Eurovision @ Wes

by Oleksandra Volakova

Last weekend, dozens of singers, musicians, and bands from different countries performed in the Grand Final of Eurovision, an annual international song competition. It unites people of various countries who are overwhelmed and inspired by emotions and is meant to create a politics-free safe space. Each country of the European Broadcasting Union sends one participant every year to participate in this competition. Participants are not limited to European countries, as Australia and several other countries are allowed to participate. 

The typical timeline of Eurovision looks similar every year:

  • National selection in each country which determines the representative at the Eurovision Song Contest (typically February-March)
  • 1st Semi-Final where out of randomly chosen half of participants, jurors decide who will be qualified for the Grand final (early May).
  • 2nd Semi-Final is the same for another half of the participants (several days after the 1st semi-final).
  • Grand Final – the main competition, where out of an average of 25 countries jurors and the public decide on the ultimate winner.

This year, Claudia Graniero (Italian FLTA), Marcos Alcázar Estrella and Marina Cañedo Argüelles (Spanish FLTAs), and Thomas Annebicque and Macha Petre (French FLTAs) organized a screening of the Grand Final in the Fisk Hall. Among visitors, there were true fans of this show and people who had never heard of it but wanted to take a look at the concert. It was a live stream, where all the concerts and voting for the favorite happened online. The concert was in Malmö, Sweden, with thousands of viewers. Each year, the location is different – the country that won the Eurovision last year hosts it this year. On Eurovision 2023, Laureen from Sweden, with the song “Tattoo,” won, and that’s why Eurovision 2024 was in Sweden. In 2022, Ukraine won Eurovision, but because of the full-scale war, hosting it on Ukrainian territory would endanger thousands of people. United Kingdom volunteered to help Ukraine, and Eurovision 2023 was in Liverpool, England. 

The order of songs was random – the concert started with Sweden (as hosts) and ended with Austria. Unfortunately, not all countries qualified for the Grand Final could participate. Just several hours before the competition, Joost Klein (representative of the Netherlands with the promising song “Europapa”) was accused by a female production team member. While the investigation was happening, organizers decided it was inappropriate for him to perform. There is not much information about what he is accused of, but the witness that Joost Klein was filmed against his consent when he was rushing to the green room from the stage, and because his personal space was not respected, he made a “threatening movement towards the camera.” However, he did not touch the camerawoman.

The winner is decided by jurors from all the participating countries (even those who were not qualified for the grand final) and a public vote. One vote costs 0.99€, and one person is limited to 20 votes. It is prohibited to vote for your own country or a country you are in right now. Sometimes, due to strong public support, even participants who did not receive much support from jurors could win.

Hopefully, the screening of Eurovision will become an annual tradition in Wesleyan, and more students will get a chance to listen to the song competition that unites the whole European (and further) community.