The ABU has confirmed that unlike its Song Festivals, the ABU Song Contest will not be open to non-ABU member broadcasters.
Since 2015 a number of non-Asian nations have taken part in the ABU Radio Song Festival and ABU TV Song Festival. The ABU Song Contest, will not allow non-ABU members to take part in the competition. The ABU has confirmed to Eurovoix World that only full ABU member broadcasters will be allowed to take part in the contest.
The following countries have participated in the ABU Radio and Song Festival’s despite not having membership of the ABU:
- Benin – Television (2018) – African Broadcasting Union
- Palestine – Radio (2015) – Arab States Broadcasting Union
- Romania – Radio (2016) – Radio Romania
- Tunisia – Television (2016) – Arab States Broadcasting Union
- Zambia – Television (2017) – African Broadcasting Union
Broadcasters wishing to take part in the contest have until March 20 to submit their intention to participate to the ABU. After which point the ABU will announce the nations taking part in the contest.
The ABU Song Contest will be held for the first time later this year in Qingdao, China. The semi-final will be held on Thursday the 17 of October, with the final taking place on Saturday 19 of October. One broadcaster will be allowed to take part per country, if two broadcasters apply to take part from the same country, the ABU will use its discretion to select the eligible broadcaster.
Each broadcaster will be encouraged to hold a selection process to determine their participant for the contest. To compete in the contest singers must be;
- Age 16 and above
- May be a solo artist or a group
- Singers may be professional or amateur
- Singers must perform live at the contest
Each performer will be able to compete with just one song, the rules for competing songs are as follows;
- There are no rules on the genre or language that songs should be performed in
- Both original and popular songs are allowed to compete
- Songs that describe sensitive issues will not be allowed
- Songs cannot exceed three minutes in length
All of the nations taking part in the contest will have to compete in the Semi-Final. The qualifiers and the winner in the Grand Final will be selected in the same way.
There is no televote from the public in each of the competing nations. Instead broadcasters will have to organise their own ‘Audience jury’. This jury is formed of 100 people and will decide half of the vote at the contest.
The remainder of the vote will be determined by an International Professional Jury.