A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

ESC 2014: Let's scale a bit further!

Tastes differ, but I know for sure I thoroughly enjoyed the new scaled-down version of the Eurovision Song Contest presented by SVT this year. The smaller venue makes for a more intimate feel, the audience comes closer to the performers and the cameras surely came closer as well.

The camera work was accurate, tight and brought about a warmth that has been missing in some of the bigger arenas.

I really think this is the way to go - a more humane and warmer event is what Europe needs rather than a glossy but cold production. I hope DR will continue and try to stick to the same idea and find new ways of downshifting.

Unless something radical happens in the world - like the end of the financial crisis, for instance - and countries start streaming back into the ESC en masse, I would have another suggestion.

26 songs in the final actually does feel a bit much. I'm a huge eurofan but I feel that it is hard to digest and compare that many songs at once. How will the general audience feel, then?

If the number of participating countries for 2014 will be forty or less, I suggest it is time to scale the final down a bit. I have been thinking about it for quite some time already and when one of my regular readers mentioned similar thoughts in a comment, I think maybe I'm not all wrong.

If we would have eight qualifiers per semi final instead, that would bring the number of finalists down to 22 - just like it was back in the late 80's. Twenty-two is a number you can handle and it would free up quite a lot of time in the show as well. There would be more time for the host broadcaster to leave their own mark on the show and yet the voting would avoid feeling rushed or stressful.

This year, eight finalists per semi would have meant some of my personal favourites would have missed the final - most notably Estonia and Finland - but it would have given Petra Mede more time to breathe during the voting sequence.

If a drop down to 22 feels too dramatic, then have nine qualifiers per semi and make it 24 finalists. It would already be better.

It would make it a bit harder to qualify, but if it could enhance the most important product of the Eurovision factory - the Saturday night final - then be it. I think the EBU should have a look into it. For the sake of more accessible watching.


  1. I like and strongly support your idea, but also think that the equality of different entrants needs to be taken into account when making it harder to gain a place in the Grand Final. Thus, the big five seriously need to join the rest of Europe in semifinals. This will only add to the quality of the Grand Final. The host I would give the "free" ticket.

    Sami Koivisto

  2. I don't think so. If the big five are not in the grand final don't you think the viewer quote in these countries might sink rapidly?
    Anyway - we got many mails from ESC fans in UK, Spain, France, Germany and other countries who are no longer interested in watching ESC and want to leave their countries because of the very strange voting.