Participants list welcomed across Europe
Last night, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) officially announced the 43 countries that will be represented at the 54th Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, Russia. Most broadcasters already confirmed their participation in the media, but it was Latvia's participation that surprised many, after broadcaster LTV earlier announced publically to pull out from taking part in 2009.
Slovakia returned to the Eurovision Song Contest after a 10-year absence. The country was represented in 1994, 1996 and 1998, but without success. In 1996, Marcel Palonder finished 18th in Oslo, reaching Slovakia's highest position to date. A national final will take place on the 8th of March to pick Slovakia's new hope. Citizens can send in songs to STV until the 20th of January. Roman Liptak, the STV Program Director, is hopeful: “We believe that authorial and interpretation potential in Slovakia is rich and wide enough to choose worthy and successful delegate.”
Several public broadcasters initially planned and even announced not to take part in the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, but the EBU made a great effort to keep them in the competition. With success, because both Latvia as well as Georgia returned their signed participation forms. Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the contest at the EBU, referred to the 43 contestants as a "tight family".
EBU to "increase efforts"
A Eurovision.tv visitor said: "It is great that Slovakia is back in the contest. But did the EBU also make an effort to get back countries like Italy, Austria, Monaco and Luxembourg?" We forwarded the question to Bjørn Erichsen, Director of Eurovision.tv. His answer: "Every year, we make an effort to bring back those Member Broadcasters who are not taking part. We will even increase our efforts to get back Italy, Austria and Monaco for 2010! Luxembourg is a slightly different story, as their TV-station is not an EBU Member anymore."
The 2009 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 12, 14 and 16 May in the Russian capital Moscow, and will be hosted by Channel One Russia.