For some a dream to come true, but for most people a clear and unwanted evidence of the 'Swedification' of the Eurovision Song Contest. Our 2005 April fool's joke made people doubt and some even called their national broadcaster to get the story confirmed. But no, 'Big 4' will remain 'Big 4'. Enjoy our practical joke ;-)…
From 2006 on, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain will be accompanied by Sweden. Eurovision Song Contest supervisor Svante Stockselius, originally Swedish himself, confirmed that to esctoday.com this morning. The news leaked too early through our colleagues of Gylleneskor.se. With this decision, taken by the Reference Group and after acceptance of broadcaster SVT, 'Big 4' becomes 'Big 5'.
The �Big 4� was introduced in 2000, when the four countries with the highest participation fee were granted participation every year. From 2004 on, this also meant that these countries were granted a position in the final of the contest. From 2006 on, Sweden will be one of them. “Sweden's historic connection with the Eurovision Song Contest and the enormous popularity of it were the biggest motivation to invite SVT to become part of the Big 5”, Stockselius said.
The �Big 4� concept has been highly questioned in the media. The acceptance of Sweden into the �Big 5� shows that the contest is still changing. “The contest expands, so should the Big 4”, Stockselius explained. “It�s only natural that the country that has the best viewer ratings as well as best placings, get a spot in the 'Big 5'�.
The �Big 5� position comes as a relief for SVT who addressed this idea to the EBU back in 2002 after Afro-Dite�s 8th place. Christer Björkman of SVT said to Gylleneskor.se: “That Sweden is in the 'Big 5' now is only logical. Sweden is probably the country of those big five that deserve to be there the most. That has been our suggestion for years to the EBU, and I�m relieved that the Reference Group finally realised the need for us being there”.
It was already known that the participation fee for broadcasters rises approximately 5% from next year on. Due to the raise, Sweden comes close to the other members of the 'Big 5'. A special website about the 'Big 5' will be opened along with the 50th anniversary site.