UK has decided! It’s SuRie for Eurovision 2018

UK has decided! It’s SuRie for Eurovision 2018

Tonight, saw the UK choose their act for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.  With the choice of six songs, the public had a wide variety of genres to chose from and ultimately it was SuRie, who won the spot for Lisbon.

UK’s national final, Eurovision: You Decide was hosted by Eurovision Super-fan Mel Geidroyc with the help of Swedish sensation and Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw at the Brighton Dome. Poignant for Eurovision fans, as it held the contest back in 1974, but Måns can also feel reflective as this is the backdrop for his country’s first ever win at Eurovision.

ABBA won the contest with Waterloo in a vintage year for the contest. Set against the backdrop of the Brighton Dome, former Eurovision winners; future Hollywood starlets and a knitted sweater wearing Manband fought it out to win in 1974.  Yet Superstar (and Troupers) ABBA won the contest, which made this an obvious choice for the UK to hold their national selection.


  • 1 The Show
  • 2 The Acts
  • 3 Poll

The Show

To start of the show Måns and Lucie Jones (UK 2017 representative) perform a melody and tribute to that super-group.

Moments before the show, a peaceful demonstration outside the venue call for a end to Brexit, something that has plagued the UK since the vote took place back in 2016.  Many fans were seen in the audience waving EU flags, apparently given out by those out who were conducting the demonstration.

The show was comprised of six acts, all of which performed live to impress the expert panel as well as the voting jury and UK public.  Making up the panel at the live Broadcast were former The Saturday’s singer Rochelle Humes, McFly frontman Tom Fletcher and X-Factor favourite Rylan.

The Acts

Raya – Crazy

Icelandic Eurovision veteran Greta Salome is credited as one of the songwriters. Raya impressed the panel with her dancing and singing ability, which is not overly surprising as she has been a backing singer/dancer for some of the biggest artists in the UK including Little Mix.

Liam Tamne – Astronaut

Liam gave us an emotional performance, which the expert panel appreciated, but thought it wasn’t instant enough to make an impact on the Eurovision stage.

Asanda – Legends

The pre-contest favourite was well received in the hall, and the panel seemed to think that this would be a great Eurovision song as it has the instant appeal that Liam’s song didn’t have.

Jaz Ellington – You

The Voice star certainly impressed with his faultless vocals, which isn’t a surprise for anyone who has watched his previous live performances.

Jaz Ellington – You

The Voice star certainly impressed with his faultless vocals, which isn’t a surprise for anyone who has watched his previous live performances. Yet the judges thought that maybe it wasn’t the best time to send a ballad after Salvador’s win last year.

SuRie – Storm

SuRie had been backing singer for both Loic and Blanche (Belgium 2015 and 2017) and it was easy to tell that this put her in a good position, coming into the Eurovision: You Decide final.  She was probably the most confident performer on stage tonight, and had the biggest audience reaction. The panel loved the song, Rochelle Humes did ask her to think about interacting with the crowd more in the last minute of the song.

Goldstone- I Feel the Love

Compared to O’G3NE, their harmonies where nice and definitely impressive, but not on the level of the Dutch siblings. Although Rylan did think they were a better version of the ‘Dutch Sisters’ last year, to many people’s dismay.

Although there was a hint that a scoreboard may be involved it didn’t appear in the end. The winner was announced as it has been in the last two years.

SuRie won and will compete for the UK after being a backing sing for Belgium in 2015 and 2017, she now gets her moment in the spotlight.  Will she be able to better Lucie’s 15th place performance and even give the UK, their best result since Jade Ewen’s 5th place in 2009?


Are you happy with the winner, or is there another entry you wish had won?  Let us know!

Eurovision: You Decide 2018 - Who do you think should have won?

Categories: Eurovisionary


How To Solve The Problem Of Tickets For The Eurovision Song Contest

How To Solve The Problem Of Tickets For The Eurovision Song Contest

For the vast majority of fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, the show is the televisual highlight of the year. For others it is a social event that requires planning, commitment, a sense of adventure, and the ability find tickets to be in the audience of the live shows. With the 2018 Song Contest arriving in a very desirable and easily reachable location, demand for tickets has been higher than normal, which has cast a light into the dark corners of scalpers, bots, and the secondary ticketing industry.

