Today Svante Stockselius and Heikki Seppälä, Executive producer of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest for YLE spoke to the international press regarding this year's competition as well as future competitions as well. The preliminary dates for next year were announced to be the 22nd and 24th of May.
First went Heikki Seppälä as a representative of the host country saying that they are very happy everything is goingaccording to plan. " The monster is alive!" he joked "We brought inthe heavy artilery, tons of equipment in the Areena and hanging from the ceiling and we are happy to see it's working. There have been minor prolems, here and there but we are working on them".
Svante started by a recap of some of this year's features and facts. 42 voting countries, 3 first timers Georgia, Czech Republic and Monentenegro, two shows- the semi final with a duration of 2 hours 40 minutes and the 3 hour 10 minutes final. The contest, apart from Europe, will be broadcast to Azerbaijan, Australia and Kosovo.
The voting this year will last a little longer, 15 minutes, and there will be two recaps of the songs so that it is easier for the audience to remember. This year also sees a record number of accredited members of press, a total of 2.600. As for the celebrity who wil open the voting, Svante said that they wish to keep it a secret until the very last moment.
The winner's tour was also discussed in detail, you can find more information by clicking here.
Next year's preliminary dates will be May 22nd and 24th and the deadline for the submission of the songs to EBU will be March 17 and 18 during the Head of Delegations meeting.
When asked to comment on Johnny Logan's recent cristism of the EBU and his request for the return of the language rule, the juries and the orchestra, Svante replied that with regards to the language rule it is all about freedom, freedom of the artists and the delegations to chose the language they want to perform in. As an example he mentioned Cyprus singing in French this year and Latvia in Italian. For the orchestra issue, Svante said that the contest must be up to date and follow the times. :"If I asked the 42 delegations" he joked "how many would you say would agree to sing in front of a live orchestra?"
Finally, as regards the televoting procedure, he said that it is the fairest, transparent and secure way of choosing the winner.
Finally when asked about the two semi finals scenario, Svante said that there are many details to be sorted out and nothing will be changed for next year. In the event of two semi finals the participants in each one will be definitely decided by a draw and not time zone or any other method. When asked what would happen if other countries, such as Italy or Monaco, would like to return, Svante said that although he would love Italy to come back and they are indeed working on it, the current format of the contest does not allow for more countries to enter as it would make it tediously long and impossible to follow even by die-hard fans.