Eurovision: New rules to smash "East Europeans"

2nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 October 2007, Hamburg (dpa) - The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual TV spectacle where Europeans are exposed to neighbouring lands' pop, are being changed to break the long-term dominance of the Eastern Europeans, according to details that emerged Tuesday. Viewers in Germany, Britain, France and Spain, the nations paying most of the cost of the contest, are fed up with rarely winning. They have even alleged bias in the live vote by viewers who dial one of the special phone numbers on the n

2 October 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual TV spectacle where Europeans are exposed to neighbouring lands' pop, are being changed to break the long-term dominance of the Eastern Europeans, according to details that emerged Tuesday.

Viewers in Germany, Britain, France and Spain, the nations paying most of the cost of the contest, are fed up with rarely winning.

They have even alleged bias in the live vote by viewers who dial one of the special phone numbers on the night.

German public broadcaster NDR, which represents Germany in the contest committee, said on its website that the 42 member nations had agreed in talks on new rules for the next final in Belgrade in seven months' time.

Automatic entry to the final for the 10 best-placed nations of the previous year - usually Eastern Europeans - is to be abolished, with a bye allowed only for the first-place-getter and, as before, the four big nations.

"It's an attempt to get a more balanced array in the final," said Manfred Witt, the NDR official on the song contest committee.

This year's semi-final, two days before the final, is to be replaced next year by two semi-finals.

The repeated rise of Eastern European contestants to the top has mystified the West of the continent.

This year, Marija Serifovic of Serbia won the event, singing Molitva, and eight of the top 10 were from eastern nations.

Some Scandinavians, Dutch and Belgians called on their broadcasters to boycott the event.

But experts said allegations that the Eastern Europeans conspired to phone-vote for one another in a mutual effort to close out the West were groundless.

In next year's semi-finals, the first nine places in each semi- final will be chosen by phone.

Witt said he hoped the former Soviet and Yugoslav republics would be scattered between the two semi-finals so that the shared tastes of those two blocs' viewers no longer weighted the voting.

A panel of judges will pick the 24th and last entrant to the final.

DPA

Subject: German news

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