The EBU cancelled Eurovision 2020 on Wednesday.
But since then questions from Eurofans have multiplied. And while we can’t recap them all, we’ve put together nine burning questions we’re left to wonder about now.
1. What happens on May 12, 14 and 16 now?
There are now three gaps in broadcasters’ schedules in May. Today the EBU confirmed they’re working on an “alternative” featuring this year’s acts which won’t be competitive in nature. But the final shape of the programming remains to be seen. Some have suggested a compilation of music videos. Others have asked for interviews with each of the artists.
2. Will the next contest be held in Rotterdam?
The city certainly hopes so, but there hasn’t been a definitive statement yet. After waiting so long, the Netherlands deserves the chance to host the competition and Rotterdam had put all the work in. But there are a lot of variables in play. A primary decider will be funding: The city government says they need just shy of €7 million to cover the cost of postponement.
3. Will the theme and branding be axed?
This year the Netherlands brought branding A-game. The slogan “Open Up” spoke to the opportunity to showcase and champion diversity across the country. And the branding nodded to Eurovision iconography of old, with a refreshing modern twist. But without a live broadcast, the materials have not been showcased to their full potential. Will the EBU scrap all of that now and go back to the drawing board? And what happens to pre-recorded material we never saw, like Spain’s postcard?
4. What happens with the stage?
The stage for this year’s now cancelled contest was unveiled in December. It promised a transparent 22-metre wide LED wall and a design that allowed the green room to return to the main performance venue. Stage construction had been set to start on April 6, but the cancellation means that now won’t happen. If venue and host city remain the same, there’s no reason the design couldn’t be used in 2021. But the stage reveal is a key part of the Eurovision calendar and if anything changes with hosting, the stage could be subject to change.
5. How will the tickets be handled?
Many fans had already secured tickets for the 2020 shows, with a third wave due to go on sale on March 26. Ticket holders’ status is now up in the air. “Freezing” those purchases has been mooted: That is to say those with tickets will be able to use them at next year’s shows. Which raises questions about what happens with the original “final” third wave. Will they be sold in one batch? Or several smaller ones? And does it mean more heartbreak ahead for fans who failed to secure tickets first time around?
6. How will the semi-finals work?
We had a semi-final allocation draw a few weeks ago, but never got as far as a running order. In theory the same sorting could stand next year, but in practice it is liable for change. Participation at Eurovision involves financial firepower and many smaller broadcasters will now be out of pocket. If they invested this year, and failed to recoup their costs, it will be difficult to participate for them next year. That means it is possible we can expect withdrawals, which could unbalance the semis and prompt a new draw.
7. Do broadcasters just re-select this year’s acts for 2021?
Some countries – e.g. Spain, Greece, the Netherlands – already have. But the picture is complicated across Europe. In some countries national finals are key parts of broadcaster’s TV schedules. In those cases, broadcasters might rob the next editions of their shows of meaning if they pre-select their act a year out. Equally, if broadcasters give this year’s acts a pass to the national finals, it could put other acts that want to win off entering if they think public sympathy will carry the pre-selected act to victory. Artists also might find it challenging. It is a long road to Eurovision and it could be the case that after months of work, some acts don’t want to commit to a further year of preparation. It could also be a double edged-swords for artists: Fans will inevitably compare their entries and pressure to improve on songs this year will be sky high.
8. Will The Mamas compete at Melodifestivalen 2021?
Sweden’s SVT was one of the first broadcasters to respond to cancellation. In SVT’s response, Head of Delegation Christer Bjorkman expressed regret that The Mamas would not walk on the Eurovision stage. Some fans questioned the decision not to automatically invite The Mamas back in 2021. Sweden’s case is more complicated than other competing countries.
While Melodifestivalen acts as Sweden’s national final for Eurovision, its primary purpose is as SVT’s flagship entertainment show. Record labels use it to launch new artists, and promote existing ones, and the program is actually more popular than Eurovision itself in Sweden.
One suggestion is for Sweden to follow Estonia’s example and give The Mamas an automatic spot in the semi-finals. SVT already does this with the winner of the P4 Nästa competition. Others wonder whether Melodifestivalen could take place without the winner going to Eurovision. That would follow Italy’s example with Sanremo, where winners aren’t obliged to go the contest, and it remains a huge showcase for the domestic music industry.
In reality, there’s almost zero chance Sweden will go internal, but an invite to the semis for The Mamas seems more reasonable.
9. Does this mean Dami Im vs. Montaigne at Australia Decