He was the head honcho of Eurovision for ten years. But in 2020, Jon Ola Sand stepped down as the Executive Supervisor of the song contest. In an interview with the Eurovision Legends Podcast, the Norwegian television executive has now spoken out about a wide range of topics.

Jon Ola Sand revealed behind-the-scenes information from his time working at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). He also discussed where he’d like Eurovision to go in the future.

Jon Ola Sand on preferred Eurovision rule changes

During the first part of the interview, Jon Ola was asked what Eurovision rules he would like to change if he was freely able to do so.

The first thing Jon Ola brought up was the running order. In 2013, during his time as Executive Supervisor, the running order was partly put together by producers for the first time. This system, where contestants are drawn into halves and then producers put the exact order together themselves, has been used ever since.

This is a change that Jon Ola defends, but he would also like it to go further and for producers to be able to determine the entire running order themselves. He believes one of the most important things in Eurovision is being able to produce the best TV show possible:

“It is the most significant and most important change in Eurovision Song Contest, that you can actually compose the best TV programme […] I think that would have been a great change, to be able to compose it freely”.

Following on from this, Jon Ola turned to the topic of backing vocals. Eurovision 2021 saw pre-recorded backing vocals being allowed for the first time, and this will continue in 2022. Jon Ola Sand commented that this was good for a number of reasons:

“We have to look closely at backing vocals on tape. I understand that there is a a lot of resistance to this, because some people see this as moving towards a karaoke show. But both for practical reasons and economical reasons, also for the pure sound issue, I think it would be good to put the backing vocals on tape and then focus on the visual aspect and of course have the lead singer singing live.”

Later on in the interview, Jon Ola also says there have been yearly discussions about the best way to use juries in the voting. They have looked into whether there should be changes to how these are made-up, both in terms of numbers and location:

“We are discussing this with the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group almost every year. We’re doing calculations, we’re doing simulations – how would that be, would that help, how should it be organised? There have been discussions if we should have juries appointed by the EBU and sitting in Geneva, representing different countries. Discussions about should we have a common European jury, which is one big European jury appointed by the EBU or in cooperation with the members.”

Ultimately, he believes the current system is the best they can come up with. They have not found a concrete answer as to whether raising the number of people on each jury would be beneficial:

“We think that the system that is in place now is the best we can get. Hence that’s why we have it like this. I think it’s good that we reflect the national taste. And whether ten, fifteen people would be better – we haven’t really got a good answer on that.”

Jon Ola Sand – Eurovision Legends Podcast

Turkey’s absence and Kazakhstan’s debut

There is speculation each year about which countries may return to the contest, or if any new countries will debut. Jon Ola was asked about several of these, including Turkey and Kazakhstan.

Turkey withdrew from Eurovision after the 2012 contest. A number of theories have been given over the years for Turkey’s absence. At first, it was a disagreement with the new voting method (the inclusion of juries) and the Big 5 rule that allows the largest financial contributors to automatically qualify to the grand final each year. Another reason was the rampant LGBT-phobia shown by some of the broadcaster’s key managers.

Jon Ola notes that broadcaster TRT never informed the EBU about the reasons behind their withdrawal:

“We never got formal explanation from the Turkish member of the EBU why they decided not to continue with the Eurovision Song Contest. They never mentioned any specific rules to us. We also read in some media outlets and in some blogs that that should be the case, but they never presented that to us.”

He goes on to suggest that there is wider context at play:

“When it comes to Turkey’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, I think that should be seen in a broader sort of context about the relationship between Turkey, Europe and EU. I don’t think this is particularly about rules or points in the rules, as that could easily have been cleared out with us. At least, we could have talked about it, but they never approached us or talked to us about that. We have had several attempts at the highest level of the EBU to understand why the situation became this way, but we never got any explanation.”

In regards to a possible debut by Kazakhstan, Jon Ola confirms that the Kazakh broadcaster has made several requests to participate in Eurovision. However, despite being a participant of Junior Eurovision, he does not believe the country will feature at Eurovision itself any time soon:

“When it comes to Kazakhstan, they have shown a very keen interest for many years. We know that they can come up with fantastic acts – we’ve seen that at Junior Eurovision, where they are allowed in at a case by case basis. But there’s never been any serious discussion to bring them into the Eurovision Song Contest.

The reason for this is they are not a full-fledged EBU member and they’re on a very different time zone to Europe. When you go to Baku I think you have five hours difference, which is very challenging in itself, and you have even more if you go to Kazakhstan. And then it’s a very different TV and media environment there. So I don’t think in the next years they will be a member of the Eurovision Song Contest family.”

