1st September is a very significant date in the Eurovision calendar. As of today, a new Eurovision season officially begins!
Any song which is commercially available after 1st September 2017 is eligible to compete at Eurovision 2018 and could be the next winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. From this day forward, the long process of whittling thousands of songs down to one Eurovision victor begins.
The official rules from Eurovision.tv (which cover the 2017 contest and do not yet appear to be updated for 2018) provide:
The compositions (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released before 1 September 2016 . In case the composition has been made available to the public, for example, but not limited to, on online video platforms, social networks or (semi-) publicly accessible databanks, the Participating Broadcaster must inform the ESC Executive Supervisor, who shall have authority to evaluate whether the composition is eligible for participation in the Event.
Notably, the EBU executive supervisor (Jon Ola Sand) has discretion to authorise or deny participation to a proposed entry which breaches this rule.
The rule has proven controversial in the past. After her victory in Eurovision 2016, it emerged that Jamala’s 1944 had been performed 4 months before the 1st September deadline. Footage appeared on YouTube of Jamala performing an earlier version of the song at a small concert.
Despite calls for Jamala to be disqualified, the EBU found that the performance at the concert and online video did not give 1944 an unfair advantage and the song was eligible to compete.
At the 2017 contest, France’s Requiem stoked controversy by appearing to breach the 1st September rule. A video appeared online of Alma performing the song 18 months before the deadline. Nevertheless, France was later cleared to compete.
Stay tuned to Eurovoix for coverage of all the songs competing to be selected for Eurovision 2018.