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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Lisbon, Monday 30th April

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Lisbon, Monday 30th April

ESC Insight has arrived in Lisbon, and the next two weeks will be full of opinions, thoughts, and editorial around this year’s Song Contest. But first, what are the team expecting from the Song Contest, what is Suzy expecting Portugal to offer us, and what do we think of the first day of rehearsals?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily News From Lisbon, Monday 30th April

Welcome to Lisbon! ESC Insight has arrived in Lisbon as the first rehearsals get under way. Our first daily podcast from the Big Orange Sofa in Lisbon with expectations, explanations, and the excitement of the first day of rehearsals.

Now we are reporting from backstage at Eurovision, remember to stay up to date with all the Eurovision news by subscribing to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Our 2018 Eurovision Jurors

Our 2018 Eurovision Jurors

As is the tradition, the first Monday of rehearsals means the release of the names of the jurors for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. In line with recent years, the list features a broad mix of artists, music or media industry professionals and ‘others’.

2018 Jury membership criteria

According to this year’s rules each delegation’s jury must:

  1. Have five members, including a chairperson
  2. Be citizens of the participating broadcaster’s country
  3. Juries cannot include employees of a participating broadcaster as members
  4. Members cannot have been jurors in 2016 or 2017
  5. Jurors are supposed to be music industry professionals, specifically “radio DJ, artist, composer, author of lyrics or music producer.”
  6. Feature some balance based on age, gender, and background

The last requirement is particularly vexing, since there is an odd number of jury members and only five members in total.

A scan of the list of jurors shows there are a fair number who don’t seem to line up with #5. “Artist manager” is one example of this, as are “journalist”, “stylist”, and “Deputy Head of Professional Arts Department of the Ministry of Kulture”.

Unlike in some recent years, all delegations have provided a complete list of jurors before rehearsals began.

Returning Artists

There are a number of Eurovision alumni on this year’s list, including two former winners. Niamh Kavanagh gave Ireland its fifth victory in 1993 with ‘In Your Eyes’. In 2010 she brought Ireland back to the Grand Final, finishing 23rd with ‘It’s For You’. Emmelie de Forest brought Denmark its third  victory in 2013 with ‘Only Teardrops’. She also composed the 2017 UK entry ‘Never Give Up On You’, which finished 15th.

Artists who have previously competed in the Eurovision:

  • Nathan Trent (Austria 2017)
  • Laura Tesoro (Belgium 2016)
  • Tom Dice (Belgium 2010)
  • Mary Roos (Germany 1972, 1984)
  • Aminata (Latvia 2015)
  • Amber Bondin (Malta 2015)
  • Cristina Scarlat (Moldova, 2014)
  • Nina Zizic (Montenegro 2013)
  • Michał Szpak (Poland 2016)
  • Bojana Stamenov (Serbia 2015)
  • Tijana Milosevic (Serbia 2017)
  • Guri Schanke (Norway 2007)

There are also a few artists who’ve sought to represent their country at various national selections. Sweden’s Mariette Hansson participated in the 2015, 2017 and 2018 editions of Melodifestivalen. Bryan Rice competed in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2010. K-One is on the Swedish jury. He co-wrote Sanna Nielsen’s ‘Undo’, which finished third in Copenhagen 2014.


We aren’t provided data with respect to the ‘background’ of jurors. We do know, however, their dates of birth and (ostensive) genders. Broadly speaking, the gender split is even.

Our youngest juror at 16 years is Karl Killing who competed in Eesti Laul 2018. The most seasoned juror is Zdenka Kovacicek from Croatia, who is 74 years young.  Azeri jury chairperson Mubariz Tagiyev is 70 years old, only a few months older than his fellow Azeri juror Tunzala Qahraman. In fact, with Nurlana Cafarova (their youngest juror) aged 30, the age range for the Azeri jury is 42 years.

What happens next

Juries do not vote during the live broadcasts. The second dress rehearsal for each show–called the Jury Rehearsal, cunningly–is live streamed to a sequestered jury room in each broadcaster’s studios. They complete and submit their votes that same evening.

That means half the scores for each stage of the competition are determined before the public shows. Sometimes differences between the broadcasts matter–a lot. In 2011, the UK entry (‘I Can’, Blue) featured a wobbly jury vocal and a much better one on Saturday night. The juries ranked Blue 22nd (57 points): the public had them 5th (166 points). The following year Loreen choked on her prop snow during the jury final. ‘Euphoria’ nonetheless topped both the jury (296 points) and public (343 points).

