As I did last year, I’m bringing together all the information and links relating to each country’s progress towards selecting their artist and song for Eurovision 2018 on this page. Countries are listed in alphabetical order and I’ll be updating this page on a regular basis!
Updates to this page:
We’re now in the heart of national final season and the release of internally selected songs so I’ll be updating this page as regularly as news comes through. Bookmark and keep coming back to check it out!
The winner of Albania’s annual song festival, Festivali i Këngës, is once again providing their Eurovision entry. 22 acts were shortlisted; semi-finals took place on 21 and 22 December, and the final on 23 December. A winner eventually emerged from a very long show – Albania does tend to rework the selected song a lot and also put it into English so don’t expect the below to be the final version!
Depi Evratesi, the Armenian national selection, consisted of two semi-finals on 19 and 22 February, followed by a grand final on 25 February.
For their fourth year in the contest, Australia have selected their artist internally as in the last three appearances. This year, it’s a big Australian pop star who performed as a Eurovision semi-final interval act in 2014, Jessica Mauboy – one of Australia’s most successful female artists.
As with last year, Austria has internally selected their artist (and song to come early next year). It’s the very-easy-on-the-eye Cesár Sampson, who had previously been involved with the production of the two very successful Bulgarian entries of 2016 and 2017, and provided backing vocals on stage for both as well. The song title has been released – actual song to come later.
Azerbaijan got in early with the announcement of their artist, as usual for Azerbaijan, internally selected. AISEL is the stage name of jazz/soul singer Aysel Mammadova.
Belarus held a national final on 16 February with 10 competing participants. You can read more about some of the usual Belarusian drama in the run up to the national final in my Belarus national selection preview.
Belgium got their artist (internally selected) announcement out early last year and have repeated that this year.
Bulgaria involved fan and social media voting groups in narrowing down the entries to three complete “projects” (from a shortlist of thirteen). The successful song and artist were revealed on 12 March.
An internal selection, as has been the usual case with Croatia in recent contests.
The writer of the Cypriot entry will be Swedish-Greek award-winner Alex Papakonstantinou. After many rumours on who would be the internally selected artist, Eleni Foureira was announced as the Cypriot entry on 1 February. Albanian-born but of Greek citizenship and residence, expect her to pick up a lot of Balkan votes!
For the first time in a decade, the Czechs selected their entry via a national selection, Eurovision Song CZ. There were 6 finalists, and split between a jury vote and a public vote. There wasn’t an accompanying television show but the winner was announced via the main Czech news channel. It’s the first time that they will be sending a male solo artist.
The Danish national final, Melodi Grand Prix 2018, took place on 10 February. Among the 10 finalists was Whigfield (under name Sannie) who had a big hit in the 1990s with “Saturday Night”. You can listen to all the songs on this YouTube playlist. Sadly Sannie/Whigfield wasn’t successful – and hers was my favourite song!
The lovely Saara Aalto finally gets the chance to go to Eurovision, having been runner up in the national final in 2016 and 2011. Saara should be well known to UK viewers, having come close to winning X-Factor in the UK last year (getting runner up spot again!). The Finnish national final, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, took place on 3 March to determine which of three specially composed songs would be Finland’s entry.
After being the only member of the Big 5 to internally select last year, France turned back to a national selection, Destination Eurovision to determine their 2018 entry. Two semi-finals of nine songs determined the finalists, with 4 artists from each semi-final qualifying to the final of the selection.
The winner, Madame Monsieur, weren’t the favourites of the international juries, but a big vote from the French public will see them perform their song “Mercy” at the grand final.
After a national final for last year’s contestants with a huge number of finalists, Georgia surprisingly announced an internal selection at the very end of 2017. The jazz and ethno group Iriao will represent Georgia in Lisbon.
After several disappointing results, Germany shook up their national final format. A pan-European panel participated in the pre-selection of all candidates through to a final six. The final, Unser Lied für Lissabon, took place on 22 February in Berlin.
The national broadcaster went to national record companies in order to submit a proposal with potential candidates for the 2018 Greek Eurovision national final. Over recent weeks these were whittled down to a final 3. The final was due to take place on 16 February; however the Greek national broadcaster requested from all 3 record labels guarantee fees for their participation in the national final. By the deadline, only one of the three companies had done so, so the other two entries were disqualified, the national final cancelled and the song/artist is effectively an internal selection. Well, ancient Greece is famous for its drama, so why not modern Greece’s Eurovision selection also!
The Hungarian national selection, A Dal 2018 consisted of a total of 6 televised shows: 3 heats, 2 semifinals and a Grand Final. It began on 20 January with the final taking place on 24 February.
Söngvakeppnin 2018 consisted of two semi-finals, and the final took place on 3 March.
Submissions have been open, although the Irish broadcaster reserved right to select songs and artists from outside the submissions (or to change round the artists for the songs); an internal selection has been made and a former Britain’s Got Talent finalist (series 6 in 2012) will represent Ireland.
The reality singing competition, HaKokhav HaBa (Rising Star), was used to select the artist to represent Israel at Eurovision, and began in late 2017, with participants being whittled down over a series of (many) shows!
