In a decision completely independent from, but very coincidental to, the release of Netflix musical comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, my girlfriend and I have been watching every single real life Eurovision Song Contest we can get our musical little hands on. It’s been an eye-opening experience, an outsider’s look directly into a 60-year running tradition in Europe, a musical journey across strange “tropes” (key changes) and “pattern-breakers” (hard rock guitars) that emerge during these runs, a delightful distillation of arcane rules and point distribution, and a genuinely heartwarming form of innocent patriotism. All of this makes me incredibly excited that we’re getting an American version.
TV producer extraordinaire Ben Silverman announced that the American Song Contest will be coming to American television in 2021’s holiday season. Whereas Eurovision pits each country’s “national song” against each other to be crowned the best song of Europe, this American version will pit states against each other. And, reader, I find that so fun. So many states have so many different regional musical flavors, and seeing them battle against each other sounds like either a genuinely fun time, a smashing train wreck, or some kind of both (which is often what Eurovision plays like).
Silverman said this about the move to America, using all three of those damn exclamation points:
For more than 20 years, I’ve tried to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to the United States because it is the greatest and most successful format yet to be adapted. Before I found Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or there was a Pop Idol, Eurovision was dominating the ratings and charts. Put simply, there is nothing else like it on television. The sheer spectacle is amazing. It is a pure celebration of the best in music and the best of what music can be, produced by the world’s elite artisans in all fields of production. The Eurovision Song Contest has shown that it can unite different countries and artists for a few nights every year to focus on their mutual love and respect for music. Bringing The American Song Contest and the Eurovision brand to the U.S. is an incredibly ambitious project, but one worth doing, since we think these inherent values are intrinsic to uniting a fractional America through its greatest export and global impact … culture!!!
Is it really “uniting a fractional America” and celebrating its “greatest export” of “culture!!!” if you’re making states literally compete each other by borrowing the culture of another continent? Don’t care. Gonna watch every delicious episode and cram every delicious tune into my earholes.
Producers Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Ola Melzig and Peter Settman will be joining Silverman in transitioning the format to American audiences. While exact format details are scant (will people call in on bad phone lines to assign points spoken in 3 different languages? They must!!), the American Song Contest will have something called “The American Song Contest Academy, a group consisting of music professionals based in the U.S.” that will pick up local talent from each state, and pit them against other talent “in a series of 5-10 televised Qualifier Competitions, leading to Semi-Finals and the ultimate primetime Grand Finale March Madness style.” In a country that obsesses over American Idol, The Voice, and The Masked Singer, I simply cannot wait to see what we do with the granddaddy of music competitions. Double trouble, indeed.
For more on the American Song Contest, check out this announcement video below. And to see how I enjoyed the fictional Eurovision tunes, here’s my ranking of the movie soundtrack.