During this year’s Grand Final broadcast, the participating broadcaster is required to read out the names of the jurors live. Once we know the 2018 winner, the detailed jury votes for the semi-finals and Grand Final are routinely published on eurovision.tv.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision Sweepstakes OR That’s How You Avoid The FOMO

Eurovision Sweepstakes OR That’s How You Avoid The FOMO

Being a Eurovision fan who has tasted the delicious banquet that is the on-the-ground live-show contest, it’s hard when you have to stay at home and feast on lean pickings served up by your mates who are all enjoying themselves in the land of Pastéis de Nata for May 2018.  Rather than suffering serious FOMO or forcing myself to adopt a European timezone for the next fortnight (cause one actually has to work and earn a proper living), I’ve been seeking out ways to enjoy the contest here at home and take a whole bunch of people along with me for the ride.

One of the best ways to share the love, introduce your some of your non-fan colleagues to the contest and have them feel invested in the results is to run a sweepstakes.

Download your ESC Insight Eurovision 2018 Sweepstakes Kit here

Sweepstakes aren’t about betting or strategy, but about a game of luck.  For a small investment, you stand the chance to win a significant amount more.   It doesn’t require entrants to necessarily know the songs, the history of the contest or the artists. But rest assured they will be more keen to follow along when they think that doing so could be to their monetary benefit.

The potential of having your workplace or other organised environment (perhaps a class or another social group) are endless.  Working in the travel industry, I use a sweepstakes to encourage my colleagues to learn more about the countries they have drawn and then share their tourism knowledge with others as part of the experience.

In addition, you can use it to run some related events – perhaps a screening – or write some emails or newsletters to entrants where you can share your knowledge of this years contest.

Eurovision is about bringing people together. I highly recommend using a Eurovision sweepstakes as a launchpad to not only create new fans, but to create conversation in a positive and culturally embracing way.  And if it makes your working life more bearable and helps you get through the season whilst remaining separated from your mates all in Lisbon having a good time, all the better.

Categories: ESC Insight


FYR Macedonia recreates music video on stage

FYR Macedonia recreates music video on stage

The first rehearsals of the day were met with a few technical issues but that didn’t stop Eye Cue from offering a sexy and ambitious performance that easily recreates “Lost and Found” music video.

FYR Macedonia is competing in the first semi-final as start number 11. The country is represented by the band Eye Cue and their song Lost And Found, which is written by Bojan Trajkovski and Darko Dimitrov.


  • 1 First rehearsal
  • 2 How Eye Cue was selected
  • 3 FYR Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest

First rehearsal

Technical issues marked today’s first rehearsal as Eye Cue had to restart their performance more than five times. Just like in the music video for Lost and Found, Marija Ivanovska was waring a short pink dress that certainly will catch the viewers’ attention at home.

It all started with a focused Marija and a blurred Bojan Trajkovski – a possible metaphor for the song’s meaning. Overall, the performance did justice to the Eurovision stage as four other elements were on it, besides the main duo: the drums guy and three back vocalists. While Bojan Trajkovski – the guitarist – stood in the same place during most of the performance, Marija walked through the entire main stage and even offered a nice and cute choreography after the song’s first chorus.

By the end, the duo – along with the back vocalists – walked to the stage’s bridge and appeared to have found eachother.

Vocally speaking, Marija was on key and surely looked confident on stage. Will that be enough for FYR Macedonia?

How Eye Cue was selected

Back in January 2017, broadcaster MRT asked for songs to be submitted for a quick international selection. They received nearly 400 of which a jury then selected Eye Cue and the entry Lost And Found.

In mid February, the band was announced, and a month later, the song saw its release.

See alsoIt’s Eye Cue with 'Lost And Found' for FYR Macedonia in Lisbon

FYR Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest

A pre-selection kept FYR Macedonia away from their intended debut in 1996. As they withdrew for the 97′ contest, it wasn’t until 1998 we saw Vlado Janevski as the first representative for an independent FYR Macedonia. Up until 2014, the country would take part ever second year only.

Late Toše Proeski represented FYR Macedonia at the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, he came 14th in the final and since that, the country has been a regular participant, despite quite poor results recently.

In 2006, Elena Risteska ended 12th with the song Ninanajna. That is to date the country’s best result at the Eurovision Song Contest.

