|Eurovision Song Contest 2012
Light Your Fire!
|Semi-final 1 date||22 May 2012|
|Semi-final 2 date||24 May 2012|
|Final date||26 May 2012|
|Venue||Baku Crystal Hall, Baku, Azerbaijan|
Eldar Gasimov and
|Executive supervisor||Jon Ola Sand|
|Host broadcaster||İctimai Television (İTV)|
|Opening act||Final: Ell & Nikki, "Running Scared"|
|Number of entries||42|
|Winning song|| Sweden
|Eurovision Song Contest|
The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was the 57th annual Eurovision Song Contest. The contest took place in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, following Ell & Nikki's victory at the 2011 contest with the song "Running Scared"—marking the first time that the country had won the contest. The contest was held at the newly constructed Baku Crystal Hall, with semi-finals held on 22 and 24 May 2012, followed by the final held on 26 May 2012. Forty-two countries would compete in the contest in total, with Montenegro returning for the first time since 2009, and the withdrawal of Armenia due to security concerns in relation to ongoing conflicts with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and Poland due to financial concerns.
The contest was won by singer Loreen from Sweden with the song "Euphoria"—written by Thomas G:son and Peter Boström, the song scored a total of 372 points. Russia finished in second place, with Serbia finishing in third. They were followed by the host country, Azerbaijan, which reached the 4th place. Albania finished 5th, achieving its first top 5 placing. Germany, Italy and Spain were the three members of the "Big Five" that managed to rank within the top 10, finishing in 8th, 9th and 10th places respectively.
The lead-up to the contest was met with political concerns and protests surrounding the host country, including its human rights record and allegations by advocacy groups that Baku was carrying out forced evictions in the construction of the contest's venue, along with objections to the contest's presence by Iranian officials—who felt that the event was anti-Islamic because it was, according to them, a "gay parade".
Azerbaijan's first Eurovision appearance was in 2008, and the nation has participated in the contest every year since. On 14 May 2011, Azerbaijan won the 2011 contest with "Running Scared" sung by Ell and Nikki. Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region, was named the host city for the contest. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City (21.5 ha). Baku's urban population at the beginning of 2009 was estimated at just over two million people. Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in the metropolitan city area of Baku.
Shortly after Azerbaijan's victory, officials announced that a new 23,000 seat concert venue was to be built near National Flag Square in Baku, as a potential venue for the event. Three days later, other venue options were also revealed by organisers, such as the 37,000-seat Tofiq Bahramov Stadium and the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex. On 2 August 2011, Alpine Bau Deutschland AG was awarded the contract to construct the new venue, now known as Baku Crystal Hall. Preparations for construction began in the area shortly after the announcement. Even though the full cost of the contract was not named, the government allocated 6 million AZN for the construction of the venue.
On 8 September 2011, Azad Azerbaijan TV (ATV) reported that Baku Crystal Hall would be the venue of the contest, but no formal confirmation was made at the time by the EBU. On 31 October 2011, Ismayil Omarov, the director general of Azerbaijani national broadcaster İctimai Television announced that a decision on the venue choice would be taken by the steering committee in January 2012. On 25 January 2012, it was confirmed that the Baku Crystal Hall would be the venue of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. Even though the venue had an extended capacity of 23,000 people, only 16,000 people were able to attend each show. Tickets for the festival became available online for purchase on 28 February 2012.
In a meeting of the Eurovision Reference Group on 29 June 2011, it was decided that the televoting system would revert the format used most recently in the 2009 Contest, in which the phone and SMS lines opened for a fifteen-minute window after all songs had been performed, instead of opening before the show starts, which was the system used between 2010 and 2011. The results format of each show remained the same with each country's votes being decided on a 50:50 split between televoting and a national jury. Each participating country had their own national jury, which consisted of five professional members of the music industry.
