- For the next year's contest, see 2011 New Cambria National Song Contest.
- For the most recent contest, see 2010 New Cambria National Song Contest.
So far, the contest has produced seven winners: three male soloists, three female soloists and one group. The winner of the Song Contest has been chosen by a mixture of a jury panel and televoting, by a ratio of 50%/50%, except for 2007 & 2008, when the vote was 60% public and 40% jury. Voting by SMS was introduced in 2006. The competition makes a considerable impact on music charts in New Cambria, and many of the participating songs have gone on to be country-wide hits.
In its first three years, the contest consisted of three Semi-Finals, a Wild Card Semi-Final and a Grand Final Gala. A shake-up of the format occurred for the 2007 contest, and a fourth Semi-Final round was added, among several other changes. The shake-up proved to be successful, and ratings for the 2007 contest increased more than 60% over the previous year. The format was expanded yet again for the 2009 contest to include more performances. While English-language pop has been the most represented genre of music in the contest, it has also given French- and Hejvat-language music a wider audience, and hip-hop, soul, folk and even popera songs have been featured.
The contest's format is borrowed heavily from Melodifestivalen (Swedish for "The Melody Festival"), a music competition from Sweden used to select that country's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. While the Eurovision is a popular televised event in Sweden, ratings for the grand final of Melodifestivalen are just as high, sometimes even higher. New Cambria Television (NCT) began planning for a locally-produced version of Melodifestivalen in 2001, with the first edition set to air in the summer of 2002. Budgetary problems, largely due to the costs of NCT's airing the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, put the idea on the back burner until 2004, when NCT asked for the assistance of Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish broadcaster responsible for Melodifestivalen, to give the New Cambria version a kick start. SVT was credited as co-producer in the 2004 and 2005 contests.
The Grand Final of the 2004 contest was held on 4 December 2004, and was a ratings hit. That year's winner, 26-year-old Kyle Mason, has since gone on to have a successful singing career. NCPB was so impressed with the contest that planning for the 2005 edition began just six weeks after the 2004 contest ended.
In its seven-year history, a total of 200 songs have been performed in the contest. From 2004 to 2007, songwriters, composers and performers had to be citizens of New Cambria, a rule that was relaxed in 2008 to permit resident non-citizens. To be eligible, songwriters, composers and performers must be at least eighteen years of age on the day of the first Semi-Final round, in keeping with New Cambrian child labour law.
From 2004 to 2008, each contest featured 24 semi-finalists, from which ten acts were selected over the course of the Semi-Final rounds. From the 2009 contest on, each edition features 40 semi-finalists, from which 15 advance to the Grand Final. A CD of each year's semi-finalists has been released each year since 2005, and a DVD of the live shows has been released each year since 2007.
The National Song Contest has been the launch-pad for the success of popular regional performers and was described by Spin magazine as "the only place in the world where Keva music can receive an audience of millions." While local success of contest winners is common, most contestants do not achieve international recognition from it, though contest songs occasionally receive airplay in some parts of Atlantic Canada. The impact that the competition makes on the New Cambria charts means that a song need not win the contest to earn significant domestic record sales. For example, Just A Mystery topped New Cambria's singles chart despite finishing last in the 2004 contest.
Selection of ContestantsEdit
The process of creating the list of semi-finalists from the hundreds of potential entries takes approximately three months. The submission period is open for approximately six weeks during the summer (usually from the last week of June to the first week of August), and the semi-finalists are announced in early- or mid-October. The vast majority of songs are performed in English, though French- and Hejvat-language songs have been featured in every edition, with the sole exception of the first edition in 2004. The first song to not be performed in any of these languages was Douar Nevez in the 2008 contest, the lyrics of which were written in Breton. In 2009, Bez Tebe, the contest's first Bosnian entry, was selected to compete. Entries may not be longer than three minutes.
The submission process is overseen by New Cambria Television and the contest's organizing committee, who together appoint a panel of judges to shortlist approximately 100 songs from the hundreds of submissions. The 1,077 entries received in the submissions period for the 2009 contest is the most to date. The judging panel's choices are then given to a twelve-person jury of music professionals, NCT staff and other members of the public. The jury ranges from teenagers to people in their fifties. This twelve-member jury selects the 40 semi-finalists to compete in the televised shows, plus a bank of three to six alternates should any one of the 40 selected entrants withdraw for any reason. Performers, composers and lyricists are forbidden from revealing details about their submissions until the list of semi-finalists is revealed. The selected submissions are announced in October. Songwriters and performers that qualify must provide interviews to NCT, attend press conferences before the competition, and remain open to promotional appearances if their song reaches the Grand Final.
