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The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 was the 64th annual event and was held at Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 2 in Tel Aviv, Israel thanks to Netta Barzilai's win the previous year in Lisbon. The official dates were 14 and 16 May 2019 for the semifinals, with the grand final on 18 May 2019.

41 countries participated, Bulgaria decided to withdraw citing financial issues. Ukraine later withdrew due to difficulties in finding a replacement act for their national final winner (see "Incidents" below).

It was widely suspected that it would be a two-horse race between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to become the host city. Eliat was also considered but dropped out of the race on 30 August 2018. This was the very first contest to be organized by Israel's new public broadcaster IPBC (KAN) since it began operations in mid-2017.

All of Israel's winners past and present were included in this edition in some capacity (Gali Atari, Dana International and Netta performing, with Izhar Cohen serving as the Israeli jury spokesperson for the final), as well as its first-ever participant Ilanit.

Iceland, San Marino and Switzerland returned to the final for the first time since 2014, while North Macedonia made its first appearance since 2012. All four countries recorded some of their best results in recent years.

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands was crowned the winner with the song Arcade, giving his country its 5th win overall and its first in 44 years. Rounding out the top 5 were Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden.

Format

Presenters

Like the previous year, the 2019 contest featured a quartet of presenters and were revealed on 25 January 2019. They were model Bar Refaeli and Israeli TV personalities Erez Tal, Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub.

Assi and Lucy were the main presenters of the green room located in Pavilion 1 directly adjacent to the main venue, though Bar also assisted there on occasion. All three rotated to assist Erez in the presentation of the voting results - Bar during the semifinal 1 qualifier results and the grand final televoting, Lucy during the semifinal 2 qualifier results, and Assi during the grand final jury voting.

Theme

The theme of the 2019 contest is Dare to Dream. The slogan itself focuses on unity, diversity and confidence. As Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand said about the theme:

"This aspirational tag line represents and symbolizes everything that the Eurovision Song Contest is about. It’s about inclusion. It’s about diversity. It’s about unity. Being on that stage, daring to dream you can win the Eurovision Song Contest, be brave enough, be confident enough, standing there performing for a world audience is something that is worth the dream."

The theme art, unveiled on 8 January 2019, consists of three triangles that, when they come together, form a glowing star. It is inspired by Florian Wieder's stage design for the event, and is a symbol of the stars of the future coming to Tel Aviv to chase their dreams.

Postcards

The concept of the 2019 postcards is "Dancing Israel". Each participant is shown visiting a different location in Israel where they stop to touch a triangle on the screen. They are then invited to perform a style of dance with the people they meet.

Voting Twist

A twist was announced for the revealing of the grand final voting results. The jury result and the counting and combining of televotes would take place the same way as the last three years, however, the televotes would then be awarded to countries according to their placement in the jury rankings. Meaning, the country placed last with the juries would receive their televote score first and so on with the country ranked first receiving their points last.

Incidents

Calls for Boycotts

After the 2017 final, the Lord Mayor of Dublin said that Ireland should not participate in the 2019 contest due to the fact that it is being held in Israel (specifically in Jerusalem if it is chosen as the host city), also citing the "horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people needs to be highlighted." Ireland previously competed both times Israel hosted in 1979 and 1999. Additionally, the Left Party of Malmö in Sweden also called for the boycott of the event for the same reasons, saying Israel should be excluded from Eurovision "on humanitarian grounds." Iceland's participation was in jeopardy when a petition with over 22,000 signatures circulated in the hopes that the national broadcaster would not participate in the 2019 contest. All three countries since confirmed their participation.
A number of European and international members of the arts community including a few within the Eurovision circle signed a collective letter urging the EBU to pull hosting of the 2019 event from Israel - among them musician Roger Waters, who sent out pleas to Portuguese representative Conan Osiris and Australian representative Kate Miller-Heidke to "stand on the right side of history" and withdraw from the event. In response, Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand stated that the contest should not be used as a platform for political aims and expressed his support for the event's non-political nature.

