Eurovision Reference Group meet – not a lot to report, but …

Reference Group 2018

After the ‘on season’ where fans enjoyed a deluge of new Eurovision hopefuls, it was time for the all-powerful ‘Eurovision Reference Group’ to gather in Lisbon. There are fuller reports on other sites if you want to see the full list of who is doing what, but I’ve picked out the highlights.

Over coffee and Pastéis de Nata, they discussed the upcoming contest. There’s not much for us to report – yet, but here are some bits to keep you going.

Who sings when

First up, there was a draw to decide when the host nation sings in the grand final. Cláudia Pascoal will be the eighth song up on Saturday, 12 May. Let’s be honest, it’s probably not a prime spot.

As for the rest of the running order, it’s now down to the producers – most likely under the leadership of Dame Christer of Bjorkmanshire – to create a show where the running order flows nicely and keeps the entertainment value high.

In previous years, the running order for the two semi-finals has emerged at the end of March, sometimes in the first week of April, so not long to wait now.

In case you also wondered how the ‘big five’ positions are decided (Italy, Germany, France, Spain, UK) – this usually happens after the second semi-final with a press conference draw that gets webcast on

Interval acts

Of course, Salvador Sobral – the 2017 winner – will be back to sing Amar pelos dois and  songs from his upcoming album. The opening of the grand final will feature Fado singers Ana Moura and Mariza. And – make of this what you will – DJ Branko will ‘take viewers on a global electronic music trip around the world showcasing the Lusitan musical rythms of Cape Verde, Angola, Portugal and Brazil’. All in all, it sounds like RTP have allowed those at home plenty of time to pour a drink and fix a snack.

The postcard theme

‘Welcome to Portugal’ – and yes it does sound like it probably didn’t take terribly long to think this one up, but with many acts already filming their segments, they will ‘serve as a platform to promote Portuguese tourism on a global scale.’


RTP has changed the location. The 2018 Euroclub was to be housed in the LUST Nightclub (!) – but will now be in the Ministerium Club at the Terreiro do Paço (Praça do Comerçio) and will run all fortnight – it is said. No more whingeing about having to slog across town for a cocktail sausage and local wine. (and it’s next to the bus stop home to Chez OnEurope so Phil might be putting in various appearances!)


Work starts in the Altice Arena on 1 April, with rehearsals due to kick off on 29 April. The Eurovision Village opens on 4 May, Euroclub two days later. the ‘blue carpet’ and welcome reception is also due to take place on 6 May.

If you’re looking to buy the official CD (do people still do that kind of thing?), it hits the stores (or drops, as the kids say) on 20 April. Chances are the digital version will be made available a week or so before that.

Any tickets left?

There are some more to be released – they go on sale on 5 April via After that you’ll be very much on your own, scouting for returns or paying scalpers over the odds.

Things we don’t know

Will Ukraine withdraw due to lack of funds or because they won’t allow footage of the Russian singer to be shown on state telly? Is Netta going to be allowed her looper?


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