Despite the outcry against certain voting issues this year, particularly the semifinal result, many countries that initially spoke about withdrawal are now confirming their participation for next year. In the first of our new series of Have your say articles, we're asking if the outcries about the perceived 'Eastern bias' were an over-reaction in the heat of the moment, or fair, justified and expected again next year.
Israel is the latest country to put its Helsinki Blues behind it and look forward to participation at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia. Denmark is set to announce details of its preselection possibly as soon as next week, putting an end to any doubt that the former twice-winning Scandinavian nation will be competing next year too.
Already we have confirmation from the Netherlands and Malta that they will participate in Serbia and once again attempt to qualify from the ever-growing Eurovision Song Contest semi-final. Israel, who had their own problems with stage management and camera work in Helsinki have now confirmed the national broadcaster, IBA, is working towards the country's participation next year despite being dogged by financial problems and a sharp fall in viewing figures.
Of course, we can expect a barrage of rumours about Italy returning to start any time soon and last until the provisional list of participating countries is released at the end of the year, but for now at least, it seems that the intial outcry about voting and imbalance in the results between the East and West of Europe has died down.
Almost two months on from the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, we would like to ask the readers of esctoday.com if opinions here have changed too. Was the outcome of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest fair, or do readers believe that the competition is unfairly balanced in favour of the former Soviet and Yugoslavian nations?
One reason for the calming of attitudes amongst broadcasters may be the strong likelihood that no matter what the results are in 2008, they will partipate in a semifinal in 2009 as the Eurovision Song Contest. After Belgraed, itseems certain that the competition will be divided into two semifinals with an equal number of countries participating in each, most likely with a draw to determine who enters each semi final..
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you think with hindsight that the arguments about political / neighbourly / diaspora voting were exagerated in the aftermath of the Helinski results? Do you think that the earlier 'Have Your Say' discussions about the problems with voting were vindicated and correctly predicted (for the most part) the outcome of the semi final. Do you think this is a storm in a tea-cup or a problem that is set to worsen? Have your say in the reactions section below.