Eurovision fans split over the American Song Contest
Confirmation that the already announced American Song Contest would debut in 2021 was revealed yesterday.
The announcement caused much discussion among fans online with views split over the contest.
Watching this discussion, we polled our followers on Twitter and Facebook to get their feedback and the results are in:
Support for the contest won in both polls but only by a small margin, 50.2% in our Twitter poll (which has a high amount of international fans) and 57% in our Facebook poll (which has predominantly Australian fans).
For those supporting, they were encouraged by another version of the contest in the United States and could see it working well with the 50 states. They tended to believe exposure to a new market was a good thing, as long as it didn't take away from the main contest itself. Others were happy the USA could have their own competition as long as they never entered Eurovision!
However it was the reasons people were against the announcement that we wanted to mainly get an understanding of.
Here were the key reasons that jumped out from what we saw:
This has probably caused the most conversation. 'American' or 'America' is a term that can be used in multiple ways. English dictionaries describes 'American' as a citizen of the United States or relating to North and/or South America.
The issue raised is that the USA is using and owning the term 'American', when for many, it should be used for both continents. The argument is an 'American Song Contest' should be competing nations from North, Central and South America.
It's a valid point of discussion and its understandable for those outside the United States to feel strongly about this.
USA cultural dominance
Closely related to the name issue is a general anti-American sentiment of their culture being too dominant. Eurovision was seen as its own entity away from that culture and many feel those from the United States will "ruin" it.
Others also see this as a potential open door for the USA to enter Eurovision itself in years to come. A prospect that most fans would be against at this point.
Expansion of the "brand"
Many also feel that Eurovision does not need to expand. Concerns were raised about trying to take the contest to other areas doing damage to the Eurovision brand over time. Particularly if it fails or becomes too commercial.
They also feel creating other versions could potentially impact the uniqueness of the contest.
Eurovision has already been burned by their attempt to engage China, and also set up the still postponed Eurovision Asia contest.
So those concerns are warranted.
At Aussievision, we don't have a unanimous take on this as well.
Many of us support the American Song Contest while others in our team have concerns.
I can only speak for myself that I think the American Song Contest, if executed well, could be a great additional event for Eurovision.
I think the naming of the show (which has been around since first announced in May 2019) is understandable.
However, the name exists for many shows that we all know (American Idol, America's Got Talent) and is also used in music ('American Woman', 'American Idiot', 'This is America').
Additionally the 'Copa America' is a South American football tournament that uses the term for that continent alone.
There is a general acceptance of the term, so it is understandable when organisers are trying to avoid the term 'Eurovision', that they have come up with a name that the public responds to: American.
Also, it is a predominantly European team who is taking Eurovision to the United States, rather than the US trying to force its way into "our contest".
Additionally, the United States has a dedicated and growing fan base already with many Eurovision fan sites, bloggers, YouTubers and podcasters coming from there.
Although previous expansion attempts haven't gone well, the potential to grow a burgeoning market could do wonders for Eurovision and create an even bigger platform for artists to reach.
Change is difficult but ultimately that is what has made Eurovision a success. It has evolved and changed many times throughout the years to become the contest we know and love today.
Although the issues of China and Eurovision Asia show it doesn't always work, the politics of one nation will be far easier to work with than a more fractured continent. This should make chances of success more likely, however with a saturated talent and music TV market, it may be hard to breakthrough with the public.
And ultimately that's who matters with this decision.
Although Eurovision fans may be split on the issue, it will be the US public who will decide the outcome and success of the American Song Contest.