42 countries will take part in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Adrian Kavanagh, November 24th 2015 

On November 24th 2015 it was confirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be returning to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 for the first time in four years. Two days later, it was also confirmed that Croatia would also be returning to the contest after having missed the 2014 and 2015 contests. It has also been confirmed that Australia will again be invited to take part in Eurovision next year, although no decision has yet been made on whether Australia’s membership of the contest will be established on a permanent footing. This time, however, Australia will not be getting a bye to the Final and will have to take part in one of the two Eurovision semi-finals. Portugal are withdrawing from the 2016 contest, but Ukraine are returning to the contest after having missed the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, while – have successfully hosted the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest last week – Bulgaria will also be returning to the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time since 2013. However, on 22nd April 2016 it was announced that Romania had been disqualified from this year’s contest.

This means that 38 countries will participate in the two Eurovision Song Contest semi finals on 10th May 2016 and 12 May 2016 respectively, with 18 countries to take part in both of these semi-finals. Ten countries will qualify from each of these two semi-finals and join the hosts (Sweden) and the “Big 5” countries (Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany) in the Final on Saturday 14th May 2016.

The fact that next year’s semi-finalists will include Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina will make qualifying for the 2016 Final an even more difficult prospect, given that both of these countries have a 100% record in terms of semi-final qualification. It could be argued that the addition of Australia as a semi-finalists makes semi-final qualification even harder, following on that country’s 5th place finish at the 2015 Final.

With San Marino and Montenegro having finally qualified for the Final for the first time in 2014, the Czech Republic and Australia will be the only participants in 2015 that have not yet succeeded in qualifying out of a Eurovision semi-final (excluding, of course, the “Big 5” countries who automatically qualify for the Final).

The 42 countries that will take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 – and their acts/songs (as and when these are revealed) – are listed in the table below, which will be updated over the coming months. By the end of November 2015, six countries had decided who their Eurovision 2016 acts will be (all by internal selection) – The Netherlands, Armenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – although no song title details for these acts had been revealed as of early February 2016. On February 16th 2016 it was announced that the Macedonian entry – Dona by Kaliopi – would be performed for the first time on 7th March. The Bosnian entry, Ljubav je, was performed for the first time on Friday 19th February. As reported on the WiwiBloggs site, the Armenian entry, LoveWave, was performed for the first time on 2nd March. The WiwiBloggs site, also noted that the Montenegrin entry – The Real Thing – which will be performed by Highway, would be revealed on 4th March. On 4th March, it was announced that Douwe Bob would perform Slow Down for the Netherlands at Eurovision.

Germany in November 2015 had announced that Xavier Naidoo had been selected internally to represent the country in Eurovision 2016, but following a controversy over this his selection was withdrawn a few days later. On 10th December 2015, Russia announced that one of the biggest pop stars, Sergey Lazarev, would be representing them in Stockholm, as reported on the Eurovision Ireland website. His entry – You Are The Only One – was presented for the first time on 5th March 2016.  On 15th December 2015, Georgia announced that their Eurovision 2016 act would be Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz , as reported on the WiwiBloggs website. On 15th February 2016, after a public vote on which out of five songs they would perform, it was announced that they would perform Midnight Gold in Stockholm. The Cypriot entry, Alter Ego by Minus One, was presented on 22nd February.

Albania, as often is the case, were the first country to select their act and song, with Eneda Tarfia’s Përrallë being selected after winning the Festivali i Këngës on 28th December 2015. This song will now be performed in English and re-edited ahead of Eurovision, with the new version to be released on 14th March, as noted by the WiwiBloggs website.

On 12th January 2016 it was announced that Turkish singer, Serhat, would represent San Marino at Stockholm, as reported on the ESC Bubble website. On 9th March it was revealed that he would perform I Didn’t Know at Eurovision. On 21st March San Marino announced they were changing the song into a disco song!

On 13th January 2016, Ireland became the second country to announce both their act and song for Eurovision 2016, when it was revealed by RTE that Nicky Byrne would represent Ireland with “Sunlight”.

Laura Tesoro - Belgium ( één, 2016

Laura Tesoro – Belgium ( één, 2016

On 17th January 2016, Laura Tesoro won the Belgian Eurovision selection with her song “What’s The Pressure?”.

