Glass, you’re next to the Ahoy Stadium in Rotterdam. How is that?
– I think this is how it was in Tel Aviv and Lisbon, it has not followed the period yet. It was a great security, with heavy armed police guarding everything. This is not particularly pointed out here as it was in Tel Aviv, but is very relaxed. Outside the arena there is a pedestrian crossing, and “Waterloo” is played with Dad every time you cross it, turning green. This is so good for us Swedes! At the hotel, all Eurovision songs are played as a ring all the time – so you should not skip them.
Hannah, how big is the interest in Eurovision in other countries?
– It varies from country to country. Sweden is special because Melodifestivalan’s choices for Eurovision here are huge in both audience numbers and media coverage. In other countries this is often the other way around, with local selection playing a lesser role. Sometimes not even a competition takes place, but the TV company only selects one artist. Iceland is the most Eurovision-crazy country of all – basically all TV viewers watch Eurovision. Of the TV viewers, 98-99 percent have Eurovision. But in England, for example, you have a lot of spectators, you see the competition a little more paradoxically, maybe things have not been going so well for England in competition in recent decades.
2021 is a strong or weak year, do you think?
– I think this is a pretty strong year. Many of the ten who can actually win have risen, and it is said that which songs can win will vary from day to day. I feel like this is a strong year with so many good songs, says Klaus Swann.
– Yes, this is a special year. Many countries nominated an artist and a song that competed in 2020, a large part of them chose to send the same artist again this year, but then with a new song, because the song has to be new according to the rules. Before the match, it really felt a bit boring, and there were many, including myself, who thought that many of these artists who came back appeared with a weaker copy of last year’s song – as if they were trying to get it back but didn’t achieve it. That – having last year’s song selection in the back of your mind when it comes to certain artists – is haunting. As Klaus says, this is a start-up field with many excellent candidates. It’s always fun when the tip is hard, and when it feels like anything that could happen on a Saturday.
What do you think is the future for Eurovision? Are there frictions in Europe, is it something that can unite countries or is it a competition that is already going overtime?
– I talked to Martin Asterdall and Christer Birkman about the future of Eurovision, they agree that Eurovision will go out into the whole world, in the end, but you should first try to expand your involvement in individual countries. As Hannah said before, there are many countries that take only one song, without any own vote, and the audience is not particularly involved. That area, I think, needs to work even harder as Eurovision focuses on making events even bigger, says Klaus Swann.
– It’s complicated, precisely because there’s a built-in outfit here. It should not be about politics – by the rules, nothing should be political, you should not give political messages, you should not publish any political statements on the platform – of course it always enters inside. Sometimes it’s difficult business transactions, and washed songs or conflicts that can be seen in the competition. One part that makes the competition interesting is precisely what I think you can sometimes read about the mood in Europe. But there is a limit here, what happens, for example, when a dictatorship wins and runs the race, it was in Azerbaijan. This year, there is no problem in the sense that it will be difficult for any of the favorite countries to host the tournament there – but it will happen sooner or later, says Hannah Pahl.
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