It’s a big week for the United States of America. While midterm elections have been the talk of the country for the first part of this week, the focus will now gently shift to the upcoming 2018 Totallympics Open International Song Contest, which will reach its climax Saturday during the Grand Final in Orlando, Florida.
2018 Open marks the first time that the United States have been given the honor of hosting this grandiose event, and it also signifies TISC’s return to the North American continent for the first time since 2014 Annual, which was held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Official festivities are scheduled to begin Friday with a spectacular Opening ceremony. Grand Final will then be held Saturday starting at 5:00 A.M., signifying the earliest ever start time of a Grand Final. Previous record was 7:00 A.M. at the Jubilee held in Brazil earlier this year. It is believed that both contests will have commenced unusually early due to European TV rights stakeholders.
Ireland aiming for a hat-trick
35 nations are scheduled to take part in this, 2018 Open, TISC edition. Incredibly, it’s the third time in last four editions that the number of nations will be set at 35. Uruguay was initially supposed to be the 36th nation, but it dropped out later on as the votes of the Uruguayan jury have not been received even after the extended deadline. The Uruguayan jury, lead by NaBUru38, is yet to issue a statement on this matter.
For the first time since 2016 Open there will be no debuting nations, however several nations will be making a return after missing one or more editions, most notably Egypt who has not showed since 2015 Open. Remaining returnees include Chile, Spain, and Turkey, which is making a comeback following a controversial disqualification from the Jubilee earlier this year.
Ireland has been a dominant force throughout the TISC history, particularly in the Open versions of this musical contest. The Emerald Isle has incredibly won the majority of Open editions so far (3/5), including the last two editions held in 2016 and 2017, respectively. 2018 Open therefore represents an opportunity for a third straight Irish victory, which would make a historic, first ever hat-trick achievement of this kind. Moreover, as if the pressure on Ireland is already not big enough, not winning 2018 Open would mean that they have failed to win either of yearly contests for the first time since 2013! Earlier this year Ireland placed 6th at the Jubilee.
Ireland will nevertheless face a competition that is perhaps stronger than ever before…
- United States have been on a hot streak recently, having finished in a bronze medal position at both 2017 Open and Jubilee. Additionally, this year’s hosts have finished inside top 6 at each previous Open edition except in 2014.
- Italy is coming to the States having just won the Jubilee, their first ever TISC victory. No nation has ever won both of the contests in the same year, so the Italian delegation will be looking to make history.
- Argentina, Brazil and Poland have a strong aspirations too, having finished inside top 10 at both 2017 Open and Jubilee.
- Colombia is notoriously known for their inconsistency. While they already have two Open silvers (in 2014 and 2017), they also have two Open last positions (in 2015 and 2016)!
- Canada has been a strong Open performer, having placed inside top 7 on three occasions, including a bronze medal finish in 2016.
- Lithuania and Sweden are the only other nations which have so far won an Open edition. Sweden will not be participating this time, while Lithuania’s level has dropped a notch in the last two editions. At the 2017 Open Lithuanian entry Kitoks Pasaulis placed 32nd.
Team Challenge adopts relay format
2018 Open will feature the second edition of Team Challenge, a fresh team competition which was introduced at the Jubilee earlier this year. While the first rendition of Team Challenge offered a whole new experience for TISC community, it also featured a lukewarm climax with podium places being all but decided well before the final votes. For this reason a new relay format has been adopted, which should limit the impact of one strong scoring individual and rather put the emphasis on a team effort. Competition will be divided in five relay legs during which only one of the team members will be eligible to score points. Additionally, there will be various bonuses but also penalties for certain achievements. Most notably, teams can face heavy deductions and even eliminations if one or more of their members fail to put any score on board during their respective legs.
Teams for the Team Challenge will be as follows (nations are listed in their relay running order):
- Atlantic Region: United States – Bulgaria – France – Slovakia – Colombia
- Northeast Region: New Zealand – Lithuania – Indonesia – Netherlands – Great Britain
- Great Lakes Region: Ireland – Austria – Denmark – Turkey – Tunisia
- Midwest Region: India – Argentina – Poland – Algeria – Croatia
- South Region: Finland – Chile – Italy – Canada – Malta
- Mountain Region: Egypt – Spain – Slovenia – Brazil – Mexico
- Pacific Region: Greece – Romania – Portugal – Russia – Serbia
Full Team Challenge rules and guidelines can be reviewed here.
TISC Goes Mixed
Olympic Agenda 2020 has been the talk of the forum for some time now, and it appears as though the TISC movement is not resistant to it as well. Main goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 are to make the Olympics:
- more urban
- more youthful
- have more women
One of the ways of making Olympic more urban, youthful, but also having more women represented is the controversial introduction of mixed team events, which are often there to replace more established and developed men’s events. TISC too has introduced something similar now. While no events have been excluded, the 2018 Open will see the introduction of a brand new Mixed Team Music’thlon event.
Mixed Team Music’thlon will be held in a tournament format and will feature a total of four teams. As per rules, participating mixed teams are comprised of two nations each, one of which must have at least one female juror represented. Four nations are represented by a female juror at this edition (France, Italy, Serbia, United States). These four nations were then paired with the other nations which in turn have male-only jurors. The pairings were decided by a random draw and are as follows:
- Team Cranberries: Serbia, Ireland
- Team Jazzu: Italy, Slovakia
- Team Roxette: United States, Finland
- Team Stunning: France, Denmark
Mixed teams are named after four winning artists of TISC Open editions.
Mixed Team Music’thlon will serve as a demonstration event at the 2018 Open, and as such will have less significance than the already established Team Challenge. Full rules and guidelines of the Mixed Team Music’thlon will be announced in due course.