On 23rd January 2016, the national selection in Belarus took place and this was won by Ivan with Help You Fly.

Over the evenings of 23rd and 24th January the Maltese national selection semi-final and final took place and 2002 Eurovision runner-up, Ira Losco, won this with Chameleon, edging out Brooke Borg’s Golden in a closely fought contest in Valetta. In March it was announced that she would be performing Walk On Water in Stockholm instead. 

Barei won the Spanish Objetivo Eurovision selection on 1st February 2016 with Say Yay!  Xuso Jones with Victorious finished in second place.

On 9th February it was confirmed that Argo would be representing Greece (but with no song title details at that point), as reported on the ESCToday website. The WiwiBloggs site reported on 2nd March that the song would be Utopian Land and would be presented for the first time on March 10th.

Zoë Straub – Austria (Eurovision, 2016)

On 12th February Zoë won the Austrian national selection contest with Loin d’ici.

Lighthouse X won the Danish national selection, the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, with Soldiers of Love on 13th February. On the same night, Rykka won the Swiss national selection, Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow, with The Last Of Our Kind.

On 13th February Stadio won the 2016 San Remo Song Contest with Via da Qui, but afterwards announced they would not avail of the opportunity to represent Italy at Eurovision. It was decided instead that the second placed act at San Remo, Francesca Michielin, would represent Italy instead. The song she will perform at Stockholm has not been decided yet, but it may well be the song she performed at San Remo; Nessun Grado di Separazione. On March 4th it was confirmed that she would indeed perform Nessun Grado si Separazione at Eurivision, but no final decision was made on whether this would be performed in English or Italian, or a mixture of the two (as reported on the WiwiBloggs site)

On 19th February it was announced that Poli Genova (who also performed at Eurovision 2011) will be again representing Bulgaria at Eurovision. In March it was announced that her song would be If Love Was A Crime. This song was released on 21st March 2016.

On 20th February Greta Salóme won the Icelandic national selection, with Hear Them Calling.

Jamala’s 1944 won a very competitive national selection in Ukraine on 21st February, narrowly edging out The Hardkiss (with Helpless) to win.

On 24th February it was announced that Nina Kraljić would be representing Croatia at Eurovision and her entry is to be revealed on 9th March, as noted on the ESC Today website. On 9th March it was announced that she would be performing Lighthouse at Stockholm, as reported on the official Eurovision website.

On 25th February, Jamie-Lee Kriewitz won the German Eurovision selection contest, Unser Lied für Stockholm, with Ghost.

On 26th February, Joe and Jake won the UK Eurovision – You Decide selection with You’re Not Alone 

Agnete - Norway (@ NRK)

Agnete – Norway (@ NRK)

On 26th February, Agnete won the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix 2016 with Icebreaker

On 27th February Freddie won the Hungarian A Dal Eurovision selection contest with Pioneer. ManuElla won the Slovenian Evrovizijska Melodija (EMA) 2016 national selection with Blue and Red. Lidia Isac won the Moldovan O melodie pentru Europa national selection show with Falling Stars. It was also decided that Sandha would represent Finland with Sing It Away.

On 28th February Justs won the Latvian Supernova 2016 national selection contest with Heartbeat.

As noted on the WiwiBloggs site, it was announced on February 29th that Amir Haddad will represent France at Euriovision with J’ai cherché.

As reported on the WiwiBloggs site on 3rd March 2016, Dani Im will represent Australia at Eurovision. Details on her song will be released over the following week. On March 10th her song, Sound Of Silence, was presented for the first time.

On 3rd March, Hovi Star won the Israeli Rising Star Eurovision selection contest, with Made of Stars.

On 5th March Michal Szpak won the Polish national selection with Colour of Your Life. On that same night, Jüri Pootsmann won the Estonian national selection, Eesti Laul 2016, with Play. Serbia also confirmed, on that same day, that their Eurovision 2016 act would be Sandra Vucic, as reported on the WiwiBloggs site, but no song details were revealed at that point in time. The EscBubble website reported some days later that this song would be Goodbye and it would be presented for the first time on 12th March. As noted on the official Eurovision website, she will be performing under the stage name ZAA.

On 6th March Ovidiu Anton won the Romanian selection contest, Selectia Nationala, with Moment of Silence.

