The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and official website eurovision.tv have formally announced that 42 countries are set to participate in next years Eurovision Song Contest. After winning this year with Netta and her song 'Toy', Israel will be the host country for Eurovision 2019 - with the international song contest schedule for May 14th through to May 18th 2019 in Tel Aviv.
In an official statement, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand - on behalf of the EBU - said; "Last year Netta dared to dream and won the contest in Lisbon, bringing it to Israel for 2019. We are thrilled that 42 countries will be represented in Tel Aviv and hope the participating broadcasters are inspired to have the same dream. The team at KAN is busy preparing to welcome the participants - and the world! - to Tel Aviv and will be putting on a show to remember."
This year, 43 countries competed however last month Bulgaria revealed that due to a lack of investment from their broadcaster, they would be withdrawing from the contest. The remaining 42 countries have stayed the same - which comes as Moldova's official confirmation of participation. There were also initial concerns that due to the contest being hosted in Israel, that some countries would boycott due to political pressures. The confirmation of 42 participants dispels these concerns.
Semi Final One will kick off on Tuesday 14th May 2019, with Semi Final Two taking place on Thursday 16th May 2019. The host nation, Big 5 and the 20 qualifiers will then compete in the Grand Final on Saturday 18th May 2019 where a new winner will be crowned.
The official participating countries for Eurovision 2019 are:
Apart from Bulgaria, who withdrew in dramatic style last month, all nations that were present last year will compete in next years competition. As expected Luxembourg, Monaco, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovakia are not present this year. This is totally not expected as they have made their intentions not to compete pretty clear in recent years.
Many fans will also be disappointed not to see Kazakhstan in the competition, in which they will make their debut at the Junior Eurovision in two weeks time. Kosovo, and Lichtenstein are two other countries that express their desire every year, but unfortunately they are never present due to the conditions set out by the EBU on membership, that have yet to be fulfilled.
This year will give 19 countries a chance to win the competition for the first time, of whom none have won it before. 2019 will also mark the Netherlands, and Switzerland's 60th participation, with Greece celebrating their 40th. Croatia, Estonia and Slovenia will be sending their 25th entry, whilst Latvia and Lithuania will send their 20th performer. San Marino will see this contest mark their 10th participation.
Are there any surprises for you in the list above? Are you happy with today's announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.