Michael Rice! Once again, the BBC programme Eurovision: You Decide asked viewers to vote on 8th February 2019 for who they thought should be the UK’s entry at the Eurovision Song Contest and we chose 21-year-old Michael, a former All Together Now winner and X Factor contestant.
Well, Eurovision isn’t strictly geographic. The contest is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is made up of various broadcasters from countries across Europe and beyond. The BBC is a member of the EBU, as is RTE in Ireland, Rai in Italy, SVT in Sweden and so on. There are 73 member stations from more than 56 countries, including Israel, and they’re entitled to send acts to Eurovision if they wish.
Israel’s been a member of the EBU for decades and won the Eurovision a grand total of four times.
Dana International’s victory in 1998 remains one of their most famous Eurovision wins.
Eurovision was originally judged by juries before being opened to the public for a tele vote but when people started getting worked up about political Bloc Voting (the idea that countries in Eastern Europe were all just voting for their friends and neighbours) they introduced a new dual system.
The juries from each country (made up of five music industry professionals) award 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to their favourite songs, and reveal those jury scores through their national spokesperson in the usual time-consuming yet exciting way.
Viewers from each country also vote via phone or SMS, awarding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to their favourite songs. Then, all the results from each country’s public votes are combined to give one overall Eurovision viewer score per song.
Spokespersons from each country read out the jury results – those all-important douze points – during the live show.
Then the Eurovision presenters read out the results of the European televote – or public vote – in ascending order, beginning with the country that received the lowest number of televotes – public votes – and finishing with the country that received the highest.
Viewers in all the competing countries – including those who were knocked out in the semi-finals – can vote up to 20 times for the songs of their choice, but they can’t vote for their own country.
The country with the highest number of votes wins the competition and gets to host it the next year.
Who is performing at the interval in Eurovision 2019?
After organisers cast doubt earlier in the week, pop icon Madonna has been confirmed to take the stage after all 26 competitors perform.
She’ll perform two songs during the show’s interval: 1989 hit Like A Prayer and new single Future (featuring US rapper Quavo).
Also performing is magician Lior Suchard, Israel’s answer to Derren Brown. We’ve got no idea why either.
Master Mentalist @LiorSuchard will be a special guest star at this year's Eurovision Grand Final.
“After all countries have performed, viewers will be invited to vote for their favourite act/s.
Voting is by telephone only. Voters in the UK can choose either to call from their landline using the long (11-digit) number for the country of their choice or from their mobile phones using the shortcode (7-digit) number for the country of their choice.
Please note that callers from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man should call from their landlines using the long (11-digit) number to avoid higher mobile charges, as the short (7-digit) numbers are not available in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for reasons outside of the BBC’s control.”
The numbers to be used will be given during the programmes.
Why isn’t Bulgaria competing in Eurovision 2019?
Although the country has performed well in recent competitions, achieving a second and fourth place finish in the past three years, Bulgaria will be absent from Eurovision 2019.
According to a statement released by the country’s national public broadcaster BNT, this is due to “financial reasons”.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT | 15 OCTOBER | Sofia, Bulgaria We are sad to announce that Bulgaria withdraws from #Eurovision. The decision is based on financial reasons because the costs of the project far exceed the financial capacity of BNT according to the Management of the broadcaster
Ukraine were due to send an act to the 2019 contest in Israel, with Maruv winning a national contest. But after topping the vote, she stepped down due to a failure to agree with the national broadcaster on what she deemed to be a restrictive contract. “I am a musician, rather than a tool of the political stage,” she said. The second- and third-placed acts were then approached to take her place but both declined, leading Ukraine to pull out of this year’s contest altogether.