‘New qualifier announcement not an improvement’ – Martin Österdahl

The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Martin Österdahl, has conceded the trialled Semi Final announcement system was “not an improvement”. 

It was revealed earlier in the week that during each Semi Final, all the competing acts would publicly stand on stage and learn whether they had qualified for the Grand Final or not. This was a change to the long-standing format of the acts learning of their fate in the green room. 

The new system was scrapped after one trial run during the first dress rehearsal for the first Semi Final on Monday afternoon, just two hours before the evening preview show.  

Speaking to The Euro Trip before the first Semi Final, Österdahl said: “Every year the host broadcaster and the producer want to try new things. 

“We also want to work with creative development of the shows.

“I think it’s really important to keep the show contemporary and keep it relevant. We usually say that we want to tweak 10% [of the show] every year.

“The BBC are great producers. They’ve done so many great shows. They’ve got some great ideas and have made a lot of great improvements already. 

“We felt when we tried this out that it was not an improvement, so the decision was not to do it.”

Martin Österdahl being interviewed by The Euro Trip | Image The Euro Trip

A member of one country’s delegation in the first Semi Final told The Euro Trip that the scrapped announcement format was “like The Hunger Games”. 

Asked if he had spoken to any delegations after the decision was made to scrap the new format, Österdahl said: “I never actually got to hear any [feedback] because we made the decision really quickly after that.” 

100% televote

A change implemented for this year’s edition of Eurovision that has not been reversed last-minute is the 100% televote rule being used in the Semi Finals for the first time since 2009. 

The Grand Final will remain as a 50/50 split between televote and national juries. 

Asked if there was a potential for the result of the Grand Final to be decided by 100% televote in the future, Österdahl said: “We’ll see. 

“I’d like to take it step by step. We always review the rules [and] the entire rule book of the Eurovision Song Contest on an annual basis.

“So if we try something one year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gonna be like that forever.”

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