Diary of “The Weirdest Eurovision Ever?” – Day 10: Has the Jury reached its verdict?

Let’s face it… the last 18 months have been anything but ordinary!! And in these strange times of COVID, social distancing and frantic hand washing, even Eurovision has undergone massive changes to ensure the event we know and love can go ahead. We all knew it was going to be a contest unlike any other – but just how different will it be?

In this diary series, Eurovision Ireland regular James will give you his daily personal thoughts about the goings on backstage at Eurovision 2021, both through the lens of a contest being hosted during these unprecedented times and as someone following rehearsals from afar. Will it be The Weirdest Eurovision Ever? Quite possibly!

Day 10 – Has the Jury reached its verdict?

The beginning of Week 2 at the contest (or Eurovision Week itself) is always a bit of a flap. A moment ago you had plenty of time to go sightseeing in the host city, take that day trip a bit further afield, sample that restaurant you’ve been meaning to go to since the first night and go and see the live shows and hang out with your friends. Today is the moment when you realise that between live blogs, live shows and the grand event itself, you’ve actually got much less time than you anticipated. It was around this point in proceedings in Tel Aviv where my plans to do all this sightseeing around Israel were suddenly thrown into jeopardy as I hadn’t budgeted enough time for everything. You’d think we in the press centre would learn this, but it happens every year. And every year, tough choices need to be made to maximise the rest of your time at the contest. I rationalised the Dead Sea would probably still be there on a future visit…

While Eurovision 2021 hasn’t seen any sightseeing in Rotterdam (for us at least!), it’s still a busy week. Articles to prep, interviews to be conducted and even thinking ahead to post-contest coverage. But even with all the goings on, there’s a real buzz in the air. Soon it’s the Eurovision Song Contest, always an excuse to be excited! But not only that, it’s the first Eurovision Song Contest for 2 years!! YAAAAYY!!

Tonight is the Jury Semi Final for our first round of semi finalists. This means the jurors of Europe will be watching and will base their scores on tonight’s performance, which will then be added to the televote of Semi Final 1 on Tuesday evening. Some people dismiss this as not being part of the “proper” contest because they public aren’t involved, but its scores are still vital – one bum note now can make the difference between a country making it to the final and not qualifying. Yes, that does sound dramatic and 9 times out of 10 it really isn’t. Artists give their usually confident and polished performances and seeing the show beginning to end, you get a feel for who stands out and who might struggle. Very occasionally something goes wrong, such as a stray camera man in shot, but I’m inclined to think jurors don’t worry about such things.

I do remember reading back in 2012 that Loreen had “ruined” her chances of winning as she coughed during a jury rehearsal of Euphoria… naturally, I rushed to the attached video to watch the nightmare in action, as the report made it sound like she’d swallowed a dangerous amount of fake snow and then collapsed on stage, gasping for breath and clawing at her throat… the slight *uh-huh* (that I had to go back to and watch again because I missed it the first time!!) barely registered… this taught me two things: Firstly, never trust this particular news platform’s definition of “ruined” again and secondly, this is the risk of doing anything live! The show must go on whatever happens and if it does go wrong, you do whatever you can to solider on and make it look like nothing happened. A simple mantra that is surprisingly hard to pull off! Working for years as an educational presenter taught me a few ways to brush off things that weren’t meant to happen and keep your audience on side. Ultimately, it’s why this contest has so many rehearsals, to minimise the chances of such things happening!

A bit of an earlier entry tonight, as I want to watch the show with the Eurovision Ireland team. We usually watch together in the press centre while one of us blogs and we’re aiming to do the same this year albeit virtually – but I’m still looking forward to it! Don’t you worry though dear reader – I’ll be sure to give you my thoughts on the Jury First Semi Final tomorrow! Alternatively, you can check YouTube later tonight where we’ll discuss the evening on one of our panel shows!

Signing off for today – thank you Europe, and good night!

Don’t forget to check out Eurovision Ireland’s live blog of the Jury Final for the First Semi Final brought to you by the lovely John!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Banner Image Source: Adapted from realireland.ie

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