Earlier today, the European Broadcasting Union issued a statement on the impact of the coronavirus on Eurovision 2020. The EBU noted that they were exploring “different potential scenarios”. And now one of these scenarios appears to have been revealed. Natalijo Gorščak, a director at Slovenia’s broadcaster RTV SLO, has spoken about a potential plan B for Eurovision 2020.
Commenting on RTV SLO’s general response to the impact of the coronavirus, Gorščak mentioned the EBU’s plan B for Eurovision. It would be used if it becomes impossible to host the show entirely in Rotterdam. Gorščak explained:
“At the EBU, they are preparing as if Eurovision will still be held. I am personally in touch with management who has a Plan B, which suggests that we [national broadcasters] will become more involved. In Slovenia, this is supposed to be in the studio. If this scenario were to be fulfilled, each member would play their recording of the performance, then probably someone [hosting in Rotterdam] would link it. That’s what they’re thinking. They are still discussing everything, but in principle, they are still acting as if Eurovision will be held in Rotterdam.”
Her statement suggests that if it’s decided that it would be unsafe for the acts to travel to Rotterdam, they could stay in their home country and perform their song remotely, at a local television studio.
Some fans are already criticising this potential format, noting that the participating broadcasters of Eurovision have different types of production facilities. Some broadcasters do not have the resources to produce shows that look as slick as others.
However, this plan has not been explicitly confirmed by the EBU, nor has the EBU released any details of it.
Eurovision and live satellite links
In a regular Eurovision show, most content is either performed live on stage or is played from pre-recorded clips (for example, postcards). In most years, only content broadcast remotely is usually the jury points section. This is delivered by spokespeople connecting live from their country. While these segments usually go smoothly, sometimes the link to some countries is lost, causing delays.
The concept of a remote performance was earlier proposed in 2017. Russia’s act Julia Samoylova was unable to travel to Kyiv as she faced a travel ban from the Ukraine government.
As a workaround, the EBU proposed that she could perform in Russia, with her performance getting linked up via satellite to the main Eurovision show. However, Russian broadcaster Channel One rejected the proposal. They said, “We feel it’s a strange offer — remote participation — and that it contradicts the very meaning of the event.”
Eurovision 2020 and Coronavirus
But whatever plan B the EBU has, Gorščak’s remarks make it clear that this is ONLY a back-up option. As she also said, planning is continuing for a Rotterdam-hosted show.
Earlier on Friday, the EBU confirmed that plans for Eurovision 2020 are continuing. In a statement, the organisation said that it is too early to make any final decisions regarding the contest.