Over a year since we first heard about plans for the American Song Contest during Eurovision week in Tel Aviv, we finally have a confirmed date for the first edition! The contest will take place during the winter months of 2021, and will feature several rounds leading to a grand final.
The news was exclusively revealed by Variety last night, who noted the show hopes “to siphon off some of the magic of the beloved six-decade-old show”. More details about the show were also confirmed including the format and production team.
Selecting “top talent” to compete
Original reports about the contest suggested that the format was planned for only the United States to compete, with possibilities to extend to Mexico and Canada in the future. Now, it’s been revealed that the contest will see one act from each of the 50 US states compete against each other for the win.
The acts will be chosen by The American Song Contest Academy, formed by Propagate Content. The academy will consist of music professionals and regional audiences who will have a say in which act will represent each state. The selected artists will then go head-to-head against each other in a series of qualifier competitions. The best entries from the qualifying rounds will then progress to the semi-final stage, and then a “primetime Grand Final”.
A team of established professionals!
As Eurovision fans will already know, Melodifestivalen‘s Christer Björkman will produce the show alongside Anders Lenhoff. Speaking about the contest, Björkman has explained why the new format in the United States excites him:
To have a chance to use everything you know about the format and redo it from the beginning to bring it to an audience that has no history with it is such a privilege.– Christer Björkman, speaking to Variety
Executive producer Ben Silverman is no stranger to producing imported shows from Europe, previously working on American versions of The Office, Big Brother and The Weakest Link. He hopes that the contest will “unite” audiences across America as it does in Europe:
When America is more fractionalized than ever and we are dealing with so many issues that divide us, the only [thing] that truly unites us is our culture… It can unite it by celebrating its diversity, its distinctions and in pulling everyone around its love of music and its love of song.– Ben Silverman, speaking to Variety
A Eurovision future for the United States?
In January, former Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand said that that EBU will “look at” a possible Eurovision debut for the United States if the American Song Contest was a success. However, following yesterday’s confirmation of a 2021 launch for the contest, fans on Twitter seem divided about a possible debut in the future.
One Icelandic fan sees “no sense” in the new American Song Contest format and hopes it “will not result in USA joining Eurovision”.
While, podcasters Think About Eurovision notes that the United States would not be the first country outside of Europe to take part in Eurovision, saying they’re “totally ok… if they do join”.
Are you excited for next year’s American Song Contest? What’s your thoughts on the United States joining Eurovision in the future?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.