Eurovision 2011 – This year there were more rumors and speculations about possible returns, debuts and withdrawals than in any other year. There were also more (predominantly positive) surprises concerning the list of participating nations. In total 42 countries (nothing official yet) will compete for the ‘Grand Prix’ in Düsseldorf next May. An official list of the participating countries is expected to be released after January 7, when the EBU will resume its work after the Christmas break. Here is what we know so far:.
Austria: They wanted the contest to change and as the German victory has proven it has. It is thus only logical that the Central European country returns. The selection process has already kicked off, the national final will be held February 25.
Italy: It was the best news this autumn and a big surprise: Italy will return! All summer the rumor that the winner of Italian X-Factor would represent the country in Düsseldorf was in the air, but not many actually believed it. RAI, the Italian broadcaster has not officially confirmed their participation, but the EBU has. It remains unclear who will fly the Italian flag in Germany.
Hungary: MTV, the national broadcaster of Hungary has confirmed its participation just a few days ago. Hence Hungary will return after not participating in 2010 due to financial troubles of the broadcaster.
San Marino: This was very unexpected! San Marino had only participated one single time before (2008) and there were only talks about a possible return in 2012 but not earlier. Maybe the RAI (who owns half of the SanMarinese broadcaster) wants to secure themselves a 12 points? Anyway… As someone said on this blog: “Every contest needs at least one microstate”
Slovakia: There is an official statement confirming Slovakia’s withdrawal due to financial troubles. BUT: There are also many rumors stating that Slovakia was on the provisional participant list until the very last day. It seems very unlikely, but there is still a glimmer of hope that we will hear a Slovak song in Düsseldorf.
Montenegro: First they were confirmed non-returnees, then they put their name on the provisional participant list and then they confirmed their non-participation again. The Montenegrin broadcaster had hoped for sponsors or prosperous artists to fund the participation. Unfortunately nobody volunteered and thus Montenegro will once again be missed.
Czech Republic: Due to a lack of interest in the Central European country, the Czech national broadcaster decided not to return. They had only participated 3 times and never managed to qualify (actually coming last on 2 occasions and second to last in the semi-final)
Andorra: Once more Andorra cannot send an entry to the Eurovision Song Contest due to its broadcasters financial difficulties.
Liechtenstein: 1FLTV the first television station in Liechtenstein had applied for EBU membership in order to be able to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately their application was not approved which precludes a debut of the microstate.
Kosovo: The young Balkan nation fulfills all the criteria for a participation – except one. They have a national broadcaster but as long as they are not recognised by the UN as an independent nation, they are precluded from entering the EBU and thus from competing in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Monaco: They have not announced anything yet, but a return of the microstate is more than unlikely. The subsidies of the government for the Eurovision participation have been discontinued and it is almost impossible for the broadcaster to handle the costs alone.
Luxembourg: Radio Tele Luxembourg has not sent an entry to the competition since 1993. A return is extremely unlikely.