For those who have not yet looked at what is in the news in Eurovision land you may not be surprised to hear that there will be only 39 countries in this years Eurovision Song Contest, as the trends were suggesting, there are no surprises on the list, only the absence of four countries. According to Jon Ola Sand, three out of the four have left due to financial reasons. And then there is Turkey.
Also in the news was the changes to the rehearsals schedule. In future we are looking at closed rehearsals for the first round and open rehearsals for the second round of rehearsals. I have no problem with this. Countries arrive at Eurovision and generally the amount of rehearsals done by countries before Eurovision varies a lot, depending on the broadcaster or artist. It makes a lot of sense not to let everyone be able to see the first couple of rehearsals. Those of you who follow the rehearsals may have noticed that in each of the last three years the eventual winners were slated by the press for their first rehearsals. As long as some level of footage is released from the first rehearsals I really could not care.
In addition the other noticeable change is that rehearsals will begin the 8 rather than 9 days before the first semi-final. However in reality this is just one nights accommodation savings, and really the higher prices for accommodation occur during the week of the contest. Looking at a four star hotel in Malmo this will represent an average saving of €160 per delegate. Based on the Irish figures obtained through the freedom of information act, this would represents a saving of about 1.5% for Ireland [excluding the participation fee]. Once again I am drawn to mention a Big 5 country would make a saving of 7.75% if they had to arrive as early as some of the semi-finalists. [Assuming the same size delegation as Ireland].