Canada Will Get Its Own Eurovision Song Contest in 2023
Ten provinces and three territories will compete in a single night for Eurovision Canada.
It took 66 years for the Eurovision Song Contest to expand to another country.
Now the producers who brought the pan-European competition to the United States with American Song Contest say Eurovision Canada is set to debut in 2023.
Entrants from Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories will battle it out in one evening, similarly to how the original Eurovision — where a few dozen members of the European Broadcasting Union compete — used to work.
The expansion to Canada comes six weeks after ASC, Inc. premiered the American Song Contest, which featured contestants from the 50 U.S. states and six U.S territories, and is hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. The eight-week show, set to wrap up May 9, is airing on NBC and Atlantic Records is releasing songs from the 56 artists.
While this will be the first Eurovision in Canada, several Canadian artists have participated in the original. Quebec-born Celine Dion was 19 when she won the contest for Switzerland in 1988 with “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.” Natasha St-Pier, a native of New Brunswick who has lived in France for many years, sang for that country in 2001, placing fourth with “Je N’ai Que Mon Âme.”
Three other Canadians have competed in Eurovision: Sherisse Laurence for Luxembourg in 1986, Annie Cotton for Switzerland in 1993 and Rykka for Switzerland in 2016.
ASC is partnering with Insight Productions, a Canadian company that has produced The JUNO Awards, The Amazing Race Canada and Big Brother Canada.
“The phenomenal song-writing and extraordinary musicianship in this country can stand against any in the world which is why Canada is the perfect home for the next iteration of Eurovision,” says Lindsay Cox, executive producer and senior vp at Insight, who will be the showrunner for Eurovision Canada. “We’re so honored to partner with the Eurovision team to showcase the immense musical talent from every corner of our nation and for Canadian viewers to become a part of this global phenomenon.”
Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, says, “It is time for Canada to join the party and become a player in this worldwide spectacle.”
In addition to Cox, ASC’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Ola Melzig, Peter Settman and Greg Lipstone will also produce Eurovision Canada, as well as Insight’s CEO and chairman John Brunton.
Their main task in the next few months will be to create the format for the competition, including how the voting will take place. The original Eurovision and the American version both rely on jury and public tele-voting, although Eurovision is famous for allowing participating countries and juries to award points to the various entries. In its first year, the American Song Contest has not had states award points as it would be unwieldy to have votes reported from 56 different states and territories. The ASC winners are determined by jury and public votes combined.
“This is still a work in progress,” Björkman tells Billboard. “We will continue the development of the Canadian adaptation after the ASC final.”
The Canadian edition of Eurovision will more closely mirror the original European version, which took place on a single night until 2004 when a semi-final was added. In 2008, a second semi-final was added because so many countries wanted to participate that there wasn’t enough time in one evening to include them all.
The number of countries competing changes every year. Since Eurovision began in 1956, a total of 52 nations have sent songs to the contest. Some, like Morocco, have been only once. Morocco, like Israel, is not in Europe but as members of the European Broadcasting Union they have been allowed to participate.
Where will the contest expand next? “It’s a big world out there,” says Lipstone. “There are many countries that have not experienced the Eurovision spectacle and we look forward to the day when everyone around the world is part of this iconic event.”