For months now, French broadcaster France 2 had been silent about plans for a 2020 edition of national final Destination Eurovision. But now fan suspicious have been confirmed — Destination Eurovision has been cancelled. The broadcaster cites low ratings and disappointing results as the reason for the cancellation.
The French newspaper Le Parisien confirmed the news with the broadcaster. France 2 will return to internally selecting their act for Rotterdam.
The confirmation follows previous speculation that France would go internal for 2020, following France 2’s silence about a 2020 edition. The broadcaster has also removed all Destination Eurovision performances from its YouTube channel.
France Télévisions Director of Entertainment and Variety Alexandra Redde-Amiel told the newspaper that the broadcaster wants “more control over the process, with an in-house selection.”
She also says that by reverting to internal selection, France hopes to better its results at Eurovision. Redde-Amiel explained that “by changing our [selection method], we hope to get closer to the podium in 2020.”
France’s best results in recent years have been internally selected acts — Amir, who placed sixth in 2016, and Alma who placed 12th in 2017. Since then, France has slipped further down the scoreboard.
France 2 also cites poor viewing figures as another reason for cancelling Destination Eurovision. An average of 1.9 million viewers (10.4% of the available audience) watched the three shows in January. This contrasts poorly with Eurovision, which had 4.8 million viewers (30.2% of the audience) watching the grand final in May.
France 2 is now calling for song submissions, from both French songwriters and — for the first time — foreign authors.
While there won’t be a national final, the broadcaster will host a special event held later in the season to introduce the artist eventually selected to represent France in Rotterdam.
The history of Destination Eurovision
French national final Destination Eurovision was introduced in 2018 and only ran for two seasons. While the show was able to attract top French talent, the show format was criticised for the large discrepancy between the jury and televote favourites.
In 2018, the jury ranked both Lisandro Cuxi and Emmy Liyana higher than televote favourite and overall winner Madame Monsieur. Things were even more extreme in 2019, when four acts — Seemone, Silván Areg, Emmanuel Moire and Chimène Badi — scored higher with the jury than televote favourite and overall winner Bilal Hassani.
Madame Monsieur went on to place 13th at Eurovision with “Merci”, while Bilal Hassani placed 16th with “Roi”. The results suggested that Destination Eurovision was good for selecting acts that were popular with the French public, but less so with general Eurovision viewers.
France’s cancellation of Destination Eurovision follows two other Big Five countries who have also ditched their national final formats. Spain internally selected Blas Cantó instead of using the talent show Operación Triunfo again, while the UK is working with music publisher BMG instead of holding its national final Eurovision: You Decide.
What do you think? Is France 2 right to cancel Destination Eurovision? Which artist would you like to see represent France in Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below!