all the news related to the 66th Eurovision Song Contest!


Eurovision 2021: The prevailing scenario for the contest | Only vaccinated audience at the Ahoy Arena?

Many interesting things were said by the executive supervisor of the Eurovision song contest, Martin Österdahl, about the course of the preparation of the next contest, even under the special conditions imposed by the pandemic all over the world.

As of September, the EBU has announced four possible scenarios for Eurovision 2021. Four scenarios that depend on the course of the pandemic and the prevailing epidemiological data.

Most likely are B and C scenario

Martin Österdahl reveals that the most likely scenarios for the 65th Eurovision Song Contest are B and C. That is, a contest with social distancing, masks, rapid tests and fewer fans in the arena and journalists at the press center. Unfortunately, he is not able to rule out scenario D at this time, although he considers it less likely.

We can not predict with the crystal ball, the situation with the pandemic is difficult. What we can say at the moment is that scenario A, ie a regular Eurovision Song Contest, is not possible. However, Scenario B or C is more likely, ie a contest with more or less social distance and some artists may need to make use of the videotape. In the worst case, we will be forced to do the show as in Junior Eurovision, with all delegations competing with videotaped appearances.

The presence of the audience is uncertain

The presence of the fans on the stands of the Ahoy Arena should not be taken for granted. Martin Österdahl emphasizes that the presence of the audience will depend on the decisions of the Dutch government and the measures that will apply during the competition period.

The situation is dynamic and constantly changing. We are not entirely sure how things will be in May, but it seems that the space that will be available in the arena will be limited. Fans are very important for Eurovision, but let’s not forget that the contest is primarily a TV show. It is possible to make a show even without an audience and we will do it if necessary, but we would definitely like to have the audience inside.

Is vaccination mandatory for those in Ahoy?

Another topical issue is the mandatory vaccine, for those who wish to take part in such big events as Eurovision.

We are following developments regarding vaccines. There is no such thing in our regulations at the moment, but it is something we are seeing up close.

When will the final decisions be made?

As announced from the beginning, the final decisions on the scenario that will eventually be used in the conduct of Eurovision 2021 will be taken at the beginning of the year, most likely by February.

It seems that at the beginning of the new year, critical decisions will be made for our preparations.

How do you judge all the above? Which scenario do you think the EBU will follow in the run-up to Eurovision 2021?