BDS Threats/Security

Coinciding with these events, supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement converged on the contest's social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter along with those of many of the participating artists and broadcasters, trying to coerce fans to boycott the contest (by either not watching the event on TV/internet or live in the venue) and artists to withdraw their participation due to escalating tensions in Gaza. Their actions also involved invading the stage during the second semifinal of the French selection and protesting outside the venues of the Spanish, German and Danish finals. Protests were also held outside the headquarters of several participating broadcasters including RTÉ in Ireland and the BBC in the United Kingdom. The BDS branch in Australia organized similar protests using the SBS logo in their promotional material. SBS later served BDS Australia with a cease and desist order for unauthorized use of their branding for the movement's purposes.

Following threats sent to Bilal Hassani and Chimène Badi by the BDS movement during the French national selection, the EBU, according to Israel's Channel 2, sent letters to all participating countries outlining measures to ensure artists' and delegations' safety and security during the contest. Additionally, KAN is expected to ask for assistance with security costs from the Israeli government, which was later granted.

Ukraine

Ukraine was to have been represented by the artist MARUV with the song Siren Song. However, following the Ukrainian national final, the Ukrainian broadcaster gave Maruv an ultimatum regarding upcoming performances in Russia. Later, Maruv refused to give into a list of demands in the contract drafted by UA:PBC which included stiff financial penalties for any broken rule. On 25 February 2019, she withdrew as the Ukrainian representative. UA:PBC then looked to Freedom Jazz and Kazka (who placed second and third), but both acts declined the offer. Fourth-place act Brunettes Shoot Blondes stated that they would also reject the invitation if they were asked.

On 27 February 2019, UA:PBC announced that Ukraine would withdraw from the 2019 contest, but would still broadcast the event.

Dismissal of Belarusian jury and voting errors

Eurovoix.com reported that members of the Belarusian jury revealed hints about the way they voted during the first semifinal jury show. Under the rules set for national juries by the EBU regarding confidentiality and impartiality, all five jurors were dismissed and barred from voting in the grand final, wit the country's jury scores were based on an "aggregate result" made up of the combined averages of the entire allocation pot Belarus was assigned to.

On 22 May 2019, the EBU released a statement that an error had been made in the Belarusian aggregate jury results (the results were reversed with the bottom 10 getting the points during the live final with Israel getting the 12 points when it should actually have gone to Malta) and the corrected points were either added or subtracted to the totals for the finalists affected. Thus, several countries switched positions on the scoreboard, and North Macedonia was the actual winner of the grand final jury vote instead of Sweden.

Iceland political stunt

As Hatari was receiving their televote score during the final, they displayed Palestinian flag scarves on camera, which violates the rule of political statements and elicited boos from the audience along with shock from those watching in the press center. The scarves were confiscated by members of security and the event staff, and as a result RÚV was eventually fined €5000 by the EBU. The reaction shot was replaced with the 2019 star logo and an Icelandic flag on the official contest DVD.

Participants

The semi-final allocation draw was held on 28 January 2019 at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and hosted by Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub. The insignia handover ceremony took place before the draw began, officially beginning the countdown to the contest.

The pots were as follows, calculated by the EBU's voting providers Digame and based on voting patterns over the past 14 years:

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4 Pot 5 Pot 6 Finalists
IconAlbania Albania
IconCroatia Croatia
IconNorth Macedonia North Macedonia
IconMontenegro Montenegro
IconSerbia Serbia
IconSlovenia Slovenia
IconDenmark Denmark
IconEstonia Estonia
IconFinland Finland
IconIceland Iceland
IconNorway Norway
IconSweden Sweden
IconArmenia Armenia
IconAzerbaijan Azerbaijan
IconBelarus Belarus
IconGeorgia Georgia
IconRussia Russia
IconUkraine Ukraine
IconAustralia Australia
IconIreland Ireland
IconLatvia Latvia
IconLithuania Lithuania
IconPoland Poland
IconPortugal Portugal
IconAustria Austria
IconBelgium Belgium
IconCzech Republic Czech Republic
IconHungary Hungary
IconThe Netherlands The Netherlands
IconSwitzerland Switzerland
IconCyprus Cyprus
IconGreece Greece
IconMalta Malta
IconMoldova Moldova
IconRomania Romania
IconSan Marino San Marino
IconIsrael Israel (Host)
IconFrance France
IconGermany Germany
IconItaly Italy
IconSpain Spain
IconUnited Kingdom United Kingdom

Pre-Allocations

  • Switzerland was pre-allocated to semifinal 2 as per a request from SRG SSR due to scheduling conflicts involving the airing of a World Hockey Championship match on the day of SF1. It was approved by the Reference Group.

