The musical juggernaut Eurovision Song Contest has partnered with producer and television executive Ben Silverman’s Propagate Content and will debut the first-ever The American Song Contest, during the holiday season 2021. The American Song Contest will welcome musical artists and bands from each of the 50 states and across every musical genre, to perform all original songs on the live televised event.
The announcement was made today by The American Song Contest rights owners and producers Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Ola Melzig and Peter Settman, and Mr. Silverman.
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest televised events in the world, with more than 200 million people tuning in annually, a larger audience than the Super Bowl in the United States. During the Grand Finale, audience shares in 40 markets routinely double primetime viewership on participating networks, and among 15 – 34 year old audiences, the viewership is quadrupled.
With contestants representing their home country and creating record-breaking national interest, the Eurovision Song Contest is a cultural event on a scale in Europe rivaled only by the World Cup and the Olympics, and has launched the careers of a wide variety of artists, including previous winners Celine Dion and Abba, as well as Julio Iglesias and numerous others.
The U.S. music industry has long recognized the power of the event with Justin Timberlake and Madonna breaking new music on the show in recent years. The day after Justin Timberlake debuted “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” on the Eurovision Song Contest, the single hit #1 on the music charts.
The American Song Contest producer Mr. Lenhoff, on behalf of his producing partners Messrs. Björkman, Melzig and Settman, said: “Imagine if music was an Olympic sport and artists from all over the world came together to compete for the gold. That’s the Eurovision Song Contest. The American version will be different than anything seen before on U.S. television, marrying the fanfare and excitement of March Madness and the NFL playoffs with the artistry and beauty of world-class performances. The American Song Contest is a competition that happens to be televised, rather than a contest created to make a television show. And it’s open to all singers with a song, whether they are amateur artists or already signed to a major record label. No one is excluded from the competition.”
Said Mr. Silverman: “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!!!”
As a lead up to the live televised competition, Propagate Content and The American Song Contest producing team will create The American Song Contest Academy, a group consisting of music professionals based in the U.S. that represent all genres and backgrounds. These members will create juries of artists and music industry notables who, along with the regional audiences, will select top talent from all 50 states to compete. These representatives of each state can be either solo artists, duos or bands with up to 6 members.
The format, as it is currently conceived, will position the artists head to head against other states’ representatives in a series of 5-10 televised Qualifier Competitions, leading to Semi-Finals and the ultimate primetime Grand Finale March Madness style.
Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor, Eurovision Song Contest, said: “The Eurovision Song Contest’s unique legacy dates back sixty five years and its worldwide popularity is still rising. It’s time for America to experience this spectacle, through its sister competition, the American Song Contest. Love of music is universal and celebration of music in different genres and styles can transcend boundaries and unite people.
“We are excited to have found the right partners to offer another series that our fans across the globe can fall in love with and to share this unique competition with the American people.”
The force behind The American Song Contest and EBU’s brand entrée into America includes some of the top global minds in entertainment, music and television. Anders Lenhoff, one of Europe’s top creative producers, is joined by Peter Settman, a leading television entrepreneur and producer, Ola Melzig, a renowned television and mega-event producer, and Christer Björkman, who famously performed on the Eurovision Song Contest and later became one of its longest-running producers. The team holds the long-term license to run the competition in the United States.
Crucial to the team in the U.S. is Ben Silverman, the prolific producer and television executive who propelled the American version of The Office to global status as well as creating The Biggest Loser, finding and packaging Who Wants to be A Millionaire, Ugly Betty, Jane the Virgin and many more global hits. His company with partner Howard Owens, Propagate Content, has gained a reputation as a transformative content creator and developer for television, film and podcasts.