Reader’s Editorial: The Big 5 Issue

 Editorial – About a week ago we got a mail by one of our reader’s, who criticized the status of the Big 5 in the Eurovision Song Contest. We asked him to write an editorial and he agreed. Here is thus the first reader editorial by JKF Irish! Tell us what you think in the comment section.


Imagine this…

Due to the financial constraints on UEFA it has been announced that Spain, France, England, Germany and Italy have been given automatic entry into the next European Football Championships finals themselves. It is believed the contest would not exist without their money. This means that the bottom five in the qualifying rounds that would have qualified under the old system will now lose their place to these big five.
The boards of the national Football Associations have expressed their gratitude to the big 5 for saving the economically endangered competition.
I know, it sounds stupid. There would be war in many European nations if this happened. No non big 5 country would sacrifice themselves just to let a bigger nation get an automatic place. Yes it would never happen in soccer but it has been happening in every Eurovision Song Contest since 2000. This is the year according to Wikipedia that the rules were changed to allow the then big 4 to automatically qualify.
As you realise you are reading a piece about the big 5 you may inwardly groan and think to yourself, “..yeah it is unfair…..but the Eurovision needs the money……and well it just wouldn’t feel right to not have them in the final…”. My aim with this editorial is to challenge the acceptance that there is about the existence of the big 5. I will use the three areas I’ve just mentioned.

“…yeah it is unfair…”

I think that everybody would generally accept this. Unfortunately I think us Eurovision fans seem to be too polite. Since a semi-final was first introduced in 2004 the big 5 countries have between them come 20th or worse 17 times. I believe that implies that on 17 occasions these big 5 countries would probably not have gotten through to the finals if they had fairly competed in a semi-final format. This then also blocked 17 other countries from being allowed to progress to the final. Perhaps your country failed to progress from a semi-final by a few points the year that a big 5 country came last in the final? All competing nations in the Eurovision deserve a fair and equal right to compete to win. There are no divine rights to entry in the Eurovision final, well there shouldn’t be.
One of the strange coincidences of the big 5 is that as I understand media coverage France and U.K. don’t like the Eurovision too much. For years the U.K.’s Terry Wogan scoffed at it, and his audience loved it. When they started to do badly they blamed the new eastern nations for block voting, ignoring that they were privileged with automatic qualification to the final. Surely the advantage is on the side of the big 5.

“…but the Eurovision needs the money..”

Recent years have seen the money spent on the production of the Eurovision sky rocket. Is this necessary? Has the huge stage and special effects improved the show? I believe no. Some acts look lost on the big stage and manage it poorly, such as The Netherlands in 2012. Also the special effects only really improve things if done creatively. Germany did a good job with this when they turned round the green room wall into the main hall. Otherwise they are just a smoke, wind and light show which adds nothing really.
The Guardian newspaper of 28th of May 2008 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/may/28/bbc.television) had an interesting article about the big 5. There was concern that these countries were being disadvantaged because of the success of eastern European countries. The EBU representative said that the scale of sponsorship the Eurovision attracts would supplement any loss of revenue from the big 5 pulling out. For some reason the discussions that were supposed to have been had at that time led to nothing. But it is extremely enlightening that the EBU itself has questioned the need for the big 5 money.
For ten years until Italy’s return the Eurovision somehow coped with just a big 4. Or maybe Italy’s contribution isn’t really that big. This would make you think that Italy were given the big 5 status as part of the package to secure their re-entry.
As for extra revenue sources for the competition that could be found. Why not have each song sponsored with the sponsors logo branded with the song. How about all countries being allowed to vote in both semi-finals, (which I think would be fairer anyway), and generating more revenue from televoting. Why not just increase the cost of televoting?
As for the fees paid to the EBU. Maybe these big 5 countries do carry an unfair burden. Perhaps there should be a standard entrance fee. If this meant that some countries couldn’t afford to compete some years well that would be a pity but understandable.
Perhaps only the countries that want to host the Eurovision should be asked to host it. The hosts could be decided years in advance via an Olympics type system. This would mean that only the countries who feel they can afford it would host it, reducing the need for an EBU bailout fund. So the fees needed to be paid to the EBU would go down, therefore eliminating the need for the big 5.
I genuinely believe that if the will was there to find new sources of funding such sources would be found. Is the real question, “Could the Eurovision survive without the big 5’s money”, or is it, “Why hasn’t the EBU broadened its scope for funding or looked at reducing the costs of the competition so as to create a level playing pitch for all”.

