image credit: Corinne Cumming / EBU
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 is over, and with Sweden winning (congratulations to Loreen!) normality has been re-established after last year‘s exceptional result following (and causing) this year‘s exceptional hosting situation. Okay, I had about 20 countries that I would rather have wanted to host the contest in 2024 than Sweden, but the song absolutely deserved this position considering the overall low value of this year‘s line-up.
The United Kingdom produced a decent show which wasn’t as flawless as some thought, as the sound mix was really abysmal throughout all of the shows, the scoreboard wasn‘t visible for long enough during each jury, and ad break fillers as well as interval acts were all mediocre at best.
This much about ESC 2023, now let me share my three wishes for the future.
1. Restrict pre-recorded vocals again
With a Swedish supervisor and Sweden hosting, this is not going to happen, but it‘s still my #1 wish. More acts have abused this rule in order to semi-fake lead vocals, compared to acts who profited from it from an artistical point of view. While I absolutely understand the need to allow synthesized vocals for artistical reasons (taking Denmark as an example here), there should be a ban on using whole choirs and anything that turns the lead vocals into fake vocals (especially Ireland, I‘m looking at you). But I understand that it’s difficult to define and draw the line. And again, with Sweden in a double power position, nothing will change to the better here, unless they really surprise me.
2. More cultural flavour
Apart from some British songs, last night‘s show could have been hosted anywhere. It‘s unfortunately a trend of recent years to be very frugal with the use of local cultural flavour in the Eurovision shows, making the event feel very generic and characterless – but the exceptional hosting situation was also a factor here, so we can‘t really take this year as an example. But for the future: We‘re (also) here to celebrate European culture, so: more of that, please. And this also applies to the way the hosts say hi to the spokespersons. Last night, we heard Buonasera, Guten Abend, and maybe a few others, but most spokespersons were greeted in English. I prefer hearing more, ideally all languages of the participating countries. It’s a matter of respect, tradition and togetherness. So that contributes my 2nd wish for next year: More cultural flavour.
3. Don‘t mess up Eurovision even further
I‘m a bit scared about next year, when looking back at the last times that Sweden hosted. In 2013, they abolished the random draw, and in 2016, they deformed the once iconic voting sequence by introducing the split voting presentation. Some like it, I never warmed to it. Swedes, I know you‘re always overeager to change the contest, but please don‘t deform Eurovision even further. I‘m afraid you will. So that‘s my last and maybe most important wish, considering the “dangerous” combination of a Swedish supervisor and Sweden as host country.
And that‘s probably all I have to say about ESC 2023!
The spark didn‘t fully hit me this year, but I‘m looking forward to the new national final season. Whether I can also look forward to the new Eurovision Song Contest, that‘s in the hands of the Swedes now. We‘ll see.
Happy off-season everyone!