Interview timestamps

This just scrapes the surface of what Jon Ola Sand discussed in the interview. You can listen to discussions about the following topics at the designated time stamps:

  • 07:48 – The concept of the Big 5 is both good and bad
  • 09:02 – Would like the producer to be able to set the running order completely freely
  • 20:45 – Poor logistics in Birmingham 1998
  • 27:09 – The problems when producing the Eurovision in Norway in 2010
  • 29:50 – Thrives on chaos
  • 30:20 – The irregularities in Baku
  • 38:19 – Jon Ola in a roundabout way admits to torturing Sweden in the semi-final 2011
  • 45:17 – On Turkey’s absence
  • 48:19 – On debuts for Liechtenstein, Kosovo or Kazakhstan
  • 50:46 – Jon Ola gets angry on controversial flags
  • 54:00 – Disappointment of Russia in 2017
  • 1:00:02 – Azerbaijan buying votes
  • 1:04:05 – Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s jury votes
  • 1:05:30 – More members on each jury?
  • 1:06:35 – Encouraging countries to have a national selection
  • 1:09:30 – On cancellation of the 2020 contest
  • 1:13:56 – On his involvement in the American Song Contest

What do you make of Jon Ola Sand’s comments? What direction do you want to see Eurovision go in the future? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!

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Milos
Milos
14 days ago

For me the main question for ESC management and fans to answer in the years to come is whether ESC stays eurocentric, as today, or if it starts expending outside Europe (e.g. by inviting either permanently or occasionally other countries).Demographically, culturally and economically Europe’s share in world dwindles every year. In a world where American, Latin American, South Korean, Chinese etc. music artists can collect hundred of millions of views in only couple of days, the views ESC artists gets seem very very small

Devito
Devito
23 days ago

I’m sorry but I’m not buying this crappy argument for Kazakhstan having a bit too different timezone from the rest of Eurovision countries when we literally have Australia as a participant on the other side of the world. Jon Ola Sand was never an honest person, I’m surprised I thought it would different this time.

Babes
Babes
24 days ago

I’d prefer to see a different special non-european guest participating country every year. His excuse about Kazakhstan is hypocritical. Australia is a rich “western” country so they have no problem letting the participate. Australia’s artistic contribution is pretty low and unoriginal. I’d prefer to see a country like Lebanon or Morocco instead.

Jonas
Jonas
23 days ago
Reply to  Babes

Lebanon and Morocco are both EBU members, they would not be guests.

Pikyo
Pikyo
24 days ago

Well, if I were Jon Ola, I would allow Kazakhstan to debut and give all non-EBU members like Australia and Kazakhstan special conditions to allow the two countries to host if they win such as a more flexible starting time for the show. The show can start at 9:00 pm or earlier in the time zone of the host city. For example, the show starts at 9pm Almaty Time, it can start at 4pm CET. If the show starts at 9PM in Sydney, it can start at 12pm CET. I know this is impossible at the moment but I can… Read more »

Una
Una
24 days ago
Reply to  Pikyo

The shows start at 9pm CET irrespective of where the show is held.

Jonas
Jonas
23 days ago
Reply to  Pikyo

The contest would lose three quarters of its viewers if that happened, they would be out doing their Saturday shopping.

Last edited 23 days ago by Jonas
Samo
Samo
23 days ago
Reply to  Pikyo

That wouldn’t work, people wouldn’t watch it at that time.

That being said, I don’t see a problem with show starting at middle of the night local time. Artist would just stay on European time zone while in the host city, so it solves the jet lag as well. It can be whatever time in the host city, you can still serve breakfast according to European time and have a show according to European time. Sure, it would limit sightseeing but that was never the point of going to Eurovision.

Jonas
Jonas
23 days ago
Reply to  Samo

That already happened in 2012, the first contest to be held on a Sunday.

Dirk
Dirk
21 days ago
Reply to  Pikyo

if australia wins the eurovisionsongcontest it will be organized in a European country

Luri
Luri
24 days ago

I would love to see Catalonia and Scotland participate as independent countries in the future.

Antonio
Antonio
24 days ago
Reply to  Luri

Yeah that’s not happening any time soon, specialy Catalonia?

Colin
Colin
24 days ago

Off topic, but Ursula Tolj has just been replaced as a Croatian HOD. The new acting HOD is Tomislav Shtengl. I have no idea what his new policies will look like, but it’s perhaps a shift in selecting Dora entrants, media coverage, and song releases… We can only guess as of now.

