An American version of the Eurovision song contest is due to take place next year, organizers said.
All 50 states will compete in the American Song Contest, which has been endorsed by the team behind the long-standing European equivalent.
No broadcaster or other platform has yet signed up to broadcast the U.S. contest, but a spokesperson for the project said discussions are underway.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been around for more than six decades.
The American competition will take place at the end of 2021, several months after Eurovision, the organizers confirmed on Friday.
Candidates will be selected by American juries, made up of professionals from the music industry and regional viewers.
Representatives of each state can be solo artists, duets or groups of up to six members.
The announcement of The American Song Contest follows the release of the popular Netflix film Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga.
The film, which starred Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, was released in June and became a hit with viewers.
“ American music is an assortment of sounds ”
Analysis by William Lee Adams, BBC Minute presenter and Eurovision expert
Opponents of the American Song Contest said it would lose much of the plot of its inspiration – different countries showcasing their unique traditions and deviating from contemporary pop. But it does suggest that America is a musical sausage factory, producing interchangeable vocals and monotonous tunes. It’s not.
Most states can claim some form of musical heritage, of which residents are proud or at least strongly identified. Take, for example, the pop studios of Los Angeles, the country scenes of Nashville, the hip-hop capital Atlanta or the center of Latin music that is Miami; American music is an assortment of sounds that will make television brilliant when showing song after song.
My British friends often define America with two colors: red and blue. But that ignores the millions of hues in between. State identity still matters and it is played out regularly on television, where college sports dominate. NCAA football and basketball remain ranking heavyweights, in part because there is a sense of connection around a team and the place and people it represents. The American Song Contest will take advantage of this.
Will Ferrell’s hugely popular Eurovision-inspired comedy immediately laid the groundwork for the American Song Contest and proved that there was an appetite for a version of it. Netflix’s advertising push has no doubt helped. Before its release, a friend in Los Angeles sent me a photo of two huge billboards promoting the film on both sides of Sunset Boulevard.
Eurovision was founded in the aftermath of World War II to bring people together through song. Given the turbulent climate in the United States, Americans may take advantage of a similar opportunity.
The American Song Contest’s creative director and producer Christer Björkman is himself a former contestant on the show, having represented his home country of Sweden in 1992.
“Eurovision has been a dream project since I was a kid,” he told Variety. “To have a chance to use everything you know about the format and do it all over again and present it to an audience that has no history with it is such a privilege.”
Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said “his unique heritage dates back 65 years and his worldwide popularity is still on the rise.”
He added, “It’s time for America to experience this spectacle.”
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which was scheduled to be held in Rotterdam, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is expected to return in 2021, but participating countries will need to enter songs different from the ones they submitted for this year.
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