Why has it been harder than normal to get a ticket for the Lisbon shows, how can the EBU ensure more fans and less professionals receive tickets, and what methods are used by other high-profile events to achieve this?

Who left their wife at home? Eurovision's 1998 audience (image: Eurovision.tv)

A year without bots, the audience are ready for the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 (image: Eurovision.tv)

What Everyone Can See Happening

Within moments of tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest going on sale, they appear on secondary ticket selling sites such as Viagogo, Seatwave, and Getmein. The prices are inflated well above the listed price, fans who have followed the Song Contest through the year feel cheated, and there’s a sense that making money beats love of the Contest.

It’s not as simple as ‘the bots buy all the tickets and then sell them at a ridiculous mark-up,’ but it is close. Acting as a scalper for big events is a full-time profession with huge riches for those ticket brokers who make it. It is a constant battlefield for ticket sellers to allow genuine consumers to buy tickets while keeping out the secondary elements.

For the brokers this is their livelihood. Their job is to understand the websites and systems better than those who make them. Their profit can be found by shaving milliseconds off the transaction time through faster drop downs and text inputs. The average concert goer makes a handful of transactions a year. Brokers can make thousands a day.

If there’s an advantage, they have found it. And when they can’t find an advantage in the system, they will make one.

Eurovision 2018 Photoshopped Tickets (via Eurovision World)

Eurovision 2018 Photoshopped Tickets (via Eurovision World)

Take the usefulness of using a prepaid credit cards. Typically used by travellers worried about handing over details to their own bank accounts, or by consumers who need a card but have low credit ratings, ticket brokers have another use for them.

Many events now ask for the credit card used to purchase a ticket to be presented at the venue alongside the ticket. It is possible to ‘orders’ a ticket through an agency for a big event ahead of the box office opening. The vast digital infrastructure of bots and buyers used to capture as many tickets as possible now has a specific target concert and a specific buyer. The ticket is purchased by the prepaid credit card, and when the secondary sale is made the buyer will receive not just the ticket but also the credit card used to buy the ticket.

Anyone using this approach to obtain a ticket will realise they are trying to game the system of ID checks, so it’s unlikely to be offered on the open market, but it is an option for those who have a relationship with a broker.


Attending Eurovision 2008

Then there’s the ultimate ‘confidence’ move, where secondary sellers list a ticket without yet actually having the ticket to sell. In this scenario a ticket is listed on the secondary sites at a very high price, with delivery promised a few days to a week before the concert. Once the ticket is ‘purchased’ the vendor now has time (and budget) to go out and source a ticket to supply to the wide-eyed consumer who thinks their ‘show of a lifetime’ is guaranteed.

The Eurovision Song Contest is no different to any other event… a small number of seats and a much larger fan base to exploit means there is easy profit for the shady end of the market.

We Do This Every Year, Why Have Tickets Not Changed?

This is a situation that happens ahead of every Eurovision, so the obvious place to start is to ask why the Song Contest is susceptible to this.

I think this is down to the small amount of time that a host broadcaster has to organise the event. There is a huge emphasis on the size of the arena, transport links in the host city, hotel beds available, the amount of electrical power required, and other details around the show. Ticketing for the live shows has to come after many logistical elements are decided; even then the feeling is that the goal of the host broadcaster is ‘pack in as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, while spending as few resources as possible.’

The EBU is not in a position to build and provide its own ticketing system to the Eurovision family of events. While it can provide many services for its members, offering a bespoke ticketing system is not a cost effective way forward. In the same way that the EBU and the host broadcaster each year will tender for services from building the lighting rig above the stage to supplying coffee to the press room, ticketing for the Song Contest events also comes under the tender process.

That means that even though there is the potential for a different broadcaster each year to be involved in the process, and a different company each year that will be handling the process, the EBU can insist on certain conditions and base-line expectations to be implemented.

