Following the meeting of the Eurovision Reference Group last week, the EBU has announced that from 2016, the Big 5 countries and the host country will now “appear more prominently” in the semi-finals.
Since the introduction of the semifinal in 2004, the host country and so called Big 5 have automatically qualified for the grand final. Over the past 10 years only one of these countries, Germany, has won the contest. As well, at least one of the Big 5 countries has always been in the bottom three since 2005, and five times one of these countries has finished last. The two nil-points songs in Vienna both came from this group.
Over the years Eurovision fans have been trying to find a reason for this bad luck and blame has fallen on the Big Five and host not getting the three extra full dress rehearsals and live performance that the semi-finals offer. But now the EBU is doing something about it.
Last week the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group held a meeting in Berlin to discuss the short-term and long-term future of the contest and one of its decisions was revealed today.
In next year’s contest in Stockholm, the Big 5 countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – along with the host country Sweden will appear in the semi-finals “more prominently” than they did before.
As host broadcaster SVT has explained, instead of a short preview of the music videos, viewers will now see an excerpt of the actual Eurovision performances, filmed at an earlier rehearsal. Each of these countries will have their performance previewed in the same semi-final as they are voting in. Obviously this won’t affect the result of the semi-finals.
At the same meeting it was also decided that due to television scheduling requirements, Germany will perform in the second semi-final.
As well as having more time on the TV screen, this will increase the rehearsal time for the Big Five and the host country, benefitting both artists and technical crew. It will also mean the delegations will need to come to the host city earlier for rehearsals, but this will provide them with more opportunities to get out and promote their song.