Déjà vu: returning artists and how much of them we can afford

The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 saw the return of seven artists who had participated in previous editions. Four artists with a Eurovision-resumé have been confirmed for the upcoming Swedish Melodifestivalen, the one and only Loreen among them (Sweden really wants its 7th). There were talks of Azúcar Moreno’s possible new bid, as well as the so much anticipated Ruth Lorenzo’s new attempt which did not come to fruition. Paparizou was in the headlines too.

Many fans are thrilled with the possibility of seeing past contestants again on the Eurovision stage. I must say that if it happened from time to time I would be pleased too, but frankly, this is becoming too much of a habit in recent years. Yes, past Eurovision participants are not barred from further attempts by the rules. However, having the same names regularly and repeatedly on our screens (Valentina Monetta, remember?) gives the impression of an inbred and monolithic institution with exclusive membership requirements. The attention pulled by the returning artists is expected and new talents who could be potential Eurovision entrants can be discouraged by the fuss built around recurring Eurovision-participants. The regard for the habitués will make them feel unappreciated or unnoticed, and many will just think “why even try if all eyes will be on the regulars”.

The not-so-Eurovision-devout audience can be dissuaded from watching a Contest with repeated participants. Many perceive the competition as a talent show for discovering new artists; the same faces over and over will bring a feeling of déjà vu to the public. They may as well think that the show they see is a rerun of another they saw already.

The Eurovision Song Contest is permanently attempting to renovate itself and evolve so it can shake off the notion that it is an old-fashioned show. The results achieved so far can be thrown away by the practice of endogamy when building its participants line-up.

Sure one is happy to see again a face one knows. However I would rather see them again in other television shows, on a concert-stage during a summer tour or as guest artists in any other event. I would prefer to listen to them on the radio or in a bar while having a drink or driving my car. That is the best outcome that a Eurovision participation can yield: success beyond Eurovision. That is too the best recognition and acknowledgment that an artist can award to the Eurovision Song Contest, not recurrent Eurovision comebacks. Our favorite show should be the singers’ springboard to stardom and be recorded on their CV, not their means to make a living and be counted in their pay-slip.

To the returning aspirants I would say thank you for the respect and appreciation that you accord to the Eurovision Song Contest, but way should be given to new artists so they can too have their three minutes. So spoke Conchita Wurst in 2014 to my question about a possible return in 2015. Compact Disco (Hungary 2012) stated that they love Eurovision, but once (on the stage) is OK. I think I read Loïc Nottet say something in line with that…

There it is; I finally said it.

Have a good one!

PS: I still love Crisalide, cara Valentina!

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