Editorial: Could Australia be Sand’s number 41?

Speculations are running wild ever since Jon Ola Sand stated that there are 41 countries on the preliminary list for Stockholm. In today’s editorial, Dennis van Eersel explains why ESC Daily initially came to only 40 countries and speculates on who might be the magic number 41.

There are 38 countries who officially confirmed their preliminary participation. Bosnia-Herzegovina was also on that list, but later they revealed that they already withdrew again. It is likely however, that Russia and Serbia will stay in the contest. Their broadcasters have not given any information yet.

Counting up those numbers, ESC Daily previously published THIS editorial in which the estimated number of participants was 40. However, earlier this week Jon Ola Sand stated that the preliminary list contains 41 countries. This has raised the question among fans and journalists who might be this magic number 41. Could it be that, despite earlier statements, our very own Australia is up for a comeback?

Broadcaster SBS would definitely be up for the challenge. Paul Clarke has made it very clear that his country would do anything to join the party again as soon as possible. And the fact that Australia was allowed in Junior Eurovision, might be a positive sign. For the EBU, however, bringing Australia back would be a tough sell towards the critical Eurovision crowd.

Therefore we have to look into other candidates. We mentioned Bosnia-Herzegovina’s withdrawal, and the same goes for Turkey. Luxemburg, Andorra and Monaco seem to be out of question. So who else is likely to come back as number 41?

It could still be Slovakia, since broadcaster RTVS have not officially made public if they will be in Stockholm or not. ESC Daily strictly relies on official sources in delicate manners such as this one, and therefore one single article by a fan website is not enough for us to completely rule Slovakia out. In the past, such websites have often preaturely claimed the exclusive absence of Czech Republic (2015) and the participation of Croatia (2014).

Which brings us to Croatia indeed. Will we see them return in Stockholm? Broadcaster HRT did not broadcast the contest in 2015, but this is no longer a prerequisite to participate in a future edition. This makes them a viable candidate as well. Enthusiasm is declining in Croatia ever since Feminnem did not qualify for the final in 2010, but one good result in Stockholm could possibly change all of that.

So what does the number 41 really mean?

  • Bulgaria and San Marino are still on board, despite having doubts about the financial side of their participation
  • Serbia and Russia may not have released any official statements – but they will probably join the competition
  • One of Australia, Croatia and Slovakia is – most likely – the magic number 41

The EBU promised to release the official list soon.