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The Eurovision Song Contest is on its way to America! Maybe.
The iconic, kitschy, wildly successful and long-running televised music competition — the finals of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest air Saturday — predates American Idol and The Voice, but has, until now, remained an entirely European affair.
Well, not entirely. Alongside the European countries sending singers to compete, Australia and Israel have been regular participants in the Eurovision. Tel Aviv, in fact, will host this year’s contest, after Israeli star Netta won the 2018 competition.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has trusted Swedish production company Brain Academy with the exclusive license for the format to be shopped in the U.S. and a goal to hold the inaugural U.S. contest in 2021.
“Outside of sports, the Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest TV show on Earth, it unites a continent and everybody gets to vote,” said Peter Settman, CEO and creative director of Brain Academy. “We can’t wait to introduce this wonderful competition to the biggest TV market in the world. TV/video audiences are getting bigger every year so this is the perfect time to bring this exciting show to the American public.”
The announcement of the U.S. version follows the August 2017 confirmation of another spinoff, Eurovision Asia Song Contest, licensed to SBS Australia as a one-night competition currently consisting of 17 Asian-Pacific countries set to compete, including China, India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. However, a launch date has yet to be confirmed.
The long-rumored North American version of the annual European mega competition event is officially being developed as the American Song Contest for the U.S. market with an estimated launch in 2021, the EBU confirmed.
While still in development, the U.S. adaptation will presumably see American states compete against each other in a gradual competition over several shows, narrowing down the field all the way to the finale.
Now in its 64th year, the Eurovision Song Context is regarded as the world’s biggest music event drawing about 200 million viewers worldwide, including in Australia, which started competing in 2015, and Israel.
Each year, more than 40 countries, predominantly within Europe, delegate a musical act to perform an original song three minutes long or less. Following a lively voting process at the Grand Final, consisting of 26 finalists who advance after two semifinal showdowns, a winner is crowned whose country gets to host the event the following year. Eurovision’s biggest breakout is undoubtedly ABBA, the band that won the 1974 competition for Sweden.
“For over six decades the Eurovision Song Contest, powered by public service media, has brought audiences together with its values of diversity, universality and inclusivity,” said Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of Eurovision for the EBU. “As part of the EBU’s overall strategy to grow the brand it’s time for Eurovision to go stateside to reach even more viewers. We’re delighted that this growth will be overseen by some of the people that have created some of its brightest moments.”
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