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!