VIENNA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Austrian broadcaster ORF has announced that it will no longer participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, starting in 2008. Although the official reason for the non-participation is a lack of interest among its viewers but the real reason seems to be the notion that the song contest is more a contest of European politics than an evaluation of talent.
The ORF programming director Wolfgang Lorenz said "As long as the the Song Contest is a political parade ground and not an international entertainment programme, ORF has no desire to send more talent out of Austria to a competition where they have no chances." adding that, "The Song Contest is clearly a sign of the complicated nature of a united Europe. We've already seen in 2007 that it's not the quality of the song, but the country of origin that determines the decision."
According to ESC Today, ORF's ire likely was aroused at the changes to the contest. The new format allows for two semi-finals with entrant nations being seeded to prevent nations that have a history of voting for one another due to cultural or ethnic ties rather than excellence of performance. As of yet, little detailed explanation of which nations will go into which of the two semi-finals has been offered.
The 2008 Eurovision contest is slated for Belgrade after a Serbian singer, Marija Šerifovic, won the contest in 2007. Thus far, 43 nations have confirmed their intent to participate in the musical battle. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers