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Michael Rice blames Brexit for Eurovision loss

Michael Rice blames Brexit for Eurovision loss

Michael Rice (United Kingdom 2019)

Is he just a bad loser or is Michael Rice right when he says the bad UK result is due to Brexit only, and that Elton John and Gary Barlow would have come last too?

United Kingdom’s Michael Rice finished last at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with 16 points only. According to Rice, it was always going to go that way due to the British wish to leave the European Union, the so-called Brexit.

Michael Rice didn’t actually have any reason to go on stage as the result was given beforehand: “I always knew I was going to come in this position because of Brexit“, Mirror quotes The Sun. He continued: “Do you know what? If it was Gary Barlow or Elton John, they still probably would have come last too“.

See alsoWinning Eurovision: Your song, your victory

Michael’s grandfather Alan Rice is quoted for having told to Hartelpool Mail: “We expected it but he should have got more than that“.

Of course Michael Rice deserved better, but one might argue that with many British fans not supporting the song Bigger Than Us, why should others?

In the video below, take a look at a clip from Michael Rice rehearsing his 2019 entry:

On his Instagram account, Michael Rice didn’t mix politics into it when he looked back: “We absolutely fucking smashed it last night, regardless of the result! I’m so happy!!! We have worked so hard everyday for the past 4 months solid, I’ve made memories for a lifetime that I will treasure & made some really good friends from this & most importantly have the best family around me! We put everything into last nights performance and just had so much fun on that stage! There’s still a lot more to come – TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK✨ let’s keep climbing that chart we are number 16!!! This has been a dream come true♥️♥️

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Duncan Laurence returned home a hero

Duncan Laurence returned home a hero

Duncan Laurence at Schiphol Airport

Hundreds of fans of all ages, press, family and friends had gathered in Schipol Airport to welcome home their Eurovision hero. In the evening, a TV studio full of former Dutch participants were waiting for him – and finally, he was awarded a double platinum record for “Arcade”.

There was a time where the Dutch were quite used to winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It is however so many years ago, that many fans will have to ask their grand parents about that time. The Dutch won in 1957, 1959, 1969, 1975 – and now again in 2019.

When Duncan Laurence Saturday evening took over the trophy from Netta, it was 44 years ago the country won last time – yet it was their fifth victory. The now five victories brings the Netherlands up to a tied third position for most Eurovision wins. They are two behind Ireland’s seven, and just one away from matching Sweden’s six.

Duncan Laurence returned home from Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon. In the airport he was greeted as a hero. Hundreds of fans were ready to welcome him. Duncan’s grandmother was also waiting for him. She was probably the only one in this crowd who would be able to remember the time where it wasn’t that uncommon for the Dutch to win the contest they joined in it’s beginning in 1956.

See alsoPossible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

Double Platinum

In the evening, Duncan had several TV appearances. In one of them, Pauw, another special crowd was waiting for him. Former Dutch participants had been invited to talk about their Eurovision experience and to give Duncan some advise. These were Lenny Kuhr (1969), Getty Kaspers (1975), Gerard Joling (1988), Ruth Jacott (1993), Ilse de Lange (2014) as well as Dutch commentators Cornald Maas and Jan Smit.

After having performed an acoustic version of his winning entry, Duncan was surprised with a double platinum plate. He received that for 160.000 sold versions of Arcade.

In the studio, Duncan also said that he hoped for a young talent to represent the Netherlands at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Whether it will indeed be a young talent or an experienced well known name, the chosen one will have less pressure on their shoulders. He further emphasized his focus on young talent by suggesting AVROTROS to look for newcomers to host the contest.

As host country, the Netherlands will be automatically qualified for the final along with the BIg 5 countries.

See alsoWinning Eurovision: Your song, your victory

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Nine Things We Expect From The Netherlands And Eurovision 2020

Nine Things We Expect From The Netherlands And Eurovision 2020

When Should I Book Time Off?

Whilst the EBU has not released provisional dates for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, I’m going to gamble and call it for Saturday May 23rd, slightly later in the year. Firstly, it nods towards the scheduling of another major televised event in Europe, the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday May 30th. You also have the announced dates for the Danish National Final on March 7th. Assuming this isn’t clashing with Sweden, that puts Melodifiestivalen’s closer on March 14th, and the Heads of Delegation meeting on March 16th. It’s all running just a bit later.

There’s also a complication in the Netherland’s own social calendar… the return of the Dutch Grand Prix to the Formula 1 Grand Prix calendar, The classic Zandvoort circuit will be in use, just a quick tram ride from Amsterdam. The provisional date for that is Sunday May 11th. While you could have the Eurovision rehearsals running that weekend, are you going to run the opening ceremony that day as well?