“…and well it wouldn’t feel right to not have them in the final…”

Who says that; those who are in the big 5 or those outside of the exclusive club? Yes these countries do all have distinguished histories in the Eurovision. Unfortunately it has to be said, “Well so what”. Surely Sweden can argue that on pedigree alone it has the right to automatic qualification?
The Guardian article that I mentioned earlier mentioned a BBC representative saying that it would be odd for them to broadcast the final if they were not in it. There was a response from the EBU saying that this is exactly the problem all the other non-big 5 broadcasters face. It has been suggested to me that one of the reasons for the big 5 is that Germany failed to qualify for the final in 1996. Is it really just a matter of pride for these countries? Are they bad losers? Is the EBU afraid to upset them? Do they have a problem accepting that in the new Europe they are not the centre of the universe anymore? Perhaps these questions are unfounded but I personally can’t help believe there is some truth to them.
Each individual has to decide where they stand on this, with justice and fairness or with insecure broadcasting companies who try to buy their way out of humiliation.
May I also make a plea for more openness from the EBU as to how the Eurovision is actually funded. Perhaps that may be sensitive information but when funding is given as the excuse for the big 5, well then transparency is essential.
Dropping the big 5 status wouldn’t be all bad for them. It could result in a reinvention of the contest in these countries. If they really just wanted to leave after continuous failure well then so be it. They could always come back. Italy did. If a country has lost heart in the Eurovision then they shouldn’t be expected to keep with it. Their negativity would drive everyone else down.

So that brings to an end my discourse on the subject. Thank you for reading, especially if you disagree with every word I said. As I said earlier my purpose is to challenge the passive acceptance there seems to be about the big 5 amongst Eurovision fans. Please do comment below if I succeeded to do this.

232 comments on “Reader’s Editorial: The Big 5 Issue

  1. it is so unfair for countries . for example imagen that if the big 5 was not working in 2012 the uk and france would not advance to final (both coming in bottom5 ), so it is unfair for switzerland and bulgaria coming 11 th both in semi 1 /2 who had better songs .

    • That is the fundamental point of what this editorial is all about. And it can not be ignored or said too often.

      • But then if you took the status away from the UK or Spain we and they would end up like Netherlands exactly like them. France, Germany and Italy though are likely to have more luck but not UK and Spain. And if they put this into action BBC would end up withdrawing they wouldnt want to waste a prime time slot on satuarday for eurovision without the UK . I would only be for this rule after 2015 when Scotland becomes inderpendent, and the UK likely breaks up into England, Scotland and Wales, im not sure if Nrothen Ireland would bother with entering eurovision. I dont think it would be fair to give automatic qualification to England but not Scotland and Wales in 2015 if this happend and it wouldnt make sense having all of the nations (Scotland, Wales and England) qualfied part of the UK.

        • I wouldn’t be so certain that the Scottish independency vote will succeed. This whole idea of being worried about the BBC. Why.? That is only a problem for the the UK. The ESC will continue with out them, though I know some disagree with this.

  2. I sincerley doubt it!!!!

  3. Good article and does challenge the the Big 5 debate. I agree on more transparency on the funding but then there is so little transparency with so many things in the world today I’m not surprised the cards are held so close to the chest.

    • Thanks for your complimentary reply. I guess if we look for more transperancy we are more likely to get it. I guess I’mm trying to moyivate people to action in various ways.

