First rehearsals are meant for getting used to the sound, the cameras and the stage. But with the world’s press watching it all via the press centre screens, delegations are sometimes forced to view rehearsals as showtime. That can add a lot of stress…and result in some rather unflattering press coverage. As a result of this, the EBU has questioned whether these rehearsals should actually be behind closed doors.

Cue the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Poland. The EBU decided to close off all first rehearsals. On top of that, the press centre only opened the Thursday before the final instead of the Monday preceding that. Given that JESC is often a test ground for the Eurovision Song Contest, it led many press to worry about what might happen in Rotterdam.

Junior Eurovision and Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand spoke about this development during a press conference in Poland. He mentioned that having private first rehearsals would probably not be repeated in Rotterdam for Eurovision.

“We’ll still have an open first rehearsal like we’ve had over the last years,” he told reporters. “I know that for some artists it’s a bit challenging and uncomfortable to know that journalists, bloggers and other people are watching while they go on that stage for the first time.”

And while it’s clear that he wanted to shield children from that pressure Junior Eurovision, the Eurovision Song Contest itself is another matter.

“We have decided to keep rehearsals open [at Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam], because we know that, for everyone travelling to the host city and in the press centre, that it is really valuable.”

He rightfully acknowledges that the presence of the press can make artists uneasy. It’s not unusual to see the odds of a country rapidly change after a rather good or bad response from journalists in the press room. So the Executive Supervisor suggested tweaking the first rehearsal slightly.

“We might have a little adjustment when it comes to the very first time they run through the song. It might be that we give them that moment alone, but [the press] will be able to see everything when it comes to the latter run-throughs.”

What do you think? Should first rehearsals be private? Or should the press still be able to watch and comment on them? Let us know in the comments below!

Read all Eurovision 2020 news here

Picture: EBU/TVP: Thomas Hanses

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hebbuzz
Guest
hebbuzz

if they want to reduce stress they should stop having Press conferences after the first rehearsal round..

not showing the first runthrough sounds ok to me, but showing all other efforts should be seen by delegations as opportunities to get usefull feedback from the press.

if you get nervous of rehearsals, then why would you want to perform for a 150 million audience after all? sounds very unprofessional to me. maybe sent a good artists then instead.

Moshe Melman
Guest

I think the first rehearsals are closed to press. Up till now people were looking on them through screens located in the press room. I understand that they want to close also the press room during the first reheraslas otherwise Mr Ola San statement does not make senese. I think that singers coming to perform infront of millions watching the tv need to be aware that people are watching them no matter what.

James
Guest
James

These past couple of years, I’ve decided to hold off from watching any rehearsal footage until after the live shows. As others have mentioned, it spoils the fun of watching it for the first as a viewer, and this whole pre-show coverage tends to heighten my anxiety, including the continuing reporting on betting odds, which apparently some fans go gaga over. I’m sure allowing first rehearsals to be closed off at least for the first run-through should help loosen the pressure from the performers. I wish a similar approach would be done with press conferences and individual interviews. On a… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

This is a great idea and long-overdue. Seeing how exhausted the poor singers are by this constant scrutiny always bums me out. I hope they also scale down the interviews and stuff as well. Fan sites can get their interviews in at the pre-parties and do the meet and greet and red carpet there; let them focus on working when they have to and relaxing when they don’t once they’re actually in Rotterdam.

jack
Guest
jack

I thinks its a good decision to make rehearsals more private only to stop the portion of euroqueens who feel like its the end of the word if a screen or an effect doesnt work during a set of rehearsals. Less drama is always a good thing

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

i wouldn’t care. what’s the fun in watchin rehearsals? it spoils the surprise

Denis
Guest
Denis

I can see the benefits of closed reherseals. All that should matter is the performance of the night. And as a viewer it would be nice to have an element of surprise and not knowing what staging will look like until you see it that night.
And it would create a lot less pressure for the artist knowing they wont be scrutinized for everything.I mean MF never post rehearse material

Rona
Guest
Rona

I always try to avoid rehearsals videos to be honest. They spoil all the fun. What’s the point of watching the show if you already know every step?!

