In what is now an annual tradition, I set this page up in the latter part of the year to bring together all the information and updates on the national and internal selections of the participating countries at the upcoming song contest. So here is my page for Eurovision 2020 – do bookmark this page and keep checking back until mid-March when we will know all the artists and songs for Rotterdam.
As well as being first up in the Eurovision alphabet, Albania also gift us the first national final of the year over the Christmas period. The 58th Festivali i Kenges (FiK) provided Albania’s entry once again, and among the 20 competing artists was a former FiK winner and Eurovision contestant, Olta Boka, who represented Albania in 2008. The semi-finals took place on 19 and 20 December with the final on 22 December. The winner was decided by the 5 person mixed international-Albanian jury (in previous years it was an all-Albanian jury). The song was sung in Albanian for the the national final but was originally written in English, and it will be an English language version of the song that will go to Rotterdam.
Armenia were one of the last countries to confirmed participation and in a surprising move, announced that their national selection, Depi Evratesil, would return for its third time, and took place on 15 February. The winning song is due to undergo a revamp.
Australia are confirmed in the contest until at least 2023, and after a successful national selection last year (after internally selecting previously), Eurovision: Australia Decides returned for their 2020 selection, and took place on 8 February.
Austria have followed the pattern of last few years and internally selected. Austrian-Filipino singer Vincent Bueno will represent Austria in Rotterdam with the song “Alive”.
Azerbaijan invariably use an internal selection, though unusually, they asked for submissions this year. They announced that Samira Efendi (branded as just “Efendi” for purposes of the song) would be their artist this year; this was her fifth attempt to be selected.
Belarus kept with a national selection but the final saw the return of a public vote as well as an international jury vote (last year it was a Belarus jury only national selection). The final took place on 28 February.
First out of the block to announce their artist, Belgium have continued their recent tradition of internally selecting. Hooverphonic are a long established band (active since 1995) and their Eurovision song was released on 17 February.
Bulgaria withdrew in 2019, citing financial issues. The indication given was that they would hope to return and indeed this has proved to be true with the announcement in late October that they would be back for 2020.We didn’t have long to wait till we found out who would represent them, as the announcement came in late November. Victoria, a young up-and-coming singer, will be their representative in Rotterdam. The song was released much later though – on 7 March.
Croatia held their first national selection for some time last year (DORA) and they used that format again with the final on 29 February.
Cyprus have achieved consistent success recently using an internal selection and they have stuck with that approach this year, selecting German singer Sandro.
Following online national selections in the last couple of years, the Czech Republic announced plans they were moving to a full televised national final for 2020. They subsequently reversed to holding it as an online vote and show again. The winner was decided by a international jury and the public online vote. The music video is available but the revamped version for the contest will be made public on 10 March.
Denmark’s long-established national final, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix (DMGP), returned for 2020 on 7 March.
Winning artist: Ben & Tan
Eesti Laul, Estonia’s national selection, again consisted of two semi-finals of 12 contestants, with the top 6 from each qualifying for the final. Semis took place on 13 and 15 February with the final on 29 February.
Finland once again used their national selection, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK), though it returned to a selection of artists and songs rather than the format of two previous years where an internally selected artist presented a set of songs to be chosen.
It had been initially thought that France was keeping with national final, as it has done in the past two years (Destination Eurovision). However, they have reverted to an internal selection, and announced their artist in mid-January (a few days after a French tabloid leaked the name). The song was released on 16 February.
As with last year, Georgian Idol was used to select Georgia’s representative. The final took place on 31 December and the song for Eurovision announced on 3 March.
It has been somewhat of a confusing picture for Germany’s selection route this year but it has ended up being an internal selection. A TV show, Unser Lied für Rotterdam, presented the artist and song on 27 February.
The Greek broadcaster had been mulling over holding a national final after selecting internally in the past couple of years. However, in early February, it was announced that Stefania (Liberakakis), a 17 year old, Greek-Dutch singer would be Greece’s entry. She previously represented The Netherlands as part of a girl group in the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Iceland’s national final, Söngvakeppnin, returned with semi-finals on 8 and 15 February and the final took place on 29 February. Five songs competed in each semi with the top two progressing to the final. Show producers also selected one of the non-qualifiers as an additional finalist.
Ireland put out a call for submissions to be the 2020 entry with a deadline of 25 October and an internal selection followed.
2019’s hosts made some changes to their national selection. The selection of the artist was still be done by their talent show HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovizion (Rising Star) but in addition there was a show to select the song (previously internally selected for the successful artist) on 3 March where 4 songs were presented.
The winner of the Festival di Sanremo (celebrating its 70th edition in 2020) is usually given the option (not always taken up) of representing Italy at Eurovision that year. They tweaked the rules this year so that an artist should state before the start of Sanremo whether they would go to Eurovision (rather than deciding after they win). As it turns out, this year’s winner had stated he wanted to go to Eurovision. The participating artists contained not one but two former Eurovision entries, both of whom scored top 10 results at the contest: Raphael Gualazzi (2011, 2nd place) and Francesco Gabbani (2017, 6th place). Francesco Gabbani ended up as runner-up this year.