  4. Dear Eurovision Times – Am not sure if you know but the Irish viewing figures have now been released for this year’s contests.
    The first semi final on Tuesday featuring Jedward was 527,000 topping RTE 2′s rankings for that week, while the second semi final on Thursday was watched by 144,000 people ranking 5th for the week’s viewing figures.
    The Grand Final on the Saturday was watched by 724,000 people topping the rankings for RTE 1 for that week.
    Although down on last year’s viewing 15 year high figures, they are still very good for RTE (advertising revenue will have been very good for the station over the three shows) and prove once again that it was money well spent.

    • And if the big 5 was in the semis then they would have a bigger viewing figures in those contries to. And finally the ESC semi’s would have the significance they deserve. Having the big 5 in the semis would generate more potential revenue for the EBU. Surely they can see this. It just seems someone is preventing this from reaching the light of day. That’s my conspiricy theory anyway.

  5. This is a little offtopic, but UEFA already did something similar, do you remember England not qualifying in 2008 Euro?, well,UEFA then approved 24 qualifiers for the next Euro, in France, so it is almost impossible for a country like England, Germany or Italy no to qualify with this new format.

    I don´t think it is much of a problem having the Big 5 qualify to the final, after all money is the big issue in most events, and rating is what gives money for Eurovision. Maybe the EBU wasn´t as subtle as UEFA was.

    • I won’t bore everyone with repeating myself but money is probably not the issue and if it is there are ways to get around this and still preserve the integrety of the ESC as a competion. The question is is the EBU willing to force the big 5 into the semis if they don’t go quietly that is.

      • Why should the EBU force the BIG 5 into anything? It is not an independant organisation but an umbrella organisation pretty much controlled by the BIG 5’s broadcasters.

        • Because they are breaking the essential rule of fair play. Either you see that or you don’t. The EBU rightfully has rules which we are all forced to comply with. Unfortunitley the rule of fair competition, which I persume must be there somewhere, gets ignored when it suits them. So I ask why does it suit them? Why can’t people such as togravus not see beyond the comfort zone of staying as we are. As I siad 17 countries could have been in the ESC final only for the big five idea over recent years.

          You imply that the EBU is an insiders club. Are you happy with that? If not don’t you think it should be challenged.

          • You got me totally wrong. I do not support the BIG 5 rule but at the same time I am not naive enough to believe that the EBU will change anything when they are in fact controlled by the very broadcasters whose privileges you suggest to curtail. Unfortunately, what I am happy or unhappy with is of absoultely no consequence in this world, and thus I prefer to analyse and understand instead of turning into a 21st century Don Quixote.
            Btw, I would be very grateful if we could discuss things without becoming personal. Thanks a lot!

            • I’m sorry if I offended, that was not meant. I only mentioned your name as part of the group of people who do seem to support the big 5 idea. You have said I misunderstod your views, I appolagise for that also.

              You don’t seem to think there is much chance of change. Perhaps you are right but remember how suprsing it was when the 50% jury vote came back. Surely people power had some say in this?

              Anyway thanks for your comments in this discussion.

            • Yes, but the 50 % jury voting was introduced because the BIG 5 wanted this change. It was the same with the changes in the late 90s, when Germany threatened to withdraw unless televoting was introduced and the orchestra abolished.
              I may sound a bit cynical sometimes but once you have reached the age of 40 and have fought for so many honorable yet futile causes, that is probably the natural way for things to go. :(

              Anyway, I am simply dumbfounded if I meet people who expect fair play in ESC. Why should it be fair if we live in a world in which the obscenely rich become even more obscenely rich everyday (just by investing and speculating, sometimes even against the countries they live in, accumulating even more money by speculating on food products, a behaviour that leads to famine in the poor regions of our world …) whereas normal working people (even in rich Europe) struggle more and more to make ends meet …? Why, out of all things in this world, should ESC be a fair competition in this corrupted environment?

