This past Friday was the participation deadline for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Who will be joining the Big 5 and Denmark in Copenhagen in the quest to host the 2015 Contest?
36 countries will compete next year, down from last year’s 39. The entire Big 5—France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom—will be present in Copenhagen. Portugal will return to the Contest this year following a one-year hiatus. Hopefully Portugal has figured some things out during its much-needed break, as its recent entries have had a difficult time making any sort of impression. Greece will also compete, despite its state broadcaster getting shutdown as part of the austerity crisis in the country. The EBU has been working with another broadcaster in the country to accommodate Greece’s participation. Bosnia & Herzegovina, who withdrew from last year’s Contest due to economic concerns, will also return this year.
Economic troubles will keep Cyprus out of Denmark this year. The country probably should have withdrawn last year, especially with the lackluster entry “An Me Thimasai” failing to qualify. Croatia and Bulgaria will also sit out this year, hopefully taking time to figure out what they need to do to make it into a final. Croatia last qualified in 2009, but pairing excellent songs with unimpressive stage performances has held the country back. Bulgaria has only qualified for the final once, though it did tie for 10th place in the 2012 semi-final. The country’s 2013 entry (which was by the same act who qualified in 2007) became an over-produced mess, squelching any chance of advancing. The big surprise departure this year is Serbia, who failed to qualify last year and achieved its worst placement ever (11th in the semi-final). The official reason given was financial concerns. Their presence will be missed.
The underdogs are wasting no time getting their entries ready in Copenhagen. San Marino started the season incredibly early this summer when it announced that Valentina Monetta will represent the microstate for the third time in a row. Austria will be sending Conchita Wurst, a bearded female impersonator who was the runner-up to 2012 Austrian representative Trackshittaz in their national selection. Sergej Cetkovic has been selected as the representative for Montenegro, who are planning to step away from rapping their entry this year. FYR Macedonia have selected their singer and named their song: “Pobeda” (Victory) by Tijana Dapcevic.
A number of selections will happen before January 1, 2014. Here’s the upcoming schedule:
- November 25 (today!): Netherlands
- December 21: Ukraine
- December 28: Albania
- December 31: Russia
Keep track of updates on the Eurovision 2014 page in the features tab.