Romania‘s broadcaster TVR has been keeping quiet about its national final plans for 2020. But now a local mayor appears to have confirmed that Selecția Națională will be back for another year — and the national selection will likely be hosted in the city of Buzău.
News.ro reports that Buzău mayor Constantin Toma made a Facebook post with the announcement. He wrote:
“We are talking about the continuation of cultural projects. It is very possible, 99 per cent, for the Eurovision Romania final, which will be on March 1, to take place in Buzău. Buzău will enter the cultural map of Romania but also the cultural map of Europe.”
Buzău is a city in the south-east of Romania. It has a population of around 115,000.
The mayor also wrote that the expected budget of hosting the event would be around €150,00-200,000. The money would come from the municipality’s budget after it was approved, which is expected to happen at the end of January.
In Toma’s announcement, he also says that grand final of Selecția Națională 2020 will take place on Sunday 1 March 2020. There is no mention of any semi-finals being part of the 2020 contest.
Broadcaster TVR has not yet confirmed any details of Selecția Națională 2020, including the location, date or format — or, indeed, the selection method of Romania’s act for Rotterdam.
Romania and Selecția Națională
Romania has always used Selecția Națională (national selection) to choose its act for Eurovision. While the contest has been around since Romania’s Eurovision debut in 1993, the format of Selecția Națională has changed to meet the broadcaster’s requirements.
In the past decade, the show has either used a stand-alone grand final or has also incorporated semi-finals. However, in 2018 — to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Union of Transylvania with Romania — TVR organised a touring six-city event with shows held in cities and towns around the country.
Last year, the broadcaster used a scaled-down tour. Two semi-finals were held — one in the western city of Arad, the other in north-eastern Iași — with the grand final in Bucharest.
The 2019 grand final also attracted criticism when the televote was worth only one-seventh of the overall vote — a similar ratio to that used in the Maltese national final until 2017.
Selecția Națională’s struggle with low ratings
TVR struggles with a low viewership of both Selecția Națională and the Eurovision Song Contest. The grand final of Selecția Națională 2019 was watched by only 340,000 people — Romania has a population of 19.53 million. This made it only the eighth-ranked show in its timeslot.
The show was especially unpopular with the lucrative 18-49 demographic. Only 40,000 viewers in that age group tuned in, suggesting the national final is most popular with older viewers.
Eurovision fared worse. Ester Peony’s semi-final performance attracted only 184,000 viewers, while even fewer —just 147,000 viewers — tuned in to the grand final. It held only 3.3% of the audience share.
Broadcaster TVR may wish to revive Romania’s fortunes at Eurovision and return to the days of the early 2010s when Romania regularly qualified for the grand final and delivered memorable and well-liked performances.
In July, Romanian Eurovision star M I H A I announced his plans to enter the 2020 national final. He said he planned to enter with a power ballad and invited songwriters to submit potential entries.
What do you think? Who would you like to see enter Selecția Națională 2020? Who should Romania send to Rotterdam? Tell us your thought below!