The Rules of the Contest 2023
The Eurovision Song Contest has a detailed set of Rules, which have been established by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and are approved by the contest's governing body, the Reference Group. On this page you can find the public summary of the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
This version of the Rules is provided for the public informational purposes only.
1.1 INTERNATIONAL CO PRODUCTION
The Eurovision Song Contest (the "ESC") is an international co production by broadcasting organisations having the status of Members of the EBU, as defined under the EBU Statutes (the "Members") which is carried out under the auspices of the European Broadcasting Union (the "EBU") as part of the television programme exchange known as Eurovision for the benefit of the Participating Broadcasters and of the Host Broadcaster. The EBU appoints an Executive Supervisor (hereafter the “ESC Executive Supervisor”) to supervise the organization of the ESC and the production of the Shows and to oversee ESC operations throughout the year as further detailed under these Rules.
1.2 NUMBER OF PARTICIPATING BROADCASTERS
A maximum of 44 Members shall be allowed to participate (the "Participating Broadcasters").
Members from a maximum total of 26 countries shall compete in the Final.
There shall be six guaranteed places therein, i.e. one for the producing organization, i.e. the Member which has won the preceding edition (the "Host Broadcaster"), and the five Members from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom (the “Big 5”). Subject to a decision by the EBU in consultation with the Reference Group, the number of guaranteed places in the Final may be modified depending on circumstances.
Apart from the six broadcasters with guaranteed places, all Participating Broadcasters from a maximum of 38 countries shall compete in one of the Semi-Finals for the remaining places in the Final.
2.1 LIVE PRIME TIME ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS
The ESC is traditionally composed of three live Shows, two Semi-Finals, on Tuesdays and on Thursdays and one Final taking place on Saturdays taking place annually in May, in the country of the Host Broadcaster. The Acts are performed during the Shows in front of a live audience and the Shows are presented on stage, in both English and French, by the international presenters.
The Shows are produced and transmitted live by the Host Broadcaster (see the Event Schedule) and are made available over the Eurovision network for live broadcast by the Participating Broadcasters.
Each Show is a state-of-the-art, prime-time entertainment programme, world-class live television production. It consists in a musical competition in which artists entered by the Participating Broadcasters (the "Contestants") will compete at the ESC by performing on stage live on television, songs (the "Acts") to represent their respective countries. The Acts are performed one after the other with short sequences (the "Postcards") in between.
The allocation of the countries to the two Semi-Finals and the position of appearance of the Host Broadcaster in the Final shall be decided by means of draws.
The outcome of the ESC is decided by the votes casted by the National Audiences and by National Juries appointed in the countries of the Participating Broadcasters.
During the televoting window and the time necessary to calculate the results, there shall be so-called "interval acts" produced by the Host Broadcaster (the "Interval Acts").
The announcement of the results is generally followed from a so-called "Green Room" by the Contestants having entered the ESC.
National commentary by commentators appointed by each of the Participating Broadcasters is added to the international version of the Shows for broadcast in their respective countries.
2.2 ESC ENTRIES REQUIREMENTS
This Section 2.2 sets out the criteria to be respected in relation to the song and the Act entered into by a Participating Broadcaster. Failure to comply with one or more of these criteria may lead to disqualification.
2.2.1 SELECTION OF THE SONGS
Each song which competes in the ESC shall be selected through a national selection to be organized by each Participating Broadcaster. The national selection is organized under the sole responsibility of the Participating Broadcaster in question.
2.2.2 SONGS REQUIREMENTS
(i) RELEASE DATE
The songs (lyrics and music compositions) submitted to represent the country of each Participating Broadcaster’s country in the ESC must be original and must not have been released and/or publicly performed in part or in full before the Release Date (see the Event Schedule).
In case the song submitted has been made available to the public, for example, but not limited to, on online video platforms, social networks or (semi-) publicly accessible databanks and/or performed publicly, for example but not limited to during concerts, prior to the Release Date the Participating Broadcaster must inform the ESC Executive Supervisor, who shall have authority to evaluate whether the song remains eligible for participation in the Contest.
In particular, the ESC Executive Supervisor shall assess whether such disclosure prior to the Release Date is likely to give to the song an advantage in the Contest vis-à-vis the other participating songs.
The ESC Executive Supervisor shall have authority to authorise or deny participation of a song which may have been available to the public as described above. The ESC Executive Supervisor shall consult the Reference Group in case of doubt.
The maximum duration of each song is three minutes. Any song/performance which is longer shall not be eligible to participate and the Participating Broadcaster may be disqualified in case it fails (i) to submit to the EBU a song complying with the requested duration hereunder by the prescribed deadline or (ii) to (have) perform(ed) on stage, a song complying with the requested duration hereunder.
Each Participating Broadcaster is free to decide the language in which its Contestant(s) will sing. […]
2.2.3 PERFORMANCES AT THE ESC
(i) PERFORMANCES IN THE SHOWS
The stage performance shall be identical in all second (Jury) Dress Rehearsals and during the live Shows.
(ii) LIVE PERFORMANCES ON STAGE
All songs shall be performed live on stage with a recorded Backing track complying with the requirements listed under par (iii) hereafter.
The lead singer(s) of the selected song (the “Lead Vocal(s)”) shall perform live on stage only.
- Eventual vocal support(s) for the Lead Vocal(s) (the “Lead Dub(s)”) shall perform live, on stage or off stage, only.
- All other backing vocal(s) performing vocal harmonies (the “Backing Vocals”) may perform either live on stage or off stage and/or on a Backing track compliant to the requirements under par (iii) hereafter.
No on-stage Contestant (whether Lead Vocals, Lead Dubs or Backing Vocals or dancers) shall be allowed to lip-sync (playback) in such a way as to make it appear that they are singing all or most of the song when they actually are not.
Plugging instruments to play live on stage shall not be allowed.
The Host Broadcaster and the ESC Executive Supervisor shall verify respect for this rule.
(iii) BACKING TRACKS
The accompanying Backing track may optionally contain Backing Vocals. However, the Backing track in question shall not contain (i) Lead Vocals, (ii) Lead Dubs and/or (iii) any other vocals that would have the effect of, or aim at, replacing or unduly assisting the Lead Vocal(s) during the live performance on stage.
In case there are live Backing Vocals, on or off stage, as part of the Act, they shall be mixed with the Backing track’s Backing Vocals (if any). […]
2.2.4 CONTESTANTS (ELIGIBILTY CRITERIA)
(i) MAXIMUM NUMBER OF CONTESTANTS
Each performance may consist of a maximum of six artists on stage. No live animals shall be allowed on stage.
(ii) AGE OF CONTESTANTS
All Contestants and artists competing in a Semi-Final must be aged at least 16 on the day of the Final. All Contestants and artists competing only in the Final must be aged at least 16 on the day of the Final.
(iii) COUNTRY REPRESENTATION
No Contestant and/or artist may compete for more than one country in the ESC in a given year.
The voting is compulsory in all the countries of the Participating Broadcasters. Each Participating Broadcaster shall cooperate with the pan-European voting Partner appointed by the EBU for the televoting and the national jury voting so as to ensure a central control and verification of the results. […]
2.3.1 CENTRALISED TELEVOTING – VOTES OF NATIONAL AUDIENCES
In the Semi-Final: All Participating Broadcasters presenting a song in a Semi-Final are obliged to implement the televoting system for that Semi-Final. The six Participating Broadcasters with guaranteed places in the Final shall also implement the televoting system for the Semi-Final which they are required to broadcast.
In the Final: All Participating Broadcasters are obliged to implement the televoting system for the Final.
MEANS OF TELEVOTING: Viewers in the countries of the Participating Broadcasters are invited to vote for their favourite songs by means of televoting (votes of the National Audiences by telephone and SMS, including the ESC App).
NO VOTING FOR ITS OWN COUNTRY: Voters must be excluded from voting for the song of their own country of residence, and this must be made known to them.
2.3.2 VOTES OF NATIONAL JURIES
In addition to the Televoting, in each participating country, there shall be a National Jury to be appointed by that country's Participating Broadcaster, unless decided otherwise by the Reference Group, to vote in the Semi-Finals and in the Final. […] the Reference Group may decide to change the jury voting set-up; […]
National Juries shall vote in all countries and in all cases.
In the Semi-Final: All Participating Broadcasters having a Contestant in a Semi-Final shall ensure that a National Jury votes in that Semi-Final. The six Participating Broadcasters with guaranteed places in the Final shall also appoint a National Jury to vote in the Semi-Final which they are required to broadcast.
In the Final: All Participating Broadcasters shall appoint a National Jury to vote in the Final (even if their song is not selected for the Final).
