The Eurovision Song Contest officially has a spin-off coming to the United States with the American Song Contest.
On Friday — a little more than a week before the grand final of Eurovision 2021 — the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that the American network NBC has picked up the show.
For those of you in Europe, NBC is among the country’s biggest networks and is or was the home of mega-shows like The Voice, The Office, Seinfeld, Friends, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You may well recognise its rainbow-coloured peacock logo.
American Song Contest confirmed for NBC in the United States
Here’s the official press release from the EBU.
Based on the world’s largest music event, the American Song Contest will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five US territories and the Nation’s capital. In the best Eurovision tradition, they will be competing to win the country’s vote for the Best Original Song.
The live competition consists of three rounds as the acts compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious. In addition to fan votes, a jury of music industry professionals will also lend their expertise to the competition.
Anders Lenhoff and Peter Settman, alongside Christer Björkman and Ola Melzig, producers who have worked on over 20 Eurovision Song Contests between them, acquired the American format rights for Eurovision Song Contest from the EBU and partnered with Propagate to bring Eurovision to the states.
Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest for the EBU, stated: “For 65 years the Eurovision Song Contest has connected people far and wide. As owners of this hugely successful format, we have seen how it has found a place in millions of hearts across Europe and beyond.
“Now we are excited to have found the perfect partners to share this unique competition and its passionate celebration of music and original songs with the American people.”
“’American Song Contest’ combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your home team along with epic performances that will introduce viewers to the musical cultures that make up America,” said Jenny Groom, Executive Vice President of Unscripted Content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We are excited to showcase the universal power of music in a spectacular multi-week live musical event.”
With the entire series airing live, American Song Contest is a co-production between Propagate and Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, with the executive producer of ‘The Voice’ at the helm.
What else do we know?
We first got wind of plans for the American Song Contest back in May of 2019 while we were all in Israel for Eurovision 2019. As you can see in the interviews above, the Swedish brains behind the show have been working on this for a long time and are enthusiastic about slaying the American airwaves.
In a November interview with former Czech Head of Delegation Jan Bors, Ola Melzig — king of all things technical at ESC — shared more information.
The contest will debut in 2022 and has the aim of featuring unknown and rising artists, found with the help of various record labels. This means no Madonna or Justin Timberlake to be found competing! However, they have a window of time where they would like to have each state be in complete charge of selecting their entries.
One of the big prizes for the triumphant act of The American Song Contest could be a feature as the interval act at the following Eurovision. At the same time, the winner of Eurovision 2021 will be an interval act in the sister contest in the States.
Are you excited that the show has landed on NBC? Do you think that it’ll do well? Let us know what you’re thinking down below!
American Eurovision fans, I’ve just discovered that there is one good thing out of this American song contest thing. All three Eurovision shows will be streaming on NBC streaming service peacock!
I just wanted them to lift the region blocking here, not make a knock off!
Well, you might just get your wish. The whole Eurovision contest, both semi finals and finals, will be streaming on NBC streaming service Peacock. That’s one good thing coming out of this American song contest thing. I still have a playable iPlayer just to compare, but yes finally eurovision will be available to watch in America legally
Good, I’m pretty sure the quality of songs would be better. Might actually drag Eurovision along to more than a couple of songs worth listening to.
Quick question: if you think most of the songs stink then why are you here?
Eurovision for me is a fun contest, not to be taken seriously. There are a couple of good songs that come out every year, then again nothing that most people would listen to on a regular basis. Do you think I should be banned from wiwibloggs? Not hardcore enough for you?
Just a thought. Maybe they should start small with a few states with the most cash and larger populations. Just like ESC. Then more states can join further on. Otherwise you try to make esc like it is today, it will be too long. ESC is long because there is a lot of interest and a long history. The semis are a consequence of that large interest.
Also the winner of asc and esc will probably not be equally good. One of them will outshine the other.
Why only the USA ? Where are Canada, the Caribbean States and Latin AmericA ? It would be great to hear also Spanish at this Contest.
