37 countries are competing for the win during this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but we have only seen 31 in the semifinals. Italy, France, Germany (photo), the United Kingdom and Spain are already through to the final by default. Why is that anyway?
The Big Five these countries are also called. Where most countries have to fight hard for one of the 26 places in the final, the Spaniards and French, among others, continue whistling through to that much-wanted place. The answer to the question why is actually very simple: money.
The Netherlands was in the first semi-final this year, in which Mia & Dion did not collect enough points to take the stage again tonight. To be able to participate and broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest, the Netherlands is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It is paid for and quite a bit. But in the UK and Germany they pay even more. And that gives them a guarantee.
When the semi-final was introduced in 2004, it was decided that the countries that pay the most money to the EBU would automatically advance to the final. Then there were only four countries, but when Italy decided to participate again in 2011 (the country left the festival in 1997) it joined this exclusive group. Exactly how much money is involved has never been officially disclosed. That is estimated the big five pay almost five times as much to the EBU as the other countries.
It’s not the only way to automatically advance to the final. The country that won the Eurovision Song Contest the year before always gets a place in the final. For example, Jeangu Macrooy did not have to struggle through the semi-finals in 2021. Because Ukraine is the last winner, they are also automatically through this year. So TVORCHI didn’t have to compete for a spot on tonight’s show.
It is only very recently that we still see something of the live performances of the finalists, before the final. In previous years, we saw part of the artist’s clip or a so-called postcard (in which each country is presented), but since 2016 we have already seen part of a live performance by the finalists.
As with many things, there are advantages and disadvantages to being automatically through to the finals. Unlike the semi-finalists, we don’t see a whole performance and so the picture is of the big five still vague for many people when the final starts. At the same time, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing: Italy also won in Rotterdam, while we only saw Maneskin’s full performance on the final day. Still, you can say on the basis of figures that it might be smarter to just compete in that semi-final: since its introduction in 2000, Spain, the United Kingdom and France have not won.
Source: NU by www.nu.nl.
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