EDIT: Rumor has it (as local news are reporting, but take it with a grain of salt) that Tolj has overstepped in the budget this year without consulting HRT board of directors, as well as picked Zigman for Albina’s costume designer without taking second opinions.

Last edited 24 days ago by Colin
Alex
Alex
24 days ago

I am going to listen to the podcast, interested to hear about ESC 1998 and the Azerbaijani scandal(s). I don’t want Kazakhstan in ESC, their participation in JESC serves the purpose of filling in the list of participants (the contest is more popular in ex-soviet countries) but ESC is already a massive show with loads of countries. It will slowly become globalvision. I’d rather have Slovakia and Luxembourg back. About juries, i like the idea of having all juries in Geneva. Also, increasing the number of jury members might help add diversity in the results. I still can’t believe they… Read more »

Roodi
Roodi
24 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Slovakia and Luxembourg do not want it Kazachstan showed interest

Ray
Ray
24 days ago
Reply to  Alex

It’s an odd way to promote non-political contest, when one country is constantly forgiven to bribe, manipulate and even push political views. All they have to do is pay a small fine and it’s all water under the bridge.

Lesa28
Lesa28
24 days ago

I would change the 12 points system to a system, where each participant down to the last one gets points (perhaps only the last one 0 points). Then we would have a more realistic result from about tenth place downwards. A country which e.g. always ends up between 11th and 20th place would then get its fair place and not the infamous 0 points and bottom of the list…

TheDrMistery
TheDrMistery
24 days ago
Reply to  Lesa28

That’s a terrible idea.

Lesa28
Lesa28
23 days ago
Reply to  TheDrMistery

Do you have a reason to share, why you think it would be a bad idea?

Zulal
Zulal
20 days ago
Reply to  Lesa28

I’m in favour of that voting system too. It would also reduce the impact of neighbouring and diaspora voting, which would be positive too. But I don’t think the EBU is taking this step and letting the “12 points” go.

Ron
Ron
24 days ago

The way he defends Azerbaijan seems like he still gets “caviar” shipped to him from them. It is utterly disgusting to say that Azeris are at war with Armenia that’s why they blocked their voting number especially when Armenia actually gave 1 point to Azerbaijan that year in the grand final. Then to go on to suggest that Azeris were set up by a “certain country” or a “certain group” to make it seem like they bought votes like comeee on…we all saw the videos, we all saw the fictitious 12 points going to Azerbaijan from the smallest populated EBU… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
24 days ago
Reply to  Ron

BBC’s Panorama even made a programme about Azerbaijan and the contest, maybe he should watch that. It’s on YouTube.

Ron
Ron
24 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

He doesn’t need to, apparently he has a first hand experience with them. There was actually a report that came out (can’t find it now), talking about all the various platforms Azeri government had vested interest in infiltrating – Eurovision was apparently one of them. Everyone knows that the Azeri government and the Azeri broadcaster (Ictimai TV) are not independent from one another (contrary to EBU rule). In fact, Azerbaijan created Ictimai TV in 2007 so they could participate in Eurovision because their previous applications were denied. This all sounds like a joke, but it’s a total nightmare when the… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
24 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Yeah, the Aliyevs definitely want as much international attention as they can get – and they have the money to make it happen. Athletics, boxing, car racing, soccer – they’ve had everything. They even built an “Olympic” Stadium not long after the 2012 Eurovision – supervised by Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the same Sepp Blatter and Michel Blatini who gave the World Cup to Qatar and this week were indicted for corruption.

The 2011 contest, for me, is like the 2020 contest. We will never know who the winner would have been.

esc_fl
esc_fl
25 days ago

Jon Ola Sand: Kazakhstan is in a different time zone from Europe.
Also Jon Ola Sand: Good morning Australia

Sova
Sova
24 days ago
Reply to  esc_fl

I was just thinking the same… wtf was his argument!

Maybush
25 days ago

If I could change one thing about Eurovision I would have the vote made for the names of the song or artist not the names of the country. Eg. Maneskin 12 points instead of Italy 12 points. To try and take some of the nationalism out of the voting process.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
25 days ago
Reply to  Maybush

I think the point of the contest is bringing all these countries across the continent together and have them compete against each other in peace. Erasing the country aspect is not really good for the eurovision brand I think. If they were to be like ‘and now…12 points of Bulgaria go to natalia gordienko! People would be like hmm, which country was that again?

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
24 days ago
Reply to  Maybush

I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Like, imagine if big stars like Dima Bilan or Polina Gagarina competed again. It’d be like, “hmmmm, I sure do wonder which country he/she’s singing for. /s”

Last edited 24 days ago by Ethan1994
Erik
Erik
24 days ago
Reply to  Maybush

I like the way you’re thinking!

Una
Una
25 days ago

As for producers choosing the entire running order: there is too much talk of “bias” and “favouritism” especially when it comes to one certain country and “industry” people coming from that country. How can they even consider that change, even if only hypothetically?
What is this article about anyway? Trial balloons?

Colin
Colin
24 days ago
Reply to  Una

Well, that certain country was placed to perform 4th in the semi-final this year, and their final result surprisingly had more televoting points than the juries. Perhaps some things are already changing? Even if said country really delivers top notch quality in terms of production.

Una
Una
25 days ago

As for changes in the contest, it would be time for another core-ish change: the juries are a huge problem. It’s obvious as h***. Can anyone prove that the change the EbbU brought a few years ago to calculate the scores has had any real impact in reducing bias?

There are only 5 members in each jury and the potential for bias and “collusion” is huge. Reading about how “professional and expert” the EbbU are, as well as their “partners” gets annoying when they can’t seem to solve the biggest issue: “jury bias”.

Yom
Yom
24 days ago
Reply to  Una

I mean the televote only era was an absolute disaster for the contest. I’m not sure how anyone could deny that besides people who just watch the top 5’s on youtube.

The juries have their flaws, but their reintroduction completely changed eurovision for the better.

Una
Una
25 days ago

Re: Kazakhstan – the “block vote” can be an issue at times. “Good taste” when it’s about the Nordics and whatever negative connotation when it comes to Eastern European countries.

Yet: Armenia, Azerbaijan, (formerly Belarus), Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and the Russian Federation are already a huge block. Some countries will always benefit from it even if for mere qualification into the GF. Add in Kazakhstan and the “balance of the blocks” would be forever altered to the benefit of the many.

Liisa
Liisa
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

The Baltics rarely change points with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine.
They give points to Russia because they have a big Russian minority but usually don’t get points from Russia. It’s extremely outdated to associate the Baltics with that “Soviet bloc”. I understand if people did it in the 90s.

Una
Una
24 days ago
Reply to  Liisa

I don’t argue what you’re saying but the reality is that the televote points still matter as for the “voting block” and yes, one country is favoured biggishly also because of the former “Soviet past”, which is sad enough and I will thus apologize and stop talking about it.

In any case, Estonia is rocking it with Eesti Laul <3 and their first songs will come out this month!

Leif
Leif
25 days ago

Perhaps they should make it so that any country could not be put in the same half for more than two years in a row as well as have a longer time frame – say 10 years – during which the spilt between forst and second half had to be 50/50 for everyone.

That would still allow production some room to manouver and guarantee some fairness.

Last edited 25 days ago by Leif
Jesper Hjellnes
Jesper Hjellnes
25 days ago

Jon Ola Sand’s explanation about Kazakhstan is one of the dumbest excuses ever. Australians can get up at 5 AM to watch Eurovision, so why is time zone a problem for Kazakhstan? They have a small part of their country within Europe, shows interest in participation and are already a member of UEFA, so why can’t they join Eurovision too?

irn bru
irn bru
25 days ago

3am for me lol

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
25 days ago

I remember on another fansite (can’t remember which), someone said that Kazakhstan doesn’t have its own phoneline system (it shares one with Russia), similar to how San Marino doesn’t. And that that might be partly why. I don’t know if that’s true, though.

Whisker
Whisker
25 days ago

Do they prefer tea or coffee in Kazakhstan?

Whisker
Whisker
25 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

Come on people, the bill goes to Jon Ola. I’ll have a matcha.

Stevan
Stevan
25 days ago

“the current jury system is the best one they could come up with” excuse me

destiny stan account
destiny stan account
25 days ago

jon ola sand is defending azerbaijan are we surprised ? he glossed over the fact that azerbaijan interrogated voters, saying “they were at war”. he defended the evictions in baku. I would not be surprised if azerbaijan paid him directly for their victory in 2011. 2011 was his first year as supervisor after all.

Ashton
Ashton
25 days ago

I will always be grateful that australia is in the contest, given that im australian. but there is genuinely no reason not to afford that same courtesy to kazakhstan, especially when they are already trying so hard and doing so well in junior eurovision. (and the dictatorship argument is null and void when russia and azerbaijan exist)

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Russia has made it’s dictatorship to seem like a genuine election and if you question it you’re an enemy to them, Azerbaijan barely even hides it. Both countries are well corrupted and a word or two in the wrong way gets you in prison or even dead. Why invite more, we know Kazakhstan is using the contest for same reasons as they are.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Sorry but what you are saying is stupid then every Eastern European or Balkan country should not participate because of their goverment.It is a song competition.And Kazachstan has only given quality at JESC not like Belarus who always bring drama in their NF.