              Or on a lighter note, just look at the UEFA Champions’ League. Where is fair play there? The big leagues around Europe have 3 or even 4 teams there every season (guaranteeing the major clubs from Germany, Spain, England etc. their place in the CL year after year) whereas other countries never have a single team in the competition’s group phase. A rule like that makes the rich clubs / leagues even richer and the small ones even poorer. The gap is widening everywhere and the gloss and glitter our media bestow on the few lucky ones blinds most people with regard to the scandalous unfairness our culture of void celebrity and spectacle is based on.

              Oh my, I am turning into an angry old man. I hope that I will at least find my way back to being a grumpy old man. ;)

              Btw, apology accepted and no hard feelings. :)

            • I can apreciate your feelings about turning 40. I’m a 1971 child myself. To be honest I have very little interest in club soccer at any level, and being Irish I don’t get much chance to have international interest in soccer either. So I’m completly not qualified to comment on the champions league. I do have every reason to believe that cheating is allowed in soccer for other reasons.

              Was the 50% jury vote not also at least 50% supported by the general ESC fan base. Going from the constant discussion on it on forums like this that has always been my impression. Perhaps it is not an issue for me because I think the 50/50 split is right.As for the orchestra I personally think it should return optionally. I noticed this year many sellection finals did have orchestras. Any way that is another discussion. The point is that orchestras or not is not an issue of fairness and integrety and there are those in ESC fandom who probably prefer kariokee backing tracks are happy with the change.

              I’ve been told frequently you choose your battles carefully. I’m not fighting the whole world. I’ve just picked one crucial issue in one international contest which I happen to love. I do believe that public pressure in the ESC can affect change. It is a contest that is primarily in existance because people like us feel a sense of connection to it. Will this discussion achieve anything in itself? NO. but it might get others thinking and others remotivated to start discussing it.

              The big 5 idea is so totally wrong that I believe it merits the amount of time I’m putting into it this weekend. If a big enough noise is made it can change the minds of key people so lets make a big noise, a very big noise.

              You imply that the EBU is controlled by key countries. This may be so, so lets upset them a lot. Lets not just let them away with it.

            • The EBU does not care a flying rat’s fart about what the fans think. We are a totally irrelevant bunch of weirdos from their perspective.

              Speaking of choosing one’s battles wisely … you picked one of the least likely battles to win imho. Even if you campaigned for the Germans to give up eating pork and drinking beer, your chances would be better …

            • The next time I experience a flying rats fart I’l be sure to note it.

              Otherwise may The Flying Farts Strike Back.

              The Rebell Alliance Needs You

            • Im sure the BBC dont have that much interaction or control with the EBU it will mainly be the German and French Broadcasters more than anything and possibly some of the Scandanavian ones.

    • agree 100 %

  6. I dunno. I’m still divided by this idea of ‘no Big 5’ anymore.

    Maybe they should really cut down on the production costs. That way each country can contribute equal amounts. They need to revert back to what this contest is really for, the ‘song’ and not just a concert. The only country that should qualify straight towards the finals is the host country.

    I think the Big 5 is also at a big disadvantage since they only have 3 minutes to create a lasting impression for a chance to win while others who qualified for the semi-finals have more.

    • The 3 mins is a small disadvantage compared the huge advantage of automatic qualification. If it was a disadvantage I’m sure the big 5 would have noticed by now.

      • At least the country who got eliminated doesn’t need to pay a lot of money. That’s easy participation unlike Big 5. But in my opinion, production costs should be lowered.

  7. The tradition of the big five has been longlasting. Why the change now? We all have conspiracy theories over why certain counties do well, and why they vote in a certain way, but to ask a question, do you know how much each country contributes? With so much of Europe struggling, is it wise to start altering funding. The contest is paid for, its a huge event each year. Does it really matter?

    • Dare I state the obvious, (presuming you are from the UK), well you don’t have much to worry about. I know the big 5 rule is not your specific fault. Put yourself in the frame of mind of having to qualify from a semi final and I think you would see it differently. As I’ve said on 17 occasions so far countries have been probably elimentated indirectly by rhe big 5 rule.

