EUROVISION 2016 – National Selection or Network Announcement?
For those of you like me who spent what felt like a fortnight in Tirana, Albania last Sunday evening you are probably well aware that now Christmas is over we turn to the months of announcements, national selection shows, voting, juries and of course Melodifestivalen. Yes folks, it’s that time of year again isn’t it – Albania have kicked off the National Selections (well, kind of, it’s still decided by jury, just televised while they do it) Belgium are hot on their heels to find their Eurovision entry for Stockholm. There are some countries who have announced their artist but not yet the song and this decision will be made by the TV network, in an internal process and then it will be announced to the country. But which is the best way based on recent winners?
Well let’s start by looking at the previous few winners to see what that tells us…
2015 Måns Zelmerlöw, ‘Heroes’ – Sweden SVT Melodifestivalen – People & Jury Choice
Well we know that Måns has been trying to get to Eurovision since 2007, when he entered Melodifestivalen with the song ‘Cara Mia’. 2009 saw Måns’ second attempt with ‘Hope & Glory’ and finally saw him successfully win the public’s vote with ‘Heroes’ and that was his ticket to Vienna and eventual Eurovision glory.
2014 Conchita Wurst ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ – Austria ORF – Network Choice
Conchita attempted to get to Eurovision through the Austrian public selection process back in 2012, she lost out by a tiny 2% margin to the group Trackshittaz who subsequently failed to make it into the final in Baku. Pretty much everyone I have ever talked to about this agrees that this was by far the best outcome for Conchita who was still a relatively new creation of Tom’s and the two years after that gave Conchita a chance to grow, develop and gain performance experience and a strong and loyal fan base. When 2014 selection came round, ORF had decided who they wanted and then went on to select the song internally too, of course this was not without its controversy, but it was a tactic that paid off and saw her win with an impressive score of 290 points.
2013 Emmelie de Forrest ‘Only Teardrops’ – Denmark DR – People & Jury choice from a Network shortlist.
Denmark traditionally runs their national selection as a combination of the TV Network and the public choice and whilst Emmelie had made it through to the Super final of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2013, it was here that she really shone and the public rewarded her with their votes, which when added to the votes of the five jury members saw her as the clear victor and Denmark’s representative, just across the water in Malmo. ‘Only Teardrops’ then went on to win the contest by a margin of nearly 50 points and became a successful charting song across Europe.
2012 Loreen ‘Euphoria’ – Sweden SVT Melodifestivalen – People & Jury Choice
2012 was Loreen’s second attempt at Eurovision glory through Melodifestivalen, she had entered the previous year but had gone out in the semi-finals. As always with Sweden it’s the People’s votes at Melodifestivalen and they voted in their thousands for Loreen, confirming that the Swedish people clearly wanted ‘Euphoria’ to represent them in Baku as Loreen achieved almost 33% of the vote in the Melodifestivalen final. What a winner it turned out to be in Azerbaijan too, it was a clear 113 points ahead of the second placed Russian Nanna’s and went on to enjoy huge chart success across Europe and in Australia (which for Eurovision purposes is kind of part of Europe now!)
2011 Ell & Nikki ‘Running Scared’ – Azerbaijan ITV – People, Jury and Network Choice
It’s fair to say I always get a little bit confused when it comes to Azerbaijan and how they choose someone for Eurovision, it seems to be different every year and even the show Milli Seçim Turu that year changed the format (and you might say moved the goalposts mid-way through the competition!) To me it’s a bit vague as to whether the public are choosing or the jury, but at least we know that when it came to the final in 2011 it was a jury and the network who instead of selecting a solo artist decided to form a duet with two of the finalist and so Ell & Nikki came into being. The song was a surprise win on the night and provided Azerbaijan with their first (and to date only) Eurovision victory.
So that’s the last five years’ worth of winners – it seems that a national selection voted on by the public but also combined with the votes of a national jury seems to be the winning formula, although Conchita proved that if the network want you and they believe in you and your talent, then they’ll make that decision and sometimes that way definitely pays off too!
One thing that is for sure, the songs that have come through a combined selection process where the public have at least had some say in the outcome, do tend to chart better beyond Eurovision. Running Scared barely troubled the charts in Europe although very occasionally Ö3 radio still send it round their playlist along with a good selection of other Eurovision songs.
‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘ did moderately well, to be honest I was surprised it didn’t do better in Ireland and that it did so well in the UK. However ‘Euphoria’, ‘Only Teardrops’ and ‘Heroes’ have all gone on to enjoy chart success, ‘Euphoria’ being the number one downloaded song from Eurovision ever (yep, it even overtook Waterloo!)
What selection process do you think is best for Eurovision success? Should those who fund the broadcasters (the tax payers in most cases) have a say in how they select their song for the contest?
Author – Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source : Eurovision Ireland