It's the most wonderful time of the year, Eurovision! Let us know how you're celebrating at home and Graham Norton might give you a shout out on air during tonight's commentary from Kyiv. Let us know below; who you are, where you are, and how you are marking Europe's biggest music competition. The more detail the better!
In the meantime download our scoresheet to play along at home and listen to all 26 finalists here. Join us at 8pm BBC One!
Today we are opening the public song submissions process to find the UK’s entry for the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal next May! Information on how to submit a song is detailed below.
As last year, all public entries will be carefully considered and shortlisted by a representative panel of official UK Eurovision Fan Club (OGAE UK) members. At the same time, entries are also being sought from leading professional songwriters, with guidance from Record Industry Executive and Music Consultant for the BBC, Hugh Goldsmith.
Hugh Goldsmith says: “The ESC in Lisbon 2018 promises to be yet another fantastic show and I’m determined that we, the UK, are able to build on our excellent showing of 2017 thanks to Lucie Jones’ superlative performance of the powerful ballad, Never Give Up On You. To this end I am, again, looking for songs with emotive lyrics, memorable melodies and brilliant productions. However, success at Eurovision can also be about originality and the element of surprise. So, please also send us your songs if they are creatively fresh, brave and a little bit different!”
Guy Freeman, Editor, BBC Special Events and Formats said: "For anyone out there who thinks they have a brilliant song that can resonate with millions of people around the world and the 2018 jurors this is your chance and we'd love to hear from you."
A final shortlist of songs, from either route of entry, will again be showcased to TV viewers, who will have the chance to vote for their favourite in Eurovision: You Decide, details of which will be announced later in the year.
If you would like to submit a song entry, it must adhere to the EBU competition rules:
• The song must not exceed three minute duration
• The song must not have been publicly released before 1st September 2017; it should not have been performed in public or officially published on any media including but not limited to radio, TV and the Internet
• The song cannot be a cover or sample another artist’s work
• The song must be original with regards to songwriting and musical instrumentation
• Composers and song writers may only submit one entry
• The closing date for entries is Friday 27th October 2017
If the SINGER (along with the song) wishes to be considered as the artist for our UK Entry, in addition to the rules above, they must also adhere to the following conditions:
• Lead vocals must be performed live on the submitted video.
• No more than 6 people can take part in the performance
• Each singer/s must be 18 years old on or before 1st January 2018
• The BBC reserves the right to use a performer of its choice for any song submitted for consideration. Employees of the BBC and EBU or their close relatives or anyone connected with the contest are not eligible to enter
• The right is reserved to cancel the contest at any stage or amend any of the terms or details if necessary
• The BBC, its sub-contractors, subsidiaries and/or agencies cannot accept any responsibility whatsoever for any failure in the postal system, any technical failure or malfunction or any other problem which may result in an entry not properly registered
• These terms are governed by the law of England and Wales
Within 72 hours of sending the email you will receive instructions on how to upload AN ENTRY to the BBC Eurovision portal. This can be a video or MP3:
A video should be uploaded if it is both the singer and the song being entered. If you are only submitting your song for consideration and NOT the singer then we can accept an audio only file, so you can upload an MP3. You can still upload a video recording of a singer(s) singing your song, but it doesn't need to be a separate 'video' production if the singer isn't applying to be the UK entry for ESC 2018. So it could be shot on a phone for example.
Please do not attach your video or MP3 to the email. Terms and Conditions apply.
The last weekend, on Monday the EBU will have the 43. Will the public? We’re not quite sure, but there’s still lots to catch up from the world of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Eurovision Insight Podcast: #Authentique
Painful hashtags, a surprise appearance of the Melkweg, and Adobe Premier’s special Eurovision setting. Ewan Spence and ESC Insight introduce another week of Eurovision Song Contest news as the National Final season comes to an end; plus music from Luisa Sobral.
As the 2018 National Finals Season ends and thoughts turn to Lisbon, keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.
I’ve been in plenty of odd Eurovision related events in my time, but on Saturday morning I trekked across the igneous rock covered pavements of Reykjavík into an out-of-town shopping district. I was meeting the President of the Icelandic branch of OGAE, FÁSES, for a round of Zumba to warm up for the evening’s final.
Now I was expecting a small corner office room for such a particular combination of two niche interests, but the music was blaring well into the shopping centre for all to hear. Inside the sports hall was rammed from end to end with a mass of sweaty bodies busting their moves to ‘Kizunguzungu’.
A room full of sweaty men and women in mid-Zumba action (Photo: Ben Robertson, ESC Insight)
The President of FÁSES, Flosi Jón Ófeigsson, wasn’t just getting involved; he was leading the entire group. With being a hotel manager as his day job, Flosi has also been running the Eurovision Zumba sessions at EuroClub the last two years, but here in Iceland there was a whole magnitude more people than in Kyiv or Stockholm. That post-workout euphoria filled the room with collective glee as everybody demolished the fridge full of help-yourself skyr.
