A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, May 4, 2014

You can win, but can you host?

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest was always a slightly sweaty affair since a victory also gave you the responsibility to host next year's event as well. More challenging for some than for others, but not effortless for anyone.

I was really happy when, in Baku 2012, the EBU finally put their foot down and said they wanted the event to grow smaller in coming years. Smaller venues, fewer delegates and less money spent. Partially due to the financial situation in Europe, of course. It doesn't look good that obscene amounts of money are spent on a tv-show as people struggle to get by in their everyday lives.

But a smaller format for Eurovision also makes it possible for more countries to host. There is already the requirement that any host city must be able to offer a certain amount of quality hotel rooms (the figure 3000 comes to mind but I'm not sure it's correct), which already makes it really hard for some countries to host.

Are we ready to make some sacrifices for a good cause? Could we content ourselves with a lower standard of hotels? With a considerably smaller venue? With a considerably lower amount of accreditations given out? For one year?

Or do we have to just face the music and realise that if some countries win, they will probably not be able to host? Countries like Iceland, Slovenia, Cyprus? Could Malta pull it off? Or this year's bookmaker favourite Armenia?

For me, the Eurovision Song Contest is - and should be - one of the biggest unifying factors in Europe that make countries come together and feel equal. What happens to that idea if a number of participants are already out of the running in advance?

I can just imagine the outcry in 2006 if Finland - after finally winning on its 40th attempt - would have been deemed to small to host and the EBU would have handed the honour to, say, Germany instead. An anticlimax like that is nothing I would wish any participating country, really.

I hope we can see finals in Reykjavík, Ljubljana, Valletta in the future, even if they are smaller than the ones we have grown used to. In the end, the most important aspect should be that the final product looks good on television anyway.

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