The road to Vienna: a quick overview.

This autumn, everything will kick off a bit sooner than usually. In hindsight on the previous years, when national broadcasters started with their selection shows in December (e.g. Albania, Switzerland, Ukraine), this year, the first songs for ESC 2015 will be chosen somewhat earlier ‒ in November! We are taking this as an opportunity to present you with a short overview of the current situation regarding plans on selecting national entries for each of the participating countries.

At the moment, it seems as if we can look forward to songs from 39 nations next May. With the current stand, this is at least two countries more than what we had on stage in Copenhagen. Whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Serbia returned to the ESC family, Ukraine decided to pull out of the contest due to “internal reasons”. It is still unclear whether San Marino will take part in 2015.

The countries that have so far confirmed their preliminary participation still have the option until 10 October to make their final decision and can withdraw from the competition without facing a financial penalty. Nevertheless, the EBU might not announce the final list of participants until January 2015.

Albania

As in previous years, the Albanians will select their entry for Vienna in their largest national music event “Festivali i Këngës”, which will be held for the 53rd time this year. Artists interested in participating in the music festival can submit their songs to the national broadcaster RTVSH on 14 and 15 October. The exact dates of the festival are not yet known – the final show will presumably take place on 20 or 27 December.

Armenia
Yerevan is once again planing to select the national entry internally. Officially, nothing has been confirmed yet, but rumour has it that one of the three, Gevorg Martirosyan, Lilit Hovhanisyan or Iveta Mukuchyan, are the hot favourites to be chosen to represent Armenia in ESC 2015.

Austria
The host country’s national broadcaster ORF has announced that it will arrange four casting shows to pick its candidate for the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. These shows will kick off in February, and the Austrian public will be given the power to choose their representative via televoting.

Cyprus
Over 100 songs were submitted to the Cypriot national broadcaster this year. Now, a jury is breaking a sweat to select songs that will compete in a show, which will take place in January or February 2015, in an effort to obtain a ticket to Vienna in May.

Denmark
This year’s host will select its song for Vienna on 7 February 2015 at the “Dansk Melodi Grand Prix”, which will be held at the Gigantium Arena in Aalborg. Artists had the chance to submit songs for the festival until 8 September. It is anticipated that the Danish national broadcaster DR will present the 10 finalists to the public in January.

Estonia
As in previous years, the Estonian national selection “Eesti Laul” will be held in three stages – in two semi-finals on 7 and 14 February and a final show on 21 February. Entries for the festival can be submitted to ETV in Tallinn until 1 December.

Finland
After three consecutive years, the national selection concept “Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK)” has once again been chosen for determining the Finnish Eurovision entrant. The national broadcaster had an open submission period for an entire week, from 1 to 8 September. This year, even foreigners were allowed to submit their entries, however, they had to ensure that at least one Finn co-wrote their song and that one Finn will also sing their song. The exact dates for the UMK are still not known.

France
After a mini-national selection conducted by the French this year, France 2 is for 2015 once again going to determine its national representative internally.

Germany
The German entry will be selected in a show called “Unser Song für Österreich”, which will be held on 5 March 2015 at the TUI Arena in Hanover. The winner of “Unser Song für Österreich” will be decided by televoting.

Greece
So far, it is still uncertain whether the Greeks will participate in ESC 2015, as Greece’s interim public service broadcaster NERIT is still not an official EBU member. In Copenhagen, the country was allowed to participate only after an exception permit was issued by the EBU. If they do not finalise their membership soon, Greece is most likely to be scratched from the list of the 2015 participants. Another exception permit will probably not be offered! But, if Greece sorts its membership out, it is to be presumed that the private broadcaster MAD TV will organise the national selection, as was the case in previous years.

Hungary
In the upcoming year, Hungary will, once again, hold its national selection “A Dal”, which in recent years resulted with two international Top 10 hits. Artists are eligible to submit their songs to the Hungarian national broadcaster MTVA until 15 November.

