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.

5542km
Say goodbye to the Big 5 chats

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.

What do you think of this change? Do you think it will help the Big Five countries do better in the final? Tell us in the comment section below!

Keep up to date with all our Eurovision 2016 news here

46 Comments
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Fatima
Fatima
4 years ago

I agree with Adam. The big five/6 should be the interval acts in the semi-finals. Then all songs in the Grand Final would have had exactly the same amount of exposure and stage time.

bavarson
bavarson
4 years ago

It will be good for jury, but the real is problem is just jury.

Ranting Ruby
Ranting Ruby
4 years ago

Finally! It’s all about exposure and familiarity … even with a killer song!

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

Timselvision: Those are rare occasions when that happens. Italy only gets good results because they’ve joined the big 5 recently. The unfairness of their automatic qualifications often puts off fans who might have given them votes. It also robs decent songs of being in the final because they came 11th or 12th.

If only the host country were in the final than the semis would have possibly 20-22 acts- a lot but that would mean that the top 12/13 rather than 10 would qualify, which would appease many

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

Thanks for the reply Robin! (I was aware of the rule, but not hosting after a win is a loss of face for the network (even if it saves money) and overall harms the country’s economy which benefits from Eurovision related tourism the next year) ). Of course it’s different for JESC. Sweden always play to win-and want to outdo Ireland’s record soon- so they’ll be trying hard until they get eight. Also, winning on home soil is something they’ve never done which Ireland has on two occasions at least- so they have to do it! But with most other… Read more »

Julian
Julian
4 years ago

Let the big 5 + 1 actually compete in the semifinal. Only playing their performances full or shortened would not make much difference.
My proposal is that 2 of 3 (big5 + host) qualify from each semifinal on special qualifying places. And if all 3 make it to top 10 then the 3rd will qualify too. In this way not only they will compete between them but also will compete with the other non privileged countries. And in final there will be 12 countries from each semifinal.

Petal
Petal
4 years ago

It is simply the case that if (say this years U.K entry) were in the semi final, they would not qualify. The outcome is that the song doesn’t receive many points in the final, because it just isn’t the same high standard of those who have qualified from the semi final. I don’t think it has anything to do with the semi-final as there are many viewers of the final who don’t even watch the semi-final.

Davve
Davve
4 years ago

I like this. But I dont think it will affect the final results.

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

All this will show is if the UK send another amateurish disaster and there are better songs that don’t qualify from their semi then people will be pissed that UK gets to move on. It might open door for no big 5 automatic qualifier.
It’s a lot easier to hide crappy song after such a long finale but against less competition the UK does not want to come across as inadequate.

James
James
4 years ago

Yes I would prefer to see the whole song performed live . If it is an excerpt of a rehearsal, I guess another worry is what if its not the best part of the song, or they don’t do a great rehearsal. It might put people off watching it at all in the final, they will remember they didn’t like that bit they heard and use it as a toilet break. I think they should rehearse the same as the semi, and perform the whole song live like everyone else, or it might work against them. I guess until it… Read more »

Adam
Adam
4 years ago

They should let the Big 5 perform during the interval acts. It could save money that wouldve been used to hire someone, and it will give those countries the fair amount of exposure that they deserve

Eugene ESC UK
4 years ago

Oostenrijk :- It is interesting that Sweden is the host and an auto qualifier in 2016 and this change takes place when Sweden hosts and we know they like a change or two!!!

Remember in 2013 when Sweden hosted, Robin Stjernberg came 14th for Sweden!!!

I would expect more changes to come, this is probably just the first!!!

