Eurovision 2013: Running Order Rule Change Controversy

Eurovision fans reacted strongly yesterday as new rules were announced for choosing the running order of the songs in Malmö 2013. Twenty four hours on and the debate is still underway with many Eurovision fans angry that Producers could get to ‘fix’ the show. Read what the new rules are and have your say here… Previously the running order was chosen by a draw. This will now change. The contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, decided that the producers of the TV show can decide the running order and this decision has been approved by the Television Committee of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). announced the new process, which will take place in three steps:

  • As before, the countries that perform in the Semi-Finals will be determined by the Semi-Final Allocation Draw. This draw will traditionally take place in late January. Countries are being divided into pots based on historical voting patterns, the draw will then determine which country is represented in which Semi-Final;
  • Different from previous years, the producers of the show will determine the exact running order of the Semi-Finals;
  • The running order for the Final will be determined the same way. The producers of the show will determine the exact running order. Only the starting position of the host country (Sweden) will be determined by draw.

It has already been decided, for logistical reasons, that Norway and Denmark will be in separate semi-finals due to the numbers of fans wanting to attend from these two neighbouring countries.

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, has justified the change by saying it will make more exciting TV, and prevent similar style songs all coming together in the running order.

Fans seem split on the idea. Comments left on in favour of the change include:

“Well done SVT. It’s bout time we had a diverse and entertaining show that had narrative to watch. I don’t know why everyone is so worried. Sweden AND SVT know exactly what they are doing when it comes to Eurovision.”

“I still don’t get all the hoo-hah about this from everybody. stated that “this draw will traditionally take place in late January”. We STILL won’t even know who’s the favourites to win by then!”

“Do people actually believe that the running order matters?? Loreen performed as number 11 in the semi-final and 17 in the final. I don’t find it to be an advantage. If a song is good, then it’s good. If a song sucks then it doesn’t matter if it starts as number 26!”

Those against say:

“These kind of brilliant ideas are the ones that keep Eurovision a big joke. Voting is already highly politicised, so why give way to more subjectivity, more doubts, less credibility?”

“The show doesn’t need more viewers. It needs a strategy to make it respected in the music business.”

“The random order is one of the core values of the ESC, you cannot just scrap it away! This is a basic element of the contest!”

“The randomness is part of the beauty of the contest. How are they going to be able to explain who gets to sing #1 and who gets to sing on #22?”

So what do you think of the changes? Will it make a great TV show? Or will the contest be irreparably damaged if there are accusations of unfairness, or, even worse, bribery? Vote in our poll and leave your comments.

32 thoughts on “Eurovision 2013: Running Order Rule Change Controversy

  1. Idiotic rule – imagine Azerbaijan wins again, they will give Turkey the best spot they can find. And Greece will certainly do everything not to offend Cyprus. Same can be said about Romania or Moldova winning. Now imagine Belarus and Iceland will be the favorites to win in 2013. Who do you think will get the best draw? BTW, in 2011 if Azerbaijan and Sweden would switch places, Eric Saade could win and it would have been Malmo 2012, not 2013. But the luck was on Azerbaijani side, whether you like it or not and nobody can blame anyone. Now if a country gets a bad draw, they can find somebody else to blame, justifiably or not. Probably many people will not like this rule and some countries may even withdraw.

    • Are you serious?! It does not matter which starting number the songs have and I seriously doubt that Sweden would have won 2011 instead of Azerbaijan if they had switched positions! Its the songs that matters and how good they are and if the host country chooses the positions the chance of having three ballads or three pop songs in a row will be gone. Then you can better distinguish the genres, songs and as a result not get bored of the show and mayby not miss out on a good ballad just because its in the middle of many other similary songs. Also the show will be better rehearsed, have a better flow and it will feel more like every presentation of the songs sticks together from the start to the end. This is overall a little change that will make this program much better!

  2. It doesn’t sound very fair to me.
    In any case, I think that the EBU should be worried about other, more important issues, the predictable voting patterns f.e., than how and where to allocate the entries.