Location, Location, Location

Even if you avoid the Dutch Grand Prix date wise, Amsterdam cannot avoid the Dutch Grand Prix. Handing the city two major events in close succession doesn’t feel like a smart political decision. If so, expect the bidding for the Song Contest to look for applications outside of the capital. Looking around suitable indoor arenas, with transport links, and sufficient hotel space, Rotterdam 2020 may be a good value bet.

PS… If it is Rotterdam, hosting the Grand Final on Saturday May 16th could come into play – it’s a tricky business second guessing a bidding process which already features six cities and climbing, so don’t make any solid commitments just yet!

More Personality, Less Tourism

Rotterdam (or anywhere) also takes the focus of Amsterdam as a destination. While there isn’t an active campaign of ‘Please Don’t Visit’, for many residents the city is over-run by tourists and popular locations and ‘tourist trap’ shops are being quietly removed. Don’t expect a massive amount of promotion around tourism in 2020’s Song Contest, expect more personal stories to be told and the nation-branding to be subtle and directed into different areas.

Let’s Talk Budgets

The Dutch Public Broadcasting System has a rather unique set-up – in essence there are eight member organisations who get a proportion of airtime depending on the number of members they have, with funding coming from general taxation. AVROTROS – the broadcaster who runs the Eurovision delegation – is one of those members. It has been confirmed that AVROTROS, alongside NPO and NOS, will be organising Eurovision 2020, and the first press conferences on early panning will take place in June. Budget wise I’m expecting Eurovision 2020 to be lower down the scale, nearer the 20-25 million Euro mark, roughly equivalent to Vienna.

No More Big Names Hijacking The Interval

SVT tried it with Justin Timberlake, but we all remember ‘Love Love Peace Peace’ from Stockholm 2016, not ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’. KAN tried it with Madonna this year. According to urban legend, UA:PBC had an offer for a similar ‘stunt’ interval act for 2017.

Portgual showed us the correct way to bring a big music name into the interval act with its pairing of Caetano Veloso alongside Salvador Sobral. There was a level of respect for the Song Contest from Veloso. Those who realised who it was were in awe, others saw a delicate reprise of the winning song from the year before with some new music.

More like that and less like the smothering presence of the Queen of Pop, please.

Cut Eurovision Down To Size

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 had twenty songs, and ran for 2 hours 45 minutes. The Adult Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 had twenty-six songs, but inflicted a marathon running time of 4 hours 11 minutes.

Adding six songs and their postcards covers takes 23 minutes, why do we need the other 58 minutes? Yes it’s a chance for a host broadcaster to show off a bit more, but there’s far too much cruft in the show. Less is more, and it will be more memorable.

Vote For Pleasure, Not Cruelty

As ESC Insight’s Ben Robertson says, “I see Eurovision as a competition of love, love, peace, peace, so therefore want the biggest focus to be on the positives.” That was not on show last night.

The new voting announcements ensured that there would be a cliffhanger ending, by reading out the televote results in the ascending order of jury scores. That meant we had moments of emotional pain with those scoring high on the jury and crashing in the televote , notably Germany’s Sisters and Malta’s Michela Pace, and the Czech Republic’s Lake Malawi, having the camera focused on them during the moment of defeat.

I’d much rather have KEiiNO’s televote victory be acknowledged as the last score, rather than the painful sight of Sweden being handed a humbling number of points live on camera.

This needs tweaked to find a way to keep the entertainment and tension but also respect the performers.

What About Eurovision In Concert?

The biggest promotional event on the calendar – the privately organised Eurovision In Concert – is held in Amsterdam every year. Will that still go ahead, take a year off, or be something the broadcaster can leverage? It would be a great time to have the artists film their postcards, but would it weaken or strengthen interest in EiC that ESC would be happening ‘close by’ the next month? All I know is that something is likely to change.

Maybe ‘In Concert’ should move to Italy for the year, given Mahmood finished second?

More Authenticity, More Emotion, More Storytelling

All songs are stories, but Eurovision over the lat few years has turned this into an art form. While the last few winners have not been from the same genre, they all have something in common. They feel real, they feel like they mean something, and the emotions on the show can be felt by the viewers at home (even if it takes two weeks of rehearsing to work out how exactly to do this).

Duncan Laurence brought heartbreak and a vulnerability to the stage. The song wouldn’t be out of place on the playlist of any major radio station. It’s not just a great Eurovision song, it’s a great song.

There are a lot of those out there.

Viewers can tell when there is no connection between the artist, the song, the staging, and the audience. That’s what Eurovision 2020 needs. Broadcasters ready to step away from ‘a Eurovision song’ and just sending us the best songs they can find. Let’s put aside the idea of manufacturing songs and focus on telling stories and creating more magical moments.