Under the official rules released on 24 November 2011, the number of participants in the final was raised to 26, including the host nation, the "Big Five", and the ten qualifiers from each semi-final. This was the second time in the Eurovision Song Contest that 26 countries were in the final, the first being the 2003 Contest.
The draw that determined the semi-final running order was held on 25 January 2012 at the Buta Palace. The participating countries, excluding the automatic finalists (Azerbaijan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), were split into six pots, based upon how those countries voted in past contests. From these pots, half (or as close to half as possible) competed in the first semi-final on 22 May 2012. The other half in that particular pot competed in the second semi-final on 24 May 2012. This draw also acts as an approximate running order, in order for the delegations from the countries to know when their rehearsals would commence and determine which semi-final the automatic finalists would be allowed to vote in.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4||Pot 5||Pot 6|
The design of the contest is built around the motto "Light your fire!", inspired by the nickname of Azerbaijan itself, "Land of Fire".
Each introductory video postcard begins with a shot of the artist and performers, followed with the flag and country name in a handwritten font with a background resembling the yellow, orange and red fire of the 2012 theme art. The postcards consisted of various shots of Azerbaijan, with a caption displaying 'Azerbaijan' and underneath 'Land of ...' (e.g. Land of Abundance; Land of Poetry etc.), which were then followed by the name of a town or geographic feature, showing the landscape and culture of the country. Some postcards focus on the host city of Baku with text changing to 'Baku' and underneath 'City of ...' (e.g. City of Jazz; City of Leisure etc.). The postcards finish with a shot of the Crystal Hall displayed in the colours of the performing country's flag. These postcards acted as a tourism mechanism to present the country to a wider audience.
The artist, song and number graphics as well as tables and voting graphics are kept the same as those used in 2011, with a slight updates to incorporate the 2012 theme art. The lower points (1-7) were highlighted in red squares while the top points (8, 10, 12) were highlighted in orange squares with each square increasing in size in relation to the point value. Both sets of graphics were designed by London brand design agency Turquoise Branding.
İctimai Television (İTV), which is the EBU member that broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan, is one of country's public-service broadcasters. Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Azerbaijan, Iltimas Mammadov, stated that telecom networks were ready to host the event. Azerbaijan's largest telecommunications operator, Azercell, was chosen as the presenting partner for the contest. On 1 December 2011, İTV named the German production company Brainpool as its official production partner for the contest, citing the quality of its work on the previous year's contest.
Azerbaijan's large investment in hosting the Eurovision contest was widely discussed in Western media as an attempt to "mitigate misgivings about its poor democracy and human rights record". Elnur Majidli, an activist imprisoned during the Arab Spring-inspired 2011 Azerbaijani protests, was released in an apparent effort to soften Azerbaijan's image ahead of the contest, but many political prisoners remained. Human Rights Watch reported a "violent crackdown on protesters" on the eve of the contest, and Amnesty International condemned the "stern crackdown of freedom of expression, dissent, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), critical journalists, in fact anyone who criticises the Aliyev regime too strongly" that continued up to the contest.
Human Rights Watch also criticised the Azerbaijani government and the Baku City Authority for carrying out forced evictions against local residents, in order to allow for the demolition of flats to make way for construction in the neighbourhood where the Baku Crystal Hall was built. The Public Association for Assistance to Free Economy, a transparency and economic rights campaign group, has described the evictions as a "violation of human rights", and as having "no legal authority". However, in a statement to the BBC, Eurovision said that on a recent visit to Baku they had observed "that the construction of the concert hall [which] media reports refer to is already well under way on a clean construction site and thus there are no demolitions needed". The EBU cited the "apolitical" nature of the contest and the Azerbaijani government's claim that the construction is not tied to the Eurovision Song Contest.
The festival's winner Loreen met local human rights activists during the contest, the only entrant to do so. She later told reporters, "Human rights are violated in Azerbaijan every day. One should not be silent about such things." An Azerbaijan government spokesman criticized her in response, saying that the contest should not "be politicised" and requested the EBU prevent such meetings. Swedish diplomats replied that the EBU, Swedish TV and Loreen had not acted against the competition's rules.