  3. This change will not bring anything good. ESC is already faced as a bit of a joke by too many on account of the farcical voting process. This move will most probably only boost that view. The random draw is necessary to give the show some kind of credibility. What criteria will be set? Isn’t the same method used by the glittering, glossy and hollow MF? What next? Pre-recorded backing vocals? 15 people allowed on stage per act!? All for the sake of a more spectacular and interesting show? For whom? Oh my god, I want to wave flags, I want to scream, I am going to faint with excitement, yeeeaahh!!!!! LOL This does not bode well. I think that some countries may just leave the show. I hope not.

  4. i don’t really like the idea.Watching the draw for the running order is part of the fun plus it’s not fair although i see they are just trying to make the show more exciting.


  5. Suppose there are 2 ballads. The producers have to allocate one of these ballads at second spot. The other ballad at 22th spot. Good luck with that.
    And it is ridiculous that Norway and Denmark are drawn already. The only reason is ticket sales, so a commercial reason. Corruption at it’s worst. And that in Sweden, a country that portrays itself as advanced, transparent, etc.

    • Probably that will force another countries who are always boring and old fashioned to do smth and improve my country Serbia for example, Portugal, Albania, Greece, Spain, Armenia..but we will see..

      • your country is fine dont know what your talking about, they persistently send quality each year, well appart from 2009 novelty act.

  6. They forget several things :
    -running order don’t apply to diaspora/huge block countries (and Sweden is one, it’s not because it’s a fan-wanked country that it changes anything, even Italy and Poland are one but they are neutral countries when it comes to ESC because Italian and Polish diaspora don’t care that much (huge difference))
    -The impact of the running order have been statistically proved
    -JESC is not an example, and if it is then it’s OK to screw the BIG 5, something they obviously don’t want ironically.
    And I could further but it’s rather pointless, we already knew Eurovision 2013 would suck, even before that change of rule.

  7. I’m against ! We all know that running order DOES matter so leave this matter to be decided by fate/luck…I already feel sorry for the countries that will have to occupy the first spots…This contest is becoming more and more unfair and it is all about MONEY ! Welcome Paris/Copenhagen 2014 !

  8. I’m 90% against the producer draw but for example in Düsseldorf when Hungary, Estonia, Sweden and Ireland sang back to back in the beginning of the show I thought that it would’ve been better for the contest had they been spread across the final, just an example I thougth of, there’s possibly others. I say let’s see how it goes in Malmö, it could be a good idea. Interesting to see who they’re gonna put in the 2nd spot:-)

  9. insulting way to control the results, but at least it’s transparent, unlike the supposed conspiracies of juries… yes juries are incompetent in most cases but that doesnt mean they’re used by the EBU to control the winner (else Italy would have won esc 2011) but when EBU wants to control the votes, they openly say it and ask for our benediction… well they wont have mine, sucky dumb stupid rule, hate it with a passion, even in “french idol” and xfactor type shows the running order is made by draw!

    • Maybe they wanted Italy to rank 2nd back in 2011 and not as a winner…I mean , eventhough I love “Madness of Love” , I dont think EBU would have liked a winner that scored 11th in televoting…Of course they could have boosted it even more by juries to rank 1st overall but I don’t think they really wanted Italy to win.A second place though would be a fair enough ranking and a generous welcome back in order to enhance Italy’s interest back…

      • the whole idea behind a juries’ conspiracy is stupid: im not saying there isnt corruption or even incompetence but a general conspiracy is ludicrous… we live in a world where people see conspiracies everywhere but without hardcore proof it’s just moronic blindness that runs from actual analysis and argumentation… on the other hand, the idea that without any control the hosts will decide the running order is not “conspiracy” it’s openly stating they want to have a personal impact on the results, obviously if they controled juries and results already no need to openly state something that would (and indeed did) put the full eurovision fan communities against them!

      • I think they knew that Italy would not go down too well with the public that is why they had no problem to put them first with a high but not incredibly high (>300) amount of points.

  10. Look, whichever country is put near the beginning will start frantically protesting that it’s unfair but at the end of the day, if your song is good, then it will win. Eric Saade performed 7th in 2011. He came 3rd. Denmark performed 2nd in 2011. They came 5th. It will definitely help the contest run smoother and prevent any back-to-back ballad horrors etc. The ONLY thing that will get on my nerves is if they start doing what the juries do and put the countries they think are likely to do well with diaspora voting at the beginning cos that IS unfair!!
    We will just have to see…

    • Wait till you see Norway and Denmark performing towards the end during the 2013 semis…( in order to enhance the possibility of them getting through the Final – Most probably Sweden’s neighbours will be the first to buy a ticket for the final of an event that is so close to them ! )
      And dont be surprised to see the usual televoting suspects ( Russia , Turkey etc ) occupying the not so “voting friendly” spots.That wouldn’t surprise me at all ! If you dont want to spread conspiracy theories dont create any from the beginning.Leave the sequence draw as it is…There’s already enough suspicion around the results and the way these unknonwn ( in most cases ) juries vote…

      • The production team should be prepared that no matter what, countries will accuse them of prejudice. When Denmark will be allocated 2nd spot or right before or after a huge favorite, Denmark will complain that they are unfair treated because they are Sweden’s neighbor. When Denmark will be allocated 23nd spot or right before or after a dull song, then all other countries will accuse Sweden of favoritism. This is such a huge can of worms. Why are people in charge so capable of making stupid decisions?

    • that is perfectly fair, as those countries have allready an unfair advantage with the voting as it is, why is it fair weaker ESC counries get poor starting positions either at the start or in the middle of the semi final, so they can be forgoten about even more, its time countries like San Marino, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and Switzerland had better performing positions, they will have a better chance of standing out then compared to the usaul qualifyers each year, its time the finals became more of a mx of countries instead of the same ones each time its geting rather boring for me now.

  11. sounds good in theory, especially if you arrange the draw according to fan polls, the bookmakers, and countries that really deserve to have a better position like Portugal or San Marino.
    But they will make use of it, i”m sure undemocratic countries like Azerbaijan or Belarus are going to do worse and Israel probably too, because especially in Scandinavia ppl are so badly influenced by the media…

    the ESC will never be perfect, it’s just one of the “unsolvable” problems. I see the political voting as a much bigger problem…(Iceland-Denmark, Azerbaijan-Turkey, Turkey-any western country, Greece-Cyprus, Russia-Armenia-Belarus-Ukraine, Spain-Portugal, Spain-Italy-Romania, Serbia-Bosnia, Ireland-UK, Germany-Denmark, Georgia-Lithuania….)

  12. Well at least its Sweden who’s carrying it out and not one of the far from democratic countries (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey) . I think this should be better, it will make sure ballads stand a better chance of making it through the final, and realy I hate it when we start off with a ballad and then end with up tempo it should be the other way round, and theres is many countries who I think would be great show openers, but last year we had Montenegro opening the first show, which was the worst opener you could have, if anything it should have been Russia, Greece, Romania or Moldova in that semi final, and Finland would have then made a nice closing entry that year. In the second semi we shouldnt have had the balkan countries back to back with each other, and realy Serbia should have never opened the show, I would have perfered them somewhere like 17or 15, Macedonia would have been best somehwere in the middle I think, and then either Slovenia’s, Portugals or Estonia’s power Ballad should have be chosen to close the 2nd semi final, instead of the cheap dated lithuania entry, Ukraine or Norway should have opened the show.

  13. I’m just realy worried where they are going to place the UK, to be honest you cant place the exact order fairly for the final when we dont know what will qualify yet in March when it gets done, if anything I think they should wait to do the order of the final for the big 5 on the Tuesday after Semi Final 1. But I definetly want to see big show openers, which means puting the stronger countries up there in first position.

    It will be fair system for the semi finals compared tothe random draw, becuase how is it fair that countries are repeatedly having to perform in the first half of the semi final or are geting the advantage of performing in the second half on a regular basis, that is what isnt fair. The following countries since 2008 have all had poor performing positions, mainly in the first half of the semi final or in the middle of the semi final; Switzerland (7,8,5,8,7) Belgium (6,3,10,4,8) San Marino (5,12,11) Bulgaria (12,11,13,10,8) Serbia (4,7,6,1) Poland (10,5,9,1) Isreal (2,10,3,12,10) Montenegro (1,1,1) Latvia (10,3,6,appart from 17,4) Ukraine (4,17,8,6,7) Sweden (2,5,6,8,11) Norway (9,6,2 but 16) Slovenia (8,10,11,13,9) Czech Republic (8 and 2) Slovakia (8,4,5 but 15) Armenia (14, 6,2,4). Netherlands has not had a decent starting position since 2009! being 9 and then 3 two times in a row.

