A guide to Eurovision 2014
5 things to expect from the next Eurovision contest, including modernity, passion... and confetti
In 2014, Denmark is going to take its rightful place as the pop capital of Europe, proving that the nation can do a joyful chart music party just as well as it does bacon, Vikings and moody crime dramas. Now that Eurovision HQ has confirmed the dates and venue for next year's contest in Copenhagen, here are five things we can expect from our third Scandinavian Europop fest in five years.
1. The Cult of Europe growing ever larger
In a move that will no doubt ruffle a few Eurosceptic feathers, the show's theme is 'Join Us'. Perhaps in Danish ('Vær med') the sentiment sounds a little less cultish.
But Eurovision has always been a celebration of inclusivity, so welcoming that even the most dubiously European countries, geographically speaking (Israel and Azerbaijan, I'm looking at you), can enter.
Qatar and Kazakhstan have applied to participate in 2014, and in theory Egypt is eligible to compete too, which would give things a bit of an edge. The contest is also an increasingly popular TV event in Canada and Australia. More than ever, the 2014 contest will work as a PR exercise for Europe, largely through the medium of glitter balls.
2. A 'more modern' contest
Eurovision 2014's Head of Show, Jan Lagermand Lundme, has already been dropping a few hints about his vision. He wants to let the audiences at home 'feel closer' to the action, which almost certainly means more social media integration, but he has also stressed that he wants to make it clearer just how much is at stake for the performers.
'We want emotions at the forefront,' he says on the official Eurovision website, along with what sounds suspiciously like a move towards X Factor-style melodrama, with more personal back stories from the acts. But if the balance is right, it could mean a welcome focus on good old-fashioned European storytelling rather than just endless pyrotechnics, glitter and confetti.
But, having said that, there will be confetti. 'I've never ordered so much confetti before in my life,' says Lundme.
4. Scandinavian Euro Heritage
Copenhagen is only a short train ride away from Malmo, the venue for 2013 host Sweden's efforts, so we might expect a broad similarity of theme and approach. British viewers can look forward to more of the Scandinavian quirky-cool factor that we so enjoyed in the last contest (handy for a show that always teeters on the edge of absolute cheese).
Basically, the contest should be in safe hands with Denmark. They haven't participated every year, but when they have, they've done it with style and commitment to the spirit of the thing. Before Emmelie de Forest clinched the 2013 prize with 'Only Teardops', Denmark last won in 2000 with the Olsen Brothers' 'Fly on the Wings of Love', which had international chart success when given a pumping Eurodance cover by XTM. Some noticeable dips in quality came during the 80s and 90s, but in recent years Denmark as been back on form and no stranger to finishing in the top 10. You can trust a country that clearly harbours a passion for spectacular pop to put on a good show. Eurovision 2014 should be a vintage year.
Eurovision 2014 will be held at the B&W Hallerne on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen, Denmark on 6, 8 and 10 of May 2014.