Only three months have passed since the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, but many countries have already launched information about their appearance in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest which will take place on 18th and 20th of May 2006 in Athens, Greece.
National finals in 2006
In northern Europe, National finals are still popular. The largest of all – Melodifestivalen in Sweden – has already announced the dates of their selection. The final will be held on 18 March. It's rumoured that Magnus from Alcazar as well as Jessica and Magnus, who formed the duo Fame in 2003, this time as solo artists.
Denmark has also announced their dates for their final, which will be on 11th February. The songs are allowed to be performed in any language. Finland will have semifinals and a final, which will take place exactly a month after the Danish final – on 11 March.
It's the turn of the Dutch speaking Flemmish part of Belgium to organize the national final for the country in 2006. Before the final, there will be a series of semifinals. The show will be hosted by Bart Peeters in February. As for their neighbours, the Netherlands, then only a final will be organised, hosted by Paul de Leeuw.
As for Ireland then the casting show You're a star will no longer choose the singer to participate in the contest as in recent years. It is also known that the winner of the latest edition of the Albanian Pop Idol show, Erti Hizmo has won a ticket for the Albanian national final in 2006, like Anjeza Shahini did in 2004.
Internal selections getting more popular
Probably due to the good results last years by artists chosen internally there has been an increase in that area. So far 3 countries have announced that they will choose their representatives this way. Starting with Turkey having three candidates for Athens: Nil, Izel and Sefarad. Turkey used this selection method in 2003 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest and finished 5th the following year with a similar selection method.
The Greek broadcaster ERT wanted to ask Despina Vandi according to MAD. The result of the proposal is not known. The selection will be similar to last year when the singer was chosen by ERT and the audience had the choice between several songs. Switzerland will use the a similar format too because of their last year's success with the Estonian girl-band Vanilla Ninja.
Phil Bosco, Head of Delegation of Monaco, has told esctoday.com that they will be represented in Athens but no official information about their selection process has been released.
But not all countries that have taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest will do that next year. Austria withdrew from the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest after a bad result in 2004 and 2005. Still, presumably 40 countries, together with the possible newcomers Armenia and Georgia, will be allowed to take part in the 51st Eurovision Song Contest.