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Nine Things To Expect From Eurovision 2023 Written by on May 16, 2022 | 4 Comments

As we all say our goodbyes and return home from our Eurovision homes in Turin, questions on what shape the Song Contest will be in 2023 are being asked by the community and the mainstream media. Ewan Spence takes ESC Insight’s annual look to the future and what we might expect from the Contest in 2023.

When And Where Will Eurovision 2023 Be

The dates of the Eurovision Song Contest have been relatively consistent over the last few years, so with no inside information at all, I’m looking at the calendar and will point to Saturday May 20th 2023 as the likely date of the next Song Contest. As always, keep your travel plans as open as possible with free cancellation or pay on arrival hotels, and bumping up any travel tickets to the flexible options.

These of course need you to know the host city, and that’s where it gets interesting.

Ukraine Will Do Its Absolute Best To Try And Host

Not since 1980 has the Eurovision Song Contest been held in a country that did not win the previous Contest. Unsurprisingly there will be a desire to host Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine, a sentiment already expressed by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy:

“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt! I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”

There’s going to be a lot of talk between the EBU and both Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC but also the other EBU members. A final decision may not be coming quickly.

There Will Be A Clear Alternative…

If there is a move to hold the Contest in Ukraine, good event planning will require a back-up host broadcaster with a suitable venue that can step up at short notice to hold the Contest. SVT may well be asked to keep the Melodifestivalen staging on stand-by to be deployed, just in case.

…Or A Co-Production

It’s more likely that the EBU will ask UA:PBC to work with another broadcaster to put on the Contest somewhere outside Ukraine; this is certainly the answer that most in the community are expecting. In terms of who and where this could be, the three front-runners feel like Poland (due to geographic and social ties to Ukraine), Sweden (Stockholm’s Mayor  has already offered support), and the United Kingdom (where a sense of fair play suggests that the country finishing second gets preferred status).

A Benidorm Fuelled Summer

Last year, Spain and the United Kingdom scored 6 points and 0 points respectively. This year? Spain took third place with 459 and the United Kingdom second with 466. Both broadcasters made some significant changes to both their selection processes and their approach to the Contest. The rewards are clear.

Spain has a new National Final format that showcased some amazing musical talent. Hopefully the success of both Benidorm Fest in general and Chanel in particular will tempt more artists to sign up. Expect SloMo to be absolutely everywhere this summer. If ‘Arcade’ was the TikTok hit, ‘SloMo’ is going to be a club banger for the ages

The BBC Finds Its Space

And then there’s the United Kingdom. Some significant changes were made by the delegation in their approach to the 2022 Contest, notably a strong partnership with TaP Music and Parlophone. In simple terms, that allowed the Eurovision campaign to have more budget available to stage and promote Sam Ryder’s ‘Space Man’ outside of the UK without the restrictions that using TV Licence Fee money would involve. It goes much deeper than that – have a listen to our interview with the BBC Head of Delegation for more details – but the important point is that it has gone much deeper than that.

The BBC’s approach to the Eurovision Song Contest has changed. Everyone will be hoping that this is a long-term change.

Just one request from me… could we have a song title that isn’t all in capitals for 2023?

 

Something, Something, Germany, Something

The rapid rise of Span and the United Kingdom from the foot of the table was not matched by Germany. Although avoiding ‘nul points’ this year, a zero from the jury and just six points from televoters should not be regarded as a successful campaign for broadcaster NDR.

The German selection system needs to be shaken up  just as that in Spain and UK. Thankfully one of the core ideals of the EBU is to share knowledge between public service broadcasters. NDR knows who it should speak to.

Black Boxes Or Transparency

During Turin’s Grand Final it became clear that something was up with the voting. Executive Supervisor was announcing the twelve points from a number of countries who did not have their spokesperson in vision. In previous years there was always a  “we’ll fix the line and come back to them” but not in 2022. A subsequent statement from the EBU noted voting irregularities:

“In order to comply with the Contest’s Voting Instructions, the EBU worked with its voting partner to calculate a substitute aggregated result for each country concerned for both the Second-Semi Final and the Grand Final (calculated based on the results of other countries with similar voting records).”

First of all, this is not only publicly acknowledging voting issues with and between certain countries, but taking action. That is clearly a good thing to do.

But to simply say ‘these votes are wrong and we’ve made up our own” without clearly explaining the methodology behind the calculations and allow it to be independently checked by the community or any interested parties can damage confidence in the voting system. And this is not infallible….2019 was one notable occasion where a member of the community (in this case Euro Bruno) found inconsistencies in the results that was acknowledged a few days after.

Trying to work out just one of these synthetic voting compilations is hard enough, and now we hear that six have been employed for Turin 2022.

After this year, the EBU will need to work to maintain public confidence in both the jury and televote results of the Song Contest. One way to start doing this would be to show all the workings in the margin for how aggregate votes (such as San Marino) are created.

There Is No Eurovision Mould, Just Make Good Music

Look at Turin’s top 5 and the languages they sing in are Ukrainian, English, Spanish, Serbian, and Latin. In Rotterdam it was Italian, French, French again, English, and Ukrainian. While chart music still defaults back to English, there are countless rich textures of music that happily thrive in many languages. The Eurovision Song can accommodate both, and this should continue into 2023.

It’s also worth noting that in ‘Stefania’ we have our first winning Hip-hop song. The last few years have seen a wide range of genres winning the song Contest. There’s clearly no cookie-cutter mould to churn out a winning song, which means bands and performers should have more confidence to submit work from their own creative minds next year.

What are you looking forward to for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023? What needs changed, what should stay the same, and what would be your wildest expectation? Let us know in the comments.

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 (facebook.com/ewanspence).

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4 responses to “Nine Things To Expect From Eurovision 2023”

  1. HarpyDarper says:

    All very early days of course, but it will be interesting to see how the host decision pans out. There’s no way it will be in Ukraine! Of course the Kyiv Conference Centre is still their only viable choice, but who would feel safe going there at all?
    Would the lockdown stay-at-home/live-on-tape model be considered? Would the BBC step up to it, with no scrutiny? I assume most signs would lead to Manchester being to go to choice if UK ever win again.

    And looking back, how happy is everyone with RAI’s turn as host?

  2. Shai says:

    @HarpyDarper- The EBU is never going to even admit or acknowledge if a host broadcaster wasn’t doing a good job.

    Me,as a fan who follow the content for so long,can say that RAI wasn’t doing such a great job.
    The kinetic sun which wasn’t fully working , the production values were mediocre, the stage crew couldn’t handle the set changes, which resulted with too many breaks and the script for all shows was one of the worse in recent times.

    It wasn’t the disaster 1991 was but it wasn’t the succes it could and should have been.

    I had the feeling that RAI staged this contest because they had to, not because they really wanted to

  3. David Roel says:

    Wouldn’t it be something if it was Fire Saga’s Edinburgh (or the actual SSE Hydro in Glasgow)?

  4. Very interesting Ewan!
    Depending on the conflict, Lviv seems more likely than Kyiv. It is a smaller city, but the EBU’s been moving the Eurovision towards smaller (delegations, press contingent) regardless. But I wouldn’t count out the Lithuanians as co-host: they would probably be Suspilne’s choice. Otherwise the UK would be great–but expensive for other delegations. I can’t see them rushing back to Sweden or Norway for the same reason.

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