The stage presentation seems to be a very big key element in the Eurovision Song Contest especially since the establishment of full televoting. Back in 1997 the five countries using televoting didn’t actually make a difference as for me it was about time the UK to win but what happend afterwards?
Until 2004 where televoting was 100% implemented the stage presentation didn’t actually matter as we have seen simple stage appearances like Denmark 2000, Sweden 1999, Estonia 2001 winning. Did Latvia 2002 with Maria Nauymova made the differnce introducing the show in Eurovision?
In 2003 a spectacular oriental dance act with a new version for Turkey which never been heard before the contest made the difference. In 2004 Ruslana with her ice-age costumes and primitive screams managed to win over a simple Serbian & Montenegrin appearace of Joksimovic and the awesome acrobatics of Sakis who came 3rd.
In 2005 Helena Paparizou used four dancers to form her number one on stage beating a simple ballad appearance from Malta and Israel. In 2006 the masked men from Finland also beat a smooth mid tempo song from Russia. In 2007 ugly Betyy (aka Marija Serifovic) won the Ukrainian drag show by Verka Serduchka.
In 2008 it was Russia to win no matter what. Though in second place Ukraine won with the use of a box in a stage presentation. The same thing happened with Azerbaijan in 2013 with another use of a box for Farid Mammadov. Not to forget the glass explosion of his own box when Eric Saade came 3rd in Eurovision 2011 for Sweden.
In 2009 nobody could resist into voting for the Norwegian Harry Potter leaving another ballad (Iceland) as 2nd followed by Romania and Turkey, another oriental act similar to Sertab’s (good old recipy). In 2010 we had the surprise of all: a big 4 country wins! But then again the economic crisis just started and (if I may joke about it) we all wanted Germany to win and pay for Eurovision!!!
In 2011 Azerbaijan wins with the use of firework rain. Well the same thing happened with Denmark in 2013 which also had the same effect on stage. (Of course Georgia 2013 used the same firework rain but didn’t work for them really). In 2012 it was all about the song as the stage presentation along with the camera work seems to have been the simpliest and the most abstract ever.
Do the bookmakers make an impact? Well I think they do. Since 2004 when semifinals implemenented with the exception of 2006 and 2010 the bookmakers predict the winner of Eurovision Song Contest. Though my personal estimation is that when bookmakers have a favourite for a long time, it helps for media to create an anticipation for this specific entry, ultimately making the viewers paying anyway extra attention to that song.
Since the juries came back in Eurovision in 2009 we see a clear effort to somehow promote and sustain the western European entries in the top ten. Even the United Kingdom ranked in the top five with that method. Italy came back and ranked in the top 10 since their return! Bookmakers also create a general feeling also in the juries. What I mean is that I barely think that a jury would not vote for Denmark no matter what since they were a favourite this year.
Diaspora voting is another myth busted for me. We all shout out that Armenian diaspora always help their homeland entry qualify as they get votes from Netherlands and Belgium. But is this really true? Well actually it is but this is not because of the diaspora voting but because the Dutch and the Belgians are not involved in the voting as much as the immigrants living there.
I am sure if we see the televoting figures of countries like Belgium and Netherlands we will see that very clear. The same thing applies for many Turksih 12 points from Germany the past few years.
I am also sure that Turkish absence from Eurovision Song Contest boosts Azeri entries. In 2011 their surprise elimination from the final made Azerbaijan a winner. In 2013 Turkish withdrawal conincided with Azerbaijan’s second best ever result in the contest! (by the way Turkey wanted to withdraw since 2012 but the Eurovision edition hosted in Baku and since they are rother nations they couldn’t do it easily).
Does the song make any difference? I am sure it does. The audience of Eurovision always fuzzed by a tune that makes the difference but only when this tune is available. In combination with a powerful performance like 2009 and 2012 these songs can win very easily. Though if you think the songs of Serbia 2007, Germany 2010 and Azerbaijan 2011 they were nothing special, or memorable and after all they did nothing in the European charts in the overall.
Nordic victories since 2006: It seems that the Nordic block is eager to win Eurovision. Finland in 2006, Norway in 2009, Sweden in 2012, Denmark in 2013. Well I will not be surprised if Iceland wakes up finally and get a trophy in the upcoming year. After all they managed to rank 2nd in 2009.
Are there countries wanting to win? Besides Nordic countries, I think that Germany and Russia are the only countries who really want to win Eurovision. But there are countries which participate just to get a nice placement, media attention and sell of their tourism image abroad. Yes it’s true: for example I cannot think otherwise why Cyprus for example is participating. They don’t do anything to win as they consider a qualification to the final as their biggest success!
I also feel that countries like Moldova, FYR Macedonia are participating for nothing actually. These type of countries simply participate with songs mostly for internal use in their own country and their own star system. Not to mention the worthless participations of Monaco, Andorra and San Marino who simply participate for the party (which is not a bad thing but my question is how can countries like these spend public money just to party)
The Turkish game: Weirdly Bosnia & Herzegovina withdraw last year at the same time with Turkey. OK we understood their game. Turkey wants juries out and they think they are powered enough to impose such change to the EBU as they have clearly better results in the scoreboard with 100% televoting. BHRT absence also might have caused the full elimination of the Balkans from the Eurovision 2013 final something which made a big impression to all of us this year.
Russia wants to win but we will now allow it This is something some Eurofans (and me personally) believe. They are somehow eager to bring the contest back in Russia and this time to St Petersburg. Why? mostly to feed their ego and maybe to compensate the city since Moscow already hosted the event. But I think their “dirty” games with copied songs which no one bothered to mention and the recent anti-gay law in Russia will bring the homeland of Babushkas in a very bad position at elast for next year.
Who has the money to host a Eurovision event after all? Another key question. Surely, we all know that Eurovision budget is not about the hosting country as all participants and the BIG 5 pay for it. But in the every end it’s the general public sentiment and feeling that a country is “paying” somehow to organize this event. We all know that Germany, Norway, Azerbaijan and Russia have the money to make a spectacular and big show. But Sweden made the difference.
If Moldova for example won, everyone would say that the next Eurovision edition should be by definition a lower budget show. But with Sweden hosting the show, lowing the budget was simply an idea to make a difference as we all (somehow) knew that this country could do a bigger show if they wanted to.
Now Denmark clearly shouts that they want to win again and make a double victory in Eurovision. If I heard this statement from Greece in 2006 for example (which I actually did) I would say it’s just because Greeks are proud to have won it and hosted it. But when countries like Denmark make such a statement I have a weird feeling that we might have a big surprise. After all it’s been since Irish consecutive victories to see a double win in Eurovision!
So, it’s about the song? it’s about the voice? it’s about the diaspora voting? is it about politics? is it all about juries implemented? is it about money capicity? is it about bookmakers? is it about stage presentation?
Well the answer is simple: it’s a mix of all and it’s all about timing: the right song (not the best song, but the right one) on the right timing!
Well that were my thoughts about Eurovision. A good way for me to be back on track after long time vacations and soon to come, a great season opening for Eurovision 2014!
Let the 2014 season begin!