The Eurovision Song Contest is around the corner and fans of the competition are preparing for one of the biggest nights in music. The finale will take place at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on May 13, with the UK’s Mae Muller striving to win the competition.
The UK was awarded hosting rights despite not winning last year’s competition, with Sam Ryder’s ‘Space Man’ finishing a close second to Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. But due to Russia’s invasion of the country, the honour had to be passed on.
Whether you’re a seasoned Eurovision watcher or you’re planning to watch the competition for the first time next weekend, there are many rules you may not know about when it comes to the music event. Here’s everything you need to know about the rules of Eurovision.
Eurovision 2023 rules explained
There are a number of rules that potential performers have to abide by in order to take part in the singing competition. A number of rules appeal to the ‘Big Five’ made up of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Participation in the contest is governed by the Eurovision Song Contest Rules. These Rules are established and enforced by the contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters.
According to the Eurovision website, the rules include:
- A maximum of 46 active European Broadcasting Union (EBU) members are allowed to participate
- A maximum of 26 of those delegates must participate in the final, with six spaces reserved for the host country and the members of the ‘Big Five’. If a ‘Big Five’ member wins or withdraws, the final of the following year’s contest will have 25 delegates
- The contest has two semi-finals and one final. The semi-finals are usually on a Tuesday and a Thursday, and the grand final on a Saturday in the month of May
- Viewers of the contest who are watching under a participating broadcaster can vote for their favourite songs through televoting or via the official app
- A jury must be appointed by the broadcaster to vote in the semi-finals and the final. It will consist of five members from the music industry and must have a fair balance of age, gender, and profession
- Jurors cannot be employees of their national broadcasters, and cannot have any connection to the songs and/or artists in order to uphold complete independence and impartiality
- Jury members cannot have been a part of a national jury in the last two years
- The song with the highest number of televotes will be ranked first in the televoting situation
- Televoters are only allowed 20 televotes per show. The 20 televotes are reinstated for the Grand Final, so viewers can vote again
- Televoting for your own country will not count and voters will still be charged
- Jury members are to rank their favourite song first and so on until the last song
- In all three shows, there is a 50/50 televote/jury combination to determine the overall winner of both sides
- Eurovision songs cannot be released commercially prior to September 1 ahead of the competition the following May
- The maximum duration of every song is three minutes
- All songs must be confirmed and submitted to the EBU prior to the Head of Delegation meetings in March in the year of the contest
- The maximum number of people on stage (including backing dancers, instrument players and singers) is six as of the 1971 contest
- Live animals are forbidden on stage, but puppets may be used
- As of 1990, all artists competing in a semifinal or only in the final must be at least 16 years of age on the night of the Semi Final or Grand Final. This includes backing vocalists, musicians and dancers
- No artist can compete for two countries at once
- The broadcaster is free to choose the language(s) the song will be performed in
- All vocals must be sung live
- Unacceptable language is not allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs
- The song should not be of a political, lobbying or campaigning nature or contain any defamatory or obscene material
- Jury corruption/fixed voting and televote corruption is strictly forbidden
Disqualification, fines, deduction of points, loss of accreditation, sanctions, or an official EBU warning may happen if the rules are breached.