Over 27 broadcasters have tentatively confirmed their participation in Eurovision 2022, however the maximum number of countries that will compete is 44.
EBU has confirmed that the contest will be limited to a maximum of 44 competing countries in Eurovision 2022, according to the rules. This is a reduction of two from the previous limit of 46.
The new ceiling is mentioned in the contest’s 2022 regulations, which were accidentally released earlier this week by the Icelandic broadcaster. The EBU is explicit regarding the maximum number of contestants, noting that “a maximum of 44 Members should be allowed to compete.”
For the 2021 edition of the competition, the new maximum of 44 was implemented for the first time. The tournament had previously been set at 46 participants. The lower limit could be based on the need to keep numbers low during pandemic preparations.
While there has never been a Eurovision contest with 44 countries competing, it has gotten close with 43. The program allowed 43 participants to compete for the crystal microphone in 2008, 2011, and 2018.
Countries that are no longer regular participants in the competition, such as Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovakia, and Turkey, as well as 2021 drop-out Armenia, competed in those years.
In Eurovision 2021, 39 artists performed, although the EBU has a strategy in place if there is a sudden surge of interest in the 2022 edition and more than 44 countries apply.
The rules are clear: the EBU’s Eurovision Reference Group will choose which of the 44 countries will compete first. While there is no clear means to decide, the regulations provide that the Reference Group may “give priority to countries/Members that have participated in the most ESC editions in the preceding five editions.”
With Belarus out and Armenia slated to return in 2022, the remaining contending countries from 2011 could return next year, bringing the total number of countries to 39, well short of the maximum of 44.
The 37 countries that competed in the 2014 semi-finals were the fewest in the contemporary era of two semi-finals, as Bulgaria, Croatia Cyprus, and Serbia withdraw.
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