The televised National Song Contest lasts six weeks, consisting of one live show each week: four Semi-Finals, a Wild Card Semi-Final featuring songs which narrowly missed out on qualification from the Semi-Finals, and a Grand Final Gala. Fifteen songs comprise the Grand Final: three automatic qualifiers from each Semi-Final, and the three most popular songs in the Wild Card round.
Semi-Finals and Wild CardEditUnder the current system, four Semi-Finals are broadcast at 8:00pm local time on consecutive Saturday nights. The Semi-Finals begin the first week of November, and ten songs compete in each show.
The songs are performed live with telephone lines open only after all ten songs have been performed. After a three-member jury of music professionals and the viewing audience have cast their votes, the three automatic qualifiers and three Wild Card qualifiers are announced. Following each Semi-Final, a press conference is held with the Grand Final and Wild Card qualifiers. During this press conference, the performers draw their own starting position in the event to which they qualified. To guard against tactical voting in later rounds, the exact points awarded by the jury and televoters are not revealed during the event itself, but are published on NCT's website after the Grand Final Gala.
The Wild Card Semi-Final is the fifth round, in which the final three places in the Grand Final are decided. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-placed songs from each Semi-Final (twelve songs in total) compete in the event. To ensure that the songs are judged as fairly as possible, no jury member from any of the Semi-Finals may serve on the jury of the Wild Card round.
Grand Final GalaEdit
The Grand Final takes place at 8:00pm on the first or second Saturday in December. Fifteen songs participate: three from each Semi-Final and three from the Wild Card round. Dress rehearsals for the Final are held on the Friday before, and tickets sell out almost as quickly as those for the Final itself. The Final attracts much tourism to its host city; a survey in 2007 showed that 59% of spectators had traveled from outside the host city, Arvant. Of these, approximately 4% had come from outside New Cambria, almost all of whom were Canadians.
Video "postcards" introduce the entries. The final includes interval performances, which are performed after the voting window closes while the jury votes and televotes are being totaled. Former contestants often return to perform as interval acts in the Final and Semi-Finals.
The winner receives a trophy, awarded by the previous year's winner, and reprises the winning song at the end of the event. A cash prize of ₤10,000 is divided equally amongst the songwriter(s) and/or composer(s) Although there is no prize awarded to the winning performer, each of the six winning performers thus far has either written or co-written the winning entry.
Voting at the contest has changed slightly from year to year, but the basic tenets have remained constant. The current voting format is an application of the Borda count. In the Semi-Finals and Wild Card, the three-member jury awards 1-10 points to their ten favorite songs in descending order of preference. The televote scores are determined in the same way. In the Grand Final, ten regional juries comprised of five members each award 1-10 points to their ten favorite songs. An eleventh jury consists of international music professionals. The televotes are given the weight of 11 jurors. Therefore, the favorite song from televoting receives 110 points, and the tenth favorite receives 11 points.
|Semi-Finals & Wild Card||Grand Final|
|Jury Panel||Televote/SMS||Each Jury||Televote/SMS|
|Maximum score: 20||Maximum score: 220|
Telephone lines are opened only after all the songs have been performed. Voters are charged 15c per vote, with a maximum of 20 votes allowed per originating telephone number. From the 15c cost to vote, 10c is donated to NCT's children's charity fund. Two telephone numbers are used for each song, giving voters the option of whether to donate an additional 15c to the fund. Viewers can also vote by SMS, though only votes cast from phones in New Cambria's area code 230 are counted. Over the course of the 2009 contest's six shows, a total of 1,269,610 votes were cast, raising nearly ₤150,000 in donations.
Spokespersons from each of the ten regional juries announce their votes via satellite. The votes are read in ascending order, culminating with the maximum 10 points. The votes of the international jury are announced by a spokesperson at the venue.
As the votes are announced, they are collated on a graphic scoreboard. NCT varies the way the jury votes are announced from year to year. From 2004 to 2007, votes could only be announced in English. Since 2008, however, votes may also be announced in French or Hejvat, an allowance used most often by juries in Trinity and North-West Counties, respectively. Televoting results are announced by the hosts in ascending order in the same manner as the jurors' votes. If there is a tie, the song that received more votes from the public receives the higher position. This has yet to occur in the Grand Final, but has happened on a few occasions in the Semi-Finals, in which two or more songs have tied for a single qualifying position.