On 26 May, a flash mob of anti-government protesters was quickly dispersed by police. Activists expressed fears that they would face a crackdown when the international spotlight left Azerbaijan again at the end of the contest. Before submitting the results of the German vote, the presenter from Germany Anke Engelke gave a live statement that alluded to the human rights issues in Azerbaijan, saying: "Tonight nobody could vote for their own country. But it is good to be able to vote. And it is good to have a choice. Good luck on your journey, Azerbaijan. Europe is watching you."
Iranian officials objected to Azerbaijan hosting the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Iranian clerics Ayatollah Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari and Ayatollah Ja'far Sobhani condemned Azerbaijan for "anti-Islamic behaviour", claiming that Azerbaijan was going to host a gay parade. This led to protests in front of Iranian embassy in Baku, where protesters carried slogans mocking the Iranian leaders. Ali Hasanov, head of the public and political issues department in Azerbaijani President's administration, said that gay parade claims were untrue, and advised Iran not to meddle in Azerbaijan's internal affairs. In response, Iran recalled its ambassador from Baku, while Azerbaijan demanded a formal apology from Iran for its statements in connection with Baku's hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest, and later also recalled its ambassador from Iran.
On 30 May, the Ministry of National Security of Azerbaijan announced that they had thwarted a series of planned terror attacks against the Eurovision Song Contest, among the targets being Baku Crystal Hall, as well as Marriot and Hilton hotels in Baku. On 22 August, The Daily Telegraph reported that according to Western intelligence services, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei personally gave orders to the elite Quds Force unit to launch terrorist attacks against the West and its allies, including Azerbaijan during the Eurovision Song Contest.
On 17 January 2012, the EBU announced that forty-three countries would take part in the 2012 contest. The 57th edition saw the return of Montenegro, who was previously represented by Andrea Demirović in 2009. Armenia, who had originally planned to participate, later withdraw their application due to security fears of the continuous Nagorno-Karabakh War with Azerbaijan. Poland also withdrew from the competition, due to the financial burden of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine) and Summer Olympics.
Four artists returned in this year's contest. Kaliopi for Macedonia who previously participated in the 1996 contest with the song "Samo ti", which placed in 26th position in the pre-qualifying round. Jónsi for Iceland and Željko Joksimović for Serbia both previously participated in 2004.
Joksimović had represented Serbia and Montenegro in 2004 with the song "Lane moje" which placed second in that year, and co-hosted the 2008 Contest with Jovana Janković. Jónsi performed "Heaven" in 2004, which placed 19th. For a second consecutive year Jedward participated for Ireland, after their 8th place finish at the 2011 Contest with the song "Lipstick".
Azerbaijan, Italy and Spain voted in this semi-final. The EBU allowed the Albanian broadcaster Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) to defer transmission and only use jury votes due to a serious bus accident in the country.
|01||Montenegro||English2||Rambo Amadeus||"Euro Neuro"||—||15||20|
|02||Iceland||English||Gréta Salóme and Jónsi||"Never Forget"||—||8||75|
|09||Finland||Swedish||Pernilla Karlsson||"När jag blundar"||When I close my eyes||12||41|
|11||San Marino||English5||Valentina Monetta||"The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh - Oh Oh)"||—||14||31|
|12||Cyprus||English||Ivi Adamou||"La La Love"||—||7||91|
|13||Denmark||English||Soluna Samay||"Should've Known Better"||—||9||63|
|14||Russia||Udmurt, English||Buranovskiye Babushki||"Party for Everybody"||—||1||152|
|15||Hungary||English||Compact Disco||"Sound of Our Hearts"||—||10||52|
|16||Austria||German6||Trackshittaz||"Woki mit deim Popo"||Shake your booty||18||8|
|17||Moldova||English7||Pasha Parfeny||"Lăutar"||Traditional musician||5||100|
France, Germany and the United Kingdom voted in this semi-final. Germany requested that they vote in this semi-final. Armenia was drawn to perform in the first half of this semi-final, but later withdrew from the contest due to security reasons.