The live experience of the Eurovision Song Contest should be more than ‘just get the stadium filled with the lowest expense spent on selling the tickets’. It’s time for the process to receive the same attention to detail as the televised product receives.

MEO Arena from the sky.

Lisbon 2018’s Atlantic Arena from the sky.

Three Ticketing Suggestions For Distribution, Denial, And Demand

Arguably, the reason that there is so much demand for tickets (and an apparently vibrant secondary ticketing market) is that the tickets are still too cheap. In a perfectly capitalistic world you would keep lifting the price of the tickets until you reached a point where all the tickets sold out and nobody who could afford a ticket was still wanting for one.

This would have the knock on effect of offering the Song Contest much more funds for the show’s budget.

Of course we don’t live in that sort of world – the EBU wants the Contest to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible. That means creating a scheme where everyone has a chance of obtaining a ticket, and the impact of the secondary ticketing market is reduced.

Thankfully the live music an theatre/concert world has been addressing these problems for some time, and it is far better to look at practical changes that have already been made to understand what the Song Contest’s ticketing tender could target in the future.

The Credit Card Of The Beast

One of the leading campaigners against secondary ticket sales is the rock band Iron Maiden. The last few tours organised by the band have seen the number of tickets resold dropping by more than ninety-five percent. In 2010, the day after tickets for the band’s 2011 tour went on sale almost 7000 tickets were listed on secondary ticketing platforms. In 2016 that number had dropped to 207.

The bands management acknowledge that fans have to jump through one extra hoop to achieve this – they do not get issued the ticket until they arrive at the concert. When they do, they must have the original credit or debit card with them along with photo ID. Their name is verified, payment is checked, the ticket is issued, and then validated as they enter the venue.

A similar system is in place at the Victoria Theatre in London for ‘Hamilton’ tickets. Your ID and card needs to match that submitted at the time of booking, and any exceptions must be discussed well in advance with (in this case) Ticketmaster.

Hamlet: The Mild Ballot Solution

Take Tom Hiddleston’s recent appearance in Hamlet at the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre. With just 160 seats each performance, this was going to be a very exclusive and sought after ticket. How to create a fair and equitable distribution of the small number of seats compared to the demand was the issue faced by RADA.

It’s choice was to move to a full ballot system. Everyone who wanted a ticket submitted their name, and an online ballot wold pick names at random and offer them a specific time-slot to buy one or two ticket. The registration period was open over six days, and included a name verification step. Either the ticket buyer or a named individual (who was named at the point of purchase) had to attend the show, reducing the ability to re-sell the tickets.

RADA also worked with its ticketing partners to make a dedicated ticketing website that was designed around the ballot method to ensure a simple user experience.

The Swinging Swifties

Hiddleston’s Hamlet was very much a one-off, but Eurovision not only happens every year, but has an engaged fan base that is active all year round. I personally think that mixing the principle of a ballot, along with the ‘ID at the door’ requirements are solid ideas that should feature as part of the ticketing process of the Eurovision Song Contest.

But it is worth noting the logical extreme that this could be taken to. Tickets to ‘golden’ sections of the Semi Finals and Grand Finals could be regarded as rewards and thank yous to engaged fans who help promote Eurovision throughout the year. In a sense this already happens with the OGAE ticket packages, but I’m talking about supercharging this idea, bypassing OGAE, and going for the full Tay Tay.

Before tickets went on public sale for Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ Concert, some fans were invited to register into a pre-sale process. Once registered, you could boost your place in the virtual queue for the allocated one-hour windows to buy your tickets. Boosting activities included sharing news and links on social media, watching Taylor Swift videos and listening to tracks on streaming music services, purchasing the album through the website, and buying Taylor Swift merchandise.

If only there was some sort of house where fans could buy Eurovision merchandise and could “…connect and integrate the global Eurovision fan base with the Eurovision Song Contest, on a year-round basis.”

A Little Difference Goes A Long Way

There will be an audience for all of the live shows of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, so in a broad sense the system that is in place now is one that works. Yet the system does not feel fair and equitable towards those who follow the Contest all year round.

