Big 5 and host country to participate in Eurovision semi-finals
The European Broadcasting Union has announced a significant change to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Starting with the 2016 edition in Stockholm, the pre-qualified Big 5 and host country will now get to participate in the semi-finals they also have voting rights in.
An awkward part of the contest
The pre-qualified countries have always been an awkward part of the contest, since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004. While they don’t have to go through the grueling semi-finals, risking not making it to the Grand Final, they also don’t get the double exposure granted by the semi-final and final appearances.
In recent years, video clips of the pre-qualified entries have been played in the interval act in each semi-final, while the artists have always made quick appearances waving to the camera.
Will perform their act as it will be in the Grand Final
The details of the new arrangement are not very specific, but Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand specifies to Eurovision.tv:
“It will look so much better to show the Big Five and the host country on the Eurovision Song Contest stage, performing their act as it will be in the Grand Final.”
SVT, Eurovision Song Contest 2016 host broadcaster, further states that the pre-qualified countries will have their rehearsal footage recorded and shown in the form of shortened clips.
Sand also lists extra rehearsal time for the pre-qualified countries as a benefit, as they will now have to be ready for the semi-finals along with everybody else, while also getting to participate in the Grand Final rehearsals.
Decided by the Reference Group
The change comes after the Reference Group of the EBU gathered last week, where the details of the contest are continually discussed and updated each year.
The Reference Group consists of eight members: A chairman, the EBU Executive Supervisor, the Executive Producer of the upcoming contest, the previous two Executive Producers, and three members elected by the Heads of Delegation of all participating broadcasters.