Only in Iceland could they love Eurovision so much.
This Is My Life
It is a well known fact in the Eurovision community that Iceland is officially the country that loves Eurovision the most. Statistically speaking no country comes anywhere close to Iceland’s TV audience share with 95.3 % of people watching television tuning into the Grand Final. That number is from 2016, a year when Iceland didn’t even qualify to the Saturday night show. The bonkers ratio can be partly explained by the lack of competition from other channels in the country of 350,000, and part to the dark Scandinavian winters, but these don’t account for the full nature of Iceland’s loyal viewers.
One unique factor of geography also works in Iceland’s favour is lying on the west of the European continent. That means Iceland is in a time zone one hour earlier than London in May, and two hours ahead of Paris or Berlin. Starting Eurovision at 19:00, with the sun only just setting as the credits roll, very much shifts Iceland to a prime time viewing audience. A family audience at that.
I spotted that later that afternoon in the basement of a different Reykjavík office block at the fan club pre party. Almost everybody in attendance was either a child or with a child. Fizzy pop was flowing, the cute party dresses getting plenty of twirls and some were putting finishing touches on their very handmade signs for the evening’s show. Most Eurovision fan club events across Europe are impossible for children to attend with all the late night dancing and alcohol consumption – but here I had stumbled into the most unique of family celebrations.
Interval acts Robin Bengtsson and Emmelie de Forest meet young fans at the pre party (Photo: Ben Robertson, ESC Insight)
This leads to a second quirk about Eurovision fans in Iceland. According to Flosi FÁSES is the only OGAE member club to have a majority female membership. Part of this may be attributed to the family viewership attracting mothers and daugthers to actively sign up, but also this reinforces what we know about Iceland’s love of Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest is no fringe interest here in these northern reaches. Eurovision dominates the gossip columns, news clips and radio stations many days before and after. Everybody has an opinion.
And also, in a country this small, everybody seems to know somebody involved in some way with the show. That personal connection just amplifies everything above to crazy heights.
Hear Them Calling
Flosi is keen to showcase how much the fan club in Iceland is different for having such a good working relationship with so many influential people. Artists flock to them for interviews and promotion, rather than the other way around. Newspapers are bombarding their members for interviews and on the day of the Söngvakeppnin final a one page spread in the Icelandic paper Visir covers just what FÁSES are doing to celebrate.
However the real relationship Flosi was most proud to talk about was with Icelandic broadcaster RÚV.
“RÚV are realising that we are a great asset. We have now a much bigger arena and they realise we are the people who support all the acts and wave our flags. We love the balloons and spectacle of Melodifestivalen and they listen to our comments.”
In conversation with Flosi before the final of Söngvakeppnin (Photo: Alison Wren, ESC Insight)
“They approached us after the semi final and told us how great an idea bringing the Icelandic flags were. Hopefully in the future we will be in a position where we (OGAE Iceland) can be a part of the decision making process of who to send to Eurovision as is already happening in Denmark and Slovenia.”
There are a few things to point out here. The much bigger arena gives Iceland the highest ratio of live audience members to population anywhere in Europe, with over 1 % of the country able to squeeze in Laugardalshöll, an arena most commonly used for handball. Secondly that Melodifestivalen comment is not just a throwaway response from a Eurovision fan, it is a direct part of Icelandic culture too. RÚV have a history of actually broadcasting the Swedish extravaganza, and the year both finals were on the same night Melodifestivalen was recorded to broadcast straight afterwards.
That explains the room full of Zumba dancers knowing the moves to ‘Håll Om Mig Hårt’.
Finally is it the exact nature of that co-operation that is helping give Iceland a Eurovision boost. FÁSES get not just reduced price tickets to the show but also ones in a prime location for all that jubilant flag waving to be centre stage. In recent years Iceland has dotted National Finals around various locations, with budget a decisive factor to move out of the sparkling new Harpa Concert Hall in downtown Reykjavík. This year though ticket sales for even the Semi Finals were sold out weeks in advance and Söngvakeppnin is back as Iceland’s premier TV event once more.
The same sadly can’t be said for Iceland’s Eurovision results.
All Out Of Luck
From 2008 to 2014 Iceland made every single Eurovision final, a stat punctuated by Johanna’s stunning performance of ‘Is It True?’ giving Iceland 2nd place in 2009.
Since then though Iceland have stuttered badly, missing the Grand Final by a distance the last three years. Greta Salóme was closest in 2016 with a disappointing 14th place.
The man in charge of trying to steer Iceland back is Felix Bergsson, Icelandic Head of Delegation. He’s been with RÚV since those good old days of 2011 as a press officer, commentator and assistant Head of Delegation before taking the full reigns in 2016.
Despite the viewing figures, Felix feels ‘a lot of pressure’ on his goal to qualify to the Grand Final.
“I thought we deserved to be in the final the past two years and sadly the tide turned. The party will be better and we want to do it for the artist.
“Our challenge is in getting noticed, we don’t have many friends and Scandinavia doesn’t vote for us automatically.”
Felix has been on numerous international juries this year, as the Melodifestivalen trend of being bringing in fellow Eurovision voices from overseas because increasingly popular. Countries like France and Germany alongside Sweden show the extra level of difficulty in trying to compete side-by-side. Not only do they have closer borders than the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the nearest neighbouring country, but also the record labels and professional contacts that stream into their respective competitions. In Iceland foreign collaborations are often limited to those perennial songwriters who turn up in National Finals wherever they may be.
Felix reading out the Icelandic points in the French National Final this year
One possible attributing factor is the complicated language rule in Söngvakeppnin. For the Semi Finals all songs must be performed in Icelandic, with artists having a free choice of what language to sing in the Final. However that language choice in the final will be the language the song goes to Eurovision with.
“The reason is that we are making new Icelandic pop music,” Felix justifies. “We want Icelandic songwriters and RUV is the Icelandic broadcaster.”
“For children too, everything being in Icelandic makes it easy to understand.”
The extra barrier in preparing a song for both languages might be offputting for some songwriters or performers to take part. Furthermore this could arguably make the contest decidedly uncool to those who are looking for an international platform with an awkward backward step in the middle. Certainly a critical eye amongst the six competing songs in the Söngvakeppnin Final would struggle to classify any of the six as hip and trendy.
On the flip side though, the majority of acts who reached the final this year were young fresh talent which Iceland is constantly a good breeding ground for. For 16 to 20 year olds at college a competition called Söngvakeppnin Framhaldsskólanna – pitching schools against schools – has cultivated much Icelandic talent. It is no surprise the alumni roll call is basically a who’s who of anybody you’ll recognise from Icelandic Eurovision history. ‘Í Stormi’, eventually toppled in the Super Final after winning both jury and televote in round one, was created from a collaboration of two former winners of said competition.
Iceland Needs That Je Ne Sais Quoi
There is an awkward paradox in Icelandic Eurovision. On one side it is promoting new Icelandic talent and growing the brand locally to never seen before heights anywhere in Europe. However the flip side has led to performances internationally faultering. Ari Ólafsson is the 19 year old artist heading to Lisbon this year after charming the camera lens with tear-jerking emotion from the Green Room, coming from behind to win a tight superfinal. His song, ‘Our Choice’, is a ballad belonging to a Eurovision era before his birth and is currently seen as a very unlikely qualifier where the chance to charm viewers back home will be limited.
However, as family friendly entertainment it is little surprise that those puppy dog eyes stole the crown in the last few minutes of voting on Saturday night. This is a country of family parties and barbeques on sunny May evenings. A country where the fan club pub quiz isn’t held in a pub at all but the conference room of the capital’s LGBT organisation just behind the main square – welcoming all. A country that last qualified with a bunch of multi-coloured pre-school teachers singing about how bad bullying was.
There is a word that defines what the Eurovision Song Contest is to Iceland. That word is cute. It is the kind of entertainment that everybody gets a warm glow inside from. Sadly cute alone might find it hard to qualify in a modern Eurovision of professional juries, PR machines and pop music increasingly defined by expensive production values.
However if they do qualify the celebrations in Iceland will be so joyous only their football team this summer in Russia could beat it.
And for that passion alone, I for one simply wish every country could be a little more Iceland.
Tonight in Sweden, the Melodifestivalen 2018 was held at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, to find Sweden’s 2018 Eurovision representative.
Twelve acts competed tonight including eight who went directly to the final from four previous heats. The four winners of last weeks Andra Chansen duels, were also back to sing again.
In the end Benjamin Ingrosso and Dance You Off will head to Lisbon, Portugal in May for Sweden.
1 The Hosts
2 The Songs
3 The Results
5 Sweden In The Eurovision Song Contest
As with the Andra Chansen and the four heats, David Lindgren hosted the show. His side-kick, the unnecessary Fab Freddie had enough to say while mingling with the audience and green room. David started the show with a dance number, One Together.
During the first voting period Solala and Helen sang Var Basta Tid Ar Nu. David did some cabaret after the international juries had voted. Caroline Af Ugglas replaced Robin and sang I Cant Go On, just before the Swedish publics votes.
Méndez – Everyday
This Spanish influenced song is a perfect opening number. Méndez and his dancers fill the stage with this dance song. Unseen backing singers accompany him the background.Once again Sweden breaks the rules and would need to change the staging if this song wins.
Renaida – All the Feels
Hot from the Andra Chasen, Renaida is back singing for her Eurovision life. This soulful dance song is yet again helped by unseen pre-recorded backing vocalists. Plenty attitude accompanied by five backing dancers – again change would need to be made for Eurovision. She had problems with her ear piece and got to perform at the end, for a second time.
Martin Almgren – A Bitter Lullaby
Slightly under the radar, this is a song for country radio. The chorus doesn’t quite flow from the verses, but the nanana and female backing vocalist gives the song an anthemic feel.
John Lundvik – My Turn
Sitting accompanying himself by the piano, at the beginning, this is a simple melodic soul ballad. As the song lifts a choir joins in and you start to wonder if Sweden has not been told the staging rules, unlikely since they’ve won so many times. Therefore how this will be staged in Lisbon is the question, as it has a good chance of winning.
Jessica Andersson – Party Voice
This is a faster song that you would probably expect from Jessica. There is a touch of Girls Aloud about this song, as Jessica too has backing singers, but prefers to have dancers on stage. This could go either way.
LIAMOO – Last Breath
Another song with an anthemic feel. The only song tonight to feature rapping. However, the rap is not hardcore and is a little more palatable. This is a very modern number, and another that must stand a good chance of winning.
Samir & Viktor – Shuffla
Back for a third attempt, and some fans think this is their year. The song is exactly the same as their previous two attempts. All buddy buddy and fine for Melodifestivalen, but should be shuffled of the stage in Lisbon.
Mariette – For You
This isn’t as good as Mariette’s past entries either. It’s a catchy enough pop song, but Mariette looks as if she’s just rushed in from her housecleaning to perform the song, and then just leave again before the washing machines run its cycle. It would still be nice to have Mariette represent Sweden, but this isn’t the year.
Felix Sandman – Every Single Day
The problem with this performance is that it’s not an instantly likable song, and the staging isn’t the best. However, after a couple of listens, this is a pretty good ballad. With a little more power this could keep Sweden’s good track record.
Margaret – In My Cabana
This is a fun enough type of song, with Cuban influences from the Polish singer. This is a catchy enough song, and Donny Montell,s backing dancer helps her along. Fine for a party, will probably just miss out here.
Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
Certainly, a song Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber would pass on, but this has a certain appeal to folks who like both these singers. This is a mellow light dance number, but the staging here isn’t as good as Benjamin probably thinks it is, Still this has to be in with a chance of winning.
Rolandz – Fuldans
When you watch a show and it gets towards the end, if you haven’t found a winner, you hope the last song will save the day. Well too bad if you were hoping for this one. Sweden has lost its mind if it sends this. There is novelty and there is awful. This is both.
Samir & Viktor
Did Sweden pick the right song? Tell us who was your favourite in the poll below:
Sweden In The Eurovision Song Contest
This will be Sweden’s 58th appearance at Eurovision.
Everyone surely knows that Sweden has won the contest six times. The winning acts – Abba, Herreys, Carola, Charlotte Nilsson, Loreen and Måns Zelmerlöw.
As well as winning, Sweden has placed in the top 5 on eighteen other occasions, making it one of the most successful countries in Eurovision. They have done particularly well in recent years.
Sweden has only finished last on two occasions, in 1960 with Monica Zetterlund and again in 1977 with Forbes and their tribute to the Beatles.
Eye Cue to represent FYR Macedonia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest
FYR Macedonia’s national broadcaster, MRT, revealed this evening the song Lost and Found, which will try to qualify the Balkan country to the grand final for the first time since 2012. The release of the song was accompanied by the premiere of the music video.
Less than a month ago, MRT announced that pop-rock band Eye Cue will represent FYR Macedonia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. They were internally selected for the contest in Lisbon out of 382 entries, by a jury of eight people.
The band, which was formed in 2008, consists of Borjan Trajkovski and Marija Ivanovska. They achieved chart success with their song Magija in 2008, and made it into the MTV Adria Top 20 in 2010 with the song NotThis Time.
FYR Macedonian’s entry this year is written and composed by Borjan Trajkovski while Darko Dimitrov has been responsible for the production of Lost and Found. Dimitrov is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2006 he composed and produced FYR Macedonia’s Eurovision entry Ninanajna, which finished 12th in the grand final in Athens. This remains the best result for the ex-Yugoslav country in the contest so far.
Dimitrov furthermore co-wrote and co-composed FYR Macedonia’s Eurovision entries back in 2014 (Pred dase razdeni) and 2015 (To The Sky), which both failed to qualify for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The video for this year’s FYR Macedonian entry has been directed by Jovan Kucinovski.
Eye Cue will perform Lost and Find in the second half of the first semi-final on 8th May. Did FYR Macedonia at last find the formula that will help them to win the ticket for the grand final? You can judge yourself in the video below: