So, here we are… it's the contest Anette never wanted to arrive It's my last one. I don't pretend to have been involved from the start and in fact I don't remember anything about editions 1 to 5. My first actual contest memory was the farce that was the results presentation (Scorewiz) of Edition 6 where the now-deposed unhinged tyrannical leader of what eventually became another nuclear wasteland known as Þiðbandið deliberately deprived Davis Island of its first victory because of an argument, instead gifting a second victory to a psychological sociopath who was not able to host the subsequent edition. With that calamity out of the way, we began the splatter era under my guidance; the first of which - Edition 7 - began on 6th August 2009 and that is why this edition is scheduled to end on 6th August 2011, marking exactly two full years. Which I think is a good time to move on. I'm proud of these two years. The contest has grown up a lot and I feel a sense of repletion when I look back on the technological achievements, innovations and popularity that boosted the contest in these editions. This is the 30th edition of the escChat.com Song Contest, the 25th regular edition and the 20th with me as its executive supervisor. So the contest has actually become a big part of my life, because the production is so intensive and invasive that it takes up a lot of my time. Too much, in fact. That's one of the reasons why I'm stepping down after this edition. It's hard work and I know the majority of you do appreciate it but I guess some people think it's just a case of pressing a few keys and clicking a few buttons. If only it was! As James (one of the best hosts we've ever had) can testify, it takes roughly one hour to produce one minute of footage. Each contest show ran for approximately one hour, so you can work out how much time it takes up… then as soon as one contest ends, another begins. No break, no rest, I guess I got burned out. I will miss doing this. A lot. Recently I've been questioning whether this is the right decision or not, but ultimately it is. I know you are all worried about the future direction of the contest from Edition 26 and beyond but I'm here to offer you a solution: Give me 5 editions to organise something. Run the next 5 editions in whatever way you collectively choose (as long as one person doesn't take over everything), with one per month so you finish Edition 30 in December. Then in January 2012, I'll have a solution for you. I won't be returning to produce the shows, but I'll hopefully have a way of restoring the contest to the way you remember it now. Anyway, that's the future situation. This edition has the theme of 'Thank You'. That isn't some narcissistic theme of me thanking myself, nor is it a way of me expecting you to thank me for the work I've done. It's the opposite - it's me thanking you. Thanking you for giving me this opportunity for the last 2 years to express my creativity, something to focus on, something to look forward to seeing the reactions when my work is shown to the community. It's been really great and words can't express fully the impact it's had on me. For those who were here from the start, you'll probably remember that 2009 was a very, very, very bad time for me. Directly witnessing the death of two people, relationship breakdowns, critical potentially fatal health issues and other matters affected me deeply in that year in such an unbelievably short space of time and I was feeling pretty down (understatement of the year), unimportant, worthless and with no future. There was no direction and every day things seemed to get a little bit worse. But then along came this opportunity to invest my time and effort into producing the contest for you guys -- it gave me something to do to keep me busy and I could quantify the appreciation by your reactions when the first ever live results show video was broadcasted. That boosted my mood significantly and although this role was obviously unpaid, your clear appreciation was the reward with an accompanying sense of purpose. It may sound pathetic to outsiders that a little contest achieved so much, but for me it truly did. I give a lot of credit to the contest for being a crucial factor in my still ongoing recovery. So please don't underestimate the sincerity of those two little words for Edition 25: Thank You. Now, those who submitted early might've noticed that I originally intended to submit a song to this edition. However, I've since retracted that so I can once again fully dedicate myself to producing a show to be proud of. A poor result might have genuinely made me demotivated and I didn't want to sign off my time on the contest with an inferior show. And, of course, this way keeps my record intact . However, I will have full voting rights this edition, so it's still special and so I am still part of it in some way. Edition 25 is also going to be special in another way: the video votes are back! You can (optionally, but strongly encouraged) submit an audio or video of you giving your points! The format of the presentation remains the same so scores 1-7 will appear on the scoreboard together, followed by the 8 points, 10 points and 12 points (just like in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2006). You will be allowed UP TO 30 seconds to introduce yourself and thank the host, praise Juche, mourn my departure etc etc, then the points 1-7 will appear. Please then wait 5 seconds before announcing your 8 points. Then it's up to you how long to wait for the 10 and 12 (with a minimum delay of 5 seconds), if you wish to build suspense. To clarify, it's just your introduction that is restricted to 30 seconds, not the whole clip. You can take longer than that to announce the points as long as the actual introduction doesn't take more than 30 seconds. That rule is enforced ever since Alexis and his wonderfully thrilling 10 minute long video. If you want to make a clip, please upload it to any file hosting provider (not YouTube in case anyone else discovers the video) and send the link to me. I must receive it by 30th July. I recommend that you wait until you see that your top 3 countries have at least made provisional votes because if they don't, they'll get disqualified and so your points will be adjusted and your video will be wrong (and thus rejected). As I was originally going to enter as a direct finalist, there were plans to raise the number of finalists to 26 by bringing the top 10 from last edition plus 15 semi qualifiers and myself. As I'm no longer entering, we go back to the normal system of 24 in the final which are comprised of the top 10 plus 14 qualifiers. So yeah, that's it I think. Thank you!