It’s been a while, I know. Like some regular readers, my betting calendar doesn’t solely revolve around Eurovision, but I’ve had moderately relaxing summer in readiness for this Autumn’s gruelling talent show schedule, which comes to an end just as the first few songs start filtering through for next year’s Contest.
Kiev was finally confirmed as the Eurovision 2017 host city earlier this month, which allowed me to book my flight. My hotel was confirmed after Jamala’s first rehearsal in Stockholm. National broadcaster, NTU, has taken the positive step of inviting City of Stockholm officials to help organise the Contest venue, Euroclub, Village and wider infrastructure and planning.
At the time of writing, we’re already up to 37 participating countries with both Portugal and Romania announcing their return, however, Bosnia & Herzegovina are still undecided on participation.
Following two consecutive last places, Germany are shaking up their selection process. Artists have been invited to submit songs to the official Unser Song 2017 website. The submitted entries will be whittled down to five finalists due to compete for a ticket to Kiev on February 9th.
In other Big-5 news, France will continue their internal selection process. Head of Delegation, Edoardo Grassi, will be on the look out for artists who can actually perform their song live.
Austria and the Netherlands will both be opting for internal selections with the latter presenting their artist in early October. As ever there are a number of big name signings doing the rounds on various Eurovision websites. What it signals, though, is a continued hunger to do well from the Netherlands.
If you thought the Dutch were kicking things off early, Armenia’s selection season starts this Saturday. No, I’m not joking, Armenia are in a race with Lithuania to produce the most protracted selection process ever! The show will be called Depi Evratesil (Towards Eurovision) and is expected to run for three months. The winning artist will be determined by a combination of jury and SMS votes. The jury will comprise of former Armenian Eurovision artists: Iveta Mukuchyan, Essaï Altounian, Aram MP3, Inga & Anush and Hayko.
Over in Scandinavia, Denmark received a record number of submissions; over 1,100 songs were submitted to DR and their head of entertainment, Jan Storage Lundme, suggested they are more modern and contemporary in sound. Dansk Melodi Grand Prix has previously been accused of being too upbeat and derivative in style, so for their sake, let’s hope their 10 finalists don’t sound like a second-rate Ibiza dance CD.
Norway has announced the return of international juries to Melodi Grand Prix 2017, which should see the element of surprise dampened. Clearly producers were worried by novelty act Freddy Kalas and the vocally vulnerable Erlend Bratland coming so close to winning in 2015 and 2016.
Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin will remain the same, but take place slightly later than normal with the final scheduled on March 11th. With two non-qualifications, broadcaster RÚV will hoping to restore Iceland’s traditionally solid record of making the final.
Not forgetting Sweden… A total of 2,478 entries have been received by SVT for Melodifestivalen 2017. To learn how the final 28-song lineup is decided on, read this fascinating piece by Ben Robertson over at ESC Insight. The annual Svensktoppen nästa contest has already yielded the first artist for next year’s Melfest: uplifting rockers Les Gordons!
The first heat of Melfest 2017 starts in Göteborg on February 4th, before progressing to Malmö, Växjö and Skellefteå. Andra chansen will be hosted in Linköping on March 4th where a further four artists will progress to the Melfest final at Stockholm’s Friends Arena a week later.
The Melfest lineup is usually unveiled in January, at which point we’ll return with our popular preview podcast featuring regular guests Tobbe Ek and Tobias Larsson.
Feel free to add any news and gossip in the comments section below…