From 2008 and up, FYR Macedonia only reached the final once, that was by Kaliopi and her song Crno I Belo in 2012.

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Croatia’s Franka shows she’s not Crazy in a simple yet effective first rehearsal

Croatia’s Franka shows she’s not Crazy in a simple yet effective first rehearsal

Simple, yet effective. That seems to be the recipe Croatia is aiming for this year. Today’s first rehearsal revealed what we can expect from Franka on stage.

Croatia is competing in the first semi-final as start number 12. The country is represented by Franka and the song Crazy, which is written Franka herself in collaboration with Branimir Mihaljević. The song has a very sixties vibe going on, but still belonging very much to today’s sound.


  • 1 First Rehearsal
  • 2 How Franka was selected
  • 3 Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest

First Rehearsal

After  long delay due to technical problems with FYROM’s entry, Franka appeared in a long brown dress, but it may be a black lacy number, Franka’s voice is out of this world. She stands at the microphone alone and she is a powerhouse even  by herself. White smoke bellows out from the stage at appropriate moments. As the song progresses Franka removes the microphone from its stand and walks around the stage for a while, Basically the lady needs no gimmicks to sell her song.

How Franka was selected

Initial plans to bring back Dora as national final was dropped, and broadcaster HRT instead presented Franka as chosen internally. Her participation was announced in February 2017, and a few weeks later, the song was revealed, first with a short teaser and then later with the full version.

Franka mentioned that she had written three possible songs for the Eurovision Song Contest, but in the end she felt that Crazy was the right one.

See alsoCroatia 2018: Franka releases “Crazy”

Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest

As part of Yugoslavia, Croatia took part in the Eurovision Song Contest ten times, and was also behind the Yugoslavian victory in 1989 with Rock Me by Riva. A few years later, Yugoslavia fell apart, and Croatia was one of the new independent countries to quickly join the Eurovision Song Contest.

They debuted in 1993 with the song Don’t Ever Cry, which reached a 15th place. Croatia has yet to win as an independent country, but they do have two fourth places from 1996 and 1999 to look back at.

Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, Croatia failed to reach the final 5 times, which included four of them in a row. After that, the broadcaster pulled out for a two year break before they returned to the contest again in 2016.

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Cesár Sampson delivers casual and simple first rehearsal

Cesár Sampson delivers casual and simple first rehearsal

Very competent vocally but nothing to add apart from that. Cesár’s first rehearsal was marked by a big platform that elevated the singer throughout the majority of the performance. Special effects or any sort of choreography were left behind.

Austria is competing in the first semi-final as start number 13. They are represented by Cesár Sampson and the song Nobody But You, which is written by Boris Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Joacim Persson and Johan Alkenäs.


  • 1 First rehearsal
  • 2 How Cesár Sampson was selected
  • 3 Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest

First rehearsal

On a huge platform, that’s where Cesár Sampson stays for almost his entire performance. Before the song’s bridge, the Austrian singer dressed in a rather casual way featuring a latex t-shirt, gets off that big lift and runs through the stage’s bow to just finish his performance back where he started.

Besides the platform that elevates the singer through Nobody But You, Cesár’s performance features no special effects but a lot of smoke and an image of himself on the back.

Overall, it was a very simplistic performance with no choreography despite him using a face microphone. With this being said, it’s not shocking that his vocals were impeccable as the performance featured very little moves.

How Cesár Sampson was selected

For the second year in a row, Austrian broadcaster ORF internally selected their Eurovision Song Contest participant. Cesár Sampson was presented back in December 2017 together with Boris Milanov and Sebastian Arman as the songwriters.

In March 2018, the song Nobody But You was released.

See alsoAustrian entry released – Cesár Sampson presents Nobody But You

Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956, and in it’s second year, Austria joined the fun. Over the years their results have been quite mixed.

Two victories, in 1966 and again in 2014, but also eight times finishing last, that’s the overall stats for Austria’s Eurovision journey. As the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, the country failed to reach the final four times. The last time that happened dates back to 2013 where Natália Kelly didn’t Shine as much as the song title indicated. Her poor result was however quickly forfotten as she was followed by Conchita Wurst who secured the country their second win.

in 2015, The Makemakes represented Austria on home-field, and unfortunately scored the worst ever for a host country. Together with neighbouring Germany, they failed to get one single point.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

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