Eurovision 2024: Everything you need to know about this year’s show | Ents & Arts News


Will Abba holograms perform at this year’s Eurovision? It’s the question on every fan’s lips.

The man behind the stage design – Fredrik Stormby – who worked with Beyonce on her critically acclaimed Renaissance World Tour last year, is accustomed to keeping on-stage secrets under wraps.

“We’ll see what happens,” he tells Sky News. But it’s worth noting that as well as working on Eurovision both this year and last, and with Queen Bey, he’s also the lighting director for Abba Voyage.

So, if anyone’s equipped to bring virtual avatars of the Swedish supergroup – dubbed “Abbatars” – to the Swedish city of Malmo, it’s him.

I suggest that if anything could turn talk away from the geopolitics overshadowing this year’s show (there has been opposition to Israel taking part in the competition due to the ongoing ground offensive in Gaza) it would be Abba.

“Probably,” he agrees with a poker face, then adds mystically: “On the other hand, with Abba Voyage, the question is when you can close that circle, it might just go on forever into eternity.”

It’s 50 years since Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad won Eurovision, and while they’ve ruled out an in-person reunion at this Saturday’s Eurovision Grand Final, the time would seem ripe for a virtual get together.

They’ve not played together since 1982 (on Noel Edmonds’ long-forgotten The Late Late Breakfast Show), but Abba Voyage, the virtual show in East London has pulled in more than a million and a half punters since opening in 2022 and is rumoured to be set to tour globally.

The first Swedes to win Eurovision, it would be quite the coup to have them on the night – albeit through the magic of motion capture and light.

But while lips are firmly sealed on potential virtual appearances – leaving fans to watch and wait – what can we definitely expect from the Eurovision Grand Final?

The stage

At around 20 metres squared, and with a 360-degree viewing experience, it’s a full-on event for both performers and spectators alike.

The Eurovision 2024 stage design. Pic: Peppe Andersson/EBU
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The Eurovision 2024 stage. Pic: Peppe Andersson/EBU

This year’s show, which will be watched by around 200 million people worldwide, will feature massive video cubes centre stage, a moveable ceiling which can go up and down above the audience and, according to Stormby, “lots of sand”.

He also promises plenty of colour and strong lines, in tune with the “urban and young” feel of Malmo and neighbouring Copenhagen.

The show’s official theme is “The Eurovision Lights,” apparently inspired by combining the Northern Lights and the shape of a harmonic rhythm on sound equalizers. A fairly unique mash-up.

Swift changes

With 26 acts to fit in across the final show (while it’s a whacking four hours long, much of the second half is dedicated to the complex voting system), there are plenty of logistical demands on the designers.

Switzerland's Nemo with The Code. Pic: Alma Bengtsson/EBU
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Pic: Alma Bengtsson/EBU

The stage crews have around 45 seconds to change sets between acts, with the resulting speed of prop re-setting described by Stormby as “a bit bonkers”.

And it’s not just the acts who are competing – everyone on the show’s at it, according to Stormby.

“Everything with this production is a contest – it’s all a competition. It doesn’t really matter if you work in the production or if you are here as a delegation, because everything is really a fight against the clock to try to get it done… Of course, you want to win and have a great performance.”

Working with last year’s winner, Loreen

Stormby was part of the 2023 Swedish Eurovision delegation working with Loreen on the lighting for her winning entry Tattoo.

 Loreen. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

He thinks the staging – which Loreen and her team worked on creatively too – helped propel the performance to success, partly because it “dared to stay in one lighting state”.

He adds: “We didn’t necessarily use all the effects [available to us] but took a bit more of a cinematic approach to it, which is quite uncommon in Eurovision. Maybe that’s what made it stand out.”

Security

Sweden raised its terror threat level to “high” last year (four on a five-point scale), and Swedish police have warned that security will be tight around the event.

Israel's Eden Golan with Hurricane for Israel. Pic: Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU
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Eden Golan. Pic: Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU

Stormby says that while security isn’t part of his brief (it largely falls to the event organisers), he feels confident working in the arena.

He tells Sky News: “I feel safe working here,” adding: “I’ve been to several early auditions and the security is always high. From my point of view, I’m glad they take anything they need to think about seriously. And I think it’s where it needs to be, I guess, from the organiser’s perspective.”

Read more:
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Eurovision goes green

In a slightly experimental approach, the show will aim to operate exclusively using LED and laser lights, to achieve lower constant power consumption.

The lighting design is made up of around 2000 light fixtures and 12 follow-spot systems.

Stormby says they hope to “drive technology forward” by using a greener approach as a “guiding star”.

Moments to look forward to

Stormby, who has sat through multiple rehearsals, gives a special shout-out to the plentiful “mad Euro disco acts” which he says have been inspired by last year’s Finnish entry Cha Cha Cha by Kaarija, which came second in the competition.

Netherlands act Joost with Europapa. Pic: Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU
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Joost. Pic: Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU

He also promises that instead of raising the roof, he will be lowering it.

“There’s a moment when we lower the ceiling over the audience, and it comes down really low and we start to work with the lights… I think the hardcore Eurovisioners will enjoy that, they are party people.”

As for what he wants the audience to take away from the night, Stormy is clear: “Just that they had a great show, and they got a little bit drunk and had a really good time and danced under the lights… And that they got the energy you want to get out of a show like this.”

Sky News will be in Malmo with updates, a live blog, and all the biggest news from the contest as it happens.



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