Today's Eurovision Song Contest semi final draw has offered fans of the comptetition a glimpse of a future when the event goes back to being a song contest rather than a political statement of current international relations. Certainly, today's draw seems to have been highly popular with fans of the show.
Many neighbours have been torn apart, diaspora populations have been cut off from their homelands and many fans are more than happy about it. In fact, for the semi final shows at least, it is likely that some commentators will be able to talk about the chances of countries to qualify based on their songs. This would berather better for the health of the competition than correctly predicting which countries will already have the 12 points allocated to them and from whom, as has been the case increasingly since televoting and more participants have been added to the mix in recent years.
It seems clear that the chances to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest are now much more evenly balanced than since the introduction of a semi final back in 2004. For one, more than half the semi finalists will qualify. In 2007, only 10 from 28 succeeded.
Questions remain about voting in the Eurovision Song Contest final. Will the traditional voting patterns reappear on the night, when all 43 countries will have equal influence over the final result? It is widely agreed that whilst political / neighbourly / diaspora voting has influenced the results of the top ten and subsequent qualification for the following year's Eurovision Song Contest final, it has never changed the overall winning country.
To win the Eurovision Song Contest, history shows that an entry must receive votes from almost every country. The biggest difference from the introduction of a second semi final is that a country's chances to compete in the final are fairer now than before. It also means that strong songs from the semi final will qualify, without finding 10 songs already there, which may not be so strong as the previous year's entry.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you think that the introduction of two Eurovision Song Contest semi finals and today's allocation draw has improved the competition? Has the draw regenerated interest and fairness to the competition? Are you feeling more excited about the show? Do you think that nothing has really changed? Have your say in the reactions section below.