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What if it’s not Baku? Five alternatives for Eurovision 2012 Written by on August 31, 2011 | 8 Comments

First up, and this is very important, we here at ESC Insight are very confident that the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is going to be held in Baku. It’s been over twenty years since a winning country hasn’t went on to host the following year, and like many of the new entrants to the Contest, Azerbaijan really want to use Eurovision as a platform for their country.

But, and this is a big but, there is a tiny, non-zero chance that we might not be heading to Baku. Even with the logo saying Baku 2012, and an Azerbaijan mobile network as the sponsor, there’s still not been a black and white “We’re off to host Eurovision 93 miles from the Iranian border).” So let’s have a bit of fun and ask “what if… it’s not Baku?”

Somewhere in Sweden

Although offering the contest to second place Italy seems the obvious move, we’re going to discount Rome partly down to RAI’s recent return to the Song Contest , but also the audience levels watching 2011 on TV. We’re looking at Sweden, in third place, with a number of suitable venues around the country. Stockholm is out due to scheduling clashes, but would SVT be ready to step up with their Melodifestivalen experience to put on a show to rival their neighbours Norway from two years ago? I think so.

Glastonbury’s Stage in the middle of any football stadium in Europe

The tentpole musical festival of the UK summer isn’t erecting their tents in 2012 to give the fields a rest, but that means there’s a huge amount of outdoor equipment going spare. Okay, some of it will head to the Olympics in London, but arguably you could take any large uncovered stadium, pop the Glastonbury stages in at one end with all the rigging, and throw a light “rain only” tarpaulin over the roof to give an indoor/outdoor feel and make Eurovision feel incredibly contemporary. And the tented outdoor staging was the plan for Berlin/Tempelhoff  so it has already been studied.

New York 

You want new frontiers? You want to bring the message of the Eurovision Song Contest to the world? Then take it to the New York NFL Stadium. Home of both the Giants and the Jets, May is off-season and you’ll get a bucket load of interest in taking the contest outside the traditional boundaries of the European broadcasting zone. You might even get network interest from one of the EBU’s associate members based in New York! Admittedly Slovakia are going to take a look at the airfare cost for the delegation and ask for a subsidy, and the logistics chain for everyone is long and fragile, but it’s a brand new country!

Nope, not gonna happen, is it? Still, moving the Song Contest with a a view to promoting the contest if we can’t promote the winner might be one for discussion.

The London O2 (nee the Millenium Dome)

Any venue with nothing announced in late April through to the start of June is going to be cited by someone as a potential venue. So let’s flag up the gap after Diversity play on April 4th and Blink 182 take to the stage on June 8th at the London O2. It’s iconic, it’s got buckets of space inside and outside, and I don’t think the BBC have anything else on in the summer of 2012… This is assuming there isn’t a secret reunion gig for The Stone Roses hat’s not listed on the website, in which case the Royal Albert Hall is just up the road. Okay the capacity is only 5,250, but it’s got the acoustics and broadcasting capability worked out from the BBC Proms, it’s close to the London Underground, and we could all stay in Imperial College’s Beit Halls of Residence.

Baku, Azerbaijan

Agreed. It would take something calamitous to stop The Land of Fire hosting in 2012. And even if it happened, the chances are a tender process similar to Junior Eurovision would be rushed through with proposals at the end of September and an announcement late October.

You know what we think? We’ll see you in Baku  in May.


About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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8 responses to “What if it’s not Baku? Five alternatives for Eurovision 2012”

  1. Simone from Italy says:

    “Although offering the contest to second place Italy seems the obvious move, we’re going to discount Rome partly down to RAI’s recent return to the Song Contest , but also the audience levels watching 2011 on TV.”

    Well, that and the fact that RAI still has to understand what ESC is. They’d still give us a 4-hour Toto-style show, because that is how TV shows are done in Italy.

  2. I really would not want to see it go anywhere outised of Azerbaijan but really only Sweden or the UK. Yes Denmark or Ukraine might want it but the cost for other top 1o countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece or Ireland would take them out of the equation. It would be nice to see a contest in which for once every nation in Europe takes place instead of Luxembourg and Monaco never wanting to return. The Czech Republic needs to take it seriously and well we need Andorra back the Catalan langauge is lovely.

  3. Chris K says:

    It’s going to be in Azrebaijan even if they have to hold it in a tent. I’d enjoy it in the UK or France – Sweden maybe.

  4. Samantha says:

    I’ll admit, I giggled a bit with your suggestion of the New Meadowlands Stadium…it would be an unlikely honor to see it being held in my home state (and it would make my commute in to the Press Center a helluva lot easier…)

    A girl can dream, can’t she?

  5. Hilman says:

    Why not Melbourne, Australia????

  6. Ewan Spence says:

    Hilma, you want to tell the Slovakian delegation how much the airfare will be? Or that we’d need to start the concert at 6am in the morning? 🙂

  7. Seán says:

    I think that this year we have never been so unsure about the venue in terms of country. If in February the EBU decide to move (they will wait til then), I think it will most likely go to Sweden, Denmark, Ireland or Wales (For UK). Whoever can fit it.

    But the question that has not been asked is might Azerbaijan ask for the contest to be moved to Turkey?

  8. Toghrul says:


    this summer I was in Azerbaijan and I am more than sure that ESC 2012 will be held there (in Baku). The whole city has already started preparing for it (renoovation works and etc.). Moreover, the country is not that poor as many people think (the GDP and overall life standarts are on the same level as in eastern countries of EU) which means that there would be no financial problems.

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