Here at ESC United we understand that many readers may be joining us for the first time due to the new American Song Contest – a new show on NBC that is modeled after the Eurovision Song Contest. Or you may be regular Eurovision fans who are just learning about this new contest through our website. Either way, you may have questions about the contest, and thankfully we have the answers!
What is the American Song Contest?
The American Song Contest was announced at a press conference during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest rehearsal week, but work for the contest began during the production of the 2017 contest in Kyiv. The EBU alongside Christer Björkman, Anders Lenhoff, Peter Settman, and Ola Melzig created the outline of the contest and quickly pitched the idea to a number of broadcasters in the United States. According to Settman, at one point at least 10 large broadcasting companies in the US were interested in the contest but rights would go exclusively to NBC. This partnership is not surprising as NBC also holds the rights to air both semi-finals and the Eurovision Grand Final on their streaming platform Peacock.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that a US version of Eurovision has been attempted, as Ben Silverman (current executive producer for the American Song Contest) attempted to develop the show back in 2006 as a rival program to Fox’s American Idol franchise. Despite the project falling through then, he never gave up on the idea, and is likely the reason why NBC received the rights and why he serves as Executive Producer.
Who is competing in the American Song Contest?
The show will feature 56 artists or groups from the 50 US states, Washington D.C., and the US territories of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. In the event that a group or band represents a state or territory they are still restricted to the six person stage rule that Eurovision uses. The submission period for the 2022 contest opened in May 2021 and allowed artists 16 years and older to submit a song and select all states or territories which they had a “deep and authentic connection to”. This means that artists like KPop Idol AleXa can represent their birth state despite living in a completely different country now.
The participants for the 2022 edition of the contest were announced by NBC on March 3rd through an interactive map on the official website. The songs will not be revealed until 12:00 AM Eastern time the night before the episode that the artist appears on, meaning the first songs will be released the morning of March 21st. Atlantic Records serves as the music partner for the contest and have been very involved in the production of all 56 songs.
In addition to revealing the artists on March 3rd, NBC and the EBU revealed that American Idol winner, Voice coach, and grammy winning artist Kelly Clarkson will co-host the show alongside multi-platnium artist and rapper Snoop Dogg. Both artists have quite the history of hosting between them with Kelly hosting her own daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show, the 2018 and 2019 Billboard Music Awards, and a 2021 Christmas special on NBC. Snoop Dogg has also had some show hosting experience, co-hosting the Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on the VH1 Channel with legendary cook Martha Stewart.
For a full list of the participants for this year’s event, check out our artist page here.
How will the show work?
While specifics about the show are still being kept secret by NBC, there are a few things we know about the contest. The show will be split into 5 qualifying episodes, with 11 artists competiting in each episode. One of the episodes will need to feature 12 artists, which occurred during episode three.
During each episode 4 songs and artists will qualify to the semi-finals through both a jury and televote process. According to NBC, a 56-member jury of music professionals representing the 56 states and territories will decide one of the qualifiers. In episode four host Kelly Clarkson confirmed that the remaining three qualifiers are determined by a combination of public and jury votes, not public only voting. Voting for the public will take place on the official ASC website, the NBC app, and TikTok – more information on voting is provided on the official voting rules page.
Following the completion of the qualifier rounds, two semi-finals will take place featuring the qualifiers from the first five episodes. In addition, the 56-member jury will also distribute two “wildcards” to acts that failed to qualify for the semi-final, granting them another chance to compete. Another round of voting will take place, deciding the artists moving on to the final. From there, the public and musical jury will decide the winner of the American Song Contest together.
When/Where Can I Watch?
The show will premiere on NBC at 8 PM Eastern, 7 PM Central every Monday night starting on March 21st and will last for 2 hours. For viewers who don’t have cable in the United States the contest will be available next day on demand via NBC.com, Peacock, and Hulu.
For European viewers, numerous broadcasters have also signed up to broadcast the American Song Contest. Check out your local broadcaster’s listings if you are in the following country:
- 🇦🇹 Austria and 🇩🇪 Germany: ServusTV
- 🇨🇦Canada (Hamilton) – CHCH-DT
- 🇩🇰 Denmark – DR
- 🇫🇮 Finland – YLE TV2
- 🇬🇷 Greece – ERT
- 🇮🇸 Iceland – RÚV
- 🇲🇪 Montenegro – RTCG
- 🇳🇴 Norway – NRK
- 🇵🇹 Portugal – RTP
- 🇷🇸 Serbia – RTS
- 🇸🇮 Slovenia – RTVSLO 2
- 🇪🇸 Spain – RTVE Play
- 🇸🇪 Sweden – SVT