An important change in this year's Eurovision Song Contest rules is the obligation for all 39 participating countries to broadcast the semifinal as well as the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year, when the event was spread over two nights for the first time, three countries that had already qualified for the final caused a commotion by refusing to air the semifinal.
Big Four country France, Poland and Russia were the three countries which refused to broadcast the semifinal of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest. All of them had directly qualified for the final and saw no profit in broadcasting the qualifier round.
To avoid this from happening again, the European Broadcasting Union changed the rules for this year's contest. All countries participating in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, including the countries which are directly qualified for the final, are now obliged to broadcast the semifinal.
Though, “If a broadcaster, for some reason, is having major problems in broadcasting the qualifier round, they have the possibility to apply for exception,” Svante Stockselius earlier explained to esctoday.com.
The Polish problem solved itself. In 2004, Poland was directly qualified for the final but due to the bad result of Blue Café in Istanbul, Poland will be taking part in the semifinal this year. The other two refusers, Russia and France, informed esctoday.com that they will be broadcasting the semifinal this year.
Russia, directly qualified for this year's final with Natalia Podolskaya, will be broadcasting the semifinal on Channel One. France, one of the Big Four countries that will always be participating in the final following the current Eurovision Song Contest rules, will also be broadcasting the semifinal. Whether the semifinal will be broadcast on France 3, or on the new channel France 4 still has to be decided.
The semifinal of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Thursday 19th May in Kyiv.