Richard Wilkins Norway city Stockholm Belgium Finland stage song Music Richard Wilkins Norway city Stockholm Belgium Finland

Eurovision's behind-the-scenes secrets - stage 'rule', truth to vote and song details

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Rylan Clark-Neal and former Eurovision judge Richard Wilkins.From the length of the song to the lyrics, even the time the song was released – everything is very precise when it comes to Eurovision's choice of songs.The first rule is fairly simple – the lyrics and music can’t have been commercially released before September 1 the year before.Another qualifying rule for the song is it must not be any longer than three minutes – but there's a very good reason for that.In Stockholm, for example, the show starts at 9pm, the first song is at about 9:15pm, and 26 songs later it’s past 10:30pm.Then there’s all that banter from the hosts, and finally the results, meaning it’s a very lengthy evening.In 2015, Finland broke the record for the shortest song in Eurovision as the band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät participated with their punk-rock song Aina Mun Pitää with a length of 1m27s.Luckily, entrants don't need many lyrics, as Norway’s 1995 winning song Nocturne demonstrated with just 24 words.The legal term isn’t “lyrics”, it’s “discernible vocals” and the edgy Belgium interprets this in their own way, as in 2003 and 2008 they entered songs in an imaginary dialect.Understandably, there's no miming in Eurovision – all vocals must be sung live.They are so strict on this that no voices are permitted on the backing track either.The rule book follows then to say that if you sing live you better sing well.For the TV broadcast each country is allocated 50 minutes of rehearsal time split over two days.This ensures technical precision of everything from the lighting to the music.It is not all over after that though as there are then three full dress rehearsals for each Semi Final and the Grand Final.So, when an act qualifies for the Grand.

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