It is within the remit of the EBU to request specific conditions in the tender process for ticketing, and there are methods that can be used that have proven successful with other major productions around the world. Tweaking the ticketing system for 2019 and beyond will lead to a slight increase in complexity for fans and the host broadcaster, but this marginal win would deliver a far better emotional experience to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Further Reading

  • How U2 Fans Are Squeezed By Ticket Sellers.
  • The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster
  • The Concert Ticket Industry Is Broken
  • Beating The Ticket Touts
  • Iron Maiden Reports Success In Fight Against Ticket Touts

Categories: ESC Insight


Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Help the Danes make the right choice

Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Help the Danes make the right choice

Should Denmark go for catchy pop with lyrics almost a hymn to Eurovision fans,  R ‘n’ B, viking rock, or a Faroese O’G3NE? What will do best at the Eurovision Song Contest? Help the Danes make the right choice.

Sunday evening, at midnight, the 10 songs competing in the Danish final to be held on Saturday, were released. It is quite a mix, and as such it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the fans really do not agree on which one Denmark should/ will send to Lisbon for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, and yet, I am surprised.

Whenever I scrolled through my Facebook during Monday, naturally I saw Danish fans predicting, and commenting on their favourites. In very short time, I had seen five different songs mentioned as the likely winner. Then I went to check bookmakers, and got a 6th song – and saw my predicted winner down at second to last! Have my many years as a Eurovision reporter finally made me totally blind as to what will do well at a national final, or is it just that this is the most unpredictable Danish final in years?

Sannie’s Boys On Girls is to me the most instant one. It’s the one I sing along to half way into it. I like others as well, and I have a few more I can see win, but none of the others made me able to sing the song after first listening. A catchy song performed by the best known, and most experienced singer in the competition, and yet, the bookmakers make it second to last?

Rasmussen’s Higher Ground is another song this year, which I totally adore. I love his voice, the tune is great and the positive message is one we should remember. If the very explicit lyrics to Boys On Girls are too much, this viking pop rock song is one I would be proud of as well. I can easily see myself voting for it.

The great harmonies on Standing Up For Love really sells this song, I fully recognise the beauty in this. But it just reminds me too much of the Dutch O’G3NE from last year. I however can’t rule out that the Danes might not see it that way. In fact, I can’t rule anything out this year when the bookmakers yesterday tipped Angels To My Battlefield as winner, although it did drop to second today. Not to say anything bad about the song, but I really can not see it do any good for Denmark.

See alsoMelodi Grand Prix 2018: Aalborg warm up to Danish final

I remember other years where it has been possible to predict the winner of the Danish final from first listening, and where we were able to tell whether or not the song would be a contender for Top5 at Eurovision or if it might struggle to reach the final. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year judging from fans, who doesn’t agree with each other, and the bookmakers.

For me, it is about selecting a song, which will do well at Eurovision, and make us all proud at the same time. As a Dane, I would therefore like to ask our foreign readers, which of our songs do you think will do best at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Denmark failed to reach the final in 2015 and 2016, and last year it was easiest to start at the button to find the Danish result. Help us make the right choice this time. In the poll below tell us which of the songs you think will give Denmark it’s best result at the Eurovision Song Contest. Thank you!

Help the Danes pick the right song - Which of the Danish final songs will do best at Eurovision?

Categories: Eurovisionary


Newsletter: Results Of The Semi Final Allocation Draw Held In Lisbon

Newsletter: Results Of The Semi Final Allocation Draw Held In Lisbon

One of the key milestones on the road to the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lisbon this morning, as the Mayors of Kyiv and Lisbon symbolically exchanged the iconic Host City Insignia at a special press event which also served as the random draw for which countries will vote and perform in the Semi Finals

While the running order of the two shows will be determined by producers in the weeks immediately preceding this year’s Song Contest, the random draw sees the 37 semi-finalists placed into the top and bottom halves of the two Semi Finals (which aids scheduling rehearsals and arrival times for the delegations). The Big Five and hosts Portugal also learned which Semi Final they will be able to vote in.

19 countries will compete in Semi Final One on Tuesday 8th May, while the remaining 18 will compete in Semi Final Two on Thursday 10th May.

