The 15th of September was the first deadline for confirming participation in Eurovision 2016. As the date passed, we saw a flood of confirmations, making a total of 35 countries planning for Stockholm. But there are some notable absences from that list. Let’s take a look at the 11 countries who are yet to publicly confirm their participation next year.
While broadcaster RTSH hasn’t confirmed their participation in Eurovision, they have confirmed the next holding of Festivali i Këngës, the song contest that has always been used to select Albania’s Eurovision entry. And if there was any doubt of the Këngës-Eurovision connection, an official promo for the contest is full of footage of Elhaida Dani on the Wiener Stadhalle stage. Update: Albania has confirmed!
Rumours have been flying that the Armenian-German singer and model Iveta Mukuchyan will represent her birth country in 2016. However, Armenian head of delegation Gohar Gasparyan has said that not only is Iveta not the 2016 representative, but Armenia hasn’t even confirmed for Stockholm. Their current focus is on Junior Eurovision, but once that’s over, it’s reasonable to expect they will confirm for 2016. Update: Armenia has confirmed!
While Australia participated in Vienna as special guests, it’s no secret that Australia would really really like to be part of the show on a more permanent basis. Australian head of delegation Paul Clarke recently spoke at the Eurovision Creative Forum in Berlin, where he said that “If we were ever invited again we’d go for an even bigger [artist].” Bigger than Guy Sebastian? Who could he have in mind? Update: Australia has confirmed!
Croatia last participated in 2013, citing the European financial crisis and its poor results in the competition as its reason for pulling out. They returned to Junior Eurovison after an eight-year break, but have again withdrawn. It doesn’t look promising for Croatia, but there is a glimmer of hope. Late last year, it was suggested that the eventual winner of The Voice – Najljepši glas Hrvatske could be the Eurovision representative. The competition was won by the edgy Nina Kraljic – and we agree that she’d be great. Check out our wishlist for Croatia. Update: Croatia has confirmed!
We haven’t heard much from Moldova. They’ve always been a country that puts a lot of effort into their Eurovision presentations, but after missing out on qualifying for the past two years, it’s likely that they’ll be looking at ways of revamping O Melodie Pentru Europa to get their groove back. But there’s one person who’s ready for Moldova to make an announcement – Sasha Bognibov has been busy promoting his 2016 entry “Alone” on Moldovan television. Update: Moldova has confirmed!
Montenegro are happily participating in Junior Eurovision, but their involvement in the grown-up version is less certain. After the Montenegrin jury results were excluded by the EBU for unspecified reasons, the head of delegation said that the country’s participation in 2016 would be questionable. It looks like broadcaster RTCG will make a decision by the end of October. Our Wednesday Wishlist pick was Anita Popovic, delivering contemporary pop with a Montenegrin feel. Update: Montenegro has confirmed and will send boyband Highway!
Portugal hasn’t qualified for the final since 2010, and Portuguese fans have criticised the Festival da Canção format for not being able to deliver songs that are suitable for Eurovision. Broadcaster RTP has welcomed suggestions from the public, leading to a mass effort from Portuguese Eurovision fan blogs, with over 800 submissions passed on to the broadcaster. Meanwhile, Kátia Aveiro (sister of Cristiano Ronaldo) is campaigning to be selected, and Rui Andrade says his Eurovision dream hasn’t died. Update: Portugal won’t be competing in 2016, but RTP says they’ll be back in 2017.
Russia has been quiet about their participation in Eurovision, but their big focus at the moment is Junior Eurovision. The Russian JESC representative is due to be decided on 25 September, so it’s reasonable that the broadcaster wouldn’t want to take attention away from that. And besides – with Russia placing second in Vienna, it seems very likely that they’ll be back. As for potential singers, we picked Sergey Lazarev in the Wednesday Wishlist. Update: Russia has confirmed and will send Sergey Lazarev!
San Marino broadcaster SMRTV hasn’t confirmed their participation, but we’re going to assume it’s dependent on the generous assistance of veteran ESC composer Ralph Siegel who has produced the microstate’s entries since 2012. San Marino might be small, but there’s no shortage of talent, as we discovered in our San Marino Wishlist. Top of the list – 2014 JESC girl group the Peppermints. Update: San Marino has provisionally confirmed.
Serbia didn’t participate in 2014 but came back this year with the fabulous Bojana Stamenov and “Beauty Never Lies”. They haven’t confirmed for 2016, but as they’ve just announced their singer for JESC, it seems Serbia is another country that are putting their focus on the junior competition at the moment. Our wishlist looked at six potential singers for Serbia, including turbofolk queen Ceca. Update: Serbia has confirmed!
Slovakia hasn’t participated since 2012, citing financial restrictions and an incompatibility between Eurovision and the format of RTVS. But this year they returned to the Eurovision Young Dancers competition and have said they are yet to make a decision on whether they will return to ESC in 2016. Our pick in the Wednesday Wishlist was Celeste Buckingham, the Swiss-American Slovakian-raised soul-pop singer. Update: Slovakia has reportedly declined to participate in 2016. Next year, though, right?
If these 11 countries all confirm for 2016, that will make a grand total of 46 countries in the competition – the highest number of participating countries ever – leaving the 43 of 2008 and 2011 a distant second. But even if only some confirm, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Turkey, and Ukraine all returning to the show, 2016 will be a very competitive year.