Despite it’s inaugural season beginning this coming Monday, there is still a lot that we don’t know about how the American Song Contest will work, let alone when artists will be competing. Luckily, thanks to a number of articles, we’ve been able to piece together enough information to figure out how the show might down.
The Hosts and Participants
As we’ve covered in a previous article, the American Idol winner and Voice coach Kelly Clarkson will be serving as one of the hosts for the show, with rapper Snoop Dogg joining her on stage. Clarkson has been a household name in the US since she won the very first season of the American Idol franchise and currently has her own daytime talkshow The Kelly Clarkson Show. Snoop Dogg has also hit our TV screens in America, co-hosting the Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on the VH1 Channel.
The list of official participants were released on March 3rd and you can read more about them on the official ASC website here. Many of the artists are known on a more local level, but some big names like Voice winner Jordan Smith, Jewel, Michael Bolton, KPop Idol AleXa, and Sisqó have all started a fair bit of hype around the event.
The show is loosely based off the parent show Eurovision in that 56 artists or groups will compete 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. According to rehearsal snippets from the first episode, ASC will not follow the six person rule that Eurovision is accustomed to.
The show will utilize a number of qualifying rounds (likely 4-5 episodes), with two semi-finals leading up to the grand final on May 9th. According to reports each episode will feature 11 artists, and only 4 from each episode will advance to the next round. Each of the semi-finals will feature 11 artists each, 10 from the qualifying rounds and 1 wildcard act from the eliminated entries. According to SVT only 10 songs will compete in the Grand Final, meaning that only 5 songs will qualify from their respective semi-final episode.
This Monday March 21st will feature the following 11 artists based on posts they’ve made on their individual Instagram or TikTok accounts:
- Arkansas – Kelsey Lamb
- Connecticut – Michael Bolton
- Illinois – Justin Jesso
- Indiana – UG skywalkin
- Iowa – Alisabeth Von Presley
- Minnesota – Yam Haus
- Mississippi – Keyone Starr
- Oklahoma – AleXa
- Puerto Rico – Christian Pagán
- Rhode Island – Hueston
- Wisconsin – Jake’O
The songs for the first episode are set to be released at Midnight on March 21st, and NBC has been keeping additional details about song titles, stagings, and performance order under wraps.
The Voting Structure
What we do know is that the qualifiers from each episodes will be based on both a televote and jury vote. A 56 member jury made up of music industry professionals from every state and territory will decide one of the night’s qualifiers and will also decide the two wildcard acts after episode five. The public televote will decide the remaining three qualifiers for the semi-finals.
However it appears that the voting method will work a bit different than it does in Eurovision. According to TalentRecap, voters will rank each of the songs per episode on a “ballot” and those ranks will then be converted into some type of point/vote structure. As TV Guide states, this structure ensures that every state has equal voting power – therefore Texas and California have just as much power as Rhode Island and Vermont. Very little is know about how votes will be structured or revealed during the grand finale.
It does look like there will be more than one way to cast your televote, as it appears NBC had three different methods planned. According to Minnesota representatives Yam Haus voting will take place on the NBC website, on the NBC app, and TikTok. The group has stressed that TikTok will be an important part of the voting, which likely explains why so many of the artists have been so active on the platform leading up the the show. According to the ASC Voting rules, voters can submit 10 votes per account per email address across either the NBC website or app or 10 votes per artist per account on TikTok. This means if you double up you could vote 20 times for your favorite artist.
Voting for the first qualifying rounds will open when the episode airs, and will remain open until 7 AM Eastern time on Wednesday of the same week. The semi-finals will have a shorter time period for voting, with voting closing at 8 AM Eastern the following morning. The Grand Final will utilize a live voting system, and will close 1 hour and 35 minutes into the show. Voting is restricted to the participating states and territories – meaning Europeans and Australians cannot vote.
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 – CHCH-DT
- 🇫🇮 Finland – YLE TV2
- 🇬🇷 Greece – ERT
- 🇮🇸 Iceland – RÚV
- 🇳🇴 Norway – NRK
- 🇵🇹 Portugal – RTP
- 🇷🇸 Serbia – RTS
- 🇪🇸 Spain – RTVE Play
- 🇸🇪 Sweden – SVT