Yesterday John Kennedy O’Conner, a journalist with strong links to the San Marinese Eurovision delegation, tweeted that Morocco, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Tunisia will each send delegations to Eurovision 2015 in Vienna. This does not mean they are sending a singer to compete. It merely means that officials from these nations will be on-the-ground to observe Eurovision in action. As you’ll recall, Australia sent a delegation to Eurovision last year — not merely because Jessica Mauboy was performing, but also because officials from SBS wanted to observe the ins and outs of the contest. Surely that helped pave the way for their participation this year. Naturally this raises one question: Are Morocco, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Tunisia planning to compete at Eurovision 2016?
— John Kennedy OConnor (@JohnKOConnor) April 29, 2015
Tunisia showed interest in 1977. Several preparations for a national final were made, but for unknown reasons Tunisia decided to withdraw in the months before the contest. Although never confirmed, rumours swirled that the government was not allowed to broadcast Israel’s performance because of existing legislation. The chances that Tunisia will return have been seen as small and the Tunisian government hasn’t made any attempt to return (although still an active member of the EBU). Could things be changing?
Our pick for 2016 or beyond: Tunisia doesn’t have a huge music industry, but they do have some fantastic artists including Latifa. She drops Arab-influenced-pop that makes us move! Her name may mean “gentle” in Arabic, but her music can be so riotous and fun.
Kazakh state television has been broadcasting Eurovision since 2010, so the enthusiasm is there. There was a strong rumour going around in 2013 that Kazakhstan would be present in 2014, and we all know how that turned out. Should we get our hopes up again for 2016? Absolutely.
Our pick for 2016 or beyond: We would love to see A-Studio at Eurovision. Their music is very current and well-produced, as shown in their 2014 hit “Falling For You” (which was also sung by Eurovision 2010 artist Tomas N’evergreen).
The legal position on Kosovo’s statehood remains unclear, which complicates its potential entry to the contest. One of the requirements to become an EBU member is UN membership, which the country doesn’t have. That said, the EBU did make an exception once: Kosovo participated in the 2011 Eurovision Young Dancers contest.
The Kosovarian broadcaster RTK and EBU signed an agreement in 2013, which gave Kosovo the status of observer. Kosovo doesn’t lack possible entries, seeing that there are videos which carry titles like ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Kosovo‘ on Youtube. The Eurovision fanbase in Kosovo is significant and the call for membership from fans could motivate RKT to keep working on its membership.
Our pick for 2016 or beyond: Rona Nishliu gave Albania its best-ever result back in 2012 with “Suus“. And guess what: She is an Albanian Kosovar!
Morocco made its unlikely debut in 1980 with Samira Said (pictured at top). It marked the first time we heard Arabic sung at the Eurovision Song Contest. With the host broadcaster stating that it would never return after its 18th place in the final, it appears that unless the alternative broadcaster 2MTV gets EBU membership and goes for Eurovision, we won’t be seeing Morocco for a while. Has that now happened? Or has the state broadcaster had a change of heart?
An active requirement of being able to be a member is to broadcast the competition in full, a rule which caused Lebanon to withdraw back in 2005. Due to ongoing political tensions with Israel, it refused to broadcast their performance. These rules may be difficult for Morocco and Tunisia to uphold, considering the two nations do not recognize the state of Israel.
Our pick for 2016 or beyond: Morocco has its fair share of Arab-influenced music, and a lot of it is mixed with pop. Goddess Samira Said (Morocco’s only representative thus far) would be even more fabulous on her return. Just just check out her song Elly Benna:
Do you think these four nations are working their way back to Eurovision? Which nations would you like to compete in Eurovision 2016? Comment below! You can also check out our full primer on potential countries that could return or debut at Eurovision here.