ABBA hadn’t been together for that long when the four musicians stepped onto the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest. But as Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad stood shoulder to shoulder —Faltskog in a glittery blue outfit with knee-high silver boots, and Lyngstad in a glitzy rodeo get-up — the band took the world by storm with “Waterloo.”
With that breakthrough performance in 1974, ABBA was declared the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s considered one of the best — if not the best — moments in Eurovision history. Following that April 1974 performance, “Waterloo” hit No. 1 in several countries and became a top 10 hit in the United States, the Deseret News reported.
ABBA was now a worldwide sensation.
Since 1956, countries have competed for the best original song through the Eurovision platform. Aside from ABBA, the contest has launched the career of several performing artists, including Celine Dion, and was the inspiration for the quirky 2020 Netflix film starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.
Now, Eurovision has come to America, and many singer-songwriters are looking for their big breaks.
What is the show ‘American Song Contest’?
- The new show “American Song Contest” premiered March 21 on NBC, and features 56 artists competing for the best original song. All 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C., are represented in the competition, the Deseret News reported.
- The competition — hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg — features a wide range of artists, including relatively unknown singer-songwriters and established performers like Jewel, Macy Gray, Michael Bolton and Allen Stone.
- The show, which is airing during the slot “The Voice” typically fills, comes from the producers of “The Voice.”
- “NBC decided to bring this exciting format to this country and asked if I’d like to take it on, and of course, I did not hesitate,” Audrey Morrissey, an executive producer of “The Voice” and “American Song Contest,” told the Daily Herald. “I really think of it as the Olympics of song.”
How does ‘American Song Contest’ work?
- “American Song Contest” has three rounds that will take place over eight weeks. The Qualifying Rounds — which air Mondays through April 18 — introduces the show’s 56 contestants and their original songs. From there, 22 artists move on to a two-part semifinals and a top 10 will perform in a finale, Variety reported.
- A combination of public and jury votes determines who moves on in the competition, according to Variety. The jury features 56 people — one representing each U.S. state and territory — who are involved in the music industry, including songwriters, radio programmers and members of the Recording Academy.
- At the end of each Qualifying round, the jury immediately advances one artist to the semifinals, considering factors like “artistic expression, hit potential, originality and visual impression,” Variety reported.
- Viewers then get the chance to weigh in by voting for their favorite songs the following three ways: online at nbc.com/ascvote, through the NBC App and via TikTok, according to Variety.
- During each week of the Qualifying round, the voting window is open from Monday night to Wednesday morning, Variety reported. The winners are then revealed in the next episode. A similar pattern is followed for the semifinal round.
- “We all know the modern hits, but so few of us ever get to witness them actually becoming legendary songs,” Isaac Slade, the former member of The Fray who is representing Colorado on the jury, told Variety. “‘American Song Contest’ will give people a front row seat to that moment when those timeless songs first catch fire, right in front of their eyes.“
Who is representing Utah on ‘American Song Contest’?
Country/pop singer Savannah Keyes will represent Utah on “American Song Contest.” The 25-year-old singer — who got a record deal at 13 after performing on “The Ellen Show” — is from Sandy but resides in Nashville.
Keyes will perform on April 11. Other artists competing that night include:
- Allen Stone (Washington)
- Alexis Cunningham (West Virginia)
- Bri Steves (Pennsylvania)
- Bronson Varde (Hawaii)
- Jared Lee (Massachusetts)
- Las Marias (Arizona)
- MARi (New Hampshire)
- NËITHER (Washington, D.C.)
- Stela Cole (Georgia)
- The Crystal Method (Nevada)
Keyes previously chatted with the Deseret News about making her way in the music industry.
“I’m really not afraid to be myself — whether that’s a good or a bad thing, I’m not sure,” the country singer said in a 2018 interview. “I’m not afraid to be quirky. I think in (this) profession ... there’s a standard of what you’re supposed to go by, (and things) you’re supposed to do, and I’ve never been nervous to stray from that.”
Meanwhile, Jeff McCartney, who is the program director for iHeartMedia in Salt Lake City, will represent Utah on the jury, Variety reported.
How do you watch ‘American Song Contest’?
- “American Song Contest”airs onn NBC Mondays at 7 p.m. MT.
- The show airs through May 9, the day before the Eurovision Song Contest begins.
- You can catch episodes the following day on NBC.com, Peacock and Hulu, according to TVguide.com.