This past week I had the pleasure of covering the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest for Getty Images. The Eurovision Song Contest is the longest running annual international TV song competition. It was founded in 1956 and based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival. Each participating country submits and original song and performs it live on television. They then cast votes for other countries in order to determine the most popular song. Eurovision is not only one of the longest running TV programs, but it is also one of the most watched non-sporting events in the world.
Covering Eurovision was a fantastic assignment. I attended both semi-finals. The final dress rehearsal before the final. And of course, the grand final itself. Since the performances are all the same having the contest spread out over so many days gave you an good opportunity to familiarize yourself. By the time the grand final came on Saturday I knew all the acts and how their performances were structured. Which was a great advantage when covering the final. All the shows, including the semi-finals, were very tightly constructed with next to no room between acts. This made delivering images during the shows very hard. By the time you get pictures onto your computer the next performance is starting.
Luckily for the final I was given a remote editor to work with me. This allowed me to transmit pictures directly from my camera as I was photographing and the editor would fix them up and release them onto Getty Images. Working like that was absolutely perfect. I had some concerns over the internet, which caused problems earlier in the week, but everything worked out perfectly the night of the final.
As for the actual contest, it looked like it was going to play out exactly as I anticipated. With Australia and Russia being the two acts I felt were most popular with the people in attendance. What I didn’t expect, and I think most people didn’t expect was for Ukraine to do so well and take the win. But it made for an exciting conclusion to the evening. Next year’s contest will be held in the Ukraine and if given the opportunity I would love to cover it again.