Editorials & Opinion

Internal selections: easier to afford, but making audiences feel ignored?

There is a never-ending discussion surrounding the presence of jurors in the Eurovision Song Contest, and with the especially wide discrepancies between the results of the juries and televoters this year, the topic is more loaded with questions than perhaps ever before. Should the voting system continue to be a 50/50 split between the two? Should we axe the juries and rely solely on televotes? Perhaps we should follow Finland’s older Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu format and give power to each country’s chiseled and chiseling asphalt constructors? Though this conversation is certainly worth having, there is another significant this-or-that brewing in our Eurovision bubble, and that is the prominence of delegations opting for an internal selection — the process in which a country’s broadcaster/delegation directly chooses the artist and/or song that it will send to the contest — instead of holding a public, national selection. This particular topic is far from being clear-cut, as there are fair and reasonable arguments both for and against delegations working internally. One could argue that if a broadcaster receives a song that it feels is leaps and bounds ahead of the other submissions, why can’t it just select that particular song and use whatever national …

What is the true value of PR at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Dear Eurovision Fan, I want to talk to you about something that may be of interest to you. I want to engage with you in a very specific way, and if possible, on terms that suit us both. By doing this, I hope to manage the way in which you form an opinion about me. What is it that I’m talking about? Public Relations. Or, as it’s more commonly known, PR. The UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations has a very succinct, if not vague, definition of PR: Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. PR at Eurovision We all know PR exists and most of the time we know when we’re being targeted/engaged with (delete as appropriate!) by those that practice the art. But for many, it’s still something of a nebulous concept. In a world of globalisation and increased interconnectedness, PR is becoming even more critical for those whose fate rests on public opinion. At Eurovision, it’s therefore unsurprising that artists (and the teams that manage them) are focussing heavily on PR. But what is its true value and does it really help a …

This is why TVM’s “X Factor Malta” could be Malta’s ticket to Eurovision victory…

News broke this evening that Malta would be scrapping their national final for the first time in their Eurovision history. The competition, most recently branded as the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, has existed in varying forms to select all 31 of Malta’s Eurovision entries. However, with the announcement that the winner of the first ever X Factor Malta would represent the island in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, it marks a big change in plans for TVM and Eurovision in Malta. A struggle to adapt Back in the 1990s, Malta had a string of successful results at Eurovision. A string of eight consecutive top ten finishes occurred between the country’s comeback in 1991 and Chiara’s agonisingly close top three finish in 1998. Furthermore, as we moved into the 2000s, Malta would extend that record to 11 top tens out a possible twelve. Nevertheless, the introduction of the semi-finals saw Maltese fortunes at Eurovision take a tumble. Since 2004, Malta has only achieved four top-half finishes in the grand final in fifteen attempts: 2004: Julie and Ludwig – On Again… Off Again (12th place) 2005: Chiara – Angel (2nd place) 2013: Gianluca – Tomorrow (8th place) 2016: Ira Losco – Walk On Water (12th place) …

The potential positive of Post Eurovision Depression?

The last few weeks, I’ve felt something strange. An odd pang, a growing feeling that’s so familiar, yet so new. I think I’ve got it again, those unsubstantial blues: Post Eurovision Depression. However, could this feeling actually be beneficial? It seems like the perils of post Eurovision depression could in fact be positive. The trouble with defining ‘Post Eurovision Depression’? Despite being used in the fan community for years, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut definition for the term. Post Eurovision Depression, or PED, is the annual disorder that manifests hours after the winner is announced, and tends to strike in the warm evenings of June. The experience can contrast from person to person, but the cause seems to be universal: the Eurovision bubble has popped for another year. No rehearsal footage to catch up on, no mid-week national final for musical nutrients. Not even a sea of flags to soothe the soul. After months of build-up, an abundance of songs to rate and a fantastic show in Lisbon, the anti-climax of starting again can be a lot to process. We are in a strange state where next year’s contest feels too far ahead in the future, yet this …

New Jury Voting: the 2016 results

Just before rehearsals started, the EBU announced a change in the way the jury rankings would be calculated this year. After explaining those changes in a previous article, we have now calculated alternative results for the 2016 final. So, what would change? First, if you don’t understand how we came up with the results, don’t forget to read our article explaining the new system. For the most curious and/or the most mathematically able, the actual formula used to calculate juror scores is written down at the end of the article you’re reading. The results First, here are the results of the new jury voting: As you can see, the gain and loss of points can be considerable: Israel lost 16 points and three places, for example. However, if the difference has strong effects in the jury voting, adding the televote changes many things, and “smoothens” the results to make the scoreboard closer to the actual results. The difference in points remains the same (since nothing changes with televote points), but the rankings, as you can see below, are not that different. As you can see, only songs below the Top 10 are affected. Ties have been resolved using the official rules …

500th, 1000th, 1500th and other Eurovision landmark entries since 1956

As many of you might have noticed, the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see the landmark 1500th Eurovision performance ever. And with the running order out, we know it’s going to be Alexander Rybak’s song. A lot of fans might also know who was the 1000th song. But what about the 500th? The 100th? A few months ago, I counted all the songs since 1956, and ESCXTRA is now proud to present you the definite list of the landmark songs through Eurovision History. Wait, let’s be clear… what IS a landmark entry? Here, we will only concentrate on the purely “statistical” data. Imagine all the Eurovision songs put one after the other in a giant running order since 1956. A landmark entry would be an entry falling on a “round” number. Obviously, with more than 1500 entries, we don’t consider landmark the 130th or the 1280th. Basically, it’s the “XX00th” songs, as well as the (1)250th and 750th. Historically, only ESC songs count: the prequalifications round held for some contests in the 1990’s (like in 1993) do not count. Songs that didn’t qualify are not into our “big running order”, and those that did qualify are counted using their running …

Analysing eleven years of OGAE voting: “Strikingly similar” to betting odds

This is an updated version of an article published in April 2017 Every year, many Eurovision fans eagerly await the results of the annual OGAE poll. OGAE is made up of over 40 fan clubs from around the world. For the poll, they cast votes in Eurovision’s classic 12 to 1 points system. With the OGAE voting historically taking place across April, it is the first time for fans to discover how a significant number of real people are reacting to this year’s entries. OGAE voting hand-in-hand with betting odds? Therefore, this can also have a knock-on effect in shaping the rankings at various betting agencies. Last month, we re-analysed how accurate betting odds from a month before the last eleven contests were in predicting the eventual finishing positions. There will be various references to this throughout the article below so it may be worth giving that a read first! As in the betting odds analysis article, we have taken statistics from all 11 OGAE polls that have taken place. The poll was introduced in 2007 and has taken place every year since. Let’s have a look exactly how good an indicator the OGAE poll is for predicting the eventual …

What would XTRA do: The running order of semi 2

Ever since 2013, the producers of the Eurovision Song Contest have taken matters into their own hands. They decide upon the running order for the semifinals and the finals. Now, we like to have a bit of fun ourselves as well, so what would XTRA do? Miki and Nick sat together to come up with the perfect running order for the semifinals in Lisbon. After a well received first semi, we now bring you the second part: Semifinal 2. Semi 2: Strong, in theory Where semi 1 has the songs to make it a bloodbath, semi 2 has the countries. The first half is loaded with countries that, especially in the past five years, have a very decent record: Russia, Romania, Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Serbia. You also have Moldova and San Marino there. Following the ‘rule’ of never having more than five qualifiers from the first half, you will get a few prolific victims there. But how to put them in the right order to give them all a favourable spot? Finding the right opener An opener is never easy. You need something that opens the show with a bit of punch and you want to make …

Analysing eleven years of Eurovision odds: An indicator more reliable than ever before

This is an updated version of an article published in March 2017 In recent years, I’ve perhaps had a slightly unhealthy obsession with Eurovision odds and continue to do so. I often believe that they can’t be that wrong when it comes to the results at Eurovision itself. In the weeks before their respective contests, I was convinced France had it in the bag in 2011, Armenia the same in 2014, Russia in 2016 and Italy in 2017. They were all such strong favourites that surely they would follow in the footsteps of other strong favourites such as Alexander Rybak and Loreen? Nevertheless, this didn’t turn out to be the case. Are odds really a good indicator of the eventual results? For many fans, betting odds are considered the most important ranking when it comes to predicting where entries will finish in May. Fan forum rankings or YouTube views can always be skewed by either the often atypical taste of Eurovision fans or the size of the populations of the participating countries. Yet, with odds, people have to put their money where their mouth is. They have to think with their head rather than follow their heart. To discover how good …

What would XTRA do: The running order of semi 1

Ever since 2013, the producers of the Eurovision Song Contest have taken matters into their own hands. They decide upon the running order for the semifinals and the finals. Now, we like to have a bit of fun ourselves as well, so what would XTRA do? Miki and Nick sat together to come up with the perfect running order for the semifinals in Lisbon. Today, we bring you the first part: Semifinal 1. Semi 1: A bloodbath By now, we all seem to agree that semifinal 1 will be an absolute bloodbath. The entire top five with bookmakers at the moment (Israel, Estonia, Czech Republic, Belgium and Bulgaria) have been drawn into the first half of that semi. It’s a tough task to give them all a reasonable draw. However, as Eurovision producer, you have to make sure you don’t seem to favour one song over the other. So, how do we solve this? Finding the right opener When starting the show, you need to open it with a bang. Ever since 2015, the producers have opted to open the first semi with an uptempo song. Looking at the first half, you don’t have many options. You’re limited to Czech …