The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) released the rules for the Eurovision Song Contest 2004. It's clear now the contest's qualifier round is going to take place on 12th May, the grand final on the 15th. Meanwhile, individuals create suggestions for a Eurovision 2004 logo, as Mark Henson did (image).
Who can participate?
Broadcasters can subscribe to participate in 2004 until 1st October 2003. The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 will contain the best ten countries of 2003, the Big Four (United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France) and the top ten of the qualifier round participants. In the qualifier round, up to 26 countries are able to participate. Subscribing countries will be selected on a who-comes-first base. In case if a broadcaster withdraws after 1st December, the full participation fee should be payed. A participating broadcaster should promote the national selection on a website from 16 weeks before the Eurovision Song Contest will take place.
Songs should not be released before 1st October 2003 commercially, which basically means that a promotional release is permitted already. Also, participants are not allowed to try to represent more than one country in the same year.
No orchestra in 2004
This year, the rules make no provision for an orchestra insisting that no instruments on stage shall be connected to a microphone. A drum kit or piano can be provided on stage, purely for decoration. So-called dummy microphones are permitted to use on stage.
Draw for running order
The draw to decide the running order will take place during the Head of Delegations-meeting on March 22nd and 23rd, 2004:“At that draw, the places for the 14 guaranteed participating broadcasters in the grand final shall be announced, while the remaining places, for the first ten participating broadcasters in the qualifyer round, shall be allocated in accordance with the final positions attained in that round”, the rules say.
The EBU has drawn up some guidelines conerning disqualification from the contest. A song can be disqualified if requests of the EBU or the host broadcaster are ignored. If the participant(s) depart from the planned performance at either the final rehearsal or the actual event and if other rules are breached. If a song is disqualified before the Heads of Delegations-meeting in March 2004, the broadcaster may suggest an alternative, after that date the broadcaster is out for the 2004 contest. Also, the EBU will allow changes to the lyrics, the name of the artist or group, the title of the song and the language in which the song will be performed right up until the Heads of Delegations-meeting in March 2004. Changes to the final sound recording of the song will be allowed until two weeks before the final. After that deadline only minor adjustments to the songs shall be permitted by the EBU.
Commentators have their own rules…
“All commentators shall refrain from talking during the performance of the songs, and shall refrain from making any sexist, racist or otherwise unduly discriminatory comments about the artists of other countries. Commentators should also refrain from urging the audience to vote for any given song”.
May we have your votes please?
Televoting is a must in all countries of the participating broadcasters, unless a special exception for countries with telecommunications reach of less than 80% is granted by 1st December, 2003. SMS voting may be obligatory in countries where the marketing partner can ensure that all votes charged for, can also be counted, within a given time-frame. The voting time will be extended from five to slightly to ten minutes. All countries taking part in 2004 will be given the chance to vote in the final, not just those who qualify to perform. How this will work has not yet been made clear, though it is known the EBU has been considering a block vote if this becomes technically possible from those who do not have a song in the final.
If there is a tie after the voting, the winner will be the participant that has obtained points from the highest number of countries. If the songs received votes from the same number of countries, then the highest number of 12-point scores shall qualify and so on. The same method shall be applied if there is a tie for position number 10 in the qualifying round. The winning broadcaster will, as usual, have the right to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2005.
TRT heads to Eurovision 2004
At this moment, host broadcaster TRT is in a final stage of finishing the basic plans. The EBU insists that at least 2000 hotel rooms be available for delegation members who should be able to book the rooms by credit card or invoice and money transfer. Meanwhile, it's already known that a double-CD will be released by EMI with all the songs. Also, the rules suggest a DVD of the contest will be released.
Special thanks to DotEurovision.com