Logo used since the first edition.
|Also known as||FSC|
|Created by||European Broadcasting Union|
|Based on||Sanremo Music Festival|
|Presented by||Various presenters|
|Country of origin||Various participating countries|
|Original languages||English and French|
|Production locations||Various host cities|
~35 minutes (semi-finals)|
~1.5 hours (finals)
|Production company(s)||European Broadcasting Union|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i (2022–present)|
|Original run||19 Jun 2023 – present|
The Song Global|
The Song Second Chance
The Song Drag Race
Friendvision, often know by its initialism FSC is an international song competition organised by the European Broadcasting Union. Each participating country submits an original song and transmitted to national broadcasters via social networks, with competing countries then casting votes for the other countries' songs to determine a winner.
Based on the Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy since 1951, Friendvision has been held since 2023. Active members of the EBU and invited associate members are eligible to compete; as of 2023, 40 countries have participated at least once. Each participating broadcaster sends one original song to be performed live by a singer or group of up to six people aged 16 or older. Each country awards 1–8, 10 and 12 points to their ten favourite songs, based on the views of an assembled group of music professionals and the country's viewing public, with the song receiving the most points declared the winner. Other performances feature alongside the competition, including a specially-commissioned opening and interval act and guest performances by musicians and other personalities.
Traditionally held in the country which won the preceding year's event, the contest provides an opportunity to promote the host country and city as a tourist destination. Thousands of spectators attend each year, along with journalists who cover all aspects of the contest, including rehearsals in venue, press conferences with the competing acts, in addition to other related events and performances in the host city. Alongside the generic Friendvision logo, a unique theme is typically developed for each event. The contest has aired in countries across all continents. Friendvision ranks among the world's most watched non-sporting events every year, with hundreds of millions of viewers globally. Performing at the contest has often provided artists with a local career boost and in some cases long-lasting international success. Several of the best-selling music artists in the world have competed in past editions.
While having gained popularity with the viewing public in both participating and non-participating countries, the contest has also been the subject of criticism for its artistic quality as well as a perceived political aspect to the event. Concerns have been raised regarding political friendships and rivalries between countries potentially having an impact on the results. Controversial moments have included participating countries withdrawing at a late stage, censorship of broadcast segments by broadcasters, as well as political events impacting participation. Likewise, the contest has also been criticised for an over-abundance of elaborate stage shows at the cost of artistic merit. Friendvision has, however, gained popularity for its kitsch appeal, its musical span of ethnic and international styles, as well as emergence as part of LGBT culture, resulting in a large, active fanbase and an influence on popular culture. The popularity of the contest has led to the creation of several similar events, either organised by the EBU or created by external organisations; several special events have been organised by the EBU to celebrate select anniversaries or as a replacement due to cancellation.
On 19th June 2023, Abdullah, executive supervisor of the European Broadcasting Union decided to open an international music contest, in that every full member of the EBU can take part by sending artists representing their countries with songs. It was called Friendvision.
The first ever "Friendvision" started on 19th June 2023. It was held in the capital city of Sweden, the first ever country to host Friendvision. Fourty nations took part in the first edition, each submitting one entry to the contest. Each country awarded 12 points to their favourite, 10 points to their second favourite and then 8-1 points for the remainder of their Top 10.
ParticipationActive members (as opposed to associate members) of the European Broadcasting Union are eligible to participate; active members are those who are located in states that fall within the European Broadcasting Area, or are member states of the Council of Europe. Active members include media organisations whose broadcasts are often made available to at least 98% of households in their own country which are equipped to receive such transmissions. Associate member broadcasters may be eligible to compete, dependent on approval by the contest's Reference Group.[[File:TheSongParticipants.svg|thumb|alt=Map of countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, with a cut-out of Australia in top-right corner; countries are coloured to indicate contest participation and eligibility: countries which have entered at least once are coloured in green; countries which have never entered but eligible to do so are coloured in yellow; countries which intended to enter but later withdrew are coloured in red; and countries which competed as a part of another country but never as a sovereign country are coloured in light green. The European Broadcasting Area is defined by the International Telecommunication Union as encompassing the geographical area between the boundary of ITU Region 1 in the west, the meridian 40° East of Greenwich in the east, and parallel 30° North in the south. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and the territory of Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan and Syria lying outside these limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area.
Eligibility to participate in the contest is therefore not limited to countries in Europe, as several states geographically outside the boundaries of the continent or which span more than one continent are included in the Broadcasting Area. Countries from these groups have taken part in past editions, including countries in Western Asia such as Israel and Cyprus, countries which span Europe and Asia like Russia and Turkey, and North African countries such as Morocco. Australia became the first country to participate from outside the European Broadcasting Area in 2015, following an invitation by the contest's Reference Group.
EBU members who wish to participate must fulfil conditions as laid down in the rules of the contest, a separate copy of which is drafted annually. A maximum of 46 countries can take part in any one contest. Broadcasters must have paid the EBU a participation fee in advance to the deadline specified in the rules for the year in which they wish to participate; this fee is different for each country based on its size and viewership.
Fifty-three countries have participated at least once.