The official rules are released by NCT early in preparation for each year's contest, to ensure any changes are noted by songwriters and performers.
There was a limit of four people on stage for each performance, which was increased to six beginning in 2008. No more than two people can share credit for the music composition, and no more than two people can share credit for writing the lyrics. All vocals must be performed live; recorded human voices or synthesized vocals are not allowed. Music is generally not allowed to be performed live on stage, because the time required to set-up, take-away and sound check the instruments would be prohibitively long. Certain instruments that do not need to be individually miked may be allowed at the discretion of the shows' directors. Otherwise, all music is provided by backing track.
Entries cannot be broadcast publicly until the Semi-Final rounds are previewed on the radio. Entries eliminated in the Semi-Finals may be broadcast as soon as the Semi-Final has finished. A restriction is placed on songs that qualify for the later rounds until the previews for the Wild Card Semi-Final are broadcast. After this, restrictions on the broadcast of contestant songs are lifted.
Seven songs have won the National Song Contest. Cadence in Time, the 2006 winners, currently hold the record for highest score, with 189 points. The four-person band, the only group to have won the contest, finished as runners-up four years later. David Broome, the 2007 winner, holds the record for the largest margin of victory, with 28 points over runner up Aimée Ferrer. Remarkably, the runner-up in every edition from 2004 to 2008 was a female soloist. No duet has ever won.
|2004||NightSong||Kyle Mason||167||Steal A Moment||Gretchen Carlson||154|
|2005||I Wish You Well||Sarah-Anne Kerrigan||176||You Light My Fire||Juliet Walrond||150|
|2006||The Inner Light||Cadence In Time||189||You're Not There||Jacqueline Clayson||185|
|2007||Loved Ones||David Broome||185||Dis Rien (Say Nothing)||Aimée Ferrer||157|
|2008||Keep On Moving||Karen Johns||188||Lumahan (Rumour)||Sarah Jađehe||168|
|2009||A Country Apart||Jake Dunigan||181||The Fire is Burning||Selma Kljajić & James Skerritt||172|
|2010||Never Again Without You||Glenna St. Martin||148||A Thousand Excuses||Cadence in Time||142|
The National Song Contest is broadcast on television, radio, and the Internet. From 2004 to 2009, it was broadcast on NCT One without commentary, and on NCT Three with commentary in French. In 2010, the contest will be broadcast only on NCT One, without a televised commentary track. In 2007, the Grand Final was given its first international screening, when it was broadcast live to television viewers in Newfoundland. A delayed broadcast of the 2008 Grand Final was also screened in Nova Scotia and Prine Edward Island. The 2009 Grand Final was screened live throughout all of Atlantic Canada. In 2010, all six shows will be broadcast live to Newfoundland, and the Grand Final will be shown (albeit with a 30-minute delay) to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Viewers in the northern third of the U.S. state of Maine will also be able to watch the Grand Final via television signals originating in New Brunswick.
The contest has had an official website since its inception, however it was only updated during the summer and fall of each year until 2006. Since then, the website has had a staff of reporters who periodically provide contest-related information throughout the year. A webcast of the contest has been provided every year since 2007. Broadcast the night after the final, "National Song Contest: Looking Back," is a television special that acts as an epilogue to the event, gauging the reactions of the finalists after the contest's climax. An English-language commentary is given for the radio broadcast of the final, but not for the television broadcast. The event is broadcast in widescreen, Dolby Digital, and, since 2007, high definition.
The ratings for the first event were higher than expected, with approximately 37% of the viewing audience tuning into the final. The ratings rose sharply in 2005, but declined by almost as much in 2006. A series of format changes and heavy promotion gave the 2007 Grand Final a much-needed boost in ratings, and approximately 68% of New Cambrians watched the 2008 Grand Final. The National Song Contest is given heavy coverage in New Cambria's press, with interviews and write-ups turning local musicians into national celebrities almost overnight.
|New Cambria National Song Contest|
|Editions||2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011|
|Winners||Kyle Mason • Sarah-Anne Kerrigan • Cadence in Time • David Broome • Karen Johns • Jake Dunigan • Glenna St. Martin|
|Runners-Up||Gretchen Carlson • Juliet Walrond • Jacqueline Clayson • Aimée Ferrer • Sarah Jađehe • Selma Kljajić & James Skerritt • Cadence in Time|
|Looking Back||National Song Contest: Looking Back • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010|
|Other||New Cambria Public Broadcasting • CamCom • Melodifestivalen|