Returning Artists

Artist(s) Previous Year(s)
Tamara Todevska 2008
Serhat 2016
Sergey Lazarev 2016
Joci Pápai 2017
Nevena Božović 2013 (with Moje 3)

Semi Final One

IconFrance France, IconIsrael Israel and IconSpain Spain voted in this semi. It took place on 14 May 2019.

Draw Country Artist Song Language Translation Place Points
01 IconCyprus Cyprus Tamta Replay English -- 9 149
02 IconMontenegro Montenegro D-Moll Heaven 16 46
03 IconFinland Finland Darude ft. Sebastian Look Away 17 23
04 IconPoland Poland Tulia Fire of Love (Pali Się) Polish, English It's on fire 11 120
05 IconSlovenia Slovenia Zala & Gašper Sebi Slovene Yourself 6 167
06 IconCzech Republic Czech Republic Lake Malawi Friend of a Friend English -- 2 242
07 IconHungary Hungary Joci Pápai Az én apám Hungarian My father 12 97
08 IconBelarus Belarus Zena Like It English -- 10 122
09 IconSerbia Serbia Nevena Božović Kruna Serbian, English Crown 7 156
10 IconBelgium Belgium Elliot Vassamillet Wake Up English -- 13 70
11 IconGeorgia Georgia Oto Nemsadze Sul tsin iare Georgian Keep on going 14 62
12 IconAustralia Australia Kate Miller-Heidke Zero Gravity English -- 1 261
13 IconIceland Iceland Hatari Hatrið mun sigra Icelandic Hate will prevail 3 221
14 IconEstonia Estonia Victor Crone Storm English -- 4 198
15 IconPortugal Portugal Conan Osíris Telemóveis Portuguese Mobile phones 15 51
16 IconGreece Greece Katerine Duska Better Love English -- 5 185
17 IconSan Marino San Marino Serhat Say Na Na Na 8 150

Semi Final Two

IconGermany Germany, IconItaly Italy and IconUnited Kingdom United Kingdom voted in this semi. It took place on 16 May 2019.

Draw Country Artist Song Language Translation Place Points
01 IconArmenia Armenia Srbuk Walking Out English -- 16 49
02 IconIreland Ireland Sarah McTernan 22 18 16
03 IconMoldova Moldova Ana Odobescu Stay 12 85
04 IconSwitzerland Switzerland Luca Hänni She Got Me 4 232
05 IconLatvia Latvia Carousel That Night 15 50
06 IconRomania Romania Ester Peony On a Sunday 13 71
07 IconDenmark Denmark Leonora Love is Forever 10 94
08 IconSweden Sweden John Lundvik Too Late for Love 3 238
09 IconAustria Austria Paenda Limits 17 21
10 IconCroatia Croatia Roko Blažević The Dream English, Croatian 14 64
11 IconMalta Malta Michela Pace Chameleon English 8 157
12 IconLithuania Lithuania Jurijus Run with the Lions 11 93
13 IconRussia Russia Sergey Lazarev Scream 6 217
14 IconAlbania Albania Jonida Maliqi Ktheju tokës Albanian Return to the land 9 96
15 IconNorway Norway KEiiNO Spirit in the Sky English, Northern Sami -- 7 210
16 IconThe Netherlands The Netherlands Duncan Laurence Arcade English 1 280
17 IconNorth Macedonia North Macedonia Tamara Todevska Proud 2 239
18 IconAzerbaijan Azerbaijan Chingiz Truth 5 234

Grand Final

All countries voted. The final took on 18 May 2019. Israel's place in the running order was decided during the Head of Delegations meetings in March 2019.