Iceland
Iceland plans to traditionally hold its “Söngvakeppnin” next year. Entries can still be submitted to the Icelandic national broadcasting service RÚV until noon, 20 October. Even here, foreigners are eligible to apply! However, they have to fulfill one requirement – be officially registered in Iceland from 1 September 2014 until the final show in Vienna. And, one mustn’t forget the female quota! In 50% of all the songs selected, at least one artist must be female. Dates for the national selection are still not set, but it will probably be on one of the Saturdays in February.

Ireland
The Irish national broadcaster wants to say “goodbye” to the old mentoring system, as it proved to be a not so successful approach since the first participation of Jedward in 2011. RTE will once again hold a national final in order to select the Irish entry, and there are hints that it is going to be an open selection, and The Late Late Show once again. The official confirmation of the format is expected by 13 October.

Israel
Based on hearsay, Israel will internally select its entry for ESC 2015.

Italy
The ESC slowly but surely seeps into the minds of the Italian music scene. Next year, the winner of the San Remo Festival (10-14 February) will have the privilege to represent Italy in Vienna in May. In case of refusing the offer, RAI will select its candidate otherwise – most probably by offering the spot to another San Remo participant.

Lithuania
The Lithuanian broadcaster has decided to organise the same extensive national selection as it did for choosing the 2014 entry. In the period between early January and late February, eight acts will compete against each other, singing many different songs in a rotational mode and, in the end, a song will be selected first, followed by choosing a suitable artist one week later. Lithuanian roulette…

Macedonia
The first of all national selection shows “Skopje Fest” will be held in the Macedonian capital on 12 November. 20 participants will compete in the music festival, in which Vlatko Ilievski (2011) and Tamara Todevska (2008) will once more try their luck to win a ticket to Vienna. The winner will be decided by a 50-50 split jury and televote and will also receive a EUR 20,000 prize money.

Malta
Since the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be held on 15 November, the erected stage will also be utilised for the national selection shows in the week to follow, on 21 and 22 November. From 134 submissions, 48 entries have been shortlisted! The Maltese TV broadcaster will present tonight the 20 songs that made it to the semi-final, which will be held on 21 November. A special particularity should perhaps be addressed – the winner of “Malta Eurovision Song Contest” will have the right to modify the song until the EBU deadline, set for March.

Montenegro
As was the case in previous years, the Montenegrin national broadcaster RTCG will once again select its Eurovision entrant internally.

The Netherlands
The Dutch will once more opt for an internal selection of their representative. At present, the hot favourite rumoured to receive the ticket to go to Vienna is the musician and producer Alain Clark.

Norway
The deadline for submitting songs for “Melodi Grand Prix” expired on 1 September. Next month, a jury will have the job to preselect songs that will be presented in preliminary and final shows in January and February 2015.

Russia
The winner of the third season of “The Voice of Russia”, which started on 5 September, will be rewarded with a ticket to Vienna. After Roberto Bellarosa (Belgium 2013) and Dina Garipova (Russia 2013), the winner of this year’s show will be the third ESC participant who will go through this type of casting format.

Serbia
Serbia will repeat its selection format used in 2010 – one composer will write songs for three artists who will compete against each other in a national selection show. The Serbian public broadcaster RTS has already chosen Vladimir Graic to be the songwriter. Vladmir Graic is a name that is well known in the ESC community – he composed the winning song in 2007, “Molitva”, sung by Marija Serifovic, as well as the Slovenian entry from 2012, “Verjamem”, sung by Eva Boto.

Sweden
The slightly modified Melodifestivalen 2015 will once again try to captivate the Swedish public from 7 February to 14 March. This time, 2177 entries have been submitted. It is to be presumed that the Swedish broadcaster will announce the 28 preselected songs for the four preliminary rounds in late November.

Switzerland
Since three days ago, videos can be uploaded by artists in Switzerland. After 27 October, a jury will select nine entries for the German and Romansh part of Switzerland, which will qualify for the second stage of the competition. On 7 December, in a live audition, three of the nine will be selected to go to the national final. These will, together with two artists from the French-speaking part and one from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, participate in the grand “Entscheidungsshow 2015” on 31 January in Kreuztlinen at the Bodensee Arena, to compete for a ticket to Vienna.

At the moment, there are no official news on the selection process of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

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