Implementation of the compulsory Televoting shall not exempt any Participating Broadcaster from appointing a National Jury.
The National Juries shall not be allowed to vote for the song of their own country.
(ii) COMPOSITION AND CRITERIA
The composition of the National Jury and the criteria with which the Jury Members shall comply shall be set out under the Official Voting Instructions.
When voting, Jury Members shall use all their professional skill and experience without favouring any Contestant on the account of their nationality, gender or likeliness and shall be free from bias, external influence or pressure.
(i) NATIONAL AUDIENCES
In each country, the song which has received the highest number of votes from the National Audience shall be ranked first, the song which has received the second highest number of votes shall be ranked second and so on until the last song.
(ii) NATIONAL JURIES
The national jurors shall rank first their favourite song, second, their second favourite song, third, their third favourite song, and so on until their least favourite song which shall be ranked last. Abstentions are not allowed, except that the song representing the country of the Participating Broadcaster which has appointed the National Jury shall be excluded from the vote. It is not allowed to award the same rank to two different songs.
(iii) AWARD OF THE POINTS
In both Semi-Finals and in the Final, it being for the National Audiences or for the National Juries, the results in each country shall be determined as follows:
- 12 points shall be allocated to the song having obtained the best rank;
- 10 points to the song having obtained the second-best rank,
- 8 points to the song having obtained the third-best rank,
- 7 points to the next,
- and so on, down to 1 point for the song having obtained the tenth-best rank.
The points of the National Audiences and of the National Juries shall be combined according to a ratio which is determined by the EBU, subject to the Reference Group approval.
For example, if the ratio is 50-50, the points of the National Jury carry the same weight as the points of the National Audiences.
2.5 PRESENTATION AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RESULTS
The results shall be announced once all songs have been performed, after the televoting window is closed and the results have been calculated.
2.5.1 IN THE SEMI FINALS
In the Semi-Finals, the international presenters shall announce the names of the countries which have qualified from the Semi-Finals for the Final.
2.5.2 IN THE FINAL
The results of the National Juries in each country are announced in turn by the spokesperson of each Participating Broadcaster clearly and distinctly in English or in French, stating the name of the country concerned and the points allocated by its National Jury according to the procedure laid down under the Voting Instructions.
The televoting results of the National Audiences are announced by the International Presenters.
The televoting results of the National Audiences for each song across all participating countries are added progressively to the scoreboard as long as the results are announced.
The televoting points from the National Audiences from all participating countries are combined with the points of the National Juries, providing one combined score for each song.
At the end of the process, the International Presenters shall announce the winner(s).
The Contestants, song writer(s) and Participating Broadcaster of the winning song(s) in the Final shall receive the ESC Trophy, and the transmission of the Final shall end with a further performance of the winning song(s).
The respective winners of the Semi-Finals and of the Final shall be the song(s) which, according to all information made available to the EBU by the pan-European voting partner, has/have obtained the highest combined number of points once the results of the National Audiences and of the National Juries have been added at the time of announcement of the results. […]
2.6 ESC TITLE AND BRANDING
2.6.1 ESC TITLE
The main title of the Shows is the "Eurovision Song Contest", followed by the year during which it takes place.
It shall be used by all broadcasters, although they may instead use a translation into their national language, subject to the approval of the EBU. If the translation is approved, the main title need not be used. Broadcasters are also permitted to include a minor title under the main title, using the name by which the ESC has been known in recent years in their respective countries.
2.6.2 ESC BRANDING AND ESC DISTINCTIVE ELEMENTS
The official Logo of the ESC shall be used by the Participating Broadcasters together with the official Event Artwork designed by the Host Broadcaster (the “ESC Branding”). […]
2.7 RESPECT OF ESC AND EBU VALUES
"EBU Values": Universality, Independence, Excellence, Diversity, Accountability and Innovation.
"ESC Values": universality, diversity, equality and inclusivity and proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.
2.7.1 NON-POLITICAL EVENT
The ESC is a non-political event. All Participating Broadcasters, including the Host Broadcaster, shall be responsible to ensure that all necessary measures are undertaken within in their respective Delegations and teams to safeguard the interests and the integrity of the ESC and to make sure that the ESC shall in no case be politicised and/or instrumentalized and/or otherwise brought into disrepute in any way.
2.7.2 VALUES AND INTEGRITY
The Participating Broadcasters shall at all times respect the EBU and the ESC Values and take all steps to protect the integrity of the ESC and of the Shows.
