The EBU has announced this morning that all member nations will be able to bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest from 2019. That would mean an end to the custom that the winning nation is automatically entitled to host the contest the following year.
Speaking in a press release this morning, EBU Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand said:
“We’re committed to making the Eurovision Song Contest as inclusive a competition as possible, as we’ve demonstrated with the inclusion of Australia since 2015. A common concern for smaller states is the expense of hosting the modern contest, so we have decided that from 2019 all nations will be able to bid to host the contest. This also allows larger broadcasters with extensive resources to build bridges across Europe and share the Eurovision moment around the world. We have already had a positive response from microstate broadcasters including TMC and RTVA.”
He added that the move has been inspired by international sporting events like the FIFA World Cup:
“Competitions like the FIFA World Cup look past size and politics to choose the host country for their events. We want to embrace the same open and transparent approach to host selection. This is also a return to the contest’s early history, where the winning the contest did not entail hosting it the next year.”
Despite only winning the contest five times, the United Kingdom has hosted more times than anyone else, and staged the contest six times between 1960 and 1977. It frequently stepped in to host on behalf of smaller nations like Monaco, so the move is likely to open the door for the BBC to host again in the future. This also mirrors the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, where Belarus will host the contest this year despite Russia winning in 2017.
As well as Monaco and Andorra, the EBU has revealed that Luxembourg has expressed an interest in returning to the contest in 2019. A wiwibloggs source at RTL has suggested Corinne Hermès is the broadcaster’s preferred choice, which would explain her guest appearance at the London Eurovision Party on April 5.
What do you think of the change? Are you excited your country could host the contest? Let us know in the comments below!
UPDATE, 12:00pm: Yes, this is an April Fool’s Day joke. The host country for 2019 will still be the winner of Eurovision 2018. But who knows what’s in store for 2020…