Canada Will Get Its Own Eurovision Song Contest in 2023
It took 66 years for the Eurovision Song Contest to expand to another country.
Now, the producers who brought the pan European competition to the United States with American Song Contest say Eurovision Canada are set to debut in 2023.
Entrants from Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories will battle it out in one evening, similarly to how the original Eurovision — where a few dozen members of the European Broadcasting Union compete — used to work.
The expansion to Canada comes six weeks after ASC, Inc. premiered the American Song Contest, which featured contestants from the 50 U.S. states and six U.S territories, and is hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. The eight-week show, set to wrap up May 9, is airing on NBC and Atlantic Records is releasing songs from the 56 artists.
While this will be the first Eurovision held in Canada, many Canadian artists have participated in the original. Quebec-born Celine Dion was 19 when she won the contest for Switzerland in 1988 with “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.” Natasha St-Pier, a native of New Brunswick who has lived in France for many years, sang for that country in 2001, placing fourth with “Je N’ai Que Mon Ame.”
Three other Canadians have competed in Eurovision: Sherisse Laurence for Luxembourg in 1986, Annie Cotton for Switzerland in 1993 and Rykka for Switzerland in 2016.
ASC has partnered with Insight Productions. Insight Productions is a Canadian company that has produced The JUNO Awards and The Amazing Race Canada as well as Big Brother Canada ..
” The extraordinary song-writing and musicianship in Canada can compete with any other country, which is why Canada is the perfect place for Eurovision Canada,” states Lindsay Cox , senior vp at Insight. “We are so honored to partner the Eurovision team to showcase and promote the immense musical talent of every corner of our country and for Canadian viewers to be a part this global phenomenon .
Martin Osterdahl, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, says, “It is time for Canada to join the party and become a player in this worldwide spectacle.”
In addition to Cox, ASC’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Bjorkman, Ola Melzig, Peter Settman and Greg Lipstone will also produce Eurovision Canada, as well as Insight’s CEO and chairman John Brunton.
Their main task over the next few months is to create the format for competition, including how voting will take place. Both the original Eurovision and the American version rely on public tele-voting and jury voting. However, Eurovision is known for allowing participating countries to award points to various entries. In its first year, the American Song Contest has not had states award points as it would be unwieldy to have votes reported from 56 different states and territories. The ASC winners are determined using both jury votes and public votes.
“This is still a work in progress,” Bjorkman tells Billboard. “We will continue to develop the Canadian adaptation following the ASC final .”
The Canadian edition of Eurovision will more closely mirror the original European version, which took place on a single night until 2004 when a semi-final was added. In 2008, a second semi-final was added because so many countries wanted to participate that there wasn’t enough time in one evening to include them all.
The number of countries participating in Eurovision changes each year. Since Eurovision began in 1956, a total of 52 nations have sent songs to the contest. Some countries, such as Morocco, have only been once. Morocco, like Israel is not part of Europe, but they are members of the European Broadcasting Union and have been allowed to participate.
Where will the contest expand next. Lipstone says, “It’s an enormous world out there.” “There are many countries who have not seen the Eurovision spectacular, and we look forward the day when everyone around this iconic event .”
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