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
25 days ago

I believe he genuinely loves the contest and doesn’t make decisions willy nilly. There are some things that I don’t really agree with, but overall Jon Ola Sand really made the contest better and his legacy will be remembered forever.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago

I was just thinking he deserves at least one nice comment. His ten years in charge were much better than what Svante Stockselius gave us, this is true.

cheese
cheese
23 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

what did svante do?

Erik
Erik
25 days ago

Can we just mention he said between 39-41 participating countries was optimal for him because of logistics and a good show. It’s so specific. Crazy and funny. He was serious about it also

Sav001
Sav001
25 days ago
Reply to  Erik

He is right. The final is already long enough as is.

Erik
Erik
24 days ago
Reply to  Sav001

20 for each semi and the the big 5 for the finals. That’s 45 or 46 depending on if the host country is part of big 5 like next year. But he says 16/17/18 is optimal for a semi. And I’m not sure why.

DonutLover
DonutLover
25 days ago

I am sorry but this reason behind Kazakhstan’s non participation is pure c**p … I mean Australia is participating for ages and there is no problem but when it comes to Kazakhstan who can bring some culture to the contest then it’s a no no ..
About the backing vocals thing,no one will ever convince me having them pre-recorded is a good idea NEVER

Last edited 25 days ago by DonutLover
Denis
Denis
25 days ago

It is a song contest yes. But it is also a tv-show and as such visuals and what you see are just as important. It is EuroVISION after all. There should be correlation between both of them We can’t say one is more important. Without songs there would be no show but at the same if we focus on the songs then we might as well just show music videos and vote on that.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Denis

The EBU is a broadcasting union. That includes radio. The contest is still broadcast on radio, with separate radio commentators. I suppose nobody cares about that anymore.

Denis
Denis
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

The main focus is a visual show however. That is where they put the money on. Not sure if all broadcasters sends it on radio..
Anyway, it needs to be both. Just show videos if you want focus on songs..

Roo
Roo
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Quite frankly yes. Radio is a dying format. Plus tell me why would you listen to Eurovision on the radio when you have access to a television? It was valid in the 50s and 60s but hardly now.

Jonas
Jonas
24 days ago
Reply to  Roo

I don’t know. Maybe people with vision problems, or evening workers, or taxi drivers, or hospital patients – radio is still important. There’s not much hope for it if even its own union stops caring.

Donald
Donald
25 days ago

Running order decided by the producers: Albania in 2nd place forever, Russia in the 5th and Malta in 6th like this year to despise them. And by the way Australia has a time zone very similar to the European one… They have been very unfair to Kazakhstan.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago

Tell me why can Kosovo not debut the country of Dua Lipa Era istrefi who cares about Serbia their songs are always boring anyway

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

Not a year passes by, when people don’t bring this question.

1. They’re not part of the United Nations
2. RTK (their broadcaster) isn’t part of the International Telecommunication Union so they can’t apply to be full members of EBU
3. It’s still not totally recognized as an intepended country internationally

We won’t see Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland Islands, Catalonia or Kosovo as they’re all part of another country, each one more or less.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Kosovo participate in the Olympics also plays official Football games.Is recognized by most UN nations EBU recognize Kosovo beacuse Kosovo participated in Eurovision Young Dancers.It is by most countries recognized internationally only Russian pupper states do not recognize Kosovo.San marino is also part of Italy.And Kosovo is not part of Serbia.question to you Are you Serbian?

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

What? San Marino is an independent country that is surrounded by Italy, it’s a whole different country.

No I’m not Serbian.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

We saw Wales in the junior contest, though…

Toffeenix
Toffeenix
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Which is probably why Serbia stick around in the Junior contest (and potentially why Spain came back), in all honesty. Serbia did only get 7 song submissions for JESC this year, it doesn’t seem like the interest is really there… but I imagine RTK are probably ready to take the chance as soon as it comes their way and that isn’t in Serbia’s interests at all.

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yes we did, but JESC has different rules and it’s not as watched as ESC so I suppose they wanted to get some interest in the contest to get more viewers rather than waiting it to be cancelled because of poor viewing figures. Same as with ESC, more countries were allowed to participate, new countries joined, we got two semifinals and then they even invited Australia to keep it interesting.

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Please Eurovision had always big vieuwing figures before Australia.

