Eurovision Song Contest 2024: Are there changes afoot for Eurovision voting as Sweden plays host?
The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest at Malmö Arena, Sweden looks to implement some changes to the competition.
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If shops are already selling Halloween and Christmas items, then when is it too early to start talking about another big moment in the annual calendar - the Eurovision Song Contest? With 2024 set to take place in Sweden, by virtue of Loreen winning this year’s event, there already looks to be some changes to add some equity to the event.
The first discussions on some of the changes looking to be implemented at the next event took place at the annual Eurovision Song Contest Workshop, held at the Meistersaal in Berlin, Germany, on 12 September 2023.
Change so far looks to include a draw conducted to determine which semi-final each participating country will be assigned to in the Eurovision Song Contest. The allocation process involves grouping semi-finalists into different sets, taking into account past voting trends.
This aims to minimize the likelihood of "bloc voting" and adds an element of suspense to the semi-finals. Additionally, the draw decides in which semi-final the automatic qualifiers, including the host country Sweden and the "Big Five" countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom), will participate and broadcast their votes.
The ceremony for this draw is anticipated to take place in January 024, where there will be a symbolic transfer of the host city's insignia from the mayor (or equivalent representative) of the previous host city, such as Andrew Lewis, the chief executive of Liverpool City Council, to the mayor of the upcoming host city, like Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, who serves as the commissioner of Malmö Municipality.
Changes to the voting system
Following the 2023 contest, where Sweden emerged as the winner despite Finland's televoting lead, controversy arose among the audience. In response, Norway's NRK broadcaster initiated discussions with the EBU about potential revisions to the jury voting procedure.
Notably, Norwegian entries had faced unfavourable outcomes with the juries in recent years, notably in 2019 and 2023, where they finished sixth and fifth overall, respectively, despite securing first and third place in the televoting.
In an interview, Stig Karlsen, the Norwegian head of delegation, raised the possibility of reducing the jury's influence on the final score. The proposed adjustments range from lowering the jury's share from the current 49.4% to either 40% or 30%. Official announcements regarding any changes to the voting system are expected to be made in January 2024.
Meanwhile, at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August 2023, Jean-Philip de Tender, the EBU's deputy director-general, contemplated the idea of prohibiting AI-generated content from the contest. The aim is to safeguard the role of human creativity, with de Tender emphasizing that "creativity should emanate from humans rather than machines."
When is the Eurovision Song Contest 2024?
The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 will take place in the Malmö Arena on Saturday 11 May with Semi-Finals on Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 May. Broadcast times will be confirmed closer to the Semi-Finals in 2024.