On 10th March, it was announced that Gabriela Gubnčíková would be representing the Czech Republic at Eurovision with I Stand, as reported on the EuroVisionary website. It was also announced that Samra Rahimli would represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision with Miracle, as reported on the WiwiBloggs website.

The final national selections took place on March 12th. Frans won the Swedish Meolodifestivalen national selection with If I Were Sorry. On the same night, Donny Montell won the Lithuanian Eurovizijos Atranka national selection with I’ve Been Waiting For This Night. 

Country Artist Song Final/Semi Final
FRANCE Amir J’ai cherché Big 5; qualify for Final
GERMANY Jamie-Lee Kriewitz Ghost Big 5; qualify for Final
ITALY Francesca Michielin Nessun Grado si Separazione  Big 5; qualify for Final
SPAIN Barei Say Yay! Big 5; qualify for Final
SWEDEN Frans If I Were Sorry Hosts; qualify for Final
UNITED KINGDOM Joe and Jake You’re Not Alone Big 5; qualify for Final
ARMENIA Iveta Mukuchyan LoveWave Semi Final 1
AUSTRIA Zoë Loin d’ici Semi Final 1
AZERBAIJAN Samra Rahimli Miracle  Semi Final 1
BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA Deen and Dalal Midhat-Talakic Ljubav je… Semi Final 1
CROATIA Nina Kraljić Lighthouse Semi Final 1
CYPRUS Minus One Alter Ego Semi Final 1
CZECH REPUBLIC Gabriela Gubnčíková I Stand  Semi Final 1
ESTONIA Jüri Pootsmann Play  Semi Final 1
FINLAND Sandha Sing It Away  Semi Final 1
GREECE Argo Utopian Land Semi Final 1
HUNGARY Freddie Pioneer Semi Final 1
ICELAND Greta Salóme Hear Them Calling Semi Final 1
MALTA Ira Losco Walk On Water Semi Final 1
MOLDOVA Lidia Isac Falling Stars Semi Final 1
MONTENEGRO Highway The Real Thing Semi Final 1
NETHERLANDS Douwe Bob Slow Down Semi Final 1
RUSSIA Sergey Lazarev You Are The Only One Semi Final 1
SAN MARINO Serhat I Didn’t Know Semi Final 1
ALBANIA Eneda Tarifa Përrallë Semi Final 2
AUSTRALIA Dani Im Sound Of Silence Semi Final 2
BELARUS Ivan Help You Fly Semi Final 2
BELGIUM Laura Tesoro What’s The Pressure? Semi Final 2
BULGARIA Poli Genova If Love Was A Crime Semi Final 2
DENMARK Lighthouse X Soldiers of Love Semi Final 2
FYR MACEDONIA Kaliopi Dona Semi Final 2
GEORGIA Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz Midnight Gold  Semi Final 2
IRELAND Nicky Byrne Sunlight Semi Final 2
ISRAEL Hovi Star Made of Stars Semi Final 2
LATVIA Justs Heartbeat  Semi Final 2
LITHUANIA  Donny Montell I’ve Been Waiting For This Night  Semi Final 2
NORWAY Agnete Icebreaker Semi Final 2
POLAND Michael Szpak Colour Of Your Life  Semi Final 2


Ovidiu Anton Moment of Silence Semi Final 2
SERBIA ZAA Sanja Vucic Goodbye (Shelter) Semi Final 2
SLOVENIA ManuElla Blue and Red  Semi Final 2
SWITZERLAND Rykka The Last Of Our Kind Semi Final 2
UKRAINE Jamala 1944 Semi Final 2

Details on which semi-finals the 37 countries, who do not directly qualify for the final, will be taking part have now been added to this list, following the draw for the semi-finals which took place on 25th January 2016.


2 Responses to “42 countries will take part in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest”

  1. Derek McGinn Says:

    The pots for the draw have been announced and Ireland 🇮🇪 In pot 5

  2. Eurovision Song Contest 2017: 43 countries will take part – Acts/Songs confirmed to date | Adrian Kavanagh's Blog Says:

    […] place on Tuesday 9th May and Thursday 11th May. The line up of countries is very similar to that for the 2016 contest, which involved 42 countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina, after a brief return to the contest in 2016, […]

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