By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

Image source, Michael Bolton / NBC

Image caption,

Michael Bolton has scored nine number one singles in the US

Michael Bolton, Macy Gray, Jewel and Sisqó will all compete in the US version of the Eurovision Song Contest when it launches this month.

The musicians, who have 25 top 10 hits between them, will each represent their state, going up against amateurs, newcomers and rising stars.

Pop star Kelly Clarkson and rap icon Snoop Dogg will host the show, which will take place over eight weeks.

Clarkson said she was “thrilled” to bring the Eurovision concept to the US.

Image source, NBC

Image caption,

Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg will host the eight-week-long US contest

“I’m so excited to work with Snoop and can’t wait to see every state and territory represented by artists singing their own songs,” she added in a statement.

Michael Bolton, whose nine US number one singles include How Am I Supposed To Live Without You and To Love Somebody, said he was “very excited” to be representing his home state of Connecticut.

Jewel, who won the sixth season of The Masked Singer in the US, will represent Alaska. Macy Gray takes the honours for Ohio, while Thong Song star Sisqó stands for Maryland.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Sisqó, who first shot to fame with R&B boyband Dru Hill, will represent Maryland

The line-up also includes former Glee star Riker Lynch and dance act The Crystal Method – often described as America’s answer to The Chemical Brothers.

Mississippi’s Keyone Starr was a featured vocalist on Mark Ronson’s 2015 Uptown Special album; while Oklahoma singer AleXa has a successful career as a K-pop artist in her second home, South Korea.

Other acts are more green around the gills. Hawaiian contestant Bronson Varde only has one song on Spotify, with 18 monthly listeners.

Soul singer NËITHER, representing Washington DC, has more songs to his name, but only 71 listeners.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Macy Gray performed the US national anthem before a sports match in February

In total, there are 56 acts representing all 50 US states, five US territories and the nation’s capital. Each act will compete for the audience’s vote in the hopes of earning the title of Best Original Song.

Unlike the Eurovision Song Contest (of which this is an official off-shoot) the contest will feature multiple stages, including qualifying rounds and semi-finals.

The grand final will be broadcast live on US TV network NBC on Monday, 9 May – the day before the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.

Last week, organisers announced that Russia’s entry would be banned from the competition over the war in Ukraine.

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