    Now compare it to these countries who are geting regular second half positions in the Semi Final:

    Portugal (19,16,14,16, but 6)
    Romania (17,14,10,14 but 6) – fairly good positions considering theres only realy 10 and 6.
    FYR Macedonia (18,13,15,12, but 2)
    Bosnia & Hezergovina (13,18,8,1,17) – still fiarly good and was drawn in to the second half on 3 occasions
    Croatia (11,1,15,13,10) although not all excellent starting positions croatia have been drawn in to the second half 4 times out of 5.
    Lithaunia (5,14,1,17 and 18)
    Malta (16,17,11,11,4) – similar to what I’ve said about Croatia
    Hungary has had position 15 three times now since 2008, the only other number have had was 11 in 2009.
    Greece (19,13,13,19, then 3 this year though)
    Georgia (14,16, 9, 12)
    Iceland (1,12,17,14,2)
    Estonia (3,18,3,15,14)

    How is this random allocation draw fair, if it means some countries are persistently performing in the same areas of the semi final each year?

    • No you’re losing the point, you’re probably one of those ridiculous people to care more about how your country score than the actual fairness of the contest, because you’re saying that a pure random draw isn’t random. AKA you don’t have any credibility.

      • I favour the underdogs of ESC that repeatedly get marked down and underated, (Spain, Portugal, San Marino, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Iceland and Finland). I dont care about my countries score, when each year the repeatedly get the whole thing wrong and send utter shit! I’d only care about my countries entry if they started sending stuff which would stand the chance of charting in our countries charts, something that is current and contemporary! If the UK sent any of the songs which are in the top end of its music sinlges charts it would be superior to any other entry! Only the true gems of folk (Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Finland, Slovenia, Armenia, Russia) and urban Sweden would stand the chance of competing against the UK’s entry then. Unfortunatly thats a dream though, it will never happen coz frankly the BBC do not care! Random draws are not fair as it means countries might end up performing every time in the same half of the contest, theres a higher pass rate form the last 6 postions in the semi finals compared to in the middle of the semi finals, this is based on analysing the qualifying rates over the last 5 years. It also means Ballads can end up having fewer chances of qualifying as they could end up being back to back so get forgoten about or the viwers suffer the boredom effect, if stuck between two very strong ESC countries or up tempo entries it ends up being forgoten about, and the Ballad looses its credibility. And to be honest there is certain songs which are best to open a show and theres ones which are ideal for closing the shows, by having a ballad last it has more credibility and rounds off the show nicely and calmly, stick an uptempo at the end of it and then something feels missing.

  14. oh and by the way to those who think its SVT carrying out the decision of where countries go its not them its EBU! When making these decisions I want them to consider those countries which could do with having a change and geting the oppertunity to perform in a good position in the semi finals, particularly the under dogs of eurovision, try and get them to qualify for once to the final, instead of the typical countries which make it out year after year of the semi final (Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Bosnia & Hezergovina, Romania, Greece, but then also Turkey, Georgia, Denmark and Serbia)

  15. Draws have always been a part of Eurovision. The rule change is complete bullshit. At least, they should have come up with better excuses for it than “making good TV”. If they just wanted to avoid similar types of songs after another, the draw could be organized in various different ways in order to do so. There is no need to let the producers decide the running order. I think the draw can be exciting, and they could show it on tv after revealing the countries that go through to the final from semifinals. Most importantly, with draws no one can blame a bad running order on producers, but only luck. It will never be fair if a small group of people can decide the running order and it will affect the voting (there is scientific research that proves it). I hoped my country among others would drop out of the competition because of this stupid rule change, but it looks like Europe is silently approving this. I think I don’t want to vote in the ESC this year, because the voting is obviously unfair even before a single vote has been counted.

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