We could have that from Puerto Rico or New Mexico lol
The US itself is a melting pot and one of the most diverse countries in the world, apart from English, Spanish can be heard throughout the country as roughly 20% of the US population itself is of Hispanic Descent, also, Puerto Rico, a Spanish speaking American colony, will also participate as part of the 56 competing acts. French is also widely spoken through Louisiana and Maine (Also by Haitian-Americans who reside in Florida) Navajo and Inuit indigenous languages can be heard throughout Arizona and Oklahoma as well as Alaska so they could spice it up as well and also Polynesian… Read more »
There would be a situation with most of broadcasters in the rest of the Americas’ countries, as they are associated to OTI. And OTI precisely used to host Festival OTI, which was inspired in Eurovision and was discontinued in 2000.
A nice concept, at least they are trying it out and there is a potential market for the moment. My prediction , it will be axed after 2 seasons max. Why because have you seen how many adverts on NBC? like every 10 mins. This happens a lot in the USA. Adverts first, live events revolve around it. Broadcasting in the USA takes a different direction and role to the average European broadcaster. The show will not be in the entirely same format , otherwise it will be very very very long. Look at the Maltese national final.
I am from NYC, and you are absolutely right. When the Olympics came back to the U.S. in 1996 (Atlanta), in my eyes and ears it became the Games of the Corporate Logo. They were everywhere they could fit one. The corporate logo, out-of-control commercial advertisement and the fat cats who were running that part of the show, became more important than the athletes, the sports they were in and the medals given out. It did not surprise me at all when IOC executive director Juan Antonio Saramanch called the Games of the XXVI Olympiad “…an exceptional Games”. He was… Read more »
It will have nothing in common with Eurovision, because Americans don’t understand the whole complicated process of it. They have to be spoon-fed fake drama, intense sound effects and a laugh track to get it. This is definitely gonna be the Xfactor but with states.
You need to grow up with Eurovision in order to understand it.
It’s not gonna be the contest we in Europe are used to. Good? Bad? Idk.
My only problem is the name: US is not America. I would have loved an “American Song Contest” where the participants are the countries in America (the continent).
Brits call people from the US Americans. So do the Irish. So do Australians. Even in French speaking countries they call us that. I don’t know why you are surprised…
Aye! “Song Contest USA” would have made more sense. The title, as it stands right now, is nothing more than a cut-and-paste maneuver.
Really excited about this! My only question is: will we be able to watch the competition from Europe, or will we have to find a scrappy illegal livestream just like for the Billboards, the Grammys and such? Cause the latter would suck.
That’s the question I used to have every year as an American about esc, lol. Google Chrome does have some free VPNs you could try downloading. That’s what I do I just set mine to the UK.
Yeah, that sucks too. I wish they could all do like the Brit Awards, which are livestreamed on Youtube. That way everyone around the world could watch it easily!
As curious as I am to see how this plays out, I’m afraid this might be a bad time for this contest. Too much political acrimony going on right now, even deadly; and I think some of it might spill over into this contest. 🙁
I don’t see why asc wouldn’t have a “no political themes” rule like esc does
That’s what I’m hoping for. But there are other ways in which political acrimony can squeeze and squirm its way through. Consider Tel Aviv 2019 and Kyiv 2017.
I’ve got a lot to say, and I’m sure you’re familiar with how opinionated I am on something I’m as passionate about as Eurovision. I would have liked to see the format go to CBS since it’s the only major network here without a talent competition show, but I am hoping that NBC picking up the format finally addresses something about their lineup: Does this mean that The Voice will finally go down to one season a year here? I don’t particularly care for The Voice because it’s always been pretty poorly executed here and the show has a terrible… Read more »
I just saw a news article confirming from here on out, the Voice will only have one season per year in the fall. Seems like they’re making room for ASC in the spring/summer
Yes, I see that The Hollywood Reporter (one of the most reliable sources for entertainment industry news, along with Variety) has just reported that on its website. Most likely, the ASC will be taking place in the spring, as the spring season of The Voice normally started in February and ran until May. I’m not sure exactly how many qualifying heats they’ll start with, but if it’s going to be 4 or 5 heats to open the competition with no Second Chance round before the semifinals or Final, then I think an early March start would be more likely. But,… Read more »
Supposedly Netflix will start putting ESC grand finals on the streaming service, but as tapes and not live. So not quite the same unfortunately.
