No change in semi-final

Posted: 17/5/2006 in:

With just 24 hours to go until the semi-final kicks off in Athens, it’s been revealed that the format for next year’s qualifying round is set to stay the same. Initial reports had suggested that only 10 countries – the top six from this year plus the UK, France, Spain and Germany – would automatically receive a place in the 2007 final, with 14 countries going through from the semi. However, the EBU’s Eurovision organiser Skante Stocksvelius has told a press conference in Athens that it’ll be business as usual next year, with 14 countries qualifying automatically and 10 making it through from the semi-final. Apparently logistics for rehearsals has been cited as the reason for keeping everything the same.

Stockselius also explained how the change in voting this year – in which each country announces only its 8, 10 and 12 points – will work. Apparently a scoreboard will appear on screen as countries are being called up to vote, and their points from 1-7 will flash up on the board rather than being announced by the juror – but even though they’ll appear faster than they would be if they were announced, the audience will still have enough time to see them and react accordingly. The final three countries to vote, meanwhile, will announce their results in their entirety. So in other words, even though the new voting sounded like it would put a dampener on one of the highlights of the contest, it might not be quite so bad after all – and the new, speedier system might even stop it from becoming dull. But we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve seen it for ourselves on Saturday.

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