19
May
2019

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

19
May
2019

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
http://archive.org/download/escinsight_20190519_646_daily/escinsight_20190519_646_daily.mp3

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

19
May
2019

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

19
May
2019

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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Categories: Eurovisionary

19
May
2019

Duncan Laurence and the Netherlands win 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Duncan Laurence and the Netherlands win 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Duncan Laurence with the 2019 Eurovision Trophy

Madonna out of key, big differences between jury and televoting – Iceland to be booh’ed for Palenstine flag – a nervewracking voting – and then it ended with a victory for the top favourite.

Sweden won jury voting. Norway tele voting – and combined the Netherlands won!

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest final offered all the tension one could ask for from such a show. 26 countries with songs of high variation. Most of the favourites placed in the first half making it hard to predict if they would be able to make it from those spots – and then, we had Madonna! The top selling American artist appeared as interval act performing her new single Future and her well known smash hit from 1989 Like A Prayer. If anyone should be in doubt, Madonna was singing live. Her voice isn’t what it has been, and she was out of breath at several moment. Just seeing her on the Eurovision stage will have been a magic moment for many though. It will be up to the organisers to to judge if it was really worth the money.

Prior to her performance, she was interviewed in front of the greenroom – with in particular Cyprus’ Tamta looking at her with admiration.

See alsoAustralia and the Netherlands won the semi-finals – Poland and Lithuania almost reached the final

Before we came to Madonna, 26 acts had to perform their Eurovision entry, all hoping for that at the end of the night, they would be awarded the winner trophy.

As usual the show started with a flag ceremony, but just ahead of that Netta entered the stage to welcome us all. She was sourounded by a group of dancing flight attendants, which made one think of Scooch (United Kingdom 2007). Dana International, Ilanit (Israel 1973) and Nadav Guedj (Israel 2015)  worked as breaks in the flag ceremony. And finally, the hosts came on stage and we were to begin. But let’s just add the nice thing that all countries were welcomed in their own language at the flag ceremony.

Madonna weren’t the only interval act as we also saw a show to be talked about: Conchita (singing Heroes), Måns Zelmerlöw (singing Fuego), Eleni Foueira (singing Dancing Lasha Tumbai) and Verka Serduchka (singing Toy). Once all four have done their editions of the other songs, 1979 Israeli Eurovision winner Gali Atari joins them on stage for a performance of Hallelujah. In the background, you see the 1979 Eurovision logo.

Jean Paul Gaultier was interviewed in the grand final. He is designer for two of the interval acts tonight; Dana International and Madonna.

As if we didn’t have enough interval acts tonight; Netta took the stage with her new single Nana Banana. One can really wonder how they fitted so much into the show.

During the voting, Icelandic Hatari waved the Palentine flag – and was booh’ed for doing so. This is also an act against the rules of the contest.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

19
May
2019

Possible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

Possible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

Ziggo Dome - a possible arena for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest

The Netherlands will have quite some options when deciding upon next year’s host city. Some are more likely than others though. We take a closer look at the arenas that already are, or could come in play, as host for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.

Let’s be honest, the Netherlands already started their preparations for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest a few months ago. With Duncan Laurence being the bookmaker favourite right from the presentation of the song Arcade, Dutch cities already started announcing themselves as a host candidate.

In the past few weeks up to the live shows in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Dutch were excited. The general population in the country talked about the Eurovision victory as it being a done deal already. “So, Eurovision is coming up, and we’re going to win it”, several people stated, not as an opinion, but as a fact. These were the average Dutch people who normally have no greater Eurovision interest, and some also admitted that they actually hadn’t heard Arcade yet. They hadn’t heard the song, but they had heard that the Netherlands would win this year.

So, now that it happened, that the Netherlands won and as such will host the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, let’s take a look at the cities that can actually host next year’s show:

Contents

  • 1 Amsterdam
  • 2 Rotterdam
  • 3 The Hague
  • 4 Utrecht
  • 5 Arnhem
  • 6 Maastricht

Amsterdam

The Dutch capital with 860.000 inhabitants is an obvious choice. With the Schiphol Airport close by, it will be easy to get to for most delegations, press and fans. Amsterdam is a popular destination for tourists when it comes to a city holiday in Europe. Hotel capacity is no issue in this city.

With a capacity of 17.000, Ziggo Dome would be very suitable for Eurovision. It has excellent parking and public transport connections, and is part of the nightlife triangle, with many hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants between Ziggo, ArenA and AFAS Live. There will also be good options for press facilities in immediate connection or very close by.

If you want to go even bigger, the football stadium Johan Cruijff ArenA could be an option too with a capacity which reaches above 50.000. As it is close to Ziggo Dome, everything there also applies here.

Amsterdam could create something close to the perfect Eurovision in this area. Ziggo Dome or ArenA as show venue, AFAS Live as Euroclub and the big open square just outside could be Eurovision Village. Everything right next to each other. What more could a Eurovision fan wish for?

Rotterdam

Just like Amsterdam, Rotterdam would be another great option. With 630.000 inhabitants, the city is the second largest in the Netherlands. Contrary to Amsterdam, the city was almost completely destroyed during a bombing attack by the Germans in 1940. The city has been rebuilt and is therefore mainly dominated by 1950’s and 1960’s concrete buildings.

Ahoy Arena hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. It consists of three halls. The major one with a capacity of 15.000 and two smaller ones with space for 6000 and 4000. This gives the great option of having the arena and the press centre in the same building. Something delegations, journalists and fans all will appreciate.

The Hague

With 510.000 inhabitants, The Hague (Den Haag) is the third largest city in the Netherlands. Contrary to many other countries, the capital in the Netherlands is not government city. The Hague has that role.

ADO The Hague Stadium could host Eurovision. The stadium currently has no roof though, but that can be fixed as it was in for example Parken in Denmark for the 2001 contest. Back in April, the city expressed an interest in hosting the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.

For The Hague, we would also have to mention World Forum Den Haag (formerly Statenhal, formerly Nederlands Congresgebouw. It hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976 and 1980. It was partially demolished in 2006 to make room for a nato building, and now has capacity of 5.000. That would most likely be considered too small and as such shouldn’t really be an option for Eurovision 2020 though.

Utrecht

This is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with its 350.000 inhabitants. It is by far the easiest to get to, with a very short walk from Utrecht train station – the most central train station in the country. You can take a direct train to Utrecht from virtually every city in The Netherlands.

Jaarbeurs Utrecht is a large complex which features 11 halls. It is not commonly used for concerts, but it did host Thunderdome – a large techno event with audience size up to 40.000. Though it’s not an obvious Eurovision arena due to the many halls, engineers can create something quite unique here. Just think about how the Danes for the 2014 contest turned an old shipyard into one of the best Eurovision arenas in many years.

There are other going out  places in the area, including musical theatre Beatrix Theatre, which can be used in various ways as a part of the event.

Arnhem

Located closer to the German border, we find Arnhem with 150.000 inhabitants. It’s cut through by the Rhine. This city was also almost completely destroyed during the Second World War as it was frontline in 1944 during Operation Market Garden.

GelreDome Arnhem is a soccer stadium with a capacity of 40.000 people. It already has a roof, which furthermore is darkened so it can be 100% dark. This roof makes it ideal for a TV production like the Eurovision Song Contest.

Maastricht

Close to the border to Belgium, we find Maastrict. The city has around 125.000 inhabitants. In 1992, the European Union as we know it today was founded here as the Maastrict treaty was signed in the city.

The city has spoken out saying that they are interested in hosting the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Capacity however might be an issue here as it is a bit on the smaller side. Their Mecc Maastrict exhibition centre has 30.000 m2 divided onto four halls. The largest of them, the Euro Centre, is listed to have a capacity of 5000 delegations for conferences.

So there you have it, a list of possible locations for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Some are more likely than others though. We would hope for an arena with a capacity of around 15.000 – 20.000 people for a show like the Eurovision Song Contest. We would also like it to be in direct connection to the press centre where we hope for a working area with space for 1500 journalists. Since the Netherlands haven’t won since 1975, and not hosted the contest since 1980, it will be a highly popular event making it a shame to make it smaller.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

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