Eugene ESC UK
4 years ago

For those who have read my posts on myeurovision.tv, you will know that I have been campaigning for the automatic qualifiers to perform live in the semi-final as the interval act for several years. I actually think it is a disadvantage to automatically qualify for the final and that the UK SHOULD have to qualify for the final for their own good. However how important to the contest is the larger financial contributions made by the Big 5? (Actually it is about time that these contributions are made public for ALL members really.) Why a disadvantage? Before the jury final… Read more »

Erin
Erin
4 years ago

I very much doubt this will change the outcome, but if Spain will finally manage to break it’s 10th place glass ceiling and both France and the UK won’t end up at the bottom 5 again, then maybe this is a first step in the right direction. Then again, it really depends on the song and how it’s packaged.

conor
conor
4 years ago

obviously the option of going direct to the finals should be there for them but i think it would benefit them more if they did the semis likw everyone else, apart from the host country

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Oostenrijk: Tbh, I think this has more to do with Germany and Austria’s undeserved double nil points. Germany have never been shy about pushing for change when something affects them unfairly.

James
James
4 years ago

I agree, I would love to see the big 5 drop to the semis (OK the host should be in the final) , and compete on a level playing field. This would probably have allowed us to have Malta in the final instead of the UK for example. I do feel the poor big 5 entries take away from some great entries that got stuck in the semi. But on the other hand, if the UK were not in the final, they would probably not bother to input money into it, and at the end of the day someone has… Read more »

#MarioVision
#MarioVision
4 years ago

I believe that from the big 5 + Australia
the countries that would had qualified to the grand final would be : Italy,Spain & Australia{although its ‘eww’ song for me}
I doubt that France {although i really liked Lisa Angel’s song} Germany & absolutely UK would really qualify to the Final..
I guess that Austria would not had qualified to the final certainly if the Vision was not hosted by Austria..

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
4 years ago

It would be nice to do away with the big five. The UK and France in particular, need to be forced to qualify for the final.

James
James
4 years ago

I don’t mind this, although I don’t think it will really make that much difference, it really depends on the entry. I think that the reason so many Big 5 entries finish at the bottom, is that those countries often don’t make enough effort. Entries such as Electro Velvet or Twin Twin would not have qualified from their semi, so they didn’t really deserve the spot in the final. Playing them twice wouldn’t have helped them. I don’t think that they would have got any more points. Italy won the televote this year, and with Germany’s recent win, I think… Read more »

Daniel
Daniel
4 years ago

Finally some justice

Oostenrijk
Oostenrijk
4 years ago

Looks like Sweden really wants to win on home soil.

esc1234
esc1234
4 years ago

Now they dont have any excuse for coming last. If your song is shit, then dont blame the big 5 system.

#MarioVision
#MarioVision
4 years ago

At first i thought that the big were about to compete to the SFs instead..
It would be more fair so we would see only the 25 countries that would deserve truly their spot on the grand final…Other than the host country..
Well this is something but its not the same…I would prefer if the big 5 were semifinalists like all the rest countries..

Mei International
Mei International
4 years ago

I bet it came from Germany too…also if the jury system was abolished there would be a second big 5 country there…just sayin!

Eric C
Eric C
4 years ago

I think it is a great idea. I think not appearing before the finals hurts the auto-qualifiers. Voters can get attached to acts in the semi-finals. I think it ought to be a live performance during voting.

Deniz
Deniz
4 years ago

Tbh I really liked that we at least had somerhing to look forward to in the final. Performances of countries we haven’t seen yet and could suprise us and make the night even better.

But if we see the big 5 performances already in the semi finals, those suprises will not be there anymore.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

BTW, who wants to bet that the push for this came from Germany?

MirkoJoshua
MirkoJoshua
4 years ago

This could be give a chance to big5 to get better results (even though Italy has always been in top10 except in 2014). But the host country? What’s the matter with it?

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Azaad: Remember though: if a country wins, they’re not obligated to host the next year. This has happened many times in the past, and happens especially a lot with Junior Eurovision. Sweden have made it clear that this year – as usual – they’re playing to win.

