|Once again, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) celebrates the Eurovision Song Contest, as it has been an uninterrupted annual tradition since 1956. That year, the first edition of the competition took place at the Kursaal Theater in Lugano, a city located in the South of Switzerland. The current edition will be the sixty second one, which will be celebrated in Kyiv (Ukraine) due to Jamala’s triumph given to the former Soviet country performing the self-composition “1944” last year in Stockholm (Sweden).
Natsionalna Telekompaniya Ukrainy, also known as NTU, will be the broadcaster in charge of celebrating the contest. This channel was considering several options to host the festival, among which were Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkov, Jerson, Leopolis and Odessa. Finally, on September 9th, 2016, the news became official; the European song contest would be held in Kyiv for the second time in its history, as the city already hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005.
Unlike the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held at the Kyiv Sports Palace, the current edition will be held at the International Exhibition Centre, as announced by (NTU) last 24th August in case Kyiv was finally chosen, just as it happened two weeks later. This year’s Eurovision venue is the largest exhibition centre in Ukraine which was designed by the architect Yanush Wig and inaugurated in October 2002. It has got an area of 58,000 square metres divided into three pavilions, having a global capacity limited to 13,000 spectators.
Regarding the slogan and the logo, they were presented by the host television network on January 30th, 2017. This year’s slogan is Celebrate Diversity. According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) executive supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, this slogan serves as a spirit of inclusion for all European countries to jointly celebrate something in common regardless of the differences between the participating countries; an aspect that always has been present in the contest values. The logo has been a design of Republique i Banda and it is a typical necklace of the Ukrainian folklore dress called Namysto. In the graphic representation of the same, we find a set of various spheres, each one with a different external stamping and which, according to the one who was initially named executive producer of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Victoria Romanova, refers to a combination between “the traditional and the modern”, reflecting the current Ukrainian society.
The stage, set up at the International Exhibition Centre, was unveiled on the morning of January 31st, 2017 in an official press release from the event organization, just two hours away from the Semi-final Assignment Draw at Column Hall in Kyiv. The design is the work of the German Florian Wieder, creator of the company Wieder Design, born in 1995, which was already involved in the design of the stages of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, held in Düsseldorf, the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, held in Baku, and the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, held in Vienna. To accomplish this feat, Florian Wieder has had the additional collaboration of Stuart Barlow, who has been working on the Eurovision Song Contest since the 2011 edition, and Oleh Bodnarchuk, director of major Ukrainian television shows such as The Star Factory or The Voice.
The two main objectives of such a specific stage design are, on the one hand, symbolize Ukraine as the centre of Europe and, on the other hand, allow fans to be as close to the artists as possible. The dynamism is intended to create a different show in each of the performances. The design will feature a main stage supported by a large LED display and a secondary scenario stage symbolising an isle that will be located among the audience.
Since the last edition of the contest, several changes have taken place regarding the countries participating in the competition. Firstly, Bosnia & Herzegovina has withdrawn from Eurovision due to the economic problems that the Bosnian public television network BHRT has been dragging on since the last few years. Secondly, Portugal and Romania have been reinstated in the competition, this last thanks to the fact that in recent months it has been able to pay a debt amounting to more than 15 million euros to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). In third place we find the case of Russia, which was initially going to participate in this edition but finally decided to withdraw from the contest due to political tensions with the organizing country.
As a result, after the withdrawal of two countries and the reincorporation of two others, the 62nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will have 42 participating countries