What are you looking forward to for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020? What needs changed, what should stay the same, and what would be your wildest expectation? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Tel Aviv, Sunday 19th May

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Tel Aviv, Sunday 19th May

That was the contest that was. The Eurovision Song Contest for 2019 draws to a close, but before we move on, let’s review the Grand Final in our final daily podcast from Tel Aviv.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Tel Aviv, Sunday 19th May

Reviewing the Grand Final of Eurovision 2019, examining the voting sequence, thoughts on the votes, and our highlights of the show.

With Ewan Spence, John Paul Lucas, Matt Baker, and Ade Bradley.

The summer is here, but our Eurovision insights will continue. Stay up to date with all the Eurovision discussions by listening to the ESC Insight podcasts. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Winning Eurovision: Your song, your victory

Winning Eurovision: Your song, your victory

Ducan Laurence, Netta, Salvador Sobral, Jamala

In recent years, most winners have been deeply engaged with the song they were performing. They either wrote the song, had it written specifically for them – or otherwise managed to take it in so much that it became their song.

Last night’s Dutch winner, Duncan Laurence, wrote his song Arcade himself. The song tells a very personal story. He was deeply in love, the girl shared his feelings, but before they could get together she tragically died. His sorrow brought him to write Arcade. Both TV viewers and juries felt it to such a degree, that he today can travel home to the Netherlands with the Eurovision trophy.

Such a personal story works well in general, and at Eurovision in particular. Recent winners have all been engaged in their songs one way or another. They do more than just get on a stage to sing a song handed to them.

2018 winner Toy was not written by Netta, but by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger. They wrote the song to Netta with her girl power attitude in mind. As they started to write, Netta had not yet won the national selection process, where each participant sang cover versions, but they were fascinated by her and knew that no matter what happened, this would be a song for her.

Toy’s #MeToo theme fitted perfectly with Netta. It became her song.

When Salvador Sobral in 2017 brought Portugal their first ever Eurovision victory, it was also with a personal song. Amar Pelos Dois is written by Luísa Sobral, Salvador’s sister. On invitation from broadcaster RTP, she wrote the song for the national Festival da Canção selection. Right from the beginning this song had been a joined project between the two of them. Luísa wrote the song, Salvador performed it.

That they were equally involved was also seen when she appeared at Eurovision as stand-in for Salvador. His health issues prevented him from taking on the many rehearsals in the first week of the contest. Luísa was stand-in – and after Salvador’s victory, they took the stage together and performed the song as a duet.

Whether or not 1944 was too political for the Eurovision Song Contest, we won’t go into here, but the song certainly was personal. On several levels indeed. The song was written by Jamala herself and tells the story about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Jamala was inspired by her grandmother’s story, who was one of the deported ones. Without it being a direct topic in the song, Jamala told that it also reminded her of the current situation in Crimea where she still has family.

Arcade, Toy, Amar Pelos Dois and 1944 are not only Eurovision winners from the past four years. They are all very personal. Maybe that is something to be inspired by for the countries still struggling to get it right at the Eurovision Song Contest. A personal connection to the song sells. If you are a singer and songwriter, consider writing a song that is personal to you, and perform it yourself as only you can do as it is your story. If you are a songwriter, finding a singer that can sing the song is one thing. Finding a singer who can make it THEIR song is something else. If you get it right, you might just win the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.

While you may not win the Eurovision Song Contest on a personal connection alone, the lack of one would almost certainly achieve the opposite.

You might also want to read:

See alsoEurovision 2019: Grand final in photos
See alsoAustralia and the Netherlands won the semi-finals – Poland and Lithuania almost reached the final
See alsoPossible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

This reflection article is based on the author's ownpersonal experience. Views expressed belongs to him or her, and are to be seen as unrelated to EuroVisionary.com.

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Christer Björkman hospitalized – had a blood clot yesterday

Christer Björkman hospitalized – had a blood clot yesterday

Christer Bjorkman at hospital in Tel Aviv

After two months of intense work at the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision Contest Producer Christer Björkman was taken to the hospital in Tel Aviv yesterday. The 61 year old former participant was hit by a blood clot in the throat, but he came under treatment just in time.

From a hospital bed in Tel Aviv, Contest Producer Christer Björkman watched his fellow country-man John Lundvik win the juryvote, and later Dutch Duncan Laurence win the entire show.

After his Eurovision Song Contest participation in 1992, Christer went on to work behind the scenes. He has been responsible for the Swedish Melodifestival selection for many years, been in EBU’s Reference Group and also worked as Show and Contest producer numerous years.

From his hospital bed in Tel Aviv, Israel, he writes that he was taken to hospital just in time. Swedish media Aftonbladet further adds that it was with a blood clot in the throat. The situation is quite serious, but as he was taken to hospital just in time, his prognosis is good. He however needs to stay the hospital for treatment and observation, so he won’t be able to return home to Sweden for a while.

We wish Christer Björkman all well and hope for a speedy recovery.

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