At Eurovision 2019, the duo Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl gave Slovenia one of its best results of the past decade with their intimate electronic song “Sebi”. Now Slovenian broadcaster RTV SLO has launched a new wildcard for national final EMA 2020, to ensure that the next Zala & Gašper won’t be overlooked.

The broadcaster has announced plans for EMA FREŠ. That’s pronounced “fresh”, and it’s very much designed to find fresh Slovenian music talent.

EMA FREŠ will initially be an online contest, held in autumn. The contest will be open to Slovenian acts under the age of 26 who have not previously release more than three songs.

Interested acts are invited to send in a one-minute-long video of themselves performing. The best — and “most fresh” — entries, as decided by an expert panel, will be uploaded to RTV SLO’s website. The public will be able to vote for their daily favourites, and then select a weekly favourite from the daily winners.

The eventual winner of EMA FREŠ — the freshest of the bunch — will win a wildcard placement in the national final, EMA 2020.

The EMA FREŠ wildcard contest is reminiscent of Germany’s Club Concert wildcard used in the national selection for 2014 and 2015. The winners of the Club Concerts — Elaïza and Ann Sophie, respectively — each went on to win the national final, but then got disappointing results at Eurovision. The Club Concert wildcard round was scrapped in 2016.

EMA 2020 returns

As well as the launch of EMA FREŠ, RTV SLO has also confirmed their participation in Eurovision 2020 and launched the national final EMA 2020. The national final is open to established acts with a song. No details of the format of EMA 2020 have been released yet.

EMA is known for changing its format each year. EMA 2015 involved an eight-entry grand final and a superfinal, while the following year the grand final increased to ten acts with a superfinal. EMA 2017 saw two semi-finals and a grand final, while EMA 2018 used a 16-act semi-final and an eight-act grand final. Most recently, EMA returned to its 2016 format, with a ten-act grand final and a superfinal.

The EMA voting format has also been criticised. In 2017, the overwhelming televote favourite BQL was overruled by the jury’s high score for Omar Naber. Unfortunately he went on to place second-to-last in his Eurovision semi-final.

Similar voting happened in 2018, that time with BQL beaten by jury favourite Lea Sirk. However, the “Hva nej” singer was still a popular choice and went on to make it to the Eurovision grand final.

Most recently, Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl won the EMA 2019 superfinal by a televote landslide, an upset against the expected winner, EMA veteran Raiven. But the televoters’ instinct proved to be good — “Sebi” went on to place 15th in the grand final in Tel Aviv.

Applications for both EMA FREŠ and EMA 2020 are open now. Entries for EMA FREŠ will close on 19 September, while EMA 2020 entries close on 18 November.

What do you think? Is the EMA FREŠ wildcard a good idea? Who would you like to see enter EMA 2020? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more Slovenia Eurovision news here

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[…] RTV SLO has not confirmed this news. Earlier in the month, the broadcaster launched their national final, EMA 2020. The revamped national final format will include EMA FREŠ, a newcomers section, which will give a […]

Jo.
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Jo.

Slovenia and Albania never singing in English again challenge

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[…] (Källor: rtvslo.si och wiwibloggs.com) […]

HarpyDarper
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HarpyDarper

Seeing this year’s entry here just reminded me of the Guardian description of them as ‘Slovenia’s The XX’ ?

Marcelo
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Marcelo

They’re “The XX” from the Balkans.

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Raiven <3

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

Slovenia absolutely deserves to win anytime soon, some of their entries are REALLY good (they were my winner in 2011 and 2015) and they are normally quite underrated. EMA Fresh sounds like a great idea and it’s very nice to see countries revamp their NF in a GOOD way (cough, Hungary, Romania, United Kingdom, Spain, cough).

Erasmus
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Erasmus

The countries that really need to do something for their selection(either go internal as it worked for Switzerland or really change the format) are Romania, Moldova, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and UK. I also think Australia and Denmark would be better off with an internal selection, but it’s not a must as for the countries I mentioned before. Some would argue that Latvia and Spain should change it too, but I think they just made wrong decisions in who to send to ESC(Muerdame and Lo Malo would slay, I also think Markus Riva could qualify as 10th… Read more »

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I think the problem in some of those countries lies in the wrong decision/ low level of quality in the submissions. For those countries an internal selection might work, but the 4 countries I mentioned have design flaws that need to be fixed by a big revamp of the NF.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

EMA was one of the most diverse national selections this year. Which led to 2 of the most contemporary entries on the last couple of contests. I guess they won’t make a “On My Way” mistake again.

KESC
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KESC

Hvala, da! 😀

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Sounds promising! Btw, the cutest thing about EMA is the dancing robot 😀

Loin dici
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I want Slovenia to win, in 2020! If not 2020, in the 2020s!

Buuuu
Guest
Buuuu

As long as the jury will not disqualify most of the modern song.

Hrvatska
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Hrvatska

It is a good idea to find a new face for Slovenia, and by the way I am curious who will come from famous artists to ema. I would like to BQL Nika Zorjan, but I’m sorry because I feel that Raiven will be in 2021, because you can see how Slovenians underestimate Raiven for a few years and how the jurors appreciate BQL

Buuuu
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Buuuu

“Slovenians underestimate Raiven for a few years”… This year she cleary had one of the worst songs, and it would be 100% in the last place… See Conan, so overhyped because of his “different” style and almost last.

The best song she had was the first year (2016) and she almost won and maybe with that song that year she could get into the finals but Manuella was also not so bad.

I’m more expecting that we can see Lina Kuduzovi? soon and maybe Ula will return.

Hrvatska
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Hrvatska

Raiven’s song, which she made in ema 2019, became a risky choice, Raiven has great potential, has a chance for success in Eurovision in the colors of Slovenia, I appreciate her mini album REM on the occasion has an excellent voice and support Eurovision Fans and respects your opinion

Erasmus
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Erasmus

As a Slovene I can say that I think that around 60% of the vote represent people older than 60 years(EMA is watched by younger people as well, but they rarely vote) and because of that Raiven will hardly win the televote, because of her persona (maybe with a song like Crno Bel or Zazarim and if she is the only famous artist otherwise no) BQL and Nika Zorjan have a huge fan base in another strong voting base(teenagers), most Raiven fans are old from 18-30… But I hope she wins some day, she deserves it…

Muren
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Muren

And all those old people also vote for BQL?

Azaad
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Azaad

They probably would over the likes of Raiven and Lea- no shade to the ladies but their music isn’t the most appealing for older generations

Ziv
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Ziv

Is this something like the newcomers section of Sanremo, where the winner gets the ticket to the big event? Mahmood came from there.

Azaad
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Azaad

Slovenia are clearly in it to win it. Expecting them to be among the countries to achieve their first victories in the coming decade.

Polegend Godgarina
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they deserve it