Semi Final One – Top Half

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania

Semi Final One – Bottom Half

  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Macedonia
  • Switzerland

Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom will vote in this Semi Final.

Semi Final Two – Top Half

  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia

Semi Final Two – Bottom Half

  • Georgia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

France, Germany and Italy will vote in this Semi Final.

Keep an eye on ESC Insight for full analysis of the draw over the next few days.

The full online version of the ESC Insight newsletter is available here. You can also subscribe here to receive the newsletter direct to your inbox.

For all the latest Eurovision-related news and analysis, you can also follow ESC Insight on Facebook and Twitter.

Categories: ESC Insight


Saara Aalto working with top US & Canadian choreographers for Eurovision performance

<div>Saara Aalto working with top US & Canadian choreographers for Eurovision performance</div>

Saara Aalto at Disco Week in X-Factor UK

Saara Aalto isn’t leaving anything to chance in her quest for Eurovision domination. She is enlisting the help of  top choreographers who have worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Prince and Beyoncé. Will this bring Finland back to the Eurovsion final?

Saara Aalto is preparing to put on a show for Europe when the contest descends on Lisbon in May this year. As Finland’s first ever internally selected artist, the Finnish selection show, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) will be different this year. The public will not be selecting the artist, but the song. Saara will perform three unique songs on the 3rd March, one of which will be performed by Saara at Eurovision.

But as we all know, having a good song isn’t always enough to get a victory. Saara isn’t leaving anything to chance. She has enlisted the help of US choreographer Brian Friedman who will be directing and creating the performance. Friedman made the announcement via his Facebook page.

Aalto and Friedman are no strangers. As the lead choreographer on the show, he worked with her during her time on The X Factor UK creating some of the wackiest performances to grace the UK screens. As well as working on the Factor, Friedman has also choreographed music videos and concert tours for the likes of Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé.

Working alongside Aalto and Friedman will be Canadian Lukas McFarlane. Based in the UK, McFarlane is an assistant creative director on The X Factor and has worked alongside Brian for many years.

What will Brian Friedman and Lukas McFarlane have in store for Saara? We will have to wait to find out. Saara will perform all of her bidding songs live at the Finnish national final, at the Espoo Metro Arena, just outside Helsinki on 3rd March.

The winning song will be decided by a mixture of international jury and public votes, with Saara going on to compete in the first semi-final on the 8th of May. Pressure will be on her as Finland failed to qualify to the final the past three years.

You can watch Aalto performing one of Friedman’s created performances from when Saara was on the X Factor UK below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Danish entries released

Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Danish entries released

All 10 songs have potential to reach top 10 at the Eurovision Song Contest. That’s at least what the broadcaster said about this year’s Danish finalists. Are they right? You can now judge for yourself as DR released the songs today.

Whigfield ran with most headlines when Danish broadcaster, DR, presented the participants a couple of weeks ago. Under the name Sannie, the singer behind the 90’s smash hit Saturday Night, drew attention to her participation from both Danish and international media. It seems evidently that many people will choose to listen to her song first before they pay attention to the 9 other entries.

This time, Sannie’s song is titled Boys On Girls, and it has last year’s Eurovision slogan “Celebrate Diversity” written all over it. Be warned, it is extremely catchy and it gets stuck in your head immediately. You simply find yourself singing along to it, half way through it.

No matter in which order, you go at them, all 10 songs for this year’s Danish final has now been released. Surely there are a few potential Eurovision hits among them, but do all 10 of them really have what it takes to make top 10 as DR’s Head of Entertainment, and member of EBU’s Reference Group, Jan Lagermand Lundme said? That’s up to you to judge.

Update: We are getting reports that the songs aren’t world wide released, so you might not be able to hear them just yet in your country.

Denmark has reason to try harder this year as since Basim on homefield in 2014 finished 9th with Cliché Love Song things haven’t been good for the small Scandinavian country, which have won the Eurovision Song Contest three times. In 2015 and 2016 the country failed to reach the final, and last year, Anja did go to the final, but finishing in 20th place was way below expectations.

Categories: Eurovisionary

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