The long running San Remo Music Festival often provides the Italian entry – the winner of that contest is offered a place at Eurovision (although they do not always take the offer). San Remo 2018 took place between 6 and 10 February. This year’s winners have confirmed that they will participate at Eurovision as the Italian entry.
The 21 participants of Latvia’s selection, Supernova 2018 included Markus Riva, who has attempted to represent Latvia on a a number of occasions. There were three three semi-finals before the final on 24 February.
Last year the Lithuanian selection was a marathon rather than a sprint, stretching over 11 shows… Eurovizija 2018 also turned out to be one for the long haul – 7 heat shows, a semi-final and the final eventually came on 11 March.
Last and late in being confirmed as a participant for this year (after debt payment issues),Macedonia have once again gone with an internal selection.
16 artists competed in a single national final, the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on 3 February.
The national selection, O melodie pentru Europa 2018 consisted of a national final with 16 artists on 24 February.
Montenegro opted to bring back its national selection for this year. Montevizija 2018 took place on 17 February with 5 announced participants.
The Dutch are bringing back one half of their most successful acts since they last won in 1975. Waylon is one half of the (former) Common Linnets, who took runners up place to Conchita in Copenhagen in 2014. The song will be released on 10 March.
Melodi Grand Prix 2018, the 56th edition of the Norwegian national final, took place on 10 March.
Poland will be holding a national final, Krajowe Eliminacje on 3 March.
This year’s hosts, their national selection Festival da Canção 2018 determined who flies the home flag in Lisbon. Semi-finals took place on 18 and 25 February with the final on 4 March.
A bigger scale national selection beckoned for Romania – Selecţia Naţională consisted of 5 semi-finals with a total of 60 participants through January and February with a grand final on 25 February.
After their withdrawal last year, Russia have confirmed that they will be coming to Lisbon. As of late January they have also confirmed the artist, Yulia Samoylova. At the time of their 2017 withdrawal, it was stated she would participate the following year and that statement has been kept to. What this means for Ukraine, in terms of being obliged to show her performance, remains to be seen…
Leave it to tiny San Marino to come up with possible the most bonkers national selection process of all, broken down into “Submit a song”, “Build support” and “Live shows” and all run by “1 in 360” company.
Submissions were received via a website and acts had the chance to build up support through social media, looking for likes and shares over several weeks. Submissions had to receive over 100 likes/shares in order to be considered by the jury.
11 participants competed in the national selection shows. Three of the 10 candidates were selected as wildcards via online votes; the remaining participants were selected by the jury.
In the first two shows, candidates performed their songs to the judges – as acoustic – so they can provide feedback. At the end of the second show, judges picked one song for each candidate to be performed at the finals. The first two shows took place on 9 and 16 February and the grand final on 3 March.
Submissions were open to mid-October and there is a return of a national final, Beovizija; 17 contestants took part on 20 February.
16 acts were selected from the 108 submitted songs to appear in the Slovenian national final, Evrovizijska Melodija 2018 (EMA). The 16 acts performed in one semi-final. Eight qualified for the grand final, four through the viewers and four more through the jury. EMA 2018 took place February 2018, with a semi-final on 17 February and the final on 24 February. Two former Eurovision entries were among the 16 shortlisted – Tanja Ribic represented Slovenia in 1997 whilst ManuElla entered the contest in 2016.
Spain’s 2017 national selection was long-running and ended in high drama. For 2018, they held a special Eurovision national final with the 5 finalists of the talent show Operación Triunfo 2017.
5 songs were composed by famous and celebrated composers. The national final took place on . The competing songs will be allocated to the singers by the academy’s teacher committee.
And perhaps, considering the drama of 2017, most important to note, the entry and act were voted for solely by the Spanish public…
The winner is already hugely popular among the fanatical Spanish Eurofans – it’s Spain’s first male-female duet for a very long time, and the two artists fell in love while both on the talent show. Let’s hope they stay in love until May…
It’s Sweden, it’s Melodifestivalen, now in its 58th year. 4 semi-finals, a second chance round and then the biggest national final of them all on 10 March.
6 acts were shortlisted for the Swiss national selection, Die ESC 2018 – Entscheidungsshow and took place on 4 February. The vote was split between an international jury and a televote.
2017’s hosts stuck to the national selection format they used last year – 2 semi-finals and a final. Semi-finals took place on 10 and 17 February; final on 24 February.
Eurovision: You Decide was back for its third year, in a different venue and with an additional host. We moved to the Brighton Dome, scene of Abba’s Eurovision triumph in 1974. Somewhat appropriately, Mel (Giedroyc) was joined by a new co-presenter – Swedish Eurovision 2015 winner and 2016 contest co-presenter, Måns Zelmerlöw! Aside from those changes, the format was similar to the two previous years – 6 shortlisted finalists took part in the live show on BBC2 and the winner decided by public vote and a professional jury. It took place on Wednesday 7 February and once again I was there! Check out my post on my evening at You Decide.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Eurovision (season)….