      I believe funding is an issue and yes we do need to be sensitive to financial constraint so I believe increase sponsorship and decrease cost. Why is the EBU not doing this??

  8. also, JFK, do some research. Eurovision is one of the most watched shows in the uk year in year out. in the last three years we have tried new formats, not always good but we have tried. the UK has also hosted when other countries couldnt afford, so I would say, a place has been earned. If you dont like the way it is….. there is a solution. Dont watch it.

    • Yes your right the BBC has hosted it when others refused, and well done to them for that. If I remember rightly that was back in the 1970’s. How about Ireland hosting it 4 times in a 6 year period in the ’90’s. We all have done our bit. Do you think that a good deed for over 30 years ago deserves the continued gratitude of millions of people for eternity. And gratitude that disadvantages millions every year. That is how I understand your point.

      I wish the UK all the best with their selection process in the future.

      I have come to my own way expressing my disagreement with the big 5 idea but I haven’t let it destroy the whole competition for me. That would be admitting complete defeat.

  9. which bit do you not understand. the big five pay for it. without them….. no money… no contest.

  10. With out the Big 5 they will be no contest so people thins it wrong needs to get over it if want a contest there there is a Big 5 if Big 5 goes they pull out then make there own contest then there will be no Eurovision so people needs think about this carefully

    • Yes, that is what people keep repeating. But is that so? I would like to see how much eurovision costs, and how much each country contributes. Eurovision is a big show, but nothing extraordinary for these days. I don’t believe for one bit that the remaining countries are not able to pay for 7 hours of television.

    • Some people would perceive that as bullying. I don’t think anyone here intends that but it is the consequence of what is often said.

  11. JFK at least Big 5 TV stations are stable and RTE are in debt if i was EBU ill banned countries if there TV stations are in debt i think the tv stations should be stable for to enter Eurovision or whats the points of countries entering if they carnt afford to host it let me just pick one point of view never class Eurovision with Football it don’t mix

    • Because only the big 5 countries are the ones who can afford to host it? Maybe you should read the news a bit more and find out what countries have it difficult at the moment.

    • Sorry, but that is a very silly thing to say. Both ESC and football are part of Europe’s popular culture …

    • I just used the football analogy because it fited, it drew people in and it is very current. I agree with you in a way. I think ony countries who have the money to hjost the ESC should do so and be given more than 10 months to get it organised and financed. In theory I have no objections to a standardised fee to EBU for entry. I think it is down to each country to decide if they can afford entry. And could be a good way to manage the ever increasing numbers in the ESC. Though I would feel bad for countries who couldn’t afford to compete.

      The standardised fee would be as low as possible and offset by increased sposonsorship and reduced costs. Also if a country wants to host it you would expect that would imply that they can afford to put up maybe 80% of the direct costs.

  12. And another i dont want sound rude but you said bullying are you bullying the Big 5 about what you saying ?

    • I believe it would be better for them and for the ESC as awhole for them to take part in the semis. Perhaps I’m trying to apply pressure, yes. But when you consider the enormity of the task to reverse the big 5 rule I think my little protest is a very long way off bullying, but thanks for implying my protest is having some effect.

      • Here’s an idea. How about if the big 5 go in the semi-finals but they get extra points to start off with, say 20 points, 50 points, whatever? That way they would have every chance to qualify as long as their song was good enough to get a few more votes. If it wasn’t, then they wouldn’t qualify, and if the song was that bad they couldn’t really complain. So you get a mix of deserving to be in the final for putting money into it, and avoiding having rubbish songs going in the final.

        How about it?? Pros/cons/why or why not?

        • Well Big Momma. The 50 points would be way too much. It would practically garuntee them automatic qualification anyway. Although it would be a good way to graphically highlight the advantage they already have.

