There’s been a lot of news out of Portugal regarding Lisbon’s hosting of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, we have a number of internally selected acts confirmed, and there’s some surprising news from the National Final diary. All that and Junior Eurovision next week!
Eurovision Insight Podcast: Ramblin’ Men And Women
Ewan Spence brings you the latest news from the world of the Eurovision Song Contest, the new details about Lisbon 2018 that have been announced, and don’t forget it’s just over a week until Junior Eurovision 2017. With music from Mariam Mamadashvili.
Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast during the first months of the new Eurovision season for 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.
Also in this fortnight’s newsletter, a look at the recent internally selected artist announcements from Finland, Azerbaijan and The Netherlands, plus some big news from Estonia’s national final Eesti Laul. You can read the newsletter in full here, or subscribe for a bi-weekly dose of Eurovision insight and analysis delivered direct to your email inbox.
Ask the ESC Insight Team…
Finally, in our monthly round-table question, the ESC Insight editorial team weighs in on their favourite – and least favourite – Eurovision themes and slogans from Contests past…
Lisa-Jayne Lewis I liked Eurovision 2008’s Confluence of Sound, as it reflected the geography of Belgrade on the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers and as a geography nerd it really pleased me that’s they had merged their geography into the theme. I don’t really have a least favourite, ‘All Aboard’ is going to have to grow on me between and now and then, at the moment I think it’s twee and naff, but I like the graphics so I’m hoping I’ll warm to it.
Ellie Chalkley I quite liked 2015’s ‘Building Bridges’ because they had an actual bridge. Themes which invoke specific imagery are always my preference over generic statements of values.
Samantha Ross I really appreciate when the culture of a country is somehow infused into the theme, so “Confluence of Sound” was always a nice one in my book, as it reflected Belgrade’s’s geography, and “Light Your Fire!”, as it not only depicted Azerbaijan’s “land of fire” image, but also brought in that feel-good aspect that many of these slogans try to introduce.
Least favorite? 2014’s #JoinUs. It just felt monolithic and vaguely intimidating, while still being very generic…heaven help you if you don’t “join us”…
John Lucas I’m also a big fan of ‘Confluence of Sound’. Not only was it a smart way to incorporate Serbia’s national culture, the paint effects in the postcards looked really cool and distinctive.
I also have a big soft spot for the deeply silly 2002 theme ‘A Modern Fairytale’ – particularly for how the Estonian hosts really doubled down on it with the postcards that portrayed slightly baffling recreations of classic fairytales. Ah, simpler times…
Least favourites? #JoinUs was a little basic, and like much of the 2007 contest, that year’s theme of ‘A True Fantasy‘ felt a little undercooked.
John Egan Kyiv 2005 (‘Awakening‘) captured perfectly where Ukraine was politically at the time. Combined with that year’s entry I was moved by it: shame their road to democracy continues to be a meandering one. Riga 2003 is my least favourite: always struck me as a lazy copy of Tallinn 2002, but executed poorly…like most of 2003 (the hosts being an exception).
Sharleen Wright Whilst I found the images rather naff, the concept of ‘Share the Moment‘ wasn’t lost on me in Oslo 2010. That was the first time Eurovision had a proper public village and atmosphere where fans and artists could mingle (and not just a club for some), and a lot of great moments were made – which is why it remains probably my favourite year of attendance as well.
You can stay up to date with all of the latest Eurovision news and analysis right here on ESC Insight. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Once more Ellie Chalkley gets behind the customs desk to welcome another visitor to the Île de Bezençon, judge their record selections, and ponder their luxury.
Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways, with Chris Halpin
This week we’re joined by Chris Halpin of Wiwibloggs fame, who regales us with tales of Mini Wogan, speaks up for rock at Eurovision and has big love for the Benelux region.
Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast as the new season gathers pace for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes (click to subscribe), and a direct RSS feed is also available (copy this link into your favourite podcast player where it asks for the feed address). We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.
The Lisbon Oceanarium which is located beside next year’s Eurovision Song Contest venue played host to RTP’s latest press conference on November 7th. Three big announcements were promised, and by the end of the presentation and the question and answer session that followed, a lot more detail about the 2018 Song Contest was confirmed.
Who’s Coming To Lisbon?