Ray
Ray
24 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

The viewing figures were about JESC and Kazakhstan, not about ESC and Australia. Australia only got invited to ESC so there would be something new to the contest, of course they had a long history of broadcasting Eurovision since 1980s.

Jonas
Jonas
24 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Australia showed us in 2015 that rules are only important until they’re not.

Ray
Ray
24 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I’m not saying Kazakhstan shouldn’t ever participate, but if they’re enough close to gain full membership status of the EBU why not wait until they have? Australia clearly isn’t in the main broadcasting area, but has otherwise been an active with the interest on showing ESC since the 1980s, other requirments they do fill. If we allow any associate member to participate why let Kazakhstan, which gained associate member status in 2016, when we could for example let some other associate member to participate which has had the status longer but hasn’t asked to participate because there’s been rules that… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
24 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Only full members should be allowed in the contest, this was the rule for six decades – to avoid situations and questions like these. Special treatment for Australia was a mistake.

Ray
Ray
24 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

True and that being said we should only allow Kazakhstan to compete if they meet the requirements. Australia seems to get invited every year, no idea what EBU would do if enough competing countries would come from full members.

Sabrina
Sabrina
25 days ago

I can understand the practical and economical reasoning about it (though economically I don’t think it makes sense when a country just drop backing vocals to use dancers instead), but this obsession with putting visuals and production slickness ahead of everything makes me wonder if some TV producers involved with Eurovision actually like… music. Because live music needs to save a place for improvise, imperfections and the vibe at the arena on that particular night. We can’t ignore Eurovision is a TV show, but it only exists because it’s a song contest. We were possibly reaching the perfect balance before… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Sabrina
Ray
Ray
25 days ago

Listen to the karaoke version of Efendi’s Mata Hari and you’ll get a pretty good example why using pre-recorded vocals should have some sort of rules attatched to them, she barely sang anything.

Turkey has several times said the voting and Big-5 were the main reasons for not competing, but now we hear that they’ve never even talked about it to EBU? Seems like the huge LGBT+ friendly contest was a bit too much for an average Turkish viewer! Let’s not forget 2013..

Jack
Jack
25 days ago

Snitches get stiches a quote says. He wrote a report in 1998 in EBU about bad transportation in the venue (!), in 1999 he reported Croatia for using pre recorded vocals (despite the fact that now is in favor of them), and 10 years later he became the boss. Error 404 ethics and talent not found

esc1234
esc1234
25 days ago

Of course he wants the main focus to be on the visuals, in which other way all these melfest participants with dreadful vocals like Anton Ewald, Eric Saade,Mendez, Anis don Denima, Suzi P etc would be able to represent Sweden? he knows what he is talking about, dont make daddy Bjorkman angry

Last edited 25 days ago by esc1234
Erik
Erik
25 days ago
Reply to  esc1234

Backing vocals helps them for sure. Just as with any ESC county that used to score bad but now have better production, sings in English etc.

You also compare people of very different backgrounds. Being a YouTuber who suddenly gets to sing or originally being just a background dancer is very different from having been singing for your whole life. Even if their voices does not sound good to you there should be a difference there.

voix
voix
25 days ago

The lack of charisma of this man is something else. He wants to focus on the visuals in a SONG contest and he never replied to any challenging question and he never made a wrong decision. Yikes

Jack
Jack
25 days ago
Reply to  voix

Ukraine threw out of the competition Russia in 2017 and he has the audacity to say he never made a mistake. What a guy….

Jack
Jack
25 days ago
Reply to  Jack

oh and i forgot…. DURING HIS TIME THE WRONG RESULTS WERE PRESENTED. DO WE NEED TO SAY MORE?

Whisker
Whisker
24 days ago
Reply to  Jack

YES!

Roodi
Roodi
25 days ago
Reply to  voix

Hypocrite yes Visuals are very important that is why we Eurofans are always excited for the reherseals we want to see the staging because we want to see visuals of the performance.

voix
voix
25 days ago
Reply to  Roodi

you are not part of the mass audience honey, you are a minority. In every possible way

Erik
Erik
25 days ago
Reply to  voix

LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!

Pardon me, voix, but the ESC community is the minority. The majority just likes a good show and don’t care much more for it. There is a reason Sobrals fast food music is so popular across the world. The MAJORITY likes to eat it.

They just want to get entertained and have fun. They won’t bother about what you say.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago

By the way, this is a really good podcast. My favourite guests so far have included Frances Ruffelle, Edyta Gorniak, Selma, Nina Morato, Amina, Paul Oscar, Jan Johansen, and others – winners like Anne-Marie David, Eimear Quinn, Katrina, Bobbysocks, Izhar Cohen, presenters like Lill Lindfors, nul-pointers like Gunvor. Give it a listen.