These are listed here alongside the year in which they made their debut:
[[File:ESC big 6.svg|290px|thumb|Map showing the "participation" of a country in the Big 5 up to the first edition.]] The contest's format was the same during the first editions; two semi-finals and a final were held. The top ten scored countries from each semi-final advanced to the final. In the first edition, there was a big 5 that were the sponsors for the start of the contest and were automatic qualifiers; United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany and [Itaty]]. However, for the next editions, the big 5 would change to big 6 and the top 5 and Sweden from each edition will be a part of the big 6.
Since the very first edition the winning country of each edition is automatically chosen to be the host of the next edition. As the host broadcaster, the heads of delegation can decide how and when they want to host the competition, present the logo, make a theme song and other things. However if a broadcaster cannot afford to host the competition, the runner-up or the EBU council will help out. The show would still be hosted in the winning country.
The "Big 5"
In the first edition, it was already decided that certain countries would be members of the "group" called "Big 5". The Swedish broadcaster, the organizers of the first edition, announced that, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and Italy would be the members of the first Big 5. However, as with this statement most of the broadcasters complained, the organizers decided that the Big 5, later renamed to Big 6, would be chosen according the public which led them to change the Big 6 members to the top 5 and Sweden placed countries of the previous edition indicating a different Big 6 in each edition.
The winning country traditionally hosts the following year's event, with some exceptions since 2022. Hosting the contest can be seen as a unique opportunity for promoting the host country as a tourist destination and can provide benefits to the local economy and tourism sectors of the host city. Preparations for each year's contest typically begin at the conclusion of the previous year's contest, with the winning country's head of delegation receiving a welcome package of information related to hosting the contest at the winner's press conference. The Song is a non-profit event, and financing is typically achieved through a fee from each participating broadcaster, contributions from the host broadcaster and the host city, and commercial revenues from sponsorships, ticket sales, televoting and merchandise.
The host broadcaster will subsequently select a host city, typically a national or regional capital city, which must meet certain criteria set out in the contest's rules. The host venue must be able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators, a press centre for 1,500 journalists, should be within easy reach of an international airport and with hotel accommodation available for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators. A variety of different venues have been used for past editions, from small theatres and television studios to large arenas and stadiums.
Preparations in the host venue typically begin approximately six weeks before the final, to accommodate building works and technical rehearsals before the arrival of the competing artists. Delegations will typically arrive in the host city two to three weeks before the live show, and each participating broadcaster nominates a head of delegation, responsible for coordinating the movements of their delegation and being that country's representative to the EBU. Members of each country's delegation include performers, composers, lyricists, members of the press, and—in the years where a live orchestra was present—a conductor. Present if desired is a commentator, who provides commentary of the event for their country's radio and/or television feed in their country's own language in dedicated booths situated around the back of the arena behind the audience.
Each country conducts two individual rehearsals behind closed doors, the first for 30 minutes and the second for 20 minutes. Individual rehearsals for the semi-finalists commence the week before the live shows, with countries typically rehearsing in the order in which they will perform during the contest; rehearsals for the host country and the "Big Five" automatic finalists are held towards the end of the week. Following rehearsals, delegations meet with the show's production team to review footage of the rehearsal and raise any special requirements or changes. "Meet and greet" sessions with accredited fans and press are held during these rehearsal weeks. Each live show is preceded by three dress rehearsals, where the whole show is run in the same way as it will be presented on TV. The second dress rehearsal, alternatively called the "jury show" and held the night before the broadcast, is used as a recorded back-up in case of technological failure, and performances during this show are used by each country's professional jury to determine their votes. The delegations from the qualifying countries in each semi-final attend a qualifiers' press conference after their respective semi-final, and the winning delegation attends a winners' press conference following the final.
A welcome reception is typically held at a venue in the host city on the Sunday preceding the live shows, which includes a red carpet ceremony for all the participating countries and is usually broadcast online. Accredited delegates, press and fans have access to an official nightclub, the "TheSongClub", and some delegations will hold their own parties. The "The Song Village" is an official fan zone open to the public free of charge, with live performances by the contest's artists and screenings of the live shows on big screens.
Song eligibility and languages
All competing songs must have a recap with a duration of 30 seconds. This rule applies only to the version performed during the live shows. In order to be considered eligible, competing songs in a given year's contest must not have been released commercially before 2017. All competing entries must include vocals and lyrics of some kind and purely instrumental pieces are not allowed. Competing entries may be performed in any language, be that natural or constructed, and participating broadcasters are free to decide the language in which their entry may be performed.
Since the first edition, the order in which the competing countries perform has been determined by the contest's producers, and submitted to the EBU Executive Supervisor and Reference Group for approval before public announcement.
Semi-final qualifiers make a draw at random during the winners' press conference to determine whether they will perform during the first or second half of the final; the automatic finalists then randomly draw their competing half in the run-up to the final, except for the host country, whose exact performance position is determined in a separate draw. The running order for the final is then decided following the second semi-final by the producers, taking into consideration both the competing songs' musical qualities as well as stage performance, to best work around the set up of any props, lighting requirements and other production considerations.
Each country awards one sets of points: based on the votes of each country's professional jury. Each set of points consists of 1–8, 10 and 12 points to the jury and public's ten favourite songs, with the most preferred song receiving 12 points. Should two or more countries finish with the same number of points, a tie-break procedure is employed to determine the final placings. The country which has obtained points from the most countries following this calculation is deemed to have placed higher.