I remember when they did that for the 2019 Contest. I still ended up watching all three shows live through SVT’s livestream. EurovisionAgain just a watch party of the 2019 Contest on YouTube, and that wasn’t geoblocked here. But in the event the 2021 Contest is geoblocked in the U.S. on YouTube, I’ll probably go to SVT’s livestream again, or Malta’s if that one doesn’t work out.
I think I’m in the minority when I say that I am SO EXCITED for this! As long as they don’t give Simon Cowell-sob story intros for the artists and as long as the artist doesn’t actually represent the United States in Eurovision, that should be fine. I’m also thrilled about the idea that other Americans will gain indirect exposure to Eurovision
I am actually excited for this! And I’m hoping the final could be in Las Vegas so I can maybe ride my bike to the venue. I know everybody hates the idea of an American Eurovision, I did too at first, but I really think this could be something good. I’ve always wondered why something like this didn’t exist already in America. Because they announced it today with the rest of the their 2021-22 season line up, but didn’t give it a schedule yet. I’m think they’re going to start it in July or August of next year, since the… Read more »
A lot of negativity as usual! How about watching the shows before judging? How about letting Americans decide if they want it or not?
NBC didn’t even acknowledge Eurovision LOL
I hope Rhode Island wins first, just so the singer can be asked what their perfect date would be.
Also NBC would be the continued host so there wouldn’t be the novelty or the depth of the host country and broadcaster and funding and their unique spin.
Ots just so band and soulless the US.
unless it would fall to the winning state? rather than the broadcaster?
maybe for the first contest they would open it up for states to put in a bid?
I doubt they’ll have have the winning state host the next year, but I could see it rotating regionally, similar to how the Super Bowl rotates hosts. Also, I think I remember Christir Bjorkman being asked about this issue and said that American version might be a bit more influenced by Melodifestivalen, so it could be just a huger version of that.
OK I do slightly hate this because it dilutes the uniqueness of eurovision, but aided from that having qualifying rounds and semi finals seems overkill. Just have 3 or 4 semi finals and 6 or 8 states/territories progress to grand final.
I respect your opinion, though I disagree. We all know the type of music that comes out of America, though eurovision is a constant surprise. I think it would highlight the uniqueness by default.
Considering the state of the union, I think the US will do well to have something like our cherished Eurovision Song Contest. Western democracies appear more fractured and polarised now than at any point since WW2, and culture that brings people together and highlights our shared similarities as well as our unique differences is sorely needed. I hope it’s a success, and even if just one person in the rural Rust Belt thinks more positively about their neighbours in the coastal metropolises (and vice versa), in the way that Eurovision put Ireland and the UK, the former Yugoslavia, Greece-Cyprus-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Armenia,… Read more »
I know that might be a bit earnest and sanguine but it’s a core part of what Eurovision is for me – the hope, the joy, and the positive view of humanity – plus, I read the comments and all the best jokes were taken already.
I’m so glad someone said this! Thank you!
Swedish mafia goes to USA.
Now watch Bjorki does his tricks of getting his faves pushed far and wide.
This will go down the drain after one season. Americans literally have no concept of how Eurovision works, just look at their reaction videos on youtube, they say stuff like ”so it’s an international American Idol”. Only 7 million Americans tuned into the latest episode of the Voice, do they actually believe more will tune into a totally new TV show concept?
I’m worried that this will ultimately lead to the downfall of Eurovision, in other words, it might make a joke out of and leave Eurovision with a bad reputation.
I’m really excited for this an American eurofan, but one thing. The reason ESC can exist each year is that 40 different broadcasters/governments are chipping in to pay for it.
How in NBC gonna afford all this?? commercial TV in the US has kind of been on a downswing ratings-wise later. Where is the money going to come from?
