After a lot of buildup on social media and following some glitzy, well-placed TV commercials, the American Song Contest finally premiered on Monday evening.
Given the obvious investment, producers and network execs were hoping the new show, based on the much-loved Eurovision Song Contest, would catch fire with the American public. Viewing figures released on Tuesday make one thing clear: there is a lot of work to be done.
?? The public has three days to choose which three acts to put through from Heat 1 of the #AmericanSongContest— wiwibloggs (@wiwibloggs) March 22, 2022
? But the jury has already made their choice: Hueston from Rhode Island.
? He’s said to have the voice of a “mystic Viking”.
Ratings published by Showbuzz Daily show that American Song Contest premiered at a lukewarm 0.49 rating, with 2.9 million total viewers, in its 8 p.m. Eastern time slot. This placed it #4 of the five main broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CW).
In every sales demographic and demographic share category, ASC also finished #4 to its competition. It was up against new episodes of ABC’s American Idol and FOX’s drama 911, and reruns of the CBS comedy The Neighborhood and the CW’s All American.
When you take into account all broadcast network shows, ASC finished a disappointing 9th out of 12 — only beating its follow-up show on NBC, Endgame, and the CW shows All American and All American: Homecoming.
American Song Contest: Mixed reviews from critics
The reactions have come thick and fast…and they aren’t always glowing.
Reacting to the premiere episode, Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast commented that it was a “big ole meh,” while pointing out the performances of Oklahoma’s AleXa and Puerto Rico’s Christian Pagán as the highlights of the night.
Fallon added that while Wyoming’s entry “New Boot Goofin'” was “undeniably the worst song of the night,” he predicted that its irresistibility would become the show’s “greatest success story.”
Emily Yahr of The Washington Post also sang the praises of “New Boot Goofin'”, adding that it “immediately stole the show’s social media thunder” and it could be “the song of the summer.”
Yahoo! Music‘s editor-in-chief Lyndsey Parker wrote that the first episode of the American Song Contest “failed to live up to Eurovision’s wacky promise or premise,” while predicting Rhode Island’s entry “Held on Too Long” could win the competition.
As we previously reported, Swedish producer Christer Björkman has said it will take a few editions of the show to really get it going.
Last autumn, he told Swedish media that he doesn’t expect the show to be a huge hit overnight.
“I am clear that this must be a long-term investment — no one can expect the format to be an immediate success. But I believe in a catch-up effect after three or four seasons.”
Writing on Twitter, a user named @jypetwiiice suggested that producers should do more to promote the songs before the contest. Rather than adopting this Melodifestivalen-style approach of dropping the songs in full during the show, he’d prefer some proper teasing.
“Tbh it’s because of the lack of excitement and build up,” he said in response to our Tweet about the ratings. “They could have released the songs before March and interacted with the fans more.”
Tbh it’s because of the lack of excitement and build up. They could have released the songs before March and interacted with the fans more https://t.co/48UWKgfJ8Q— Kyler ?????? (@JYPETWIlICE) March 23, 2022
Another user, @enkidruga, agrees.
“It should have aimed for a shorter block with less commercials. Songs should have been announced and released ahead of time. There was minimal marketing leading up to the 1st qualifier broadcast, you could easily forget this was supposed to be on TV.”
It should have aimed for a shorter block with less commercials. Songs should have been announced and released ahead of time. There was minimal marketing leading up to the 1st qualifier broadcast, you could easily forget this was supposed to be on TV. https://t.co/4xE245buln— elisa / ???? (permissibly feral) ?? (@enkidurga) March 23, 2022
What did you love about the show? What tips and advice do you have for producers? Let us know down below…