          It would be a half way house to getting the right sollution. It would be very imbarressing though if they still failled despite the bonus. Now would’t that be interesting?????

  13. Having the Big 5split into the semi final is a big mistake it would make it twice as hard for other countries to qualify to the final like Netherlands, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Slovakia. It would only probably kick out Spain and the UK continously out of the final, Italy, Germany and France have slightly more allies compared to us and Spain. If they stayed with only 10 countries qualifying from each final it would make it even more harder for those countries who struggle to make it to the final year after year, if they moved it to 12 it wouldnt have that much of a difference either, realy it would be best if there was three or four smei finals as the voting blocks would be weakend there would only be 2 countries in each semi from that particular block.

    • So now we’re back to the stop the eastern block, scurge of the big 5 idea. T
      Having the big five already in the final is a direct block to the other 38+ nations. I see no logic in your arguement. You are obviously from UK from reading your post. I detect what is most of concern to you is that you would not get into the final. I can aprciate that but that is the boat the rest of us are in. Come into the real world, the ESC is not just about the UK.

      It’s strange you give out about neighbour voting in one way and then look for it to suit you all the same.

      I agree that 12 from the semis + last years winner + the host, (if different) would be fine. This level playing pitch would benefit all, boosting the non-big 5 chances and improving the motivation for the big 5. Also it would make the contest more respectable in real terms.

      • Having the addition of the Big 5 in the semi final would make it even harder for other countries such as Netherlands, San Marino and Slovakia, if they stayed with the current 2 semi final format then it would be obvious each year who was going to miss out, they would more competion and a much more of a struggle for these countries who find it hard to get into the final as there will be between 20 to 22 in a semi final only half or just less would qualify, if they have the big 5 in the smei final then there should be four semi’s as this would weaken the block voting and encourage countires to vote for countries they wouldnt normaly vote for.

        • I don’t understand why you believe getting out of the semis would be harder for the smaller countries. It would mean 2 countries extra from one semi and 3 from the other.

          Automatic qualifiers would be hosts and last years winners, if different.

          I think the post of Scott is confusing to say the least.

  14. Wow, 132 comments for this article! Is it a record for this site or what? :)

    Personally, I don’t mind the big 5 status that much; who knows, maybe it doesn’t bother me anymore after all these years.
    But objectively speaking and if we want to put it on its’ real basis, the Eurovision Song Contest is a …CONTEST. Which literally means that competition is involved; and if competition is involved, then all parts should compete on same grounds and under the same rules. Favouritism has no place in a competition imho.

    PS: Where are those “Eurovision through the years” series? Can’t wait for the next one!!! ;) :)

    • Interesting thast you disagree with the big 5 idea, but have just gotten use to it. I would say the vast majority of people are in this camp. Just think what it is people are getting use to. Blatant cheating. My aspiration has been stir people out of their complacency and motivate even this small group of people for change.

      • By the way skgambassadortoesc I accept a large amount of the posts arfe from me. I have done my best to respond to most posts. I will probably only get this chance once and so this is my Capre Deium time.

        I know some of my posts haven’t been great with poor spelling etc but sure I’ve stuck with it.

        • JFK, I see your point. By “132 comments for this article!” I only wanted to point out the large number of the comments on this article ;)
          And your posts are just fine, no worries :)

  15. should be four semi finals with 11 countries in each with a total of 44 countries participating (Poland returning and liechtenstine debuting), with 5 countries qualiying from each semi final. so 5×4=20 plus host country would equal 21 participatns in the final. This would be a better process as it would mean countries like Netherlands would have more of a chance getting into the final, as theres usualy a similar amount of countries in the JESC, where they often finish close to the top 5.

    • Interesting idea. Would it not be very expensive for the host country and drawn out. Also you can never garuntee having enough countries for 4 semi finals.

      At least its fair.

      • not if they chose a smaller arena and made the format and scale similar to the JESC, if there wasnt enough countries that year they would just have to go to 3 semi finals, as long as there is 11 countries the current voting procedure would work.

