American Song Contest’s electrifying ad with Snoop and Kelly Clarkson

(Courtesy Giantstep)

Creative technology company Giantstep recently partnered with NBC to create an exciting CG-driven promo for American Song Contest — the U.S adaptation of the Eurovision Song Contest — premiering live on March 21st.

The show will feature one artist from each of the 50 U.S. states, five territories, and Washington, D.C. competing for the title of Best Original Song, voted on by viewers. The :30 promo, “United Stages,” first aired during the Super Bowl this past weekend. 

The American Song Contest promo opens with Snoop Dogg declaring, “Every great song has its own kind of vibe, just like the streets they come from.” Silhouetted performers emerge on massive illuminated LED screen stages shaped like individual US states. “Now all that music from across America will go head to head…, “ states Kelly Clarkson, as Snoop relays the next line, “…on one stage.” Performers representing each state continue to rise in an electrifying display of magenta and blue lights until the camera pulls out to reveal the stages locking into place and forming the larger US map. Watch below

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Led by Executive Creative Director Heebok Lee, Giantstep handled all 3D animation and design, including the look development and art direction based on style references from the show provided by NBC.

The team also provided on-set VFX supervision for the promo shoot in Los Angeles, as well as 56 customized motion graphics sequences for the states and territories represented in the show. 

According to Lee, the main challenge was adding live performers to the CG stages. 

“Each stage resembles a US state and rises at a different speed,” explains Lee. “Since we couldn’t build actual moving stages for the scale that we wanted, we had to reverse-engineer each shot.”

In the pre-vis stage, Giantstep carefully animated the motion of the stages and did tests to ensure seamless integration of all the elements together. Once they achieved the outcome they wanted, they were able to shoot the actual elements. 

The live-action team for American Song Contest used a motion-controlled camera to mimic the movements they wanted and, from there, assembled the plate elements to achieve the rising stage effect with real performers.

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American Song Contest will premiere on Monday, March 21 and run for eight weeks. The finale is scheduled for May 9, which Eurovision notes is just one day before the Eurovision Song Contest first semifinal.



  • Creative Director/Live-Action Director: Steven Wagner
  • SVP, Creative Marketing: Amy Troiano
  • Director, Entertainment Networks: Derek Metoyer
  • Live-Action Production Company: Spare Parts, Inc.
  • DP: Anghel Decca 
  • Executive Producer: Matt Van Buren
  • Producer: Warren Foldes
  • Production Supervisor: Jake Brown
  • Production Designer: Evan Rhode
  • Assistant Art Director: Summer Baltzer
  • Wardrobe Stylist: Jasmine Kostraba
  • Key Hair: Danielle Russell
  • Key Make-Up: Golden


  • Creative Director: Heebok Lee
  • Managing Director/EP: David Kleinman
  • VFX Supervisor/Project Manager: Dongwook Cho
  • Post Producer: Lamont Lamar
  • Stock Image Research: Richard Kroll
  • Lead 3D Artist/Compositor: Jisung Moon
  • 3D Artist/Compositor: Sungwon Park
  • 3D Artist: Wohho Jung, Junho Kim
  • Houdini Artist: Intae Jang