Now that we’ve all had a week to let the dust and glitter settle on an incredible contest in Stockholm (how’s the PED?), our thoughts can turn to next year’s event. Ukraine were victorious in Sweden and as a result we head east in 2017 for the first time in five years. But just what can we expect from next year’s contest, and is there already some gossip about the competition?
The bidding process for which Ukrainian city will play host to Europe’s biggest TV show next May is already hotly contested, with mayors of many cities throwing their name into the hat almost immediately after Jamala’s victory last weekend. So far the most impressive front-running bid seems to be that of Kiev’s NSC Olimpiyskiy stadium which can house an eye-watering 70,000+ people, notable for hosting the final of the UEFA Euro 2012 football championship. However, the stadium does not currently have a roof and this would need to be rectified in time for next May for acoustic reasons.
The Palace of Sports, also in Kiev, is in contention. The venue hosts 10,000 and already hosted the competition in Ukraine’s last hosting in 2005. Representative bids from Lviv, Odessa, Dnipro, Cherkasy and Kherson have also been announced, although many of the bids include football stadiums without roofs which may become an issue. We expect a decision on the host city and venue later in the summer.
As usual, there are already many countries deciding on participation in 2017. Ukraine will obviously take part and will be a direct qualifier for the final next year, alongside France, Germany and Spain who have confirmed their intention to take part. It’s 99.9% certain that Italy and the United Kingdom will also be there but there has been no official confirmation from RAI or BBC yet.
As for the semi-finalists, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, a returning Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland are expected to be present in Ukraine. Portugal will mark their return after sitting out the contest in Stockholm in order to restructure RTP’s approach to the contest and gather the finances required to commit to a strong project.
Of course, by the time we reach the participation deadline, most of 2016’s participants will also be taking part. Bulgaria, Croatia and Netherlands have already stated they will participate on social media but there remains to be no official press release from the broadcasters.
Only a few grey areas remain with some countries. Australia seem to have been invited back pending official confirmation, Slovakia may return depending on their finances, Romania will be hoping to pay their debts and return to the competition as soon as possible and the perpetual Turkey return rumours have appeared once more, albeit with a bit more substance this time. We also expect Russia to be in the contest, although there is far too much to talk about with this situation in this article. One possible withdrawal is (FYR) Macedonia who seem to have been unsatisfied with the results in 2016, but this remains to be seen.
Organisation and format
We imagine that NTU of Ukraine will probably stick with the current format of the contest, including the 2016 voting system and pre-determined running orders. Should anything change with the format we’ll keep you updated! The contest is currently pencilled in as taking place on the 16th, 18th and 20th May 2017.
Stay tuned to ESC United over the summer as we keep you updated on developments in Ukraine!