Each country’s entry for Eurovision can be revealed at any point between 1 September and the mid-March deadline. But does the song’s selection date affect its eventual placing at Eurovision? Is there a best time for a country to reveal their song? Let’s take a look.

Denmark, Emmelie de Forest, 3
Emmelie de Forest won DMGP in January 2013

In the last ten years, winners have tended to be released later, with seven out of the previous ten winners being released in March. Only the winning countries from 2009, 2013 and 2016 released their songs earlier, with “Only Teardrops” being the earliest. Emmelie DeForest’s song was the seventh song of 2013 to be selected when it won Dansk Melodi Grand Prix on January 26th, while Jamala’s and Alexander Rybak’s songs were both selected in February.

And of the recent winners, the latest song to be released was Austria’s “Rise Like a Phoenix”. Conchita’s winning song was the 36th to be selected out of 37 songs in the contest that year, announced on March 18th. Azerbaijan’s “Running Scared” was another late reveal, making its debut on March 13th.

So if we average out the release dates of the winning songs from the past ten years, we can predict the winning song next year will be released on March 1st 2017, and will be the 32nd song to be released.

However, being released early is no guarantee that the song will do badly. Eleven countries in the past ten years have released their songs before the second half of February and finished in the top five. The earliest of these are Ukraine’s 2013 entry “Gravity”, and Albania’s 2012 entry “Suus”. Both were released prior to the New Year and finished third and fifth respectively.

The most successful song to be released before mid February is Yohanna’s “Is It True?”. She achieved second place for Iceland in 2009, their best place to date. Iceland’s entry was released on February 14th, just before the halfway point in February.

But being released late is no guarantee for success – just ask The Makemakes or Engelbert Humperdinck. Their songs were released on the 13th and 19th of March respectively, to very little success. Both finished a measly second to last, amassing a total of 12 points between them.

Though the last-place finishers have been selected at varying times, there are a couple of dates to avoid. Both Juri Pootsmann’s and Ann Sophie’s song were selected on March 5th, and both finished last, Juri in the semi-final in 2016, and Ann Sophie in the final in 2015. The week of 11th to 18th February has also proved to be unlucky — six last places have been selected this week.

While countries that choose their song via internal selection have more freedom around when they present their song, those that use a national final are more likely to be locked into a timetable. We know that the winner of Albania’s Festivali i Këngës will be decided around Christmas time every year, while the winner of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen is always decided in mid March.

Last year the Dutch Eurovision commentator Cornald Maas told us that the Netherlands got it wrong by releasing “Walk Along” months ahead of Eurovision 2015. He said, “Last year we made a big mistake by letting you hear Trijntje’s song for the first time in December. It was way too soon and we’ve learned from that.” As a result, Douwe Bob’s “Slow Down” wasn’t heard until early March.

But as much as the timing of a song release can have an impact on how it is received by Eurovision fans, ultimately it all comes down to how the song comes across in the semi-finals and finals. Regardless of the release date, it is all about the quality of the song, the performance of the singer, and the staging at the contest.

What do you think? Can the release date of a song affect its changes at Eurovision? Is later better? Share your thoughts below!

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karminowe.usta
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karminowe.usta

The most of people listen all songs at May earlier knew only own song. Eurovision`s fans listen songs earlier but their opinion doesn`t matter to final results.

Thiefo
Guest

I think the article answers the question itself, which is no, the release date is irrelevant, as proved over the years. It’s like the “second position curse” 😛 an urban legend we all find fun but in reality know it’s not real at all.

James
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James

Exactly, I think the biggest problem is when you internally select and release a finished version with no further revamps, six months before the contest. That is a huge mistake as all the other countries know what to they need to beat. Even if a national selection is held in January, submissions are in full swing by then and many artists have completed their songs, so even if it’s an early selection, it’s not one of the first songs created and released to the public.

John Egan
Guest

Good article–thanks! Strictly speaking, most Melodifestivalen songs are released in February. We don’t know which one is the Swedish entry for several weeks after that, however. Some broadcasters seem to release entries late to build anticipation and to have impact (Azeris); others because they don’t have their…stuff..together or aren’t really making any sort of effort (UK). I think the selection method is more important than the timing…and 100% televote is the most risky.

James
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James

Right but even if it was one of the earliest in that year January is not as bad as releasing in October as many of the National selections are already in progress and songs finalized even if they haven’t won their finals yet

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

“Only Teardrops” was released in mid-January back in 2013 (one of the earliest selected entries) and it was stayed atop the betting odds ever since. Sure, the fact that she had signed with a major global label might have helped her.

James
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James

I think releasing really early is a disadvantage and I agree it was wrong to release Walk Along so early. Yes most people stil hear the song for the first time in May so it’s nothing to do with tiring of the song..but if you release first you set the standard bar and give other countries an idea of what they need to bit. Walk along was staged badly anyway but perhaps if they had looked at the songs selected later they might have gone with a different song that was more competitive with the others. Definately makes a difference… Read more »

mocosuburbian
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mocosuburbian

the majority of songs are released in march, so is this really a surprise

Paul D.
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Paul D.

I think it’s irrelevant when you select the song. The most important thing is having a good song,

davve
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davve

The only kind of parameter that I can think would affect that is that when a song is released later it have probably been worked on more than a song that is released on january or similar

cheesecake
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cheesecake

Does anyone know if the first song that was picked in a season has ever won Eurovision?

Darren
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Darren

It doesn’t matter at all really, I do think releasing the songs in January or even December in Albania’s case does probably determine the results of these countries, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the best song shall always win. Haha the negative cynic conspiracist inside me is saying that the winning country is probably already decided anyway before national selection season even starts 😀 …..

(J)ESC Fanatic
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(J)ESC Fanatic

@Klumba

Exactly 🙂

Charles
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Charles

Is it better to be early or late? Seriously? What’s next? It is better with mustard on the side too?
Does the idea “it HAS TO BE one great song” sounds complicated to understand after 60 years of Eurovision? Or do we really need to come up with anything just for the sake of … God knows what?

Erasmus
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Erasmus

@(J)ESC Fantatic I couldn’t agree with you more.

Klumba
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Klumba

@(J)ESC Fanatic
Totally agree. I would like to add that most songs taking part in national selections are written and even recorded way before the competition (some of them in august-september of the previous year or even earlier) therefore you cannot take advantage of late national selection when most rivals are already known and all you have to do is pick up an “outstanding” song. Bulgaria 2016 is an exception. They obviously produced the song taking into account the lack of pop-dance songs with ethnic motifs.

Victor Kiriakis
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Victor Kiriakis

Sergey Lazarev’s song was realized in March too…

(J)ESC Fanatic
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(J)ESC Fanatic

It doesn’t matter at all. Most televoters listen to the songs for the very first time in May.

It only affects the opinion of Eurovision fans. For example, “Sunlight” was released very early and many fans, including me, got bored of it.

However, Eurovision fans belong to the minority of the televoters so the selection date of a song doesn’t really influence the final result of the country it represents.