They shall ensure that no contestant, delegation or country is discriminated and/or ridiculed in any manner. […]
3.2 EXPLOITATION/GRANT OF RIGHTS
(i) GRANT OF RIGHTS
The EBU is in exclusive control of all centralised marketing and exploitation of the ESC […]
(ii) DISTRIBUTION LICENSING
All broadcasting and other rights to the Shows and the ESC are exclusively owned by the EBU, to be managed centrally by the EBU on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters.
The EBU shall, in cooperation with an agent if needed, be responsible for coordinating all sales of the Shows (including any ESC content produced by the EBU), in whole or in part, to non-participating broadcasters from countries where rights remain available and to third parties, […]
Non-participating broadcasters are not allowed to broadcast any material from the Shows (rehearsals/preparations, etc.) without the prior written permission of, and without possible payment of a rights fee to, the EBU.
All Members which are radio organisations shall be granted, free of charge (except for the usual rights payments to national collecting societies), for their territory, the right to broadcast on a linear basis the Shows (live or deferred), in whole or in part, an unlimited number of times until the next ESC, (the celebrity act may have to be excluded for deferred broadcasts taking place 30 days after the Final, if so notified by the EBU). In addition, they are entitled to make available on a non-linear basis until the next ESC audio extracts from the Shows on their fully owned website, as long as no more than 30 seconds per song are used.
Members which are radio organisations but which are not part of a Participating Broadcaster's organisation and which are located in the country of a Participating Broadcaster which includes both a radio and a television service shall be entitled to broadcast the Shows only if they have obtained the prior written authorization of the Participating Broadcaster in that country.
Radio organisations (other than Members) from countries where rights remain available, may acquire the right to broadcast the Shows on their territory against possible payment of a rights fee.
Radio broadcasters shall not be entitled to sell any sponsorship package in relation to the ESC and/or in relation to their transmission of the Shows. […]
Television and online platforms
Television broadcasters and media organisations from countries where rights remain available may acquire the right to broadcast or otherwise transmit the Shows on their territory on a linear and/or non linear basis against possible payment of a rights fee. In countries where rights remain available, non-participating EBU Members shall have a first option, to be exercised within a deadline set by the EBU, to purchase the Shows for their territory. Depending on the facilities available, non-participating broadcasters from countries where rights remain available may also request the right to send a commentator, and/or a production team, to the ESC. […]
The EBU shall be entitled to grant licences with respect to any extracts from the Shows, and/or from the Dress Rehearsals and/or from the ESC Content produced by the EBU to third parties for inclusion in any audiovisual works or media products or services. […]
(iii) ESC LOGO AND ARTWORK
No commercial or non-commercial entity shall use the logo or other distinctive elements of the ESC or the Shows without the prior written permission of the EBU. […]
3.2.4 FREE ACCESS
Specific Reporting Access Rules for non-rights holders are made available separately by the EBU in advance of the ESC and shall be published on Eurovision.tv.
Each Participating Broadcaster hereby acknowledges and accepts that:
News access for non EVN members
Any broadcaster which does not hold any audiovisual media rights and which is not a Member participating in the Eurovision News Exchange shall be granted, except where national law or regulation provides otherwise, a total of two minutes' news access from each of the three Shows (or, from any Dress Rehearsal), free of charge for use strictly in regularly-scheduled general news bulletins broadcast within 24 hours of the Semi-Finals and the Final respectively. On-Demand Use of the News Bulletins shall be possible only on Fully Owned Websites (i.e. operated under the editorial control of the Non-Right Holder) for no more than for one month after the Final.
News access for EVN members
Non-rights holder broadcasters which are EVN Members (i.e. an EBU Member participating in the Eurovision News Exchange) shall be granted on a free of charge basis a 3 minutes access from each of the three Shows (or, if requested, from any Dress Rehearsal) to be used strictly in the news context in general current affairs bulletins broadcast within 48 hours of the Semi-Finals and the Final respectively. On-Demand Use of the general current affairs bulletins possible only on Fully Owned Websites (i.e. operated under the editorial control of the Non-Right-Holder) for no more than for one month after the Final.
All accredited media and International Sponsors shall be free to use any material filmed by them during the press conferences, open rehearsals and certain of the rehearsals in accordance with the specific ESC Access Rules. […]
These Rules are drafted in English and French. In the event of any inconsistencies between the two versions, the English version shall prevail.