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Eurovision 2015 craze

The power of showbiz

This madness called Eurovision – again!
Originally published on 19th May, last updated on 26th May, 2015

Tuesday 19th May was the most expected night among Eurovision fans! The first 16 songs competed in the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in Vienna. The grand opening with the red carpet was on Sunday, 17th May, and the Grand Final is on Saturday, 23rd May.

The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is one of the longest running and biggest television shows in the world. In 1956 Europe saw the first ever Eurovision Song Contest, held at the Teatro Kursaal in Lugano, Switzerland. Over the years it has become Europe’s favourite TV show. In its 60 years the show broke many records and staged more than 1,400 songs. The competition has been broadcast throughout Europe, but also in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States. There are Eurovision fan clubs even in South America. Some 15 million Chinese were watching this year's show on the internet.

This year 40 countries were competing, including Australia for the first time! Some 10,000 spectators attended the first Semi-Final alone. Some 1,700 journalists reported on the Eurovision Song Contest and about 200 million viewers followed the television broadcasts from Vienna.

Showbiz at its prime

To date the largest competition ever held was in Copenhagen in 2001, with an audience of more than 38,000 spectators, the biggest contest ever with a record 43 participating countries was in Belgrade in 2008, and the most expensive one with a budget of over 30 million euros was in Moscow in 2009, according to Oikotimes. This In fact slightly contradicts with City A.M., claiming last year's contest in Copenhagen turned out to be one of the most expensive ever with 44.8 million euros. This was beaten only by the 60 million euros spent by Azerbaijan in 2012. Over the last five years Eurovision has cost an average of 33.6 million euros to host. 

The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was expected to bring in a gross revenue of over 38 million euros – of which 27.8 million euros would go to the city of Vienna alone! In addition, 562 temporary posts had been created in Austria, of which 416 were in Vienna! Most of these would be generated in the hotel and restaurant sectors, the arts and entertainment services, but also in broadcasting, advertising and market research. Vienna was also expected to have around 30,000 overnight stays during the month of May.

Of the 11.7 million euros which Vienna put into the event, 8.89 million went to the account of the Wiener Stadthalle, hosting the show. After the show the organisers told Slovenia TV the show was a huge commercial success: with the 25 million euros spent for the event Austria made good net profits of 100 million euros. Well done!

There were some 100,000 fans in Vienna, watching the show on 30 screens erected around the city. Prices had risen tremendously. They were by 30 per cent up on services and by 100 per cent on hotel accommodation.

Eurovision 2013 in Sweden was very profitable, showcasing an increase in tourism revenues in Malmö and in the Skåne region. Profit per room at hotels in Düsseldorf increased by a staggering 330.9 per cent in May as demand levels soared during the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Germany.

Irish national broadcaster RTÉ made a good profit out of its Eurovision Song Contest entry in 2011, offset by the large advertising revenue brought in by an increased interest in Eurovision in Ireland.

Contestants and voting
The official videos and the explanation about the voting are available at the official Eurovision site. Most major media and the endless number of bloggers were reporting daily on the preparations for the show and featuring the participating artists.
On Tuesday 19th May, the first Semi-Final took place with the first 16 songs (recap).
On Thursday 21st May, the second Semi-Final took place with the next 17 songs (recap).
Recap of the 7 entries going directly to the Final 2015 Eurovision Song Contest
From each semi-final only 10 songs qualified for Saturday's Grand Final,20  in total. The 7 countries contributing the most to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) went directly to the Grand Final on 23rd May, so that 27 songs were performed in total. You could watch the live show through live stream.
Social media, predictions and available apps
There is a lot of emotions behind the Eurovision show. The social media are still bursting at the seams. Good old Europe is »bleeding« again in numerous battles. And these are not only battles, it’s a real war raging in the Old Continent, this year seriously involving also Australia and less seriously some of the South American nations and – surprise, surprise! – some Asians, too!
Jokes apart, the most vibrant and liked by fans seems Youtube, followed by Facebook and Twitter. The latter gained in popularity before, during and after each of the three shows. Remember that Eurovision and Twitter is a match made in entertainment heaven! Conchita Wurst presented the #Eurovision hashflags on Twitter!
Recap of the top 10 most watched songs on the Eurovision YouTube page
There is also the business side of the Eurovision coin, exploiting these emotions in the form of bets. Don't be too hasty to dismiss Eurovision's cheesiness – with the right bet you could win some money. The morning of the final is probably the safest time to bet, when you can get a good idea of the buzz around front runners.
There are many websites with predictions, polls and odds, and here are just some:

Odds Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Eurovision Poll

Slovenia wins ChatVote 2015!

Wiwibloggs Polls

The most important are the results by the OGAE (Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l'Eurovision) International, a non-profit umbrella organisation, which gathers national Eurovision fan clubs and is recognised by the EBU as a trustworthy organisation for Eurovision fans.

The old-fashioned score cards are now being replaced by free downloadable official apps: the Eurovision Song Contest App or the official ESC Rating App - to rate all songs and also cast your vote directly via SMS for the official televoting at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.Those also include the second-screen voting and karaoke app.

To finish off let's remember the Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst with the cover of "Rise Like s Phoenix", by Slovenia's representative in Vienna Marjetka Vovk of Maraaya and Slovenia's representative at the Junior Eurovision 2014 Ula Ložar. And yes, Maraaya qualified for the Grand Final on Saturday.

Readers of Wiwibloggs believe that Ula Ložar and Maraaya covered Conchita's "Rise Like a Phoenix" best - of all covers. And there are really many!
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Reactions after the show(s)
Wiwibloggs: For the first time in Eurovision history, the winner did not win televoting. Måns Zelmerlöw placed third across professional juries with 279 points, behind Russia’s Polina Gagarina on 286 and Italy’s Il Volo who won the televote by a considerable margin on 366.
Break it down! Drama and intrigue in Eurovision 2015 voting result: From cries of “Bloc voting!” to accusations of buying jury votes, this year’s contest has had its fair share of controversies. And yet at the top of the scoreboard everything did go as predicted by the pundits and the bookies.
On Slovenia's entry
Maraaya's Here for You was among the favourites before the show, but only came 14th. However, radio listeners across Europe love it. It's the fourth most played Eurovision song on European radio stations - the European airplay chart - and also in the TOP 100 itunes chart worldwide! Congratulations!

It's hard for a small country to stand out: "Imagine you come from a country in Eurovision, which is underrated all the time. A country so small, that is often ignored by its own neighbours, let alone the rest of Europe. A country only a handful of fans genuinely love. That’s my country, Slovenia."

Read more in The hype this year actually scares me.

How every American feels about Eurovision

A tweet in reaction to Conchita Wurst winning the Eurovision 2014 contest

I agree, nobody can understand the concept of giving points to each other and nations almost declaring wars with awarding 0 (nil) points to another nation, especially if this is their neighbouring country!

The 24 Most WTF Moments From This Year’s Eurovision :"Good job everyone was drunk, really," says BuzzFeed.

Douze points: The funniest Twitter reviews from Eurovision 2015: "There weren't any of the real lunatics of previous years this time round, but there was still plenty to keep us entertained, from a woman dressed as Xena to a bunch of Kings of Leon lookalikes setting their piano on fire, proving that Europe can be as odd as ever."

Yes, we are strange in Europe! :)

P.S.: This post is also featured on LinkedIn.
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