Last Thursday’s announcement of the changes in the way the running order of the next Eurovision Song Contest will be done has triggered a great number of reactions from fans and broadcasters. Johnny Kalimeris, Executive Member of the Board at ERT, the Greek broadcaster, feels it is a step in the wrong direction, a step which takes away a part of the contest’s “innocence” and reinforces suspicion.
The main argument of those who oppose the new rule is that a song’s position in the running order plays an important role as it can influence the number of votes it gets. It has been argued that by determining the running order by a draw, the organizers ensure transparency as well as fairness among all participants and shield the most popular contest in the world against suspicion of any kind.
Mr Kalimeris, Executive Member of the Board at ERT, told Esctoday: “I always used to say that the Eurovision Song Contest is the most democratic contest on every level. And this because the public and only the public used to decide with their vote who would qualify to the final as well as the final ranking of the songs.” He said: “When the re-introduction of the juries was being discussed, I had expressed, through our representative in the Reference Group, my objections as well as my suspicions for the objectivity of the jury judgment. I always believed and I still do that a part of the contest’s ‘innocence’ was lost when the juries were re-introduced.”
And he concludes: “The latest development, i.e. the abolishment of the draw which decided the running order of the songs, takes one more part of the ‘innocence’ I mentioned before away and reinforces suspicion.”