After years of a few false starts and vague press releases, the mythical American Song Contest is here! Michael Bolton, Macy Gray, Sisqo and Jewel are some of the big names representing their states. The show drops Monday March 21st on NBC. There will be a total of 56 artists hoping to win the honor of “Best Hit Song,” and it could be a solo artist, duo, group or band. It’s exciting, but will this possibly affect the Eurovision Song Contest?
Via an interactive map, we can learn more about the American Song Contest’s acts. As an American Eurovision fan you can imagine how curious I am about this export being served to the American public by some pretty powerful Swedes.
The American Song Contest is totally separate from the Eurovision Song Contest, so European gatekeepers of the Contest need not worry. BUT! Given the timing of the American version’s final, I think we can expect to see the winner featured much like the Junior Eurovision Song Contest winner at the Grand Final in Turin— mark my words.
As an American Eurovision fan, I really hope this show makes explaining Eurovision a little bit easier and makes some of my fellow Americans more curious about the Eurovision Song Contest.
What’s Exciting About The Show
- The Music: 56 acts means 56 fresh songs! There is no way a music lover will turn down the opportunity to dive into fresh tracks of varying genres.
- The Legends: Jewel. Macy Gray. Sisqo. and Michael Bolton— in that order.
- The Hosts: Snoop Dogg is EVERYTHING. Kelly Clarkson can SANG. This pairing is going to bring in viewers.
Ultimately the uncertainty and lack of public rules is legitimately working to the show’s advantage. How will folks vote? Is there an app? Can we call? How will the semi finals work? How will we divvy up the songs— at random or by region? All of this creates a bubble of curiosity that folks will have to tune in to find out.
Will People Watch The Show?
Live television ratings aren’t as HOT as they used to be. Viewers are increasingly turning to streaming for their entertainment and even staples like the Oscars have had a hard time garnering meaningful ratings. However, this year’s Super Bowl was an upside, averaging 112.3 million viewers across all platforms, it’s the most-watched Bowl in five years.
The American Song Contest’s ratings fate will be best stacked up against The Voice and/or American Idol. The Voice tends to edge out American Idol in the ratings battle. Why does this happen? Celebrity. The bulk of the American public has been there done that with the TV talent show format: the small town girl with the big voice, the shy midwestern guy with the thoughtful tone, the single mother with the soulful vocal… Been there done that. The Voice flipped that format and added something Americans loved: trash talking and competition. People watch the Voice for the judges! American Idol got hip and when they returned to TV screens they dug deep into that concept. But The Voice still reigns supreme.
With 4 established singers competing and 2 charismatic hosts, the American Song Contest might just have enough star power to pull in viewers. If they can garner more than 5 million viewers consistently the show is around to stay. If the premier is big and the finale ratings are cut in half, the show will be in trouble.
The Monday night competition is not easy. ABC and CBS have Mondays locked down The Good Doctor and NCIS have faithful viewers, but the American Song Contest isn’t going up against something music/variety show-esque. This lack of direct competition is going to work to the show’s advantage.
Will The Songs Become Hits?
The fate of this show may not hang on the success of the music but the quality of the entries in years to come does. I’m thinking that the show will start off relatively high in terms of music production quality, but I fear that if these songs don’t get decent traction on the charts, artists may hesitate in joining the competition in the future.
Look,I don’t expect these songs to bring instant TikTok appeal given the viewership is likely to skew older… Older folks don’t stream (as much) so maybe some album sales aren’t out of the question?
Will The American Song Contest Work?
This show will work if the hosts have chemistry, the live performances of the song are creative, AND people like the winner. From my perspective, if the shows gets those pieces right the show will be a success. The focus of the show should really root itself in the performances. Yes, we want to see Kelly and Snoop chat but we can’t get too deep in that. This is about the music.
Ultimately, I am hopeful that this could have some staying power. The delay in the premier allows the show to come at just the right time where the competition is weak and right when the public are hungry for a summer anthem.