|01||Serbia||Serbian||Željko Joksimović||"Nije ljubav stvar"
(Није љубав ствар)
|Love is not an object||2||159|
|02||Macedonia||Macedonian||Kaliopi||"Crno i belo" (Црно и бело)||Black and white||9||53|
|03||Netherlands||English||Joan Franka||"You and Me"||—||15||35|
|04||Malta||English||Kurt Calleja||"This Is the Night"||—||7||70|
|05||Belarus||English||Litesound||"We Are the Heroes"||—||16||35|
|06||Portugal||Portuguese||Filipa Sousa||"Vida minha"||Life of mine||13||39|
|07||Ukraine||English||Gaitana||"Be My Guest"||—||8||64|
|08||Bulgaria||Bulgarian9||Sofi Marinova||"Love Unlimited"||—||11||45|
|09||Slovenia||Slovene||Eva Boto||"Verjamem"||I believe||17||31|
|12||Georgia||English, Georgian||Anri Jokhadze||"I'm a Joker"||—||14||36|
|13||Turkey||English||Can Bonomo||"Love Me Back"||—||5||80|
|15||Slovakia||English||Max Jason Mai||"Don't Close Your Eyes"||—||18||22|
|17||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosnian||Maya Sar||"Korake ti znam"||I know your steps||6||77|
|18||Lithuania||English||Donny Montell||"Love Is Blind"||—||3||104|
|01||United Kingdom||English||Engelbert Humperdinck||"Love Will Set You Free"||—||25||12|
|02||Hungary||English||Compact Disco||"Sound of Our Hearts"||—||24||19|
|03||Albania||Albanian||Rona Nishliu||"Suus"3||Personal 4||5||146|
|04||Lithuania||English||Donny Montell||"Love Is Blind"||—||14||70|
|05||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosnian||Maya Sar||"Korake ti znam"||I know your steps||18||55|
|06||Russia||Udmurt, English||Buranovskiye Babushki||"Party for Everybody"||—||2||259|
|07||Iceland||English||Gréta Salóme and Jónsi||"Never Forget"||—||20||46|
|08||Cyprus||English||Ivi Adamou||"La La Love"||—||16||65|
|09||France||French, English||Anggun||"Echo (You and I)"||—||22||21|
|10||Italy||English, Italian||Nina Zilli||"L'amore è femmina (Out of Love)"||Love Is Female (Out of love)||9||101|
|13||Azerbaijan||English||Sabina Babayeva||"When the Music Dies"||—||4||150|
|15||Denmark||English6||Soluna Samay||"Should've Known Better"||—||23||21|
|18||Turkey||English||Can Bonomo||"Love Me Back"||—||7||112|
|19||Spain||Spanish||Pastora Soler||"Quédate conmigo"||Stay with me||10||97|
|20||Germany||English||Roman Lob||"Standing Still"||—||8||110|
|21||Malta||English||Kurt Calleja||"This Is the Night"||—||21||41|
|22||Macedonia||Macedonian||Kaliopi||"Crno i belo" (Црно и бело)||Black and white||13||71|
|24||Serbia||Serbian||Željko Joksimović||"Nije ljubav stvar"
(Није љубав ствар)
|Love is not an object||3||214|
|25||Ukraine||English||Gaitana||"Be My Guest"||—||15||65|
The EBU and PwC audit company checked and verified the individual jury and televoting results, which were combined to create the overall national vote for the contests. On 18 June 2012, the EBU published these results, which are as follows.