Olly the Swede
Olly the Swede
4 years ago

Compared to the majority of people here, I’m very pleased that this proposal has been implemented! 🙂 As a result of this new proposal, not only will it give the Big 5 countries + Sweden an opportunity to perfect their staging and camera angles in the SF rehearsals, but also promote their entries in a better light and for a longer amount of time (1:30 minutes?) instead of those silly 15 second clips. Additionally, showcasing both the song for a longer period of time and the rehearsal itself during the Semi-finals, gives viewers more time to pick their favourites in… Read more »

Edwin
Edwin
4 years ago

You might want to actually change your article (which states a number of incorrect details) instead of posting an “update” correcting said details. Basically, it seems like it won’t be any different, apart from giving the audience a more realistic impression of what to expect in the final. Let’s recall that the clip shown for Germany this year was actually very similar to the live performance and they still managed to get 0 points.

oli
oli
4 years ago

wow so much hate against the Big 5… Personally I don’t want a Final without Germany,Uk,France, Spain and Italy, these 5 countries are just iconic to the SongContest. I know it’s unfair for the rest, but this is how I feel

Maxim
Maxim
4 years ago

I think we needed this in Vienna, because their intervalacts were boring/stupid and not funny or interesting at all. Sweden’s intervalacts are funny and sometimes better than the songs (I think this is the case in some semi-finals of melodifestivalen) But yeah, … I think they should still participate in the semi’s and if they not qualify, then ther’re out. However the host should go directly to the final. + please, let Australia not participate anymore. It was acceptable for one time, but it’s really unfair they were alloud to vote in both semi finals. i think everybody should be… Read more »

Timselvision
Timselvision
4 years ago

@Azaad: why? Denmark and Spain also made it into the top 10 while they were automatic qualifiers 😛

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

IMO, the rule should be scrapped and the former Big 5 should compete alongside the rest. The host nation should automatically as a reward for last year and also because they’re never really playing to win (consecutive hosting is expensive).

In 2014, the UK would’ve placed top 10 if they’d competed in the semis, for an example.

stommie
stommie
4 years ago

Maybe we can guarantee the Big 5 a place in the top 5 each year. Though I doubt that even that will make the Big 5 happy.

Atte,Fin
Atte,Fin
4 years ago

Well, twitter tell that there will be pre recorded versions of rehearsel and EBU show those in semifinals and not even the full songs

Snigelpenna
Snigelpenna
4 years ago

The full Songs/preformances wont be in the semifinals. If you read SVTs own article it clearly states that a shortened version of the song will be broadcast. So it won’t be 20 minutes of extra performances

Steven
Steven
4 years ago

Have been waiting for this decision for years

Racal
Racal
4 years ago

They’re just flagging a dead horse. If they really wanted to give equal treatment and opportunities to the Big 5, they would have to… Well, cancel the Big 5 system and make them compete in the semis as the other countries. I don’t see how making them perform in the semis, with the assurance that they will be in the final anyway, will change anything to the game.

Anyway, as always, it comes back to the basics: if a country wants to win, Big 5 or not, they have to send a good song. The rest is just details.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

I’d actually to see a traditional interval act this year because Sweden knows how to do it well. Maybe time can be saved by cutting awkward jokes between hosts.

Sparrow
Sparrow
4 years ago

I wouldn’t be complaining about getting rid of the interval acts. Generally speaking they’re not that great. But hey, the more we get to see the actual performances the better I say. Good change!

Timselvision
Timselvision
4 years ago

I´ve been saying this would be a good plan for years XD

Freyah
Freyah
4 years ago

I hope they keep the time for the interval acts and just make the semis longer

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

You know what this means? It means we will never again be subjected to such a super awkward moment as when Alex from Electro Velvet played his ukulele!

Generally, I think this is a good decision, mainly because it gives the Big 5 equal rehearsal time and makes them fully involved in the show. They’ve still got to bring good songs, though. *sideways glance at the BBC*

But will it take the place of the interval act? Or will the show get extended by half an hour or so?