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EXCLUSIVE: How is the Running Order being decided?

12 May 2017 at 20:39 CEST
Producers deciding the Running Order EBU
Right after the 10 qualifiers from the second Semi-Final have drawn whether they will perform in the first or second half of the Grand Final, there is an important job to do: In order to ensure a show full of variety and excitement, the production crew has the task of deciding in which order the acts will perform in the show. was invited to be the fly on the wall.

Christer Björkman, producer at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, explains to "As soon as we get the result from the press conference in which halves the new finalists will perform, we can actually start preparing the running order for the Grand Final."

"The first thing you do is... you look into songs, what indentity do they have, what colour temperature, which genre, tempo — all these parameters you look at, and then you start creating a flow, so that it becomes a good show that allows each song to actually shine for three minutes."

"Once I have a plan for that I turn to Jon Ola Sand, the EBU's Executive Supervisor, and then we discuss intensely for a while. In the end we agree on something that we feel is good for the show."

Limited time

What makes determining the running order so challenging is the limited amount of time available. The running order has consequences for the script of the Grand Final, transportation schedules of the participants, planning of make-up and hair, the order in which props are lined up behind the stage, as well as programming of light and sound systems, televoting, the official app and so much more.

Some of these production departments play a crucial role in helping the producers to decide upon the running order. Sand explains: "There are a lot of people involved with looking at this, to make sure that it fits the production. The stage crew has to be involved in this as well, to make sure that the props changes on stage can be made in time."

How do they keep the contest fair?

"We keep the contest fair by having a third eye on this; the Chairman of the Reference Group. He  has a neutral position and can look at it from an outside perspective, not having being involved in the discussions," Sand underlines.

The Reference Group is the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body on behalf of all participating broadcasters.

"It has been a joy"

Björkman: "I would like to say that this was a fantastic set of songs to make a running order of. There is such a variety in colour, in temperature, in mood, in spirit — it's such a vibrant Grand Final! Good songs, funny songs, big and small expressions. It has been a joy to do this as producer, I must say!"

The running order of the shows has been decided by the producers since 2013, before that the running order was determined by draw.

Last night, the running order meeting started around 1:00 am and finished shortly after 2:00 am Kyiv time. The running order for the Grand Final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest became available on at 2:25 Kyiv time.