With less than 100 days remaining until the Grand Final of Eurovision 2024, 13 countries have selected the artists who will compete in this year’s contest (although seven of them have yet to release their songs). This number is going to rapidly increase over the next few weeks, because February and March are Super Saturday season.
In the Eurovision fandom, a “Super Saturday” is when three or more countries have their National Final (a music competition that decides who will represent the country at Eurovision) on the same Saturday night. The first Super Saturday of the 2024 season is coming up this Saturday, February 3rd, and it’s a big one: four countries—Norway, Spain, Malta, and Ukraine—will be choosing the artist and song they’ll be sending to Malmö in May. Here’s what to expect!
Vidbir is a rather new National Selection, having first started in 2016. After that year’s winner, Jamala, went on to win 1st place at the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukraine has used this competition to choose their Eurovision entry ever since.
There was a bit of controversy over Vidbir during the 2022 season. The contest’s winner, Alina Pash, ultimately did not end up representing her country at Eurovision due to secretly violating a rule that forbids Vidbir participants from traveling to Russia or Crimea. Ukraine instead sent the Vidbir runner-up, Kalush Orchestra, who then took home the gold just as Jamala had done five years prior; however, many skeptical and unsupportive fans did not view their win as legitimate because they believed the majority of votes were due to solidarity with the war in Ukraine rather than reflecting the quality of the song itself. Regardless, tensions mostly died down for the 2023 contest, and winners Tvorchi came in 6th place at the Eurovision 2023 Grand Final (although some critics felt that this song would not have even made the top 10 if not for the war).
There are a few familiar faces among this year’s contestants. Mélovin previously represented Ukraine with his song “Under The Ladder” in 2018. He placed 17th, which is unfortunately Ukraine’s third worst result in their history of participation in the contest, and according to the bookmakers at Eurovisionworld there’s only a 10% chance he’ll return to try for a better result. In addition, Jerry Heil was the favorite to win Vidbir 2023 with her song “When God Shut The Door,” but she ended up coming in 3rd place. She’s back again this year, and this time she isn’t alone: her song “Teresa & Maria” is a duet with rapper alyona alyona. The bookmakers have predicted that this duo will take home the trophy that Heil missed out on last year, with an impressive 64% chance of winning. I won’t be upset if/when they win, but I personally prefer Yagody’s “Tsunamia” and Anka’s “Palala.”
Norway: Melodi Grand Prix
Norway has used the Melodi Grand Prix to decide their Eurovision representative ever since their very first participation in the contest way back in 1960. Last year’s winner, Alessandra, came in 5th place at the Eurovision 2023 Grand Final. Nine artists will be competing to be her successor on Saturday, and this year’s finalists include several Eurovision alumni. KEiiNO represented Norway in 2019 with their song “Spirit In The Sky,” which came in 6th place in the Grand Final. They competed in Melodi Grand Prix again in 2021 with their song “MONUMENT,” but ended up coming in second to TIX and his song “Fallen Angel” (which, by the way, is my most streamed song on Spotify and probably my favorite Eurovision entry of all time, so while I love KEiiNO this loss ended up working in my favor). Margaret Berger competed for Norway even earlier, coming in 4th place in the Grand Final with her song “I Feed You My Love” in 2013: the first year I ever watched the contest. Lastly, the voice behind Super Rob the pink robot, Gaute Ormåsen, is half of the bizarre duo Subwoolfer, who came in 10th place in the 2022 contest’s Grand Final with “Give That Wolf A Banana.” With all three of these returnees having landed in the top 10 when they went to Eurovision, the competition is certainly fierce this year!
Fans and bookmakers both suspect that it will come down to a battle between folk-rock band Gåte and fan favorite KEiiNO. At the moment, Gåte leads the betting odds with a 50% chance of winning, with KEiiNO at 31%. The remaining seven artists have a 5% or less chance. Out of the nine finalists, three songs keep alternating as my favorite: KEiiNO’s “Damdiggida,” Super Rob & Erika Norwich’s “My AI,” and Miia’s “Green Lights.”
The Norsk Melodi Grand Prix Final will be streaming on NRK from 19:50 to 21:50 CET.
Malta: Malta Eurovision Song Contest
Malta has used a few different methods of selecting their Eurovision artist over the years, including the Malta Song Festival and X Factor Malta, but most recently they have been using the Malta Eurovision Song Contest since 2022. Last year’s MESC winner, The Busker, failed to qualify for the Grand Final; in fact, they came in dead last in their semi-final. I was particularly disheartened by this result because their song “Dance (Our Own Party)” was one of my overall favorites from the 2024 season (and ended up being #19 out of 100 in my 2023 Spotify Wrapped).
The two artists that came 2nd and 3rd after The Busker at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2023—Ryan Hili and Matt Blxck—are returning for the 2024 edition, along with last year’s 11th place, Nathan. But these three are not the only returnees. Although Greta Tude was eliminated in the semi-final of MESC 2023, she has qualified for this year’s final; Sarah Bonnici placed 12th in 2022’s final; and this is Miriana Conte’s fourth time making it to the MESC final after coming in 16th in 2017, 12th in 2018, and 6th in 2022.
Matt Blxck is leading the odds by a large margin with a 55% chance of winning. Like Miriana Conte, this will be his fourth time competing in MESC: he competed under the name Matthew Anthony in 2018 and came in 7th place, then placed 7th again in 2022 and, as stated above, 3rd place in 2023. It looks like 2024 might finally be his year; however, anything can still happen. It’s possible that the runner-up in the odds, Ryan Hili, might take the win even if he only has a 15% chance, especially after Bambie Thug won Ireland’s preselection with only a 16% chance of victory. Some fans in the comments on the upcoming YouTube livestream are even speculating that the win will go to ERBA’ and their song “Serena” despite bookmakers only giving them an 8% chance. My personal favorite is Miriana Conte’s “Venom,” although I’m also rather partial to Ryan Hili’s “Karma.” Regardless of whether the winner is one of my two favorites or the bookmakers’ predicted winner, it will be nice to see an artist who has competed to represent their country so many times finally achieve victory.
Spain: Benidorm Fest
Like Norway, Spain has an extensive history at Eurovision, participating in the contest since 1961; unlike Norway, however, they have been much less consistent in their method for selecting their Eurovision artist. Their selection processes have ranged from internal selections to MySpace submissions in addition to several different National Finals of various names. The current selection, Benidorm Fest, has been used since 2022. Last year’s winner, flamenco singer Blanca Paloma, came in 17th place in the Eurovision Grand Final despite expectations that she would place in the top 10. All of this year’s finalists will be competing at Benidorm for the first time.
Ever since the contest’s full lineup was revealed two months ago, the bookmakers have changed their predicted winner several times, and each artist’s odds have varied greatly. At the time of drafting this article, Nebulossa and her song “Zorra” were at the top with a 20% winning chance, even though she wasn’t even in the top three highest odds just the day before; now, not even 24 hours later, her odds have fallen to 16% and St. Pedro’s “Dos extraños (cuarteto de cuerda)” far surpasses all the other songs at 49%. My personal favorite, Jorge González’s “Caliente,” clings to the third highest odds at a mere 9%. With how drastically all of these numbers have changed over the past few weeks, however, it’s really anyone’s guess who is going to take the crown on Saturday night.
The Benidorm Fest Final will be streaming on RTVE Play from 22:00 to 23:50 CET (but it requires an RTVE subscription).