April 22, 2024


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Eurovision 2023: Do you have to sing in English to win?

Eurovision 2023: Do you have to sing in English to win?

The 67th Eurovision Song Contest takes place this Saturday evening. There are 26 candidates in the competition, including La Zara, who sings “Proof” to represent France. Many contestants chose to sing in English.

From Moldovan, Bulgarian or Georgian. For most of us, Eurovision is often the only chance to hear one of these languages ​​on the European continent. An increasingly rare prospect as English dominates year after year.

Fourteen of the twenty-six contestants this year will be singing in English. Non-native English speaking countries have chosen English for Eurovision to the detriment of their own language: Germany, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Israel, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden Switzerland and Ukraine.

On the other hand, candidates from the following countries will sing in their language: Albania, Australia, Croatia, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Moldova, Portugal, United Kingdom, Serbia and Slovenia.

Change in regulations in 1999

The rules of Eurovision were changed in 1999. Since then, a candidate is not obliged to sing in the language of his country. The obligation to sing in one’s national language was first lifted in 1973 (Father won a year later with “Waterloo”) and was abolished in 1977, particularly at the instigation of France. For twenty years, English has become increasingly prominent in the lyrics of Eurovision songs. A universal language that allows as many of its 160 million viewers to understand its words as possible.

English: The language of success?

Do you have to sing in English to win Eurovision? Looking at the titles of winning songs since 2000, out of 21 winners (the 2020 edition was canceled due to Covid-19), 18 songs were in English from candidates from countries as diverse as Denmark, Estonia, Latvia. , Turkey or Ukraine. Three minor exceptions are 2007 in Serbian, 2017 in Portuguese and 2021 in Italian.

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Singing in English seems to guarantee success. This is not enough: the song must appeal to as many people as possible and appear sympathetic (or original or beautiful) to the eyes and ears of the candidate audience.

Apart from the chorus of Amir’s 2016 song, France has always refused to sing in English. France ranked 6th. And in 2021, with 100% singing in French, Barbara Bravy took second place. There is no magic formula for winning Eurovision. But France hasn’t found her since Mary Miriam in 1977.

The 67th Eurovision Song Contest takes place this Saturday evening in Liverpool.