The EBU and NRK, host broadcaster of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest held a joint press conference following the dress rehearsal for the second semi final today. Amongst the points covered were the provisional dates of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, the return of Italy to the competition and information on the voting in last night's semi final.
Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest first spoke about last night's semi final:
"We're very happy with how the show looked and with the voting. I can tell you it was a close race between 10th and 11th, with only three points between them.
"The televoting went well, only one country failed to meet the minimum number of calls, in that one country, we used 100% jury vote.
"The technical performance of NRK, the norwegian broadcaster was world class. The lighting and camera work was 100% perfect. We know there were reports of technical problems with pictures and sound in some countries. All we can say is that the broadcast was perfect and receiving the broadcast is down to the individual broadcasters.
"This has been an excellent year and all delegations are pleased, some more than others, but when the broadcasts go out, we believe that everyone would be very happy".
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Producer at NRK for the Eurovision Song Contest commented:
"We are now preparing for the second semi final. We are sure we will deliver another great show tomorrow night. We have a great team here at the Telenor Arena and we hope you are satisfied with what we can provide so we can continue with joy and excitement".
Mr. Stockselius talked about some of the new things introduced to the Eurovision Song Contest this year.
"We need to update this 55 year old lady every year. If we want her to stay for another 55 years, we need to keep improving the rules and format every year. This year, we have 39 countries including the return of Georgia. There is a lot of talk about the economic crisis, four countries did not return after Moscow, all said it was an economic decision. Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Montenegro and Kosovo will all broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest.
"The 50-50 televote/jury vote is now used in both semi final as well as the final. Within the juries, there are some former artists and one former winner. We will reveal the jury members on Friday.
"The voting window is open from the start of the show this year, previously, the voting opened after the last competitor had performed. Some think this gives an advantage to early performers. We did a lot of research and found that this is not the case. Yes, songs one and two qualified last night, but so did the final two songs.
"We implemented televoting information within the last 25 seconds of the songs to help to remind viewers to vote.
"We introduced three countdown shows this year. The three part programme includes gossip from the show, presentation of the artists and host city. They were produced by NRK.
"We changed the press conference method this year, to give a more relaxed feeling for the first one, and to see if the journalists were happy and if we should keep it for next year. It seems for the reaction that it was popular.
"We have introduced a tougher approach regarding members violating the rules. We are very clear that we will not accept any violation of the rules especially regarding political violations. Instead of talking about fines, we will be talking about bans.
The preliminary dates for Eurovision Song Contest 2011 is 17th 19th 21st May.
Questions from the floor.
The return of Italy: What is the point of view of the EBU?
"We would love to see Italy back in the Eurovision Song Contest. However, every year, we approach RAI, we sit down in negotiations, often with different people. Every year I think we get a little closer but we're not quite there yet. When I took this job, bringing Italy back was one of my goals."
Are there concerns about any countries that could win and not be able to host the competition?
"Whoever will win this contest will do all that they can to host the contest. It's in the rules that if you participate, you must be able to host the contest. Remember that in Greece, ERT earned money by hosting the contest, so it could be a benefit to host the Eurovision Song Contest if the time is right".
"Last year it seemed clear who would win, this year it does not seem clear. What are the arrangements if there is a draw?
"We have clear rules. There will be one winner on Saturday. If two or more countries end up with the same number of points, we count the number of countries that voted for them. The country that received votes from the most countries will win. If that is also a tie then we look at the most 12 points, then 10, then 8, and in the end there will be a winner."
A question about the empty seats in the semi finals.
"We've sold more than 50,000 tickets for the semi final, final and dress rehearsals. Laste night, there were more than 8,000 people in the hall last night, there will be even more tomorrow and Saturday is a sell out. The local market is tough for a show without a domestic performer."