  16. There is a question whats not been answered who do countries like Ireland and Greece enter if they carnt afford to host so whats the point in entering ? Why Should the Big 5 pay more for other countries to pay less i think this why such has Ireland and Greece are tacking if wasent for the Big 5 Ireland and Greece would not be in Eurovision because of the money

    • It is the reality that in most contests, people and countries that are better off have an advantage as to whether they can enter in the first place, and then whether they can win. BUT this takes away from the contest. Or maybe it should be called an exhibition and not a contest??

      Depending on how things pan out financially across Europe it could end up that relatively few countries across Europe could afford to host the ESC in its present form. What then? A contest like it is now among a small number of countries? Or a smaller scale contest that is accessible to a larger number of countries? I’d prefer to have more countries able to enter and compete. Much more interesting that way.

      To take an analogy for the debate(?) between keeping ESC as is or slimming it down to keep up participation: If for some imaginary reason there was only to be one car brand available and we had a debate should it be Mercedes or Volkswagen – Mercs are nice and whoever can buy them would want to be able to buy them, but many people wouldn’t be able to so would end up with no car. You can imagine the debate at least and depending on your view of human nature, the outcome. I know it’s not a perfect analogy but hopefully illustrates the point a bit.

      Also this is assuming that whoever wins hosts. If that means that countries have to drop out on any kind of regular basis, then that’s a good reason to change the rule. Yes it is tradition but there are a lot of ESC traditions that have evolved down the years when there was a good reason, eg the introduction of televoting and the language rules.

    • What’s the point in entering? Well, it is a moto of our culture here in Greece for some thousands of years now, that: participating in a contest is much more important than actually winning it.
      And who told you that the big 5 pay for the participation of countries like Greece or Ireland? If Greece has the money to participate they will; if they don’t, which for next year is highly likely, they won’t.
      To cut a long story short, your “argumentation” is rather weak; I would say it is offending too, but since I’m a nice guy, I won’t ;) :)

      • But realistically Greece could not afford the Greek Broadcaster like the Greek goverment got its priorities wrong, Greece is in a worst financial situation compared to say Slovakia, Latvia or Lithuania but still they intend to participate regardless, the money could have being put to a better cause in Greece especially when there is a serious financial crisis in that country, any other country like Andorra for example would choose to miss out that year if they couldnt afford and thats what Greece should have done instead of wasting its money.

    • Sorry but I don’t understand your point. Are you saying that because you believe we couldn’t afford to host the ESC we send entrys that haven’t a hope of winning???? You are persuming the ESC needs to be a Baku style spendfest.

      I have said frequently that I have no problem with standardised fees to the EBU. However it should be kept as low as possible by increased sponsorship and decreased cost.

      Why have I got a headache???? HA!!

  17. What do we get back in return a slap in the face thats what the Big 5 get

  18. Well im sorry if i offended anyone if you want us in semi finals then we should pull our money out then

    • I’m sorry for your trouble, but if any country wants to withdraw for any reason so be it.

      Go in peace, and if you wish to return your more than welcome.

  19. JESC works well without them even participating (as long as there’s enough paricipating countries (aka 11) but that’s another problem). So the Big 5 is pointless . Period.

  20. What I am mainly for in improving eurovision, is trying to imrpove the chances of underperforming countries qualifying year in year out if the semi final format was smaller with less competion it would be possible. I suppose having the UK compete on a small scale semi final would be interestng to see becuase we wouldnt have participated on something on that scale since the JESC back in 2005 to 2003, it be interesting to see what the results would be especialy if the semi finals are smaller.

  21. Before this discussion goes off the map entirely I just wanted to thank all those who participated.

    As you may guess I am passionatley against the big 5 idea, in every possible way imaginable. My hope is that those who have read this or even commented on it will be in some way more informed than before and less complient with it. Of course if this discussion convinced you even more of the big 5’s right to exist well boo hoo to me. We will live to fight another day.