Draw Country Artist Song Language Translation Place Points
01 IconMalta Malta Michela Pace Chameleon English -- 14 107
02 IconAlbania Albania Jonida Maliqi Ktheju tokës Albanian Return to the land 17 90
03 IconCzech Republic Czech Republic Lake Malawi Friend of a Friend English -- 11 157
04 IconGermany Germany S!sters Sister 25 24
05 IconRussia Russia Sergey Lazarev Scream 3 370
06 IconDenmark Denmark Leonora Love is Forever 12 120
07 IconSan Marino San Marino Serhat Say Na Na Na 19 77
08 IconNorth Macedonia North Macedonia Tamara Todevska Proud 7 305
09 IconSweden Sweden John Lundvik Too Late for Love 5 334
10 IconSlovenia Slovenia Zala & Gašper Sebi Slovene Yourself 15 105
11 IconCyprus Cyprus Tamta Replay English -- 13 109
12 IconThe Netherlands The Netherlands Duncan Laurence Arcade 1 498
13 IconGreece Greece Katerine Duska Better Love 21 74
14 IconIsrael Israel Kobi Marimi Home 23 35
15 IconNorway Norway KEiiNO Spirit in the Sky English, Northern Sami 6 331
16 IconUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Michael Rice Bigger Than Us English 26 11
17 IconIceland Iceland Hatari Hatrið mun sigra Icelandic Hate will prevail 10 232
18 IconEstonia Estonia Victor Crone Storm English -- 20 76
19 IconBelarus Belarus Zena Like It 24 31
20 IconAzerbaijan Azerbaijan Chingiz Truth 8 302
21 IconFrance France Bilal Hassani Roi French, English King 16 105
22 IconItaly Italy Mahmood Soldi Italian Money 2 472
23 IconSerbia Serbia Nevena Božović Kruna Serbian, English Crown 18 89
24 IconSwitzerland Switzerland Luca Hänni She Got Me English -- 4 364
25 IconAustralia Australia Kate Miller-Heidke Zero Gravity 9 284
26 IconSpain Spain Miki Núñez La venda Spanish The blindfold 22 54

Withdrawing

  • IconAndorra Andorra - RTVA confirmed on 19 May 2018 that Andorra would not participate in 2019, nor would they participate in any EBU events in the foreseeable future.
  • IconBosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina -The EBU confirmed on 25 May 2018 that Bosnia and Herzegovina would not participate in any EBU events in the foreseeable future due to massive outstanding debts owed by BHRT, and will not air the 2019 contest.
  • IconBulgaria Bulgaria - Despite a preliminary confirmation, BNT announced on 15 October 2018 that Bulgaria would not participate in 2019 due to financial issues.
  • IconKazakhstan Kazakhstan - On 31 July 2018, the EBU said that it had no plans to invite Kazakhstan to debut in 2019 despite debuting at JESC 2018 in Minsk. On 23 November 2018, Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand confirmed that Kazakhstan will not debut in 2019. On 12 May 2019, Khabar Agency announced that it will air all three shows.
  • IconKosovo Kosovo - RTK is currently in talks with the EBU regarding the member application process, however the country is still classified as a non-member state of the ITU, which under EBU statutes is a requirement for active membership. RTK will air the 2019 contest
  • IconLiechtenstein Liechtenstein - 1FLTV confirmed on 26 July 2018 that Liechtenstein will not debut in 2019
  • IconLuxembourg Luxembourg - RTL confirmed on 21 July 2018 that Luxembourg will not return for 2019.
  • IconMonaco Monaco - TMC confirmed on 17 August 2018 that Monaco will not return for 2019.
  • IconSlovakia Slovakia - RTVS confirmed on 2 June 2018 that Slovakia will not return for 2019. However, it broadcasted the final on Radio_FM.
  • IconTurkey Turkey - In an interview with the Turkish Prime Minister, he claims that Israel's victory in Lisbon was "planned" and that Turkey has no plans to return to the contest in the foreseeable future.

Other Countries

  • IconCanada Canada - OMNI Television broadcast all three shows in Canada on a same-day delay.
  • IconUnited States United States - Logo TV confirmed that it would not air the contest in the United States. The final was broadcast on Massachusetts radio station WJFD 97.3 FM with commentary by Samantha Ross, ESCInsight's Ewan Spence, and Wiwibloggs' Bernardo Pereira. All three shows were also added to the on-demand service on Netflix uncut and in their entirety as part of a deal made on 19 July 2019 with the EBU.

References (if any)

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