A big change in the way that the Eurovision Song Contest running order is made has been announced by the EBU. Instead of the traditional straight-forward draw, where the first country drawn sings first and the last country drawn sings last, this year, the first five countries drawn in the semi final and first three drawn in the final will get a 'wildcard' position. They get to choose where they go in the running order by selecting their starting position!
It is clear from results in recent years that countries appearing lower down the running order have a natural advantage, so it is actually a disadvantage to be one of the first countries to be drawn. To balance this, for the first time, countries drawn first will get to select the position from which they start. The first five countries drawn for the semi final and first three in the final will select their position. The draw will then continue in order, where each country drawn fills a remaining space from the beginning down.
The decision of these countries will be in the hands of their Heads of Delegation, who are likely to choose a position close to the end of the running order. After the first country selects it's position, the remaining 'wildcard' countries may also be influenced by the songs already positioned, choosing to go next to a song that differs in style, or keeping away from a song that they perceive as a threat.
Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, says: "We believe this will add more excitement to the draw. More information about this procedure will be given prior to the draw, but I would suggest the Heads of Delegation to start thinking on which one is their favourite starting position."
The draw takes place on March 12th and will be shown live on Finnish television station YLE2, it is still unknown if a webcast will be made available.