Israel is all set to welcome the Eurovision bandwagon along with its glam, glitz and glitter for the third time in ESC history. The country has kicked off preparations for the upcoming 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. How many countries will compete in the contest next year? Will there be any new countries joining the club? Will we see any returning nations? Will there be any withdrawals? Let’s check out who’s heading to Israel next year….
Circa 40 countries are expected to partake in the competition next year in Israel. The maximum number of countries permitted to compete in next year’s contest is 46, whilst the Grand Final will feature a total of 26 nations battling for the coveted Eurovision trophy.
10 countries from each semifinal will proceed to the Grand Final, thus 20 nations will join the host country Israel and the Big Five (Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France).
So far a total of 38 countries have confirmed their intention to compete at the forthcoming 2019 Eurovision Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. We are expecting more countries to confirm their participation in the following weeks.
The deadline for broadcasters to apply for participation concluded on 15 September and the grace period for applicant countries to withdraw their application without facing a financial penalty concluded on 10 October.
Will Australia join the party in Israel?
The Australians are quite eager to participate at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest but as the Australian national broadcaster SBS is not an active member of the EBU, but an associate one, it has to be invited by the EBU and the host broadcaster, in order to join the party in Israel.
We have no reason to believe that Australia will not partake in the competition next year as the country has graced the competition on four consecutive ocassions already, it is highly likely that the EBU and KAN will extend an invite to SBS.
Australia was invited to participate at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna as a one off occasion, but our neighbours down under embraced the contest with such enthusiasm they were invited back again in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The Aussies have won the hearts of Eurovision fans near and far, achieving 3 Top 10 placings in their short four year Eurovision history.
Will we see any debuts in 2019?
It is yet uncertain if we will see any new countries debuting in Israel. Both Kosovo and Kazakhstan are keen to enter the competition but do not comply with the EBU’s rules and regulations in order participate in the contest.
We will definitely not see Liechtenstein’s Eurovision debut in Israel next year.
The landlocked country has been quite eager to join the Eurovision family, but due to the high expenses entailing participation and EBU membership fees, the nation has been unable to fulfil its wish to enter the competition. Last year 1FL TV told ESCToday that Liechtenstein was in process to become an EBU member and was vying to debut at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.
The EBU has confirmed to ESCToday that 1FL TV has not applied for EBU membership. The broadcaster confirmed to ESCToday that its plans to join the EBU and eventually compete at the Eurovision Song Contest have been halted due to their director’s untimely death.
Liechtenstein‘s national broadcaster 1FL TV is not an EBU member therefore it is not eligible to take part in the contest.
Kosovo is not a member of the ITU (International Television Union), one of the key requirements to become an active EBU member. Thus RTK is not an EBU member and is currently ineligible to join the contest. The country is neither a member of the United Nations or the Council of Europe. The Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast live in the Balkan country in recent years.
RTK attended the 80th EBU General Assembly in Tirana and met up with EBU officials in order to discuss its potential EBU membership.
ESCToday contacted the EBU in order to shed more light on Kosovo’s status in relation to its potential EBU membership application and got the following statement:
In regards to Kosovo, RTK currently does not meet the criteria for full EBU membership but it was agreed at the EBU General Assembly in Tirana that constructive discussions will continue between the EBU and RTK about future possibilities for closer co-operation.
Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency is an associate EBU member since 2016 and thus NOT ELIGIBLE to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest, Kazakhstan has to be formally invited by the EBU to join the competition. It is entirely up to the EBU’s discretion to extend an invite to the country very much like in the case of Australia. The Kazakh broadcaster has been airing the contest for the past years.
Kazakhtan will be debuting at the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk and the country is quite keen to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest.
ESCToday reached out to the EBU in order to clarify if Khabar Agency is eligible to participate at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and got the following response:
Only full EBU Members are eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest although the ESC Reference Group (the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest) may accept, at its discretion, an Associate Member as a “guest” participant in exceptional circumstances as it has previously done with Australia. There are no plans to extend this arrangement to other Associate Members.
Will there be any returning countries?
It is highly unlikely that we will see any countries returning to the competition next year.
Who will not return?
Andorra, Turkey, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Monaco and Bosnia & Herzegovina have all confirmed that they will not return to the competition in 2019.
It is also almost certain that Morocco will not return to the contest next year either, as the country has only participated once and has not returned since its debut in 1980.
Who will withdraw?
Bulgaria initially applied to participate at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and confirmed its preliminary participation to ESCToday in September. Due to financial reasons the country withdrew its application in October and confirmed that it would not participate in Tel Aviv.
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- FYR Macedonia
- San Marino
Will not return
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to be held at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel on 14, 16 and 18 May.
The official list of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest participating countries is expected to be released by the EBU by the end of the year.