NBC can broadcast commercials, unlike most EBU members.
can you guys maybe let americans be the ones to decide if this contest is worth watching? god, i hate americans as much as the next guy but can you people just let american eurofans enjoy this good news please? our country is so divided as it is and this is something that could help bring us together. no one is asking you to watch it but to trash it before it’s even happened yet is just a testament to your ignorance
I’m sorry, but I feel like you’re overreacting a bit. It’s really not like the whole comment section trashed the idea.
i never overreact i just speak facts sorry u didnt like the truth. as monika marija said in 2018, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE <3
As an American I can assert to what Sam is saying is right. Ever since Donald Trump came to power our every day activity has become politically polarized and the current situation in Capitol Hill (The attacks, gun violence) and bickering amongst our politicians has been exhausting and slowly dividing our nation in two factions.
I’m not really surprised that a lot of Eurofans aren’t letting us enjoy the news. The fandom is barely ever welcoming towards American fans.
I wonder if the singers will actually need to be from the state they’re representing. I’m almost sure the songwriters will not. Maybe the first winner will be from Sweden. Maybe it will be Laurell Barker.
Maybe Waylon will be representing Tennessee.
Laurell is Canadian, actually. But sure, why not? 😉 She can actually sing quite well herself too.
look i believe this will be interesting. it will either be an interesting competition that has effort put in and doesnt mock eurovision, or a snoozefest with way too many commercial breaks and unnessacary drama.
knowing america, it will probably be the latter.
but i sincerely hope that its actually good and is the first option
it’ll be packed with country music <3
Honestly I think some of you are overestimating the popularity of country here. These days country is listened to more so by older folks. Gen Z and younger millennials aren’t really into it at all. And on top of that country music has a mainly white audience and the US is more diverse than that
This worries me more than excites me. I don’t want the contest to become known as just a way for unknown amateurs to become famous, like all those other shows. I don’t want judges giving their opinions, backstories, television producers assigning songs to singers, emotional parents in the audience – just keep the focus on the songs, please.
Oh, I dread to think how bad Eurovision would be if we had to sit through tedious intro videos with every contestant trying to outdo each other with sob stories about their dead dogs.
So, if the Swedish core team doesn’t have Nintendo-esque mandates, I’m afraid NBC will Tom Hooper this to the ground, making it insufferable to watch.
Too bad it isn’t CBS … Stephen Colbert already had a perfect entry at hand. 😀
This is being produced by the people who make “The Voice” so you already know it is going to be a mess. Going to be edited poorly to bring up drama and make us feel bad for certain artists. As an American, I’m afraid it is going to be just another regular singing competition. Instead of the big 5, we’ll probably have CA and NY as the Big 2 since all the pop and musical theater people are there lol. TN and TX will probably be the country centers and then can’t wait for regional and political voting blocs! Will… Read more »
*hosted by the NETWORK that makes the Voice, NOT produced by the same people. Bjorkman and a few other swedes involved in ESC are producing it. The one American they got as the executive producer didn’t work on the Voice, but he did do the US adaptation of the Office
The whole thing sounds like a complete snoozefest. I’ve been complaining about the increasing lack of musical diversity in ESC for a long time but this would be much worse. They’re welcome to it but like all their takes on European television it will be a pale imitation of it’s parent.
This isn’t in the spirit of Eurovision at all. They could’ve collaborated with North and/or South American countries to make an American Eurovision. Instead, they chose to make it all about themselves, like always. Americans have shut themselves off from the world and don’t care about other countries except when there’s something to gain.
America has around the same land mass and roughly similar population to Europe with 50 states. It’s perfectly fine.
Sure, it will work fine, but it would’ve been so much better with different countries; this way it’s like other music competitions.
It might be European ignorance, but … does Washington, the state, really differ that much from Washington, D. C. to justify that voting mechanism? Or is it really just 50 times more or less the same sung in one or maybe two languages?
They’re on opposite sides of the country.
i assume they’ll try to achieve musical diversity by just having different genres (vs. ESC which has different genres, cultures, and many languages)
assuming all 50+ songs will be internally selected (by whom i have no idea) the producers will try to make sure there’s lots of different sounds represented. 50 pop songs would be a nightmare IMO
I think I misunderstood your question, I’ll try again. I’ve only read this one article, but it doesn’t actually say there will be separate voting – maybe they’ll just announce the winner, without even a scoreboard.
