A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ESC 2016: how much high-tech is too much?

We already established that I'm not in Stockholm and that I won't be there at all this year. Fourth consecutive year covering the contest from the sofa. Not too bad, it has its advantages.

I do keep an eye on rehearsals through reports and short clips from Globen and the distance really gives you a more sober idea of what works and what doesn't. On location it is so easy to get swept away by the general enthusiasm surrounding a certain rehearsal and lose a little bit of your judgment. In all fairness I do miss getting swept away. Next year I hope to be.

What stands out to me while keeping up with the first two days of rehearsals is that the inevitable happened. Suddenly this year everyone is using technology to enhance their performances. Screens, projections, 3D effects, you name it.

High-tech is suddenly what drums were ten years ago. Omnipresent and not always needed. When what felt like the seventeenth country pulled some sort of animated hocus pocus out of the bag I felt I had had it with it already.

I loved Moldova's dress thingy in Malmö 2013. I love Måns' sweet routine with his Mini-Me last year. Both were done with warmth and intelligence and in both cases the technology added to the performance instead of taking over. From what little I can tell from available footage, some of this year's performers seem reduced to mere props in their own entries.

I know what you may be thinking at this point. This is not aimed at Russia. They are attempting to take the whole thing to next level, which is interesting. But when more people project stuff on dresses than not, it will diminish also the Russian effect.

I understand everyone's wish to impress and to make more of their three minutes on stage than just plain old-fashioned singing. But at some point all of this extravagance could become too much and make people long for something simple. Just because you enjoy the occasional slice of heavy Schwarzwald cake doesn't mean you want it at every meal.

If the second semi turns out to be as tech-heavy as the first one, my strongest feeling about the final is that something simple, straight-forward and intimate will have strong chances of winning.


  1. Sweden was so refreshingly simple at the end of yesterday's rehearsals that now more than ever I see the appeal in Frans' entry. If he performed 19th instead of 9th in the final it might have even larger an impact.

  2. It became too much when the juries started taking staging into consideration when awarding their points. It is a song contest, so in theory, the song should take precedence. To mark on staging, even in part, undermines that. Audiences at home won't be fooled into thinking they like a song by elaborate staging, and very often simple impresses more.

    For me, the staging is why Sweden won last year - the voters at home preferred Italy (as you know) which had more simple, elegant staging which while not as spectacular showed off the song just the same. I have no problem with the juries preferring Heroes as a song, but I feel it was the staging which swung it away from Il Volo. A shame.

    1. I think the jury last year had a bias against the whole concept of popera. It wasn't so much that they preferred Måns, it's way more how much the juries held Italy down. I was surprised to see that, really.

      What is really missing from the jury guidelines is "hit factor". I think if a song had the potential of becoming a hit in your country you should mark it up. And Italy was indeed a hit last year.