This was not a paid ad.

Joe
Joe
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I’ll definitely give it a look!

Jo.
Jo.
25 days ago

i guess replacing the big boss was already “a focus on the visuals”

Jo.
Jo.
25 days ago
Reply to  Jo.

he thinks his ideas are somehow “progressive” ^^

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
25 days ago

i find it very interesting how he switched like a nicki on pre-recorded vocals. back in 1999, when he was the head of delegation for norway, it was HIM who went all karen on croatia for using pre-recorded vocals (it was just an “oooohh” during the chorus). good to know he’s now completely in favor of this travesty ! 🙂

voix
voix
25 days ago

A clown does clown things

Yom
Yom
24 days ago

Its been 22 years is someone not allowed to change their opinion in that timespan lmao.

Nobody Important
Nobody Important
25 days ago

Really nice way of telling us that pre recorded backing vocals are gonna become permanent. Really transparent!
Also, those excuses for Kazakhstan are such BS.

Erik
Erik
25 days ago

Time zone stuff really is. Like come on, what about Australia?

But full fletched member seems reasonable.

Danny
Danny
25 days ago
Reply to  Erik

Australia can’t host within their continent, they host it in a European country so it wouldn’t be a problem for the EBU unlike Kazakhstan.

Last edited 25 days ago by Danny
irn bru
irn bru
25 days ago
Reply to  Danny

they can hold it in another country. Pretty damn simple

Danny
Danny
25 days ago
Reply to  irn bru

That’s basically what I’ve said above.

cheese
cheese
23 days ago
Reply to  Danny

i believe they made a deal with RUV to host it in iceland in case they win. or have i been nae naed?

Nicolas
Nicolas
25 days ago

B***s**** excuses for the pre-recorded vocals so delegations can not afford backsingers but for expansives staging and props bingo they can.
I’m sorry but for a singing competition I don’t give a * to your focus on vsual aspect but to the sound and the voices !
I’m done with Eurovision sorry. Bye. And every real eurofan should do the same. TV Ratings and Youtube views divide by half that would make them rethinking their stpity.

Erik
Erik
25 days ago
Reply to  Nicolas

Haha. Stop commenting on a ESC FANSITE then!

If it was only about the song they should have live-streamed it on radio, spotify or similar. The visuals actually ARE important!

Whisker
Whisker
25 days ago

This is a huge mind-fxxk. Focus on make the ESC as fair as possible, ok? NOT a producers’ show. It’s on TV, but it shouldn’t be a :”TV show”. It’s a song contest, not a visual contest. Performers should show their vocal skills with NO help from pre-recorded backing vocals. Either ditch the juries or set stricter rules. Lame excuse with Kazakhstan. But yes, this is what EBU-ESC people actually want ESC to be like?

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

I agree with you re: not a producers’ show/ visual contest. Entries with “Swedish input” and stage directors “mercenaries” will continue to have unfair advantages. The fact that smaller broadcasters feel they need to hire those people for better results already puts others in a lesser starting position.

Whisker
Whisker
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

For sure!
There’s one point he didn’t mention tho. How about EBU selecting national songs, as in broadcasters submitting three-four potential entries and EBU selecting the “right” songs so that could have THE BEST TV SHOW! Start the countdown right NOW!

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

So funny LOL!!

Jofty
Jofty
25 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

Keeping the “best” of the four for Sweden and dishing out the remaining three to other countries, in order of the highest bidder. Oh sorry, they are doing that already!

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
25 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

i feel like his is a very scandinavian pov. very pragmatic, very schematic, with maximizing profit in mind. they should try putting the contest in the hands of someone from another part of europe for a while and see.

Erik
Erik
25 days ago

Is pragmatic not a good thing? What do you wish for instead?

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
25 days ago
Reply to  Erik

a good balance between that and common sense

Roo
Roo
25 days ago

You are right. I would love to see someone Dutch in charge of the contest. Dutch television has come up with many television shows that have been adapted around the world. They don’t seem so keen though to squeeze everything into their mould.

Whisker
Whisker
25 days ago

100%! Let’s see who’s got the guts to challenge this unfortunate status quo.

Erik
Erik
24 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

It’s been said so many times. But song contest. Not singing contest

Thomas Sturley
25 days ago

Kazakhstan is in a much different timezone than Europe….so Australia isn’t? I don’t find that as a legitimate reasons

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

This from the man that brought in Australia. Oh right, long history, of course. The very least they could do is have that “serious discussion” and then count them out because of the amoral dictatorship.

