Editorials & Opinion

Internal selections: easier to afford, but making audiences feel ignored?

There is a never-ending discussion surrounding the presence of jurors in the Eurovision Song Contest, and with the especially wide discrepancies between the results of the juries and televoters this year, the topic is more loaded with questions than perhaps ever before. Should the voting system continue to be a 50/50 split between the two? Should we axe the juries and rely solely on televotes? Perhaps we should follow Finland’s older Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu format and give power to each country’s chiseled and chiseling asphalt constructors?
Though this conversation is certainly worth having, there is another significant this-or-that brewing in our Eurovision bubble, and that is the prominence of delegations opting for an internal selection — the process in which a country’s broadcaster/delegation directly chooses the artist and/or song that it will send to the contest — instead of holding a public, national selection. This particular topic is far from being clear-cut, as there are fair and reasonable arguments both for and against delegations working internally.
One could argue that if a broadcaster receives a song that it feels is leaps and bounds ahead of the other submissions, why can’t it just select that particular song and use whatever national final budget there is to instead finance the production and perfection of the act? Rather than placing the song in a national final amongst a sea of filler (we’ve certainly lived through this situation more than a couple of times), delegations can use that time and money to promote the song, fine-tune its every element, and create an unforgettable stage performance for Eurovision. This has certainly worked for The Netherlands, our very own Nick van Lith says.

“Being from The Netherlands, I find it hard to be against internal selections. Our last three national final songs all failed to qualify, finishing fifteenth, last, and second-to-last in their semifinals. Of our past six internal selections, five made it to the final, with four making it to 11th place or higher. It clearly works better for some countries than for others, but looking at us, we somehow cannot trust the broadcaster to pick six decent songs for a public vote. Logically, we then also seem to pick one of the worst when there actually is a national final. I hope we stick to internal selections.” – Nick van Lith, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Internally-selected Anouk finished 9th for The Netherlands in 2013, and the country has rarely faltered since.
The potential counterargument to this would be the simple question: why can’t the public have a say in the matter? In a supposedly democratic competition, some fans find it a bit unnerving to not have a voice in their respective country’s choice of song. If a song really is that strong and has clear potential for Eurovision success, the public will (…in theory…) see that as well.

“Internal selections have proven to be quite effective throughout the years. However, I would have to say that at the very least, picking the artist and then letting the public decide the song would be a much fairer way to select an entry. Making things interactive and giving the people a chance to be involved will surely bring in more of a general support from the local public. I don’t have a problem with an internal selection but the fact that most of the preparations are happening behind completely closed doors, without any updates on how things are going, I do have a problem with.” – Miki Gligorov, News Editor.

Like Miki, some fans are annoyed with the lack of transparency and public interaction that can come with selecting acts internally.
Furthermore, the argument in favor of national finals could be short and sweet: they’re just plain fun! The fans get excited for them and treat them like the mini-Eurovisions that they often are, and they’re the perfect warmups to the real deal that follows in May. Not only that, but the public will be able to enjoy more music and a greater number of artists will be gifted exposure and promotion by participating in a national final, regardless of their placing in it. So, everybody wins?
The 2018 national final season was filled with memorable music and amazing acts!
I could sit here all day and night going back and forth on this topic, as there are sound points to make on each side of the discussion, but I really want to hear from you guys. How do you feel about the presence of internal selections, and how do you think they impact the Eurovision Song Contest? Are you from a country that utilizes this format, and if so, how do you feel about it? Sound off in the comments below and on our social media pages, and thank you for reading!

One Comment

  1. It all depends on what has gone before – as Nick points out, The Netherlands are unlikely to go back to a NF anytime soon as long as a \’name\’ wants to go to Eurovision and AVROTROS leave them to their own devices. I suspect that Bulgarian fans are not looking to have a NF, seeing that they have had their recent run of success, if you consider that before Stockholm they rarely got to the Final. Conversely, if your nation has ALWAYS had a NF then it will always happen – all the Scandis come to mind.
    There will be nations like the UK where the fandom might bay for a NF each year but where swapping between the two selection systems is common. Three years of NFs have seen us not have an improvement in results – I suspect that if a \’big name\’ came along this year who was prepared to go to Israel then I am pretty sure that the UK NF would be ditched by the BBC.

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