split jury/televote results
(including Albanian jury)
Below is a summary of the maximum 12 points each country awarded to another in the first semifinal:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|5||Albania||Austria, Azerbaijan, Italy, Montenegro, Switzerland|
|Russia||Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Latvia|
|3||Romania||Ireland, Moldova, Spain|
split jury/televote results
|6||Norway||72||Bosnia and Herzegovina||77|
|7||Bosnia and Herzegovina||70||Croatia||66|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||77||5||5||5||5||1||5||12||5||2||12||6||4||4||5||1|
Below is a summary of the maximum 12 points each country awarded to another in the second semifinal:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|6||Sweden||Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia|
|4||Serbia||Bulgaria, France, Macedonia, Slovenia|
|2||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Croatia, Turkey|
|Croatia||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia|
|15||Cyprus||63||Bosnia and Herzegovina||71|
|16||Bosnia and Herzegovina||57||Malta||70|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||55||6||7||10||1||7||10||2||7||5|
|Vertically, the table is ordered by appearance in the final. Horizontally, the table is ordered by voting order.|
Below is a summary of the maximum 12 points each country awarded to another in the final:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|18||Sweden||Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom|
|4||Albania||Macedonia, Italy, San Marino, Switzerland|
|Azerbaijan||Lithuania, Malta, Turkey, Ukraine|
|Serbia||Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia|
|Macedonia||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia|
The Marcel Bezençon Awards were first handed out during the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 in Tallinn, Estonia honoring the best competing songs in the final. Founded by Christer Björkman (Sweden's representative in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest and current Head of Delegation for Sweden) and Richard Herrey (member of the Herreys, Eurovision Song Contest 1984 winner from Sweden), the awards are named after the creator of the annual competition, Marcel Bezençon. The awards are divided into three categories; Press Award; Artistic Award; and Composer Award.
|Artists Award||Sweden||"Euphoria"||Loreen||Thomas G:son, Peter Boström|
|Press Award||Azerbaijan||"When the Music Dies"||Sabina Babayeva||Anders Bagge, Sandra Bjurman, Stefan Örn, Johan Kronlund|
Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l'Eurovision (more commonly known as OGAE) is an international organisation that was founded in 1984 in Savonlinna, Finland by Jari-Pekka Koikkalainen. The organisation consists of a network of 40 Eurovision Song Contest fan clubs across Europe and beyond, and is a non-governmental, non-political, and non-profitable company. In what has become an annual tradition for the OGAE fan clubs, a voting poll was opened allowing members from the respective clubs to vote for their favourite songs of the 2012 contest. Below is the top five overall results, after all the votes had been cast.
|Sweden||"Euphoria"||Loreen||Thomas G:son, Peter Boström||375|
|Italy||"L'amore è femmina"||Nina Zilli||Christian Rabb, Kristoffer Sjökvist, Frida Molander, Charlie Mason||212|
|Iceland||"Never Forget"||Gréta Salóme & Jónsi||Gréta Salóme||211|
|Serbia||"Nije ljubav stvar"||Željko Joksimović||Željko Joksimović||199|
|Norway||"Stay"||Tooji||Tooji Keshtkar, Peter Boström and Figge Boström||164|
The Barbara Dex Award has been annually awarded by the fan website House of Eurovision since 1997, and is a humorous award given to the worst dressed artist each year in the contest. It is named after the Belgian singer Barbara Dex, who came last in the 1993 contest wearing her own self-designed and often-mocked dress.
|Albania||"Suus"||Rona Nishliu||Florent Boshnjaku|
The order in which each country announced their vote was determined in a draw following the jury results from final dress rehearsal. Similar to the 2011 contest an algorithm was used to add as much excitement as possible. The spokespersons were shown alongside each country.
10.^ Ireland was originally scheduled to announce its votes as the 32nd country, but instead voted 42nd (last). The reason for this is technical difficulties in the minutes previous to the voting.
Most countries sent commentators to Baku or commentated from their own country, in order to add insight to the participants and, if necessary, provide voting information.
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