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Every Song A Story: Michael Bay’s Eurovision Written by on April 22, 2015 | 3 Comments

Following on from ‘Personal Connections‘ and ‘Framing‘, our third essay in ESC Insight’s look at the visual performances of the Eurovision Song Contest continues with a few lessons from Hollywood… specifically from the Master Chief of the summer blockbuster, Michael Bay.

Cinematic techniques in Hollywood films are used to create immediate connections, to tell visual stories, to emphasise emotion, and highlight key moments. Which is exactly what a strong Eurovision song needs on the night of the live shows. These styles are comfortable and accepted by the public. Even if they might not be able to describe why something is nice and feels right, by Hollywood’s very nature it has ensured that the viewing public are visually adept at understanding what works and what doesn’t.

Which means if a Eurovision Song Contest performance can tap into this dictionary of the moving image, it is far easier for viewers at home to connect with a song.

The Musical Bayhem Of Michael Bay’s Eurovision

What can the Song Contest learn from Hollywood and the movie industry? The techniques of Michael Bay are often imitated, but with a career that spans lingerie adverts and Jim Steinman inspired musical videos of Meat Loaf, to the budget-breaking Transformers movies and the genre-defining Bad Boys, the techniques of Bayhem are known to the public… and can be easily applied to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Movement… Parallax… Vertical… Cuts… Put simply, the rules of Bayhem are the rules of a successful Eurovision performance.

As always, thanks to Tony Zhou and ‘Every Frame A Painting‘ for the inspiration. Truth be told, the very first idea for these essays came from Zhou’s essay on Michael Bay and a moment of realisation while watching ‘Round and Round’.

Every Song A Story will be running weekly throughout April here on ESC Insight, and we value your input as we explore the visual world. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, or reach out directly to [email protected]

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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3 responses to “Every Song A Story: Michael Bay’s Eurovision”

  1. Robyn says:

    I feel strangely dizzy after watching that… surely evidence that there’s a limit to the amount of spinning that can be done!

  2. Matt says:

    G’day Ewan.

    I’m loving this series so far 🙂

    Just an idea, but could you do a follow up artical when this series has ended. With what songs were in what essay please?

    The idea is for people to look at the full clips and see how each essay lesson can be applied. That and it may invoke some to find songs that they may of liked in past contests and may buy the song 🙂

    I hope you have a great day and I can’t wait for the next essay in the series to go up, on my birthday :).

  3. Henry VIII says:

    They all looked horrendous. Were they speeded up? I’m dizzy. If that’s the work of Micheal Bay then it doesn’t allow personal connections with any of the artists and directors should avoid.

    I liked the first video in the series contrasting failing camerawork like UK Molly with successful camerawork like Austria Conchita. Ewan you should send that one to the UK delegation and artists.

    The second in the series – Estonia follows camera story-telling rules successfully signifying relationship failure but I guess that’s a bad thing for Estonia’s chances?

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