America is Doing its Own Version of Eurovision

Image: Getty

This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.

The inimitable Eurovision Song Contest has been gaining international attention in the last few years, with more countries that aren’t technically in Europe (looking at you, Australia) joining in the fun.

Now, America has announced it’s doing its own version, inevitably called the American Song Contest.

The new show will hit screens in the “holiday season” next year, and will “position the artists head to head against other states’ representatives in a series of 5-10 televised Qualifier Competitions, leading to Semi-Finals and the ultimate primetime Grand Final.”

Before anyone gets up in arms, though, the contest is happening with the blessing and collaboration of Eurovision itself, which was cancelled in 2020 for the first time in 64 years due to, you know, everything.

Exec Supervisor Martin Österdahl explains:

“The Eurovision Song Contest’s unique legacy dates back 65 years and its worldwide popularity is still rising. It’s time for America to experience this spectacle, through its sister competition, the American Song Contest. Love of music is universal and celebration of music in different genres and styles can transcend boundaries and unite people.

We are excited to have found the right partners to offer another series that our fans across the globe can fall in love with and to share this unique competition with the American people.”

All 50 states will participate, with acts chosen by juries of industry experts and TV viewers from their local regions. They’re allowed to enter artists and groups from one to six people, though we’ll be very interested to see if they stick with the Eurovision tradition of entering mostly unknowns rather than just turning up with whoever’s top of the charts in that region.

A big part of the U.S.’s interest in Eurovision comes from the recent Netflix film Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga, a Will Ferrell movie that saw lots of people with terrible fake accents participate in the competition with characteristically catchy tunes.

The new contest’s creative director/producer is Christer Björkman, who represented Sweden in 1992 with this banger:

Björkman tells Variety, “Eurovision has been a dream project ever since I was a child. To have a chance to use everything you know about the format and redo it from the beginning and to bring it to an audience that has no history with it is such a privilege.”

We’ll be watching with interest, popcorn, and a healthy dose of cringe. [BBC]