Eurovision For Beginners – National Finals and Internal Selections

Have you ever wondered how a country picks their artist and song? Today, we’re hoping to answer all your questions!

It all starts when September hits. From September 1st of the previous year to when the contest will be held is when songs can be selected. For example, for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, songs can be published from September 1st 2016. This gives a period of around 7 months to finalise their act to send to the contest. The songs selected cannot be released prior to September 1st, and as we explained in our ‘rules’ post, which you can find here, the song can’t sample another song.

There are two routes a nation may take to select their song and act. These two are national finals, or internal selections. Let’s start with internal selections. An internal selection is where the national broadcaster selects the act, song, or a combination of both without any influence of the public. Let’s take Australia 2015 and 2016, where the national broadcaster SBS internally selected both Guy Sebastian and Dami Im. From there, we can either see the broadcaster choose the song (alongside the act, of course), they may have a public submission of songs which could be reviewed by internal juries, or alternatively, they could hold a national final to select either the song or act (what hasn’t already been chosen internally). If that was hard to digest, keep reading and it will all start to make sense!

This brings us to national finals. This is where there is a televised show is broadcast on the national broadcaster. Often, it is some sort of format similar to X Factor, or the Voice, where it is a range of participants competing for the publics’ vote.

There are so many different variations, and it’s probably easiest to understand in dot points, so here we go:

Internal Selection

  • Broadcaster chooses act only
  • Broadcaster chooses song only
  • Broadcaster chooses song and act

National Selection

  • The artist needs to be chosen only
  • The song needs to be chosen only
  • The song and artist need to be chosen

National Selection and Internal Selection Combined

  • Broadcaster chooses act, and public chooses the song
  • Broadcaster chooses the song, and public chooses the act

Countries are never limited to a certain format. We often see countries using a similar format to Eurovision itself, where there are semi-finals, and then a final, where at the end a winning act and song are chosen.

The main bulk of selections happen between January and March, however from September 1st, the song can be chosen at any time. The act can be selected before September 1st. Remember that the act that a country selects is entirely up to them. They could be amateur or unknown, or world famous. They don’t have to be from the country they are representing either, it’s entirely up to the national broadcaster.

There are many different variations of national selections, and we hope we have answered most of your questions. If you had any more questions, make sure to comment below, tweet or post to us on Facebook, and we will happily answer any questions!