American Song Contest (ASC) 🇺🇸 – General Thoughts

Now we are getting deep into the 1st season of ASC, and I will say that the show/contest has grown on me. While the show has grown on me, I am still annoyed with some aspects of the show.

Image courtesy of

Major Improvements IMO:

-I am enjoying that the singers are not relying (so much) on backing vocals and/or lipsyncing.

-Over the past few episodes, the show has reduced the length of the artists’ backstory sound bites and commercials.

Kwame’s Concerns:

Since ASC is fairly new, I know that the show has to go through some growing pains, but I feel like major changes must happen if the show is going to be successful or even make it to another season.


I really am not a fan of the voting setup. For each qualifying round, the jury selects one act that will automatically advance to the semifinal rounds. Then, the public votes from Monday (the night of the episode) to Wednesday for the remaining three performers that will advance. My issue with the voting is that the jury votes are still factored in with the public votes. For me, it seems like the jury has too much power in selecting who will advance. Ok, Eurovision has a similar voting concept, but jury and televotes from the participating countries hold equal weight. Personally, I think ASC should adopt a similar format. In ASC, if the jury selects one act from the qualifying round to advance, then it should not have any bearing on the remaining three acts that would qualify.

To be fair, I understand why ASC voting is set up like this (at least for the 1st season). The producers probably did not want a bunch of joke entries or “bad songs” advancing or even wining the contest. That said, the producers of the show handpicked the 56 acts, so they should just pick decent songs/performers and let the public do the rest. Honestly, I would say about 95% of the performances have been pretty good (Macy Grey was a hot ass mess). Also, I have a feeling that the producers were not sure if enough folks from each state and territory would watch the contest to vote.

LOL. The hubby told me that the first time Spain gave the public complete control over who would be sent to Eurovision, this happened:

To be fair II: Voting (jury vs the public) especially at the national selection level for Eurovision has been full of conflict.

Automatic Qualifiers:

As I mentioned above, the jury selects one act to move on to the next round, and the public picks the remaining three to move on. Based on the last four episodes, it seems as if the jury prefers a certain type of performer: This is pretty much the jury’s process (IMO):

  • Male – check
  • White – check
  • Emotional ballad – check
  • Guitarist – check and extra credit

A tweet describing the jury vote for this week’s qualifying round:

At the end of the day, I think the producers wants to ensure that a certain type of singer or song (ie a very marketable performer with a very radio friendly song) will be in the final and ultimately win the content.

Results from the first four qualifiers

Qualifier #1:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Qualifier #2:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Qualifier #3:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Qualifier #4:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

It’s kind of annoying that this show claims to promote the diversity of music in the States, but the jury sends the same type of performers to the next round. Do not get me wrong, I like an emotional ballad, but (IMO) I believe some of the other acts were more exciting and stronger. Also, the jury has not shown any love to the more regional acts (ie less mainstream) from our territories with the exception of Puerto Rico (Qualifying round 1). Jury rankings for performers from our territories – US Virgin Islands (10th out of 11 acts), Northern Mariana Islands (10th out of 12 acts), Hawai’i (9th out of 11 acts). Even Las Marias (from Arizona), a twin sister duo who sings norteña and mariachi music, placed 10th out of 11 acts.

One other thing about the jury automatic qualifiers. From my understanding, the jury votes on the acts during the untelevised dress rehearsals, which do not have a live audience. In this case, I think the emotional ballads have a bit of an advantage compared to more uptempo pop/R&B/dance songs because one does not need an audience to get the “point” across. Whereas for the more uptempo songs, performance can be affected on how the audience reacts or how the performer engages with the audience.

Another thing that has bugged me about the contest is the fact that we do not have any information about the public vote results. Perhaps, production is keeping this a secret until the final rounds, but I still do not get why they don’t tell us how the public has voted. One of the best parts of ESC is learning how many points/votes contestants have received via the public vote the night of the show. For example, in ESC, a performer could be have a stong lead, but the televote can completely change the final results. I guess if one really is invested in ASC, they can infer some voting information from the results:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

In the case of the third qualifying round, the jury put Colorado in 6th place, but after the televote, he finished in 2nd place. I guess one could assume that the performer from Colorado probably came in 1st or 2nd place in the televote.

Is America really feeling ASC?

Word on the street is that NBC is somewhat upset with the low ratings especially since the ratings are getting lower with each week. Because of the high-level production and staging of the acts, I guess that I would be upset with the low ratings too. Then again, these numbers might not be accurate in determining the popularity of ASC since folks can view the performances on NBC’s Peacock app, IG, and Tik Tok.

That said, I think the marketing team did a horrible job in promoting ASC. They marketed as a contest based on Eurovision; however, there is a very limited pool of folks in the States that 1) know what Eurovision is or 2) follow Eurovision. Personally, I only learned about ESC because I came home early from a run and the hubby was watching an old ESC while decorating Christmas cookies. In defense of ASC, Christer Björkman, a producer of ESC that facilitated developing ASC, said that the 1st few seasons of ESC would have flopped if ESC started this in recent years. Even though ESC has had some struggling years with bad songs and/or bad performers, it still has a 50+ year history to fall back on.

While the ratings are a hot mess, relative to what NBC is paying to put on the show, I think that we will have another season of ASC. However, time will tell how much money NBC will put into it going forwards. Hell, NBC might say screw it and just air the contest on the Peacock app or air it on a Friday or Saturday night.

Questions of the Day:

-Are you watching ASC?

-If so, what do you like and dislike about it?

Social Media Plug:

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