The EBU revealed that – as of now – 42 countries will be competing in May, with Russia returning from their absence in Kyiv 2017 and Macedonia not included in the official entry list due to the broadcaster being suspended from EBU activities due to outstanding payments (although the country will still be represented at this month’s Junior Eurovision). A similar issue forced Romania to sit out the Stockholm 2016, but at least the Macedonian broadcaster MRT has been given sufficient notice and had not chosen an entry, as happened with Romania.
In subsequent interviews, the EBU’s Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand indicated that discussions with MRT were ongoing, which suggests that if a solution can be reached Macedonia will compete in Lisbon after all. A final decision over the Macedonian entry is likely to be made early in the New Year, before the Semi Final allocation draw takes place.
Can I Be In The Audience?
The second piece of information that many who are planning to attend next year’s Song Contest were waiting for was news of the ticket sale. It was confirmed that tickets would be put on sale to the general public later this month, through the normal online sales process.
The exact date for the ticket sale has still to be confirmed.
OGAE, the long-established unofficial fan club of the Contest, has also been working with the organisers to arrange the traditional ticket packages for all the live shows and jury finals. It is believed that demand for these packages is the highest it has been for several years with the Irish branch of OGAE already confirming an increase of over 250 percent compared to the demand in 2017. The return of Russia and the proximity of the contest to Western Europe are also likely to drive a higher demand for tickets.
What To Look For
Most of the attention in the press conference focussed on the theme art, logo and slogan for the 2018 contest. As RTP had previously announced, there will be a nautical theme to the first Contest to be staged on Europe’s Atlantic coast. The slogan of “All Aboard” avoids a repeat of the accusations of misplaced political correctness that dogged 2017’s “Celebrate Diversity” although the blurb explaining the 2018 logo and slogan does refer to the Song Contest’s mission to demonstrate Europe’s musical diversity.
Eurovison 2018 logo card (EBU)
The logo with an aquatic theme designed by local artist Nicolau Tudela comes with one main design and twelve alternatives, reflecting the famous douze points, the apex of achievement at the Eurovision Song Contest. The variety of the images is supposedly associated with the diversity of the people who make up the Contest, as well as the diversity of songs, in a multicultural and multi-ethnic festival. These images will be rolled out on posters throughout Lisbon during the build-up to the contest and are to be used in the merchandise for the event.
It is also likely that they will be incorporated into the stage and television imagery in May, and the prominence of the seashell should be noted.
RTP did not disclose any of details of show itself at the press conference although there was a revelation that a broad net is being cast in the search for presenters and that candidates associated with rival broadcasters may be considered, but only those who are Portuguese.
Other information that was revealed in the press conference was that the Red Carpet event would become a Blue Carpet, in line with the aquatic theme. The location is outside the centre of Lisbon in the coastal area of Belém, The venue for this welcome event on May 6th is the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology) which opened in 2016. The stunning building which is covered in white ceramic was designed by British architect Amanda Levete and the white stone roof functions as a public park. However as it hugs the northern shoreline of the Tagus, it takes on a totally different colour scheme in the evening as the sunset is reflected on the building, turning it to a glorious golden colour.
The MAAT Centre, Lisbon, Portugal
The site of the Eurovision village was also confirmed and as expected the iconic downtown Praça do Comércio (Commercial Plaza) will be taken over by the Eurovision Song Contest from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th May. Events will take from 4pm to 11pm every day and on show nights it is planned that the Song Contest will be broadcast on big screens. This beautiful historic square is the perfect alternative for those unable to get tickets for the Arena. As of yet, the venue for the Euroclub and the Eurocafe have still to be finalised, although it is though that the Contest will be spread to locations throughout the city.
While not announced at the press conference, RTP has already started work on the postcards that will fill the slots between the songs. Portuguese Tourism has been brought on-board to select sites around the country that show off the diverse attractions of the country, especially highlighting the aquatic theme. As well as the Portuguese mainland, Madeira and the Azores, an island group in the mid-Atlantic are like to be showcased to television viewers.
As has happened in recent years, the EBU and various support services will be lending a helping hand to the host broadcaster. Once again, Swede Christer Björkman will be involved in elements of the staging and production, although RTP has made it clear that the shows will have a unique Portuguese flavour.
The fact that so much information about next year’s Eurovision Song Contest is already known is a testament to one of Europe’s most successful and long standing broadcasters. Lisbon 2018 is taking shape, six months before the shows begin.