Eurovision Song Contest: BBC to Air Selection Show

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With the U.K. public broadcaster set to lose 'The Voice U.K.' after this season, it unveils the 90-minute talent show featuring six shortlisted acts.

The BBC will, for the first time in six years, televise a national selection show to decide the British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, the British public broadcaster said Monday.

While the competing act has in recent years been chosen behind closed doors, the public will choose this year's song and act that will represent the U.K. at the contest in Sweden.

The 90-minute show, Eurovision: You Decide, will be broadcast live on Feb. 26 on BBC Four, with six shortlisted acts set to take to the stage to impress viewers and a professional panel. It will be hosted at The O2 Forum Kentish Town by The Great British Bake Off co-host and self-professed Eurovision fan Mel Giedroyc. The show also will feature special musical guests and "a look at what makes a memorable Eurovision winner," the BBC said.

The expert panel will offer thoughts on "how the songs could be made to look and sound on stage in Stockholm," according to the announcement.

The BBC said that the six shortlisted acts that will perform on the selection show have been chosen from each of three different entry routes, including submissions by the public, a songwriting competition organized by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and by British Music Industry consultant Hugh Goldsmith, former managing director of RCA and founder of Innocent Records. The acts will be announced soon.

BBC Four will this year become the U.K. home of the road to the Eurovision Song Contest. In addition to the selection show, the network also will air the semifinals for the competition on May 10 and May 12. The contest itself will be broadcast on BBC One on May 14.

"BBC Four is the home of music on TV in the U.K., and as any fan will tell you, Eurovision is one of the biggest music events on the planet and is much more than just one night of TV," said BBC Four editor Cassian Harrison. "Therefore it is only right that BBC Four is able to showcase Europe's favorite music TV event right here in the U.K."

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