I think actually revealing the scoring (at least in the Final) would be a welcome change if the ASC decides to go that route, because it’s pretty routine here for talent competition shows to not reveal exact voting percentages or rankings. The fact that shows here don’t do that has led to a lot of fan conspiracy theories (especially at the height of American Idol’s popularity) over the years that the viewer voting didn’t matter or that the producers were either picking or influencing the choice of winner. Two things I’d love to see the ASC implement that would be… Read more »
Hmm. True. I automatically assumed they’d copy the voting. Else it really hardly bares any resemblance to Eurovision.
God who knows what Björkman is up to …
With over 300 million people and half a dozen timezones, you painting this as some small insular concept is pretty funny.
But it’s still one country… Russia has 150 million people and 11 time zones, but they’re still competing in Eurovision as one country.
Ok that’s true but….what’s stopping Russia from having a Russian song contest? They can if they want and it might even be very cool
You build slowly then expand. The American continents are different than the European continent. First to get Canadian broadcaster on board with something of this scale you need to show them it works. The easiest route is to start in the United States first where a Canadian broadcaster then licenses the Canadian rights so they can simultaneously broadcast it in prime-time. If it is a hit in both countries the contest format can be amended to introduce Canada. Most Canadian versions of popular reality shows came after their American counterparts had high ratings in Canada for years (i.e. Got Talent,… Read more »
Actually, there was a big song contest in the Americas from 1971 to 2000, it was called Festival OTI de la Canción and in some editions there was nothing to envy Eurovision -actually some singers competed in both events. Those were the days!!!
Give them a chance – in 5 years they may well open up the competition to Canada’s provinces and Mexico’s states.
If your criticising the United States for its inwardness and parochialism, then clearly they need the time to undo those movements and cultural currents.
Ummmm???? Most Americans aren’t even aware that this is happening lol. Only the ones that are already ESC fans know about this. And it was Europeans who pitched this idea to American networks to begin with so technically it wasn’t our idea to make this to begin with.
Yet another thought that just crossed my mind: I think both Eurovision and the American Song Contest would be better off if the broadcasting rights for the United States weren’t split between NBC and Netflix.
Netflix only had the 2019 and 2020 Eurovision Song Contest IIRC. Since 2020 was cancelled I haven’t heard of them getting 2021 here in the States.
Leaving my anti-American sentiments aside, I think it’s a shame that they couldn’t organise Eurovision Asia, but can organise the American Song Contest. I feel the Asian music scene has more to offer than the already internationally widespread American music industry.
Wonder how much Eurovision will expand from here…
No, just NO
I feel this expansion is unfair for countries like Kosovo and Kazakhstan which are not even given a chance participating in Eurovision Song Contest
But as of now, it seems to be undecided whether Eurovision will be affected by this in any way?
I never got that either. Kosovo I understand since they’re not an EBU member (although I hope they participate soon!), but Kazakhstan has two 2nd place finishes in JESC, so let them participate! I’m also hoping Dimash will grace the ECS stage soon LOL
i swear, the Instagram comment section is way more interesting than this one.
Your own comment is the least interesting so far.
that’s ok. nothing in this comment section is bound to be interesting
Okay, my answer ended up in the wrong place. I wanted to answer Dolly.
At the very least it would be a good opportunity for the winner to be known abroad in the States. Same for the American winner in Europe. It’s yet to see if the audience it’s really interested. I do think it is the best moment. Duncan Laurence has made it to the US after winning Eurovision and after the Eurovision movie Americans seems more interest in the contest.
Very likely that Americans are not even aware of the fact that Duncan is a winner of the contest called Eurovision
The same (to a smaller scale) is true with Netta, but most Americans don’t know that both Netta and Duncan were both on eurovision
Thank god for that, Bjorkman has a new toy to play so hopefully eurovision will be less damaged by the Swedish mafia
The only Swedish mafia at Eurovision should be Swedish House Mafia. That flag parade featuring all those Swedish DJ’s songs was bloody brilliant.
