Kryvyi Rih, UKRAINE – The Eurovision Song Contest is the annual event that unites. More than 160 million fans watch this significant music competition and the 2023 contest was no exception.
Eurovision 2024 is likely to contain some surprises. After a 30-year absence, Luxembourg has announced its return.
New Zealand briefly launched a campaign to join the contest, which may have been in jest, but it’s no joke to say that Australia might stop its participation streak.
For now, let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights.
Fans who tuned in watched the contest as it unfolded in Liverpool, England. Despite the tradition that the previous winner hosts the next contest, that couldn’t happen this time.
Because of the war in Ukraine, there was no possibility for the contest to spend an amazing week in Kyiv.
Despite the inconvenience, the show went on under the slogan, “United through music.”
The logo was a heart, the main colors were navy blue, magenta, and yellow.
This year, organizers introduced a new voting system.
In the semifinals, only tele-voters can cast ballots, while in the final there is the typical split between the professional jury and the viewers of 50/50.
Starting in 2023, voting opened up to viewers worldwide, even if they did not live in a competing country.
Ukrainian and British broadcasters worked together to produce the show. Ukrainian Julia Sanina co-hosted along with Graham Norton, Hannah Waddingham, and Alesha Dixon from the UK.
Nearly all the graphics had national symbols from Ukraine and the UK to show the bonds between the countries.
Even the thematic postcards shown before each act showed similar places in Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the homeland of the competing musician.
The whole show was fabulous. Ethnic vibes mixed with modern sound. Interval acts presented topics of unity, love, and hope.
An interesting fact is that the British government gave 3,000 tickets to Ukrainian refugees who had found new homes in Britain.
But who won the whole show?
The Nordics held the intrigue, as contestants from Finland, Sweden and Norway placed among the top finishers. In the end, with 583 points, Swedish singer Loreen won with her song “Tattoo.”
“Tattoo” is about an enduring love that will continue despite separation. Loreen used Berber cultural and ethereal tattoos to represent herself and her beliefs. She became the first woman to win the contest twice – her first achievement was with “Euphoria” in 2012.
But this year, fans openly accused her of rigging the whole voting process, which created a bit of a scandal.
It started with weird coincidences, including the fact that 2024 will be the 50th anniversary of Swedish band ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest, which brought them worldwide popularity.
Also, spectators piled on, accusing Loreen of musical plagiarism, claiming she took parts of songs from artists Mika Newton, Aerowings, and Adele.
Käärijä from Finland’s “CHA CHA CHA” was the favorite to win, from the public point of view. He received 376 points from the audience – more than Loreen – but that wasn’t enough to gain the Eurovision prize.
That’s because of the margin created by juries, and that’s why rumors spread about jury rigging.
It needs to be stated that each of them did an amazing job. We saw outstanding performances, heard clean vocals, and admired new ideas.
Israel captured the “Bronze” prize with Noa Kirel’s gorgeously choreographed song “Unicorn.”
Fourth place went to Italy, as Marco Megnoni melted everyone’s hearts with the song “Due Vite” (Two Lives).
Norwegian Alessandra won 5th place.
The Ukrainian band TVORCHI ended up right below the top five with a song about not giving up in the face of adversity.
Right before their performance, the members of TVORCHI discovered that their native city had been bombed. That is a life challenge that may have even impacted their performance
The Eurovision song contest is a bright event to light your inner star. I’m looking forward to the 2024 contest in Sweden. Stay tuned!
Vladlen Zaitsev is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.