So far, over 25 countries have provisionally confirmed for Eurovision 2022 — but the most we’ll see competing is 44. The rules of Eurovision 2022 confirm that the EBU has again capped the contest at a maximum of 44 competing countries. That’s two fewer than the previous limit of 46.
The new maximum is noted in the rules of the 2022 edition of the contest — that were inadvertently leaked earlier this week by a broadcaster. The EBU is clear about the maximum number of competitors, stating that “a maximum of 44 Members shall be allowed to participate.”
The new maximum of 44 was first introduced for the 2021 edition of the contest. Prior to that, the contest was capped at 46. The lower limit may be a consideration of keeping numbers down at a time of pandemic precautions.
While Eurovision has never had a contest with 44 competing countries, it has come close with 43. In 2008, 2011 and 2018, the contest made room for 43 contestants to battle it out for the crystal microphone.
In those years, the contest included countries are no longer regular participants now, such as Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovakia and Turkey, along with 2021 drop-out Armenia.
Since then, the contest has only gained Italy (since 2011) and Australia (since 2015) as regular competitors, while Belarus is currently no longer a member of the EBU.
The EBU will prioritise if more than 44 acts apply
Thirty-nine acts competed in Eurovision 2021, but if there’s a sudden rush of enthusiasm for the 2022 edition of the contest and more than 44 countries want to apply, the EBU has a plan.
The rules are clear that the EBU’s Eurovision Reference Group will decide which of the 44 countries will have priority to participate. While there isn’t a definite way of deciding this, the rules say that the Reference Group may “give priority to countries/Members which have participated the most often in the previous five editions of the ESC.”
This could mean that if, for example, Hungary and Slovakia both wanted to compete, priority could be given to Hungary as they have competed four times in the past five editions.
However, with Belarus out and Armenia expected to return for 2022, if the rest of the competing countries from 2011 return next year, we could expect to have 39 countries — well short of the 44 maximum.
The smallest number of competing countries in the modern era of two semi-finals was the 37 that competed in 2014. That year, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Serbia dropped out.
What do you think? How many countries do you think will end up competing at Eurovision 2022? Should the EBU do more to encourage more countries to enter? Sound off in the comments section below!