That’s something I really have to give to the Swedes: Whenever they host, they do it RIGHT.
Should’ve just promoted Eurovision more, it’s already getting bigger with each year. Eurovision could’ve been an amazing, unique platform to promote European musicians worldwide. Now everyone’s gonna have their copycat version of the contest and no one’s gonna care about the original show. Watch Americavision become bigger and overshadow Eurovision.
I doubt that will happen. But personally, I’d prefer a global (ideally still eurocentrist) contest over a global exposure of the ESC.
As a European, I hope that the American Song Contest won’t nag on Eurovision’s popularity, that there will be a distinct line between the ASC and Eurovision, and that the ASC won’t play with Eurovision’s ethics. With that, I mean that the ASC shouldn’t be built up like a cheap reality show – Eurovision stands above that. As long as these potential events don’t happen, the ASC doesn’t bother me all that much.
I can tell you right now that it will have cheap reality show vibes for sure. Sob stories and drama are a must for them.
These are going to be some super long shows with all the commercial breaks. I don’t think this is going to work. Also how do you prevent votes for your own state?
That’s easy. In the case of app or phone voting, they’ll have your phone’s area code, or your zipcode or something
Oh? NBC got it in the end?
*pretends to be shocked*
Singing her smash hit ‘I can see Russia from here’.
Gosh … even Scooch was better than Germany’s joke entry. The bar really couldn’t be any lower.
I’m not even sure whether it’s supposed to be a joke entry. All I know is, it’s a joke of an entry.
Well … having witnessed a couple of Stefan Raab’s Bundesvision Song Contests, this really wouldn’t be for me. Once the international element and the different cultures are lost, it’s basically just the umpteenth irrelevant singing competition on tv. Especially if people won’t be able to select their own state’s participant.
It would have been a better choice to involve the rest of the Americas.
This way, I give three editions at best.
Separated because of the guaranteed downvotes: I’d love to see the winner compete in Eurovision.
No thank you.
Put some damn angel wings on her immediately!!!!
As an American Eurovision fan, I AM FREAKING OUT!!! Finally the American audience will be exposed to what Europeans have fallen in love with for decades!! Since it was first announced as a possibility, I have been checking the news to see if a broadcaster had picked it up. THANK YOU NBC!!!! Maybe this is the start we need for NBC to start broadcasting Eurovision itself!?!? This is a dream come true for me, and I want to do everything I can to make sure this gets the exposure it needs! Where do I sign up to volunteer?? And to… Read more »
but what scares me is that Americans tends to change every format however they want. plus, US TV industry is too viewers-rating based, unlike Eurovision, which is a non-profit event (therefore no commercial breaks).
Actually Eurovision has commercial breaks in a lot of countries, where it’s broadcast on commercial channels…
Whose to say negotiations won’t be had to try and make ASC commercial free as well? After all, the producers of ASC are producers of ESC. We need to keep in mind very little is known so we won’t know a lot of details until it gets closer, but I think it’s unfair for so many people to adopt a pessimistic attitude towards it and assume that it will fail before it even occurs. This was the same attitude when ESC first debuted. I am fearful of the TV industry as well in terms of it being ratings based, but… Read more »
Let’s all wait in anticipation and watch the how this never happens.
Eurovision Asia Song Contest still happening? Lol
I would love that. I hope it gets off the ground. Asia is the world’s real centre now anyway.
One day I saw a video where some youtubers were introducing Americans to Eurovision. One of the Americans said: “Here in the USA we don’t like to do competitions where we compete against other countries. We prefer to do contests within our own country and call ourselves the best in the world. Well, they will have their own meaningless competition where only the American industrial culture will be put forward.
That said, I’ll find a reason to watch.
No…just no…The Americans don’t seem interested and i am afraid that they will make fun of the show (or thing that it is the voice or something).
Indeed, the idea sounds great but that’s my concern
TBF Europeans themselves make fun of Eurovision.
I mean something like Verka Seduchka could only happen in ESC
I think the best way to explain an American what Eurovision is, is to tell them it is like Miss America, but each participant sings an original song.
People in the States are rooting for the lady representing their state, so I think it will work in the end.