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.

Albania

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!

Armenia

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!

Australia

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

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 They returned to Junior Eurovison after an eight-year break, but have again withdrawn.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!

Moldova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Keep up with the latest Eurovision 2016 news here

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Fadwoi
Guest

Ah, the bananky I grew up in Serbia and we have the same thing there. I have never found anhintyg similar un England so we rely on visit to/from home for good supply of those. In recent years they are used for making cakes as well (eg you would make no-bake rolat with bananky in the middle-very effective when sliced). Have you ever come across similar recipes?

Tom
Guest
Tom

I think Slovakia will be there in 2016 with Kristina!!!!

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

If Bosnia doesn’t back out, then maybe Croatia will come back- though unlikely in any case. No Nina makes me sad.

Armenia, Albania, Russia, Portugal, Serbia, San Marino and Moldova are ALL returning and probably just haven’t written statements confirming it.

Montenegro are protesting the rejected jury results and MAY not participate (but just like there is a 90% Croatia will skip, there is a 90% they will take part).

Australia and Slovakia are almost not returning for a long time, if ever.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Albania – Lean yes. Elhaida got them back in the final, after twice missing the final following Rona’s 5th-place finish; so, I would say they will not pass up on a chance to make more progress. Armenia – Definitely. In their 10 years at the contest, they sat out one year after their first non-qualifier and missed the top 10 only twice. Australia: Love to see them invited again. I would guess many would like to see Dami Im participate, yes? Croatia: Incredibly problematic, after 4 straight non-qualifiers. Moldova: If the shenanigans of last year’s O Melodie don’t repeat themselves,… Read more »

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Really waiting for the Montenegro confirmation. They have been the best Balkan representative over the last couple of years and would certainly be a huge loss.

Darren
Guest
Darren

We might need a third semi final, because two semis with 20 countries each and only 10 qualifiers each just doesn’t seem right, especially when 8 out of 10 countries are usually accepted qualifiers before they even announce their songs. (ahem, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Azerbaijan). I think a third semi final should be held on the Wednesday night. Also, I hope Australia doesn’t participate again, once was enough for a guest country. But I have a strong feeling that Eurovision will be heading East once again in 2017. It would be nice to have the 2017 contest a bit… Read more »

Jordan Grice
Guest

Its a vain hope I know but Morocco could still participate. If it got over the damn Israel thing. Let it go. Tunisia too.

ct greece
Guest
ct greece

According to hurriyetdailynews «TRT chief ?enol Göka said the broadcaster would return to the Eurovision competition in 2016, as most of Turkey’s concerns, including “a lack of moral standards,” have been addressed. “There were problems with not just the voting system, but also with moral standards. We had voiced criticism at the absence of these things,” he was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet. “But there have been significant improvements on these issues… Our demands will be met and we will return,” he said.» Did turkish television voice objections to the contest’s “moral standards”? What kind of objections? And what… Read more »

Blaise
Guest
Blaise

@Robyn EBU is still negotiating with the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) about their JESC 2015 participation. Considering this deadline thing, I’m pretty sure that they’re discussing about ESC 2016 as well.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

I’m sure Russia, Armenia, Albania, Portugal and Serbia will send an artist.
Montenegro probably withdraws, maybe Moldova as well. Not sure about San Marino, but I think they will be present. Slovakia’s participation seems very unlikely, again not sure about Croatia. About Australia… no idea, although I hope they won’t be back, sorry.
By the way, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s and Turkey’s participation is not 100% sure yet…

PP
Guest
PP

No Australia at Eurovison 2016. They got invite for Junior Eurovision and they wili 90 % no sent singer at Junior Eurovision 2015.

No Name
Guest
No Name

I’ve read somewhere else that Armenia have confirmed their participation, hopefully it’s true, and probably it is.
However I do think Montegro won’t get their justice and will withdraw from the competition, and maybe also San Marino and Portugal. For me it doesn’t feel like Croatia will return, but I hope they keep this years “success” for Balkan in mind when deciding.

MirkoJoshua
Guest
MirkoJoshua

I’m really afraid about San Marino… it hasn’t even confirmed or withdrawn from JESC so we have no idea if it will participate…

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

Guess what happens if we have 46 participants, 20 in each semi? It’s more likeable that block countries pass to the final because there is more support from friendly countries. The entire Soviet, Nordic and Yugo block as well as Turkey and Greece would advance to the final for sure. I totally get 2007 vibes. At least it’s more likely than not that 2017 will not hold ESC in Scandinavia again.

The 20 qualifiers would be:

Albania
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Bosnia and Hercegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Denmark
Georgia
Greece
Iceland
Macedonia
Moldova
Montenegro
Norway
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Turkey
Ukraine

Need a very strong song and performance to pass:

Australia
Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Cyprus
Estonia
Finland
Hungary
Ireland
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Switzerland

Bronson
Guest
Bronson

About Albania: There was some really negative backlash at Eurovision from Albanian viewers following Elhaida’s inability to live up to expectations, not to mention their track record hasn’t been very good ever since Rona in 2012 so perhaps maybe this is a reason why they haven’t confirmed? Everyone said Elhaida was the country’s only chance of winning and Albanian pride is second to none so :v About the advertisement, they probably used Elhaida in their advertisement to entice artists into submitting songs – I’m sure if one of the biggest singers in your country entered a competition you’d want to… Read more »