Latvia’s national final, Supernova, returned for its sixth year with the final taking place on 8 February. The artists and songs were revealed in early January and the original list was reduced by a jury to 9 songs who competed in the final and voted for by a worldwide online vote and Latvian phone vote.
Lithuania’s national selection, now called Pabandom iš naujo! (Let’s try again) returned for 2020. The 3 heats began on 11 January and ran weekly, with the semi-finals taking place on 1 and 8 February and the final on 15 February.
Last year, Malta used their first series of X Factor Malta to select their artists, with the winner of that representing Malta. They have stuck to this new format, with the winner of the second series providing the representative for 2020. The final took place on 8 February. The song will be presented at a later date.
Moldova’s participation was confirmed with the official Eurovision announcement of the 41 countries for 2020, which included Moldova. 36 songs were submitted for the selection and 35 have been put through to the televised live auditions. A jury of music professionals judged the songs and after the auditions, the organising committee, in consultation with the jury, elected 20 songs to be put forward to a national selection, that took place on 29 February.
The winner of 2019 and hosts for 2020, the Netherlands will automatically qualify for the final. As has been the case for the past few years, they have internally selected. Their artist is 26-year-old Jeangu Macrooy from Suriname. His song will be released on 4 March.
North Macedonia scored a stunning success in 2019, winning the jury vote in the grand final, so it’s no surprise to see them back. They kept with their recent trend of internal selections and Vasil Garvanliev (a backing vocalist last year) will be their representative.
Norway’s national selection, Melodi Grand Prix (MGP), reached its 60th anniversary in 2020 and to celebrate, they made it a bumper year with regional-themed semi-finals in addition to the grand final. 5 acts were preselected for the grand final (chosen by a jury) and the rest of the field was made up of the winners of the 5 semi-finals. The grand final final took place on 15 February and saw some skandal with a breakdown in the public online voting for one of the rounds of voting. Ultimately, the pre-show favourite did win out.
Poland have swung between internal selections and national finals in the past few years; for 2020, they selected their entry via Szansa na Sukces – a talent show format most recently used to select their 2019 entry for Junior Eurovision (and which they went on to win). There were three semi-finals with a jury selecting who went through to the final and the final was decided by both a jury vote and televote.
Festival da Canção returned for its 54th edition in 2020, once again with 16 songs competing across two semi-finals, culminating in a final of 8 songs. The shows took place in February and March. Composers of 14 of the songs were approached by Portugal’s broadcaster RTP, and the final two composers came from a public submission and a masterclass submission.
Romania have generally used a national final to select, though their 2019 edition saw low audience numbers and a whole load of controversy in the grand final. They have taken the route favoured by Finland in 2018 and 2019 with an internal selection for the artist and then a national final on 1 March that determined the song.
Russia has selected internally since 2013 and that remains the case for the 2020 contest. The artist has been announced with the song reveal to be made by 9 March.
Selected artist: Little Big
After their most successful contest to date in 2019, the microstate was quick to confirm their participation in 2020. Their artist was revealed on 6 March. Senhit, who represented San Marino in 2011, offered a choice of two songs for fans to vote on during the course of 7 and 8 March on her website with the winning song announced on 9 March.
The national selection, Beovizija, returned for 2020. Two semi-finals took place on 28 and 29 February and the final on 1 March.
EMA 2020 was the national selection again for Slovenia and was held on 22 February. The song is not (yet) uploaded to the Eurovision YouTube account which suggests the song may be getting some changes before the official version is submitted.
Spain announced that they were internally selecting for 2020, and within a short space of time afterwards, and out of the blue, announced the artist, Blas Cantó, a former boy band member who has been in the finals to represent Spain in Junior Eurovision as well as the main contest some years later. The song was revealed on 30 January – the first song to be released in its contest form (as Albania’s will be revamped and go into English).
What would the national selection season be without Melodifestivalen? 2020’s will be the 60th edition of the increasingly internationally popular show. The 4 semi finals and the second chance show took place each Saturday (and began on 1 February), with the grand final on 7 March.
Switzerland internally selected, and as with last year, it was with an international jury and an audience panel.
The shenanigans of the Ukrainian national selection, Vidbir, last year, culminated in a winner with a song that would have likely placed in the top 5 in the grand final, yet was never able go, given the terms and conditions places on the artists by the Ukrainian broadcaster. Vidbir returned though with two semi-finals and a final, voted for by a jury and televote. This year, a rule was made upfront that the contestants must not have performed in Russia or Russian-held territory since 2014. Semis took place on 8 and 15 February and the final on 22 February.
A national final, Eurovision: You Decide, had been the UK’s national selection for the past four years, but this year saw a return to an internal selection. The BBC has worked with music publisher and record label BMG UK in the selection (and publishing) of artist and song.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Eurovision (season)…