Earlier today an EBU announcement gave the impression that the Big5 plus host country were to perform in the semi-finals of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It however appears that they will only rehearse in the dress rehearsals for semi-finals and clips from that will be shown in the shows.
It is a never ending topic, the Big5 and their guaranteed spots in the final. Many wants them to compete on equal terms, and for those the new change can be seen as a step in that direction.
What will change:
According to official site Eurovision.tv the Big5 countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France and Italy) and host country would now not only be shown as a video clip in the semi-finals. They were to perform their songs in the semi-final in which they have been allocated to vote. This change means that theses countries will also be a part of the dress rehearsals for the semi-finals, and as such they are getting more stage time.
In order for the Big5 countries to appear in the semi-finals they will have to arrive earlier to the host city, although not yet staying the two weeks which is the case for the countries allocated in the first semi-final.
With this change we will see three performances more in each semi-final and as such we’ll probably not see any actual interval acts in the two semi-finals.
Later in the day host broadcaster SVT however said that they would not be performing in the semi-finals. They will appear in the dress rehearsals for the semi-finals, but not the actual shows. In the dress rehearsal they will perform as they will in the grand final, and clips from this rehearsal will be shown in the two semi-finals.
The Big5 story:
In 2004 four countries were given the right to participate each year, and didn’t risk losing their spot due to previous results as was the case with the other participants. With the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 these four countries which was United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France was granted an automatic spot in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest together with host country. When Italy re-joined the contest in 2011, Big4 became Big5 as Italy too didn’t have to go via a semi-final to make it to the final.
The format with the many automatically qualified countries is constantly at discussion as many find it unfair that no matter the quality of their entry these countries will never face not making it. It has been hinted by many that the quality of the entries from these countries would improve if they risked leaving after the semi-finals, which is the case for the other participating countries.
Lately Big5 + host country has generally not scored very well and it shall be interesting to see if this change will improve their results. Time will also tell whether this is a step in the direction of removing their special status or not.
The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Stockholm, Sweden with the two semi-finals on the 10th and 12th of May and the grand final on the 14th. Sweden as host country will join Big5 and be automatically qualified for the final. This is due to their victory in the 2015 contest. Their winning entry you can see in the video below: