Editorial : Lights, Beleuchten, Lumieres – what a difference they make at Eurovision!


What does it take to win Eurovision. Well firstly a great singer and a brilliant song, but there is so much more to it than that. In this mini-series I am going to look at the other aspects that go into making a great Eurovision performance, starting tonight with the lighting.

No matter what language you’re working in lighting plays a very important part in any modern day Eurovision performance. Gone are the days of lights on or lights off, with the modern, digital lighting rigs used in concerts and shows today, the possibilities are endless. In recent years we’ve seen all kinds of clever and imaginative uses of the lighting to enhance the performance, set the scene and tell the story of the song too. My first example is, as you might expect, Sweden 2012…

Loreen’s song Euphoria was a front runner from the beginning, but with all credit to the artistic team for not resting on their laurels, they designed a great ethereal feel using a dramatic opening sequence followed by soft lighting in blues and pinks, punctuated with the high energy white flickering and highlighted with bold back lighting to create a really super performance which gave Sweden their 5th victory at Eurovision.

My next choice is Helen Paparizou from Greece with My Number One…

Lighting an up tempo, disco style song can lead a lighting designer to use tonnes of lights and effects, just because you can. What I love about the lighting design here is actually the subtlety of it. This stage is super reflective and the way the lights are used in this performance really play into that giving more lighting. The blue colour story sued throughout the performance is enhanced very cleverly with yellows and oranges which serve to highlight Helen’s beautiful skin tone. A classy lighting design which saw Greece’s first ever victory in 2005.

It’s not just at Eurovision itself we see clever use of lighting, we see it running through National Selection shows too. In 2015 we saw hints of how The Makemakes had designed their lighting back when they performed at Wer Singt fur Osterreich. With long beams of light transecting the stage and reaching out into the auditorium. I was interested to see how that would translate when they took to the stage in the Wiener Stadthalle, I was not disappointed…

Beams of low lying soft blue light begin the performance and increase in number and strength as the performance progresses. As the build comes to the last chorus, the lighting then suddenly changes from the cool blues into hot orange bars of light, complimenting the fire in the piano and giving a bright unexpected end to a song and a performance that in my opinion did not deserve to finish with 0 points.

My final choice of great lighting takes us back to another Swedish performance, that of Sanna Nielson in 2014…

Whilst it’s widely agreed that the stage in Copenhagen is one of the very best we have ever seen at Eurovision, the lighting options were only enhanced by the giant cage structure. Sanna’s performance begins with a twist of white lighting and she stands, static for most of the song in a virtual cage of ice blue searchlights, which slowly fold in and out surrounding her in a prison of light. As the song builds more beams are added across the top of the stage and the stage is awash with star points of light in the background. For the very last phrase of the song the ice blue lights are gone and Sanna’s gorgeous face is lit beautifully against complete darkness, she appears to be floating above a beam of white light which reaches across the stage. Wow, what a performance, what a light show!

So what do you think, is lighting and important part of a Eurovision performance? Are there any great lighting performances that have stood out to you? Or maybe you’ve got a few that you weren’t so keen on, either way get in touch in the comments section, we’d love to hear what you think?

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Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland

1 reply »

  1. Another interesting read, Lisa-Jayne – three of my favs there too. The amazing Loreen, my favourite 2014 entry with Sanna giving it everything she had plus the heavenly Helena, who had more than just a beautiful skin tone 😉

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