Lithuania‘s national final Eurovizijos atranka has a reputation as being the longest and most complicated Eurovision national final. But things have just got even longer and more complicated. Broadcaster LRT has added more dates. The final will now screen on 12 March, two weeks after the originally scheduled date of 27 February, and the show has an extra three episodes from what was originally planned.
This year, the Lithuanian national final is operating in two streams: one for singers who have come to the competition with their own song, the other for singers without a song, who have been matched with one.
Initially it was planned that the first four episodes would be the heats for each stream, however with only 12 songs in the “artists without their own song” stream, this round was cut down to just three episodes. Episode four and the upcoming episode five are further eliminations of two acts from each stream.
And here’s where things get bigger and more complicated – just like Catrinah’s inflatable dress. In the original schedule announced in October, by this stage the semi-final would be the next show. But now there are three extra episodes to fill before the semi-final on 5 March, where the two streams will be merged for the first time. We can only assume that the episodes before the semi will be further elimination rounds where small numbers of acts are culled each week.
The grand final, which is scheduled for 12 March, will be held on the same night as the undisputed high point of the national final season: the grand final of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. Eurovizijos atranka may have a captive audience in Lithuania, but up against Melfest, it won’t be such a priority amongst Eurofans.
But despite the complicated ten weeks of eliminations, all it will take is one great song to make an impact in Stockholm. Lithuania frequently qualifies for the grand final at Eurovision, but they’ve only made the top ten once. Is 2016 their year?
What do you think? Is Eurovizijos atranka too long? Or is the format essential for Lithuania to find its act for Stockholm? Share your thoughts below.