Since Eurovision began back in 1956 countries have always held national selections to choose their entrants for the contest. But in recent years a number of countries have scrapped their national selections for internal selections, and that raises the question. Do you need a national selection or not?
For many fans it’s the national selection season that gets us most excited, it’s where we get our first glimpse of the artist who will win that year’s contest. This year more than ever I watched more national selections than ever before. By the end of the season I’d watched the selections from Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Sweden, Estonia, Belarus, Iceland, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. These selections give us a taste of music from the across the continent, whether it being Norwegian folk music to Estonian madness. There is something for everyone in a national selection.
The viewing of these national finals has only been possible since the BBC decided to cut their national final since 2011. And this is where the debate starts, since the BBC cut their national final the United Kingdoms results in the contest have been interesting to say the least; 11th in 2011, 25th in 2012 and 19th in 2013.
When you remove a national final, you’re not stopping a country from selecting Scooch (which isn’t a bad thing), you’re removing the chance for a country to truly to get behind their act. Every national selection has a televote, which means that the public can say that they choose their act, they got the person that they wanted. Okay sometimes it doesn’t work out so well when a jury gets involved as well (Eg. Robin Stjernberg vs. Yohio). But you can still say on the night that you had a say in who is representing you.
Which is where the question of who should actually select the act for an internal selection. Currently the UK, France, Netherlands, San Marino, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Georgia all choose their song and artist internally. Now you can say that sometimes they make brilliant choices (E.g. Letting Anouk have control for the Netherlands), but other times they make some quite bad decisions (Englebert Humperdinck). With “The Hump” I don’t see how he would have ever gone into an open national selection and won the public vote. Which means that as soon as they head off to Eurovision you know it’s going to be an uphill battle.
If there is any country that can prove that having a national selection is a good thing is Germany. Let’s face it they had a spectacular turn around after 2009 when Stefan Raab took over and introduced “Unser Star Fur”. Germany won the 2010 contest with Lena and ended up with a massive hit that got to number 1 in 8 countries and charted in 22 countries across the world. In the following years with Stefan at the helm Germany placed in 10th and 8th.
I know your going now “But they came 21st this year”. But my argument is that every country has a blip. Germany voted for Cascada and they got behind her, yes they may be disappointed but there is not a massive need for Germany to go back to an internal selection. Let’s look at the countries that used internal selections in 2013 vs Germany:
Germany – 21st – 18 points
- Croatia – 13th semi final
- France – 23rd – 14 points
- Georgia – 15th – 50 points
- Macedonia – 16th semi final
- Montenegro – 12th semi final
- Netherlands – 9th final – 114 points
- San Marino – 11th semi final
- Slovenia – 16th semi final
- United Kingdom – 19th – 23 points
So what does this show? It shows that out of the 9 countries that selected internally only 3 managed to finish above Germany who held a national selection.
In the end it would be great to see every country hold a national selection. In an era when spending is tight for national broadcasters, not all can afford it. But without having a national selection you will always have the public saying when things go wrong “Well we didn’t have a say, we should have had a say”
What do you think, do countries need a national selection or not?