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Yes, but we still need to avoid social media in this case, since there’s always a meltdown.

AndersP
Guest
AndersP

It makes sense to close them off, it’s the whole point of a rehearsal, they are a safe space where mistakes can happen and it shouldn’t matter. I know lots of fans love them, personally I try not to read or watch any of the rehearsal news coverage any more, it makes the semis and final much much more enjoyable, otherwise there’s no surprise.

elpa
Guest
elpa

In contrast to all the comments here I dont understand it and I will be glad if someone here will explain what I missing here.
There are around 150 people near the stage in the first rehearsal and this is okay but showing the rehearsal in screen in far away building for 100 people that we can’t even hear them from the arena is make artists uneasy?
How is possible?

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

Probably because those 150 people are “in your team” working together to improve every aspect of the performance such as lighting, sound, etc. They are there to fix things, and they know it is fine if things don’t go as planned at the first rehearsal. The people in the other room far away might not see and hear everything, yet have a big influence on hundreds or even thousands of people’s opinions, based on the limited information they got. And knowing from livestreams that some live-reporters can overly exagerrate or overdramatise things as if the first rehearsal is the Final… Read more »

elpa
Guest
elpa

Thank you, now I got it
*not all the 150 people are nessecary for each performance and it’s enough you have accardation for the main arena and got permission
And you can sit there and see anything even if you are not needed now.

pepe
Guest
pepe

I don’t think the press is allowed to enter the arena during the first rehearsals. They are watching it from a screen in the press centre.

elpa
Guest
elpa

Not the press I write about guards ,volunteers and people that work in the main building.

Apparently without my knowledge
Guest
Apparently without my knowledge

They should absolutely stop this travesty of allowing rehearsals to be scrutinized and to become subject to online polls by the self-proclaimed “world press”.

Africavision
Guest
Africavision

As much as I love the buzz during rehearsal week, the focus should be on the needs and wants of the performers. The EBU needs to consult with all the delegations to find out what suits them best. If they feel that the open rehearsals, the relentless interviews, or whatever else is hindering their Eurovision experience, this needs to be taken into account and addressed. To follow up on the point raised below, regarding the banning of the betting odds… That clearly won’t happen, but having all rehearsals completely closed could have a similar outcome to not having betting odds,… Read more »

yom124
Guest
yom124

It doesn’t really have any impact on the voting as the vast majority of voters are complete casuals. Its unlikely the juries pay any attention to them either.

Africavision
Guest
Africavision

I think that there have been instances were juries may have been influenced to vote in a certain way, possibly due to the odds. Example: Bulgaria was one of the favorites in 2017, and conveniently did not give any jury points to the other favorites of that year (i.e., Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, and Italy). Likewise, Portugal, another contender for the win that year, did not give any jury points to Bulgaria and Italy, who were 1st and 2nd in the odds for a long time. Although the vast majority of televoters may be casual viewers, Eurofans also vote and contribute… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Totally agree with your views, Africavision. And I would like to add that casual viewers can also be influenced by odds. The favorites to win can be announced by commentators, for example. Then people at home will understandbly pay more attention to those. There are also viewers that think that voting for someone who has little chances to win is “losing a vote” (which is nonsense, of course). So they tend to pick one between those who will fight for victory.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I’m in favor of closing at least the first rehearsal to the press. The first rehearsal can be problematic by nature. Technical issues are quite normal for something that’s getting tested on that particular stage for the very first time and also the artists are usually still getting used to the whole Eurovision environment surrounding them. So, if someone has a bad first rehearsal, part of the press and fans already jump on the conclusion you’re doomed to fail. Which affects the betting odds and then a cycle of pressure is formed.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