Thomas Sturley
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

If we are talking amoral dictatorship then what about Turkey or Russia? Even then it’s just not fair to Kazakhstan in numerous ways.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

Yeah, I agree. Turkey and Russia and Azerbaijan are EBU members, though, so things get a little more complicated.

Nicolas
Nicolas
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

You see some people can’t watch a show at midnight but at 6am it’s OK lol.

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

He also said about Kazakhstan: “And then it’s a very different TV and media environment there.
I remember reading a comment by Robyn about Luxembourg’s EBU member broadcaster: it doesn’t fit the “profile” for participating in Eurovision either. I hope I remember the stuff well and that the comparison stands to some extent. Luxembourg and Kazakhstan are very different.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

If none of this matters for the junior contest, I don’t understand why it matters for the actual contest.

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Excellent point re: the junior contest.

I would think that a reason could be that the big contest has different rules as for the public voting in the actual time of live broadcast, as opposed to the junior one with voting going on for days including for one’s own country etc. The scale of the big show is also different with the three live shows.

I did wonder about Azerbaijan’s televote – how many people actually watch and vote? Iceland is much smaller but the time of broadcast is quite early.

Kim
Kim
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

I’d love to see the number of televotes from each country. You also never hear about the viewing figures in Azerbaijan, that too would be an interesting read.

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Kim

I would love to see viewership and televote. Apparently the televote numbers is a pretty big issue in certain countries with low viewing figures. I am wondering how do broadcasters from the respective countries manage the numbers.

And this leads me to the jury numbers: EbbU should increase the number of jury members in order to decrease bias or “cooperation”.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Kim

I’d say televote numbers are quite low in most countries. Most viewers can not vote for the song they want to win – their own country.

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

RTL simply doesn’t participate because they’ve got a small budget and it’s mostly a news channel these days.

Ray
Ray
25 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

Well that seemed like an odd reson to say, but to be honest the Australian culture is much closer to the European ones than Kazakhstan’s. Does JESC even get viewers in Kazakhstan a lot?

Seems like another country wants to compete so they can get a better reputation. If Belarus is out why bother bringing another one in?

Danny
Danny
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

If I remembered correctly 2018 was watched by around 130,000 viewers in Kazakhstan but it was broadcast on a secondary channel because Khabar’s main channel had scheduling problems or something like that.

Ray
Ray
24 days ago
Reply to  Danny

Thanks! I wish broadcasters would be more interested in showing the viewing figures every year, even if it wouldn’t so good.

One thing might have affected their 2018 viewing figures, it was their debut year. Seems like a minor viewing figure, when we concider the fact that Kazakhstan’s population is 18,7 million.

Whisker
Whisker
24 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

Australia is in fact in Switzerland.

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
25 days ago

So he would like the producers to decide the running order without limitations and thinks that having backing vocals recorded would be better because there would be less variables and we could focus more on the visuals. Nothing surprising.
But why not go a step further – force every country to produce a music video with MCU tier VFX and broadcast that instead? No variables whatsoever and you get much better visuals.
smh

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
25 days ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

don’t give them ideas lmao

Joe
Joe
25 days ago

Did the Birmingham part have any mention of why they did away with the orchestra?

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Live orchestra at this scale simply wouldn’t work. They barely ever get the sound mixing right even though there are just 6 people max with mics.

Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

I think a 56-country broadcasting union should be able to make it work – if they can’t, they are in the wrong jobs.

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I am all for live orchestra even if just for once for a very special edition!!

Otherwise I don’t see it practical at all:

  • it would limit the genres of entries
  • it .would cost a lot of money
  • rehearsals would take longer.
Jonas
Jonas
25 days ago
Reply to  Una

I’ve given up hope on the orchestra ever coming back, all I ask now is for live instruments. A compromise.

Una
Una
25 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Performers have been asking for it too to no avail!! But I do support this.

EBU managed to eff up at least two countries in the jury show in sf1 this year so I don’t know if they would manage to do justice to live instruments.

Joe
Joe
25 days ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

I think if they had like a Broadway-style pit orchestra, as opposed to a 50-piece radio orchestra, they could do something (Denmark’s been able to pull it off for their last few DMGPs), but it’s kinda hard to imagine the coordination needed for a full orchestra.

Erik
Erik
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe

They even allow only one live instrument because they don’t have time for rehearsals, tuning, space behind stage etc.

It can be discussed what the EBU budget should go to. But it sure is expensive

Erik
Erik
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe

They briefly mentioned the orchestra but rather like that the contest is moving forward.