One of the most successful national finals of 2018, Destination Eurovision confirmed a return for the 2019 season — but not without a few changes. As expected, the expert lineup panel has changed — and Amir and Isabella Boulay are out.
Former Pop Idol winner Christophe Willem is the only talent from last year’s expert panel to return. Christophe went on to commentate the semi-final and final of Eurovision 2018 for France, alongside Stéphane Bern and France’s Eurovision 2017 representative, Alma.
Christophe will be joined on the expert panel alongside his Eurovision 2018 semi-final commentator André Manoukian. A songwriter, jazz musician and actor, André brings many years of judging experience, as long-term judge on France’s Pop Idol until 2016.
Rounding out the panel is singer Vitaa. Selling 1.4 million records in France, the singer has been a coach on The Voice of Belgium since earlier this year. She is also no stranger to the Destination Eurovision format, having been involved with the production of last year’s entry “Mamma Mia” by Louka, which came eighth in the final.
André and Vitaa’s involvement mean that last year’s panellists, France’s 2016 entrant Amir and singer Isabelle Boulay, are out. French-Canadian entertainer Garou, who previously expressed an interest in returning as host of the contest pending scheduling issues, has finally also confirmed. Hourra!
While the lineup announcement has changed, it’s not yet known what impact their involvement will have on the show. In 2018, the jury and televote contributed 50% of the vote each. This ratio could change for 2019.
Changes for Destination Eurovision 2019
Aside from a change to the expert panel lineup, Destination Eurovision will now have all three shows filmed and aired live.
In 2018, the semi-finals — which were decided by jury vote alone — were pre-recorded…meaning that audience members learned who the four qualifiers were from each semi before the shows were broadcast. While audience members were asked to keep quiet — and fans were generally good with not leaking spoilers — the news did get out and it was not difficult to learn who the qualifiers were.
Making the semi-finals live means the results will be a surprise to all and it also opens the potential for involving a televote as well as the judges’ vote.
Submissions for Destination Eurovision closed on November 30 – so it’s only a matter of time before we start to hear just who will be entering the contest.
What do you think about Destination Eurovision 2019? Who would you like to see represent France in Israel? Let us know in the comments below!