They’re a country known for two iconic Eurovision wins, but lately they’ve been struggling at the bottom of the semi-finals. Swiss broadcaster SRF has revealed that the 21-member Swiss selection panel has received 160 songs from artists aiming to be the next Lys Assia or Céline Dion. It’s part of an overhaul of the national final, aiming to turn around Switzerland’s fortunes at Eurovision.
Earlier in the year, German-Swiss broadcaster SRF revealed that the national selection process would be radically overhauled. The regional quota system has been scrapped, with SRF handling all the entries and choosing the best songs, regardless of which part of the country they originated from. Switzerland also now requires that contestants have a Swiss connection, and the national final winner will be selected by televote alone.
The 160 songs received in this year’s haul is slightly less than the 167 received by SRF last year — though this year’s bunch won’t include any entries from random European artists taking a chance in Switzerland.
The 21-member panel, made up of music experts from around Switzerland, will select the top 20 songs from the entries. These songs will then be performed at the Live Check stage on 4 December, where the artists’ live performance skills, vocal quality and stage presence will be assessed.
From there, between six to ten of the best songs will progress to the national final, due to be broadcast on 5 February. The winner will be selected by 100% televote.
Switzerland is known for its two iconic Eurovision wins. In 1956, Swiss chanteuse Lys Assia made Switzerland the very first Eurovision winner with her song “Refrain”. In 1988, a young Céline Dion gave Switzerland its second victory with “Ne partez pas sans moi”.
Since then, Switzerland’s fortunes in Eurovision have been less impressive. In the past decade, they have only qualified for the grand final twice. In the past two years, the Swiss entry has placed last in its semi-final. Switzerland’s best result in that period was in 2014 when the whistling Swiss fiddler Sebalter placed 13th with the very catchy “Hunter of Stars”.