ESC 2023 Secondary highlights Eurovision Song Contest

EBU and BBC explain why and how the new format to announce the finalists of Eurovision didn’t go ahead

EBU and BBC explain why and how the new format to announce the finalists of Eurovision didn’t go ahead Image credits: Corinne Cumming / EBU

The dress rehearsal for the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2023 featured a experiment of a new format to announce the qualifiers. The artists were all lined up on stage, standing up, instead of waiting in the green room, as we can watch in talent shows such as the X Factor. However, the idea was soon scrapped.

The Executive supervisor of the event, Martin Österdahl, said in an interview with The Euro Trip podcast that the team is constantly trying to introduce new elements into the show and, in this case, the concept wasn’t a success:

– Every year the host broadcaster and the producer want to try new things. We also want to work with creative development of the shows. […]. We usually say that we want to tweak ten percent every year. […]. We felt when we tried this out that it was not an improvement, so the decision was not to do it”.

Asked if in the future the grand final could go back to 100 percent televote to decide the result, Martin Österdahl didn’t rule out the idea: “We’ll see. I’d like to take it step by step. We always review the rules [and] the entire rule book of the Eurovision Song Contest on an annual basis. So if we try something one year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gonna be like that forever”.

Martin Green, managing director of host broadcaster BBC, explained during a press conference how the idea of the new announcement format didnt’ go ahead: “One of the signals of a great creative team is not that they just slap each other on the back and walk around saying «we’re marvellous», but sometimes look each other and go «God, that’s awful, let’s not do that». But I think you still must seek change because nine times out of ten the change will be good. The fact is: we had a idea, we ran it, we ran it in the office, we ran it with stand-ins, we really liked it. And the moment we had the actual acts on it, we didn’t liked anymore. And everybody came into the truck afterwards and just look at each other, «well, that doesn’t work, does it?». And everyone went, «no». And so we went «So we won’t do». And I defend change and trying things as long as if you look at each other and know that if it doesn’t work, you have the confidence to be able to go «no, the first one was better». And I commend the team for doing that. We’ve got another things in the show: the little backstage camshot before they come on, I think that’s great, we’ve got a lot of reactions. […]. So, you know? Seek change, just don’t expect it always to work”.

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Bernardo Matias

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