THE ONGOING EUROPEAN financial crisis has taken an unlikely toll – forcing two countries to pull out of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Portugal has followed the lead of Poland by reportedly indicating it will not send an entry to next year’s content in Malmo.
Poland had withdrawn from last year’s contest – having finished last in its semi-final when it last participated in 2011 – and has confirmed it will not be participating when the show returns to Sweden next year.
However, it is now reported that Portugal’s national broadcaster RTP has had to pull out – though its enthusiasm for entering in 2013 was probably tempered having come second-last in Poland’s 2011 semi, and only 13th in its semi-final in Azerbaijan this year.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has refused to confirm the withdrawal of either country for the time being, however – though neither country features in a provisional calendar of national heats listed on EBU’s website.
Poland’s withdrawal last year was on the basis that the national broadcaster, TVP, was otherwise occupied concentrating on its role as a host broadcaster for the UEFA Euro 2012 championships held in Poland and the Ukraine, as well as the costs of covering the 2012 Olympics in London.
The withdrawal of Portugal from the contest may also prove to hamper any Irish hopes of regaining the Eurovision crown it last won in 1996 – Ireland ranks fifth among the countries that Portuguese juries have preferred in records beginning from 1975.
The UK – which is guaranteed entry into the final each year, because of the BBC’s financial contributions to the EBU – will fare even worse, however: UK entries have proven the most popular since 1975.
Neither Ireland nor the UK feature among Poland’s most regular points donors – though since televoting was introduced in 2004, Ireland has been the most generous country to Poland in terms of votes.
Ireland will remain in the contest for 2013 at least; earlier this month RTÉ announced its list of five mentors who will identify acts to participate in Ireland’s Eurosong 2013 series.
The five mentors will be broadcaster Mairead Farrell, Eurovision-winning songwriter Shay Healy, DJ Mark McCabe, songwriter Niall Mooney, and stage producer Stuart O’Connor.