I wouldn’t really miss the excessive coverage of the rehearsals. Perhaps the interviews could then be more about the music and the artist’s background. Every year we see, that especially towards the end, when the nerves are already a bit exposed, the discussion about the staging gets slightly overwrought. I was thinking about tuning out of that part next year, anyway.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I like the idea of the very first run-through of the three in the first rehearsal being private. I’m sure this has happened to a few acts in the past. After all, it’s literally the first time they have performed their song on the Eurovision stage – there is so much they have to keep in mind. It’s less about vocals and more about getting used to the cameras, lights, and the general feeling of the venue. There’s little that fans can learn from the first run-through that they wouldn’t get from the second or third.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Well, you might ask, what are the journalists there for then? Is there any need at all for the countless interviews with repeating questions? Do they really have any say? Do they hold any importance? Do they add something more than just a description and opinion about an incomplete package? Can’t the fans go on for two more weeks without any coverage (maybe besides the clips from the Eurovision’s channel)?

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Journalists…do all of the “accredited press” meet this definiton? I’m not so sure.

Miguel Angel Fernandez Garcia
Guest
Miguel Angel Fernandez Garcia

Me too…

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Seems like having a vlog on Youtube with 100 subscribers makes them “journalists”.

MTD
Guest
MTD

Just close the first rehearsals, even the fans demand this.

Only these bloggers will be the unhappy ones. LOL

Adam
Guest
Adam

As much as I love watching the first rehearsals (I will sit there waiting on Eurovision’s YouTube channel as the clips are published), I would really welcome this move. The first rehearsal is not only our opportunity to see the staging, but also the artists’ first time experiencing it as it will be for them on the big night. After all, many rehearsal clips are met with disappointment and criticism because the Eurovision fandom can be so judgemental.

Lloyd
Guest
Lloyd

Why is the Welsh flag not used in Instagram posts by wiwibloggs. I’ve seen it a few times now linked to JESC and am curious about it. I mean, the flag is in the emojis. Every other flag is used bar that one.

Efraim
Guest
Efraim

On some phone models (and I know because mine is one of them) the Welsh flag emoji isn’t seen properly outside of WhatsApp.

Lloyd
Guest
Lloyd

Oh ok. Probably that my phone allows it but theirs dont. Thanks for that. Just often found it unfair as a welshman haha

Eurovision fan
Guest
Eurovision fan

I’d rather ban the all betting odds. That way the competition is much more exciting and I think the betting odds are what makes additional stress to performers. What I would change for 2020 are jury members. 5 jury members per country, but five people with different genres and styles

Khan
Guest
Khan

It’s literally impossible to ban betting odds.

James
Guest
James

One way to ban the is to simply ignore them and no one should even post news about them.

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

Betting odds are by private firms, you cannot ban them unless you force the world to ban gambling

Jacko
Guest
Jacko

The whole process of the two weeks before the live show is too much.
Why do we need so many journalists sitting all day watching every move the contestants are doing, like it’s any different from the last rehearsal? It just adds to the pressure. I think 2-3 open rehearsals are enough.

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

I think it is the right thing to do. It is the very first rehearsal, the artists and delegations have just arrived and try to find out positions and try to get used to the venue. This year many bloggers already reported every detail live, which created so much unnecessary drama. Like “oh no that camera angle is so bad!, What’s with the voice, she cannot sing that note, what is that hanging thing?” And then every hysterical fan screams “last place!” or any nasty insult, without knowing what it even looks like (in the real camera shots).

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Even from a fan’s perspective, I don’t know why every surprise needs to be spoiled from the first moment. I’m not sure an open rehearsal has any real value?

Timi
Guest
Timi

Agree. And not just the first one; all of them.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I think it should be closed. I understand they want to build hype, through Wiwi and all the others – but it’s the performers who pay the price. If they acknowledge that for the Junior contest, why can’t they for the adults? Their mental health and stress levels are no less important.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Agreed, and fewer interviews too, the performers look tired on the stage.