- The “Big 5” financially contribute the most to the Eurovision
- Automatic qualification is ensured every year
- Arrangement has been criticised for being corrupt
- All other nations, except the host, must qualify for the final
Yes, it’s a form of bribery
Can you imagine a World Cup where England, Brazil, Germany, China and the United States qualify automatically because they contributed more financially than smaller nations? Even FIFA, with their insatiable appetite for corruption, would surely draw the line at payment for qualification. In the Eurovision, this is what happens every year. The “Big 5” participants (Italy, U.K, Germany, France and Spain) go straight through to the final.
Last year, there were 2 semi-finals held before the final. 33 countries participated with 20 qualifying for the grand finale with 13 acts going home immediately. Were these 13 acts all worse than the performances of the “Big 5”? When you consider Germany finished rock-bottom in 27th, France in 25th and the U.K in 24th, surely these bribers were holding back better acts? The Eurovision is a competition so shouldn’t reward corruption like they do now.
No, the “Big 5” keep the competition running
Without the financial contributions from countries like Germany and France, the Eurovision would probably not take place. Considering they’re backing the event to such an extent, it’s only fair that these nations are allowed to participate in the final. It’s also expensive to host the event as Ireland found out during the 1990’s, when their constant success nearly bankrupted the country.
These 5 nations bring in massive television audiences. The organisers need to keep the event popular. For example, they have invited back Australia to compete in the final again this year. The semi-finals aren’t exactly difficult to get through either. 33 countries compete for 20 spots – 61% of participants qualify. Can we seriously say that one of the acts in the 39% would have a chance in the final? If anything, they’re rooting out the terrible acts before the main event.