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ESC Reporter | January 23, 2018

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Robots to take over interval act of Eurovision 2016's semi-final 2

Robots to take over interval act of Eurovision 2016’s semi-final 2
  • On May 5, 2016

While the interval act of the first semi-final will be on a serious topic, the second semi-final will feature something entirely different.

The theme has been named “Man vs Machine,” surrounding artificial intelligence.


Cool but frightening

Like the interval act of the first semi-final, the second has been created by directors Fredrik ”Benke” Rydman and Jennie Widegren.

It will feature three industrial robots and three dancers in interaction. “We will see man and machine come together. Today we see how a machine can become human and how humans can become mechanical. There is something cool about it, but also frightening,” said Fredrik ”Benke” Rydman to

The idea came from a desire to show something modern and to highlight the technical capabilities of Sweden.


Down to the millimeter

It is not easy to get three industrial size robots onto a Eurovision stage. The production staff has solved this challenge by raising the machines through the stage floor, instead of wheeling the extremely heavy robots up a ramp.

“They have to be in exactly the right place, since the robots are aware of each other. You can’t just roll them in and put them anywhere. There’s a laser attached to the robot’s head which has to point to an exact place as well, so it’s really down to the millimeter. But it’s cool that it can be done so precisely,” said Fredrik “Benke” Rydman.


robots interval act semi-final 2 eurovision 2016


As for how challenging the interval act is for the technical production of the show, he comments: “It’s probably the worst of all.” 

Programming the robots has taken two weeks of eight-to-ten intensive work, without breaks.


The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 airs live from Stockholm on Thursday, May 12.



Photos: Lina Åhman / SVT

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