    In a recent interview by Julian Vignoles head of the Irish delegation and former member of the EBU referent group on the ESC, he implied there isn’t much outcry against the big. Though he did seem to hold his breath when he said it. So the thing to do is to make that out cry to your national head of delegation. Make a loud enonough noise and ….. ????? Also Julian did say about the ESC having to reach a more sustainable size of production so everyone could afford to do it. Julians description of how the reference group works seems to be a fairly democratic and open free flowing ideas tank. If that is true and it is not just a group at the bidding of powerful broadcasters well then there is a chance for change. So if you love the ESC and hate seeing it treated in such a cavalier fashion by the big 5 broadcasters well then speak up.

    You can do it. So try!!!!!!!

    Again thank you for such a big response to this dicussion.

  22. What people dont get is that the Big 5 pays more money and keeps Eurovision going so if you saying do with out them then sorry but there will be no Eurovision so get used it if not dont bother watching it it’s another excuse moan at them wait while 2013 songs comes out your all still moan and JFK great article i love the debate but you are been quite political about it now dont why people can enjoy the music

    • Sorry I didn’t quite unferstand all you said Bradley. I believe you are making the ecconomics arguement. My reply is as before:

      Reduced costs + Increased Sponsorship = less if any need for the big 5

      Why hasn’t the EBU taken this step. If that is being political so be it. There has been alot of political debate on both sides of this discussion.

      Thanks for replying

  23. I disagree 95 % with this article. The only valid point is that the funding sources could be more transparent. Other than that currently the big 5 hold this event as it is. Countries that have suffered many (undeserved in most cases) failures continue to be the major contributors to the event. My opinion is that thu should be somehow rewarded. Not to mention that this is a guaranteed way to have some balance between western and eastern Europe in the final. Had this rule not been active especially in the televoting era we could end up in a final with no western or central european countries in it (of course that wouldn’t have to do with the song). The main difference with a sports event is that in such an event there is no such unfair variables. The one that has the best performance will win. It is fair and justice is served since it perfectly balances the unfairness of the voting itself. When televoters decide to become objective we may discuss this issue again.

    • Thereal big counties IMO in the contest are : Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Azerbaijan, Armenia. An occasional failure is as much valid as a statistical fact as an occasional big 5 success. These are the countries IMO that enjoy all the unfair privileges.

      • Guitaristbl I would be very interested in any justification you can give of your belief that Armenia who didn’t participate this year is one of the real big 5. As for the other 4????? Any facts about this welcome.

    • So you think the big 5 deserve automatic qualification because of how much they pay, and also as a compensation for poor performance results. You also want the big 5 there to prevent the new countries from taking over. You also speak about fairness, that the big 5 keeps a ballance between those who have block voters and those who don’t. I think it is fair to say the big 5 nations don’t have block voters.

      As regards pay, as I’ve stated numerous time in this discussion have a standard entrence fee kept as low as possible etc. There are numerous ways to get around the payment issue if people bother to look.

      Also you feel you should be compensated for poor results. So then give automatic qualification to those who fail to get out of the semis. That is the natural consequence of your words.

      What is wrong with any group of nations winning? It is only wrong if they cheated in some fashion. The limited block voting that exists is not cheating. Where as the big is.
      I like with you, was not that much in favour of 100% tellevoting but it is gone now. The present regieme makes it easier for better quallity songs to win. If you look at the voting patterns in recent years you will see no one wins or looses purely on the basis of block voting. It only makes a difference in the middle positions.

  24. JFK how would you feel if Ireland Russia Azerbaijan Romania Greece if there where the Big what would you say then ?

    • Firstly it is J K F, lots of people have got that wrong. You ask a fair question. I can only persume I would be embarrassed with Ireland doing this. I would hope I would be as passionate against it as I am now. I believe there are those in the present big 5 who are against it aswell.

      Do you think that being a member of the big 5 should automaticly determine how you feel about it?

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