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US version of Eurovision to launch in 2021

By | Published on Friday 7 August 2020

American Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is great and all, but what if it was American? Well, that’s something we’ll get to experience when the American Song Contest launches next year. The show will see entrants from all 50 US states go head-to-head to see which one can produce the best song.

Eurovision has been creeping ever more into the American consciousness in recent years – more so now that Will Ferrell has made a movie about it. The great educator has previous of course, also putting ice skating, driving cars really fast and Christmas on the map. The latter is particularly relevant because this new competition is going to be the big event of the festive season next year.

Plans for the American Song Contest were announced last year by the Nordic Entertainment Group – owner of the US rights to the Eurovision format. Now it has laid out details of how the show will work, and confirmed that it will take place in December 2021.

“Imagine if music was an Olympic sport and artists from all over the world came together to compete for the gold”, says producer Anders Lenhoff. “That’s the Eurovision Song Contest. The American version will be different than anything seen before on US television, marrying the fanfare and excitement of March Madness and the NFL playoffs with the artistry and beauty of world-class performances”.

“The American Song Contest”, he insists, “is a competition that happens to be televised, rather than a contest created to make a television show. And it’s open to all singers with a song, whether they are amateur artists or already signed to a major record label. No one is excluded from the competition”.

Eurovision, of course, was originally conceived in the 1950s very much as a TV show, aiming to establish a precedent for a programme to be shared across European broadcasters. Until relatively recently it was a single standalone event, with the semi-finals added in 2004 after the number of competing countries became too large to fit into one show.

So now Eurovision has three shows, including the big grand final that pulls in the highest ratings. The American Song Contest, which, remember, just “happens to be televised” and is not “a contest created to make a television show” will run over a long series of shows for weeks and weeks and weeks.

It will begin with ‘American Song Contest Academy’, a series of “five to ten televised qualifier competitions, leading to semi-finals and the ultimate primetime grand finale”.

Although seemingly stretching things out somewhat, that initial series of heats is arguably a more official version of the various song selection shows that are staged in different European countries in the run up to Eurovision – particularly Sweden’s Melodifestivalen.

Commenting on the new competition, Eurovision’s Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl says: “The Eurovision Song Contest’s unique legacy dates back 65 years and its worldwide popularity is still rising. It’s time for America to experience this spectacle, through its sister competition, the American Song Contest”.

“Love of music is universal, and celebration of music in different genres and styles can transcend boundaries and unite people”, he adds. “We are excited to have found the right partners to offer another series that our fans across the globe can fall in love with and to share this unique competition with the American people”.

Watch a trailer for the American Song Contest here.