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The Forgotten Benefits Of Eurovision’s National Finals Written by on January 28, 2024

Artists are getting their ticket to Malmö but for others, there are smaller victories every Saturday night. Ewan Spence looks at all the benefits of Eurovision’s National Finals.

As our collective Saturday nights are dominated by National Selection from across the continent, I wanted to take a moment to think about what else the National Selections offer on top of the Eurovision Song Contest ticket.

As public service broadcasters, each National Selection has to deliver more than the Eurovision entrant. It is a chance for each broadcaster to showcase the diversity of talent in a country and give them a platform. Prime-time television slots can have a powerful impact on a career… young artists get their first chance to reach a wider audience, established acts can promote their latest release, and heritage acts can reach a brand new audience.

The exposures may come at different points in their careers, but these moments are key to building a successful career.

For all the artists, a National Selection can be a unique opportunity to experience the power of an online community. There are press conferences, interviews, online promotions, and in-person appearances, all designed to get as many votes as possible in the National Selection.

And for the winner, this is an excellent preview of what to expect in the run-up to taking to the Eurovision stage.

I’d argue it’s one of the reasons Italy has been so strong since Vienna 2015; Sanremo is a gruelling endurance march of a week, with live performances for six nights in a row, including the press preview day on Monday, with constant promotional work and press interviews between rehearsals and broadcasts. The Eurovision schedule is a relaxing stretch compared to the Festival Della Canzone Italiana. If you can make it through Sanremo, you can make it through the Song Contest—and the same goes for everyone watching at home.

In an increasingly fractured world of music, a National Selection is a rare moment when an entire country (or at least the entire watching audience) will focus on a single song. While subscription services are dominated by legacy greatest hits albums and a handful of established artists from various eras, it also makes it incredibly easy for these individual televised moments to translate to a follower on Spotify, a stream on YouTube, and an opportunity to climb charts not just in their home country, but across the world.

It’s a powerful way to connect with new fans and build a personal community, no matter the National Selection result. Alexandra’s success with ‘Queen of Kings’ shows the power of the online community. The song was an immediate viral success hit following its debut at Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix; long before it reached the National Final her career was forever changed for the better.

National Selections are an essential part of the Eurovision spectacle for the community. They can also be a milestone for any performer, whether they make it to The Show or not. It’s a platform to shine, to reach a wider audience, and to work with multiple disciplines that will be needed throughout their careers.

They are roller coasters of emotions; they serve up a smorgasbord of musical styles and variety, and their power goes far beyond the Song Contest. Enjoy the music, just remember there’s more to the Nationals than just the three minutes on stage.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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