Pre-selections and relegation. 29 countries registered to take part in the 1993 contest, a figure the EBU considered unable to fit reasonably into a single TV show. A pre-selection method was subsequently introduced for the first time in order to reduce the number of competing entries, with seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe participating in Kvalifikacija za Millstreet, held in Ljubljana, Slovenia one month before the event. Following a vote among the seven competing countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia were chosen to head to the contest in Millstreet, Ireland, and Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia were forced to wait another year before being allowed to compete. A new relegation system was introduced for entry into the 1994 contest, with the lowest-placed countries being forced to sit out the following year’s event to be replaced by countries which had not competed in the previous contest. The bottom seven countries in 1993 were required to miss the following year’s contest, and were replaced by the four unsuccessful countries in Kvalifikacija za Millstreet and new entries from Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
This system was used again in 1994 for qualification for the 1995 contest, but a new system was introduced for the 1996 contest, when an audio-only qualification round held in the months before the contest in Oslo, Norway; this system was primarily introduced in an attempt to appease Germany, one of Eurovision’s biggest markets and financial contributors, which would have otherwise been relegated under the previous system. 29 countries competed for 22 places in the main contest alongside the automatically qualified Norwegian hosts, however Germany would ultimately still miss out, and joined Hungary, Romania, Russia, Denmark, Israel, and Macedonia as one of the seven countries to be absent from the Oslo contest. For the 1997 contest, a similar relegation system to that used between 1993 and 1995 was introduced, with each country’s average scores in the preceding five contests being used as a measure to determine which countries would be relegated. This was subsequently changed again in 2001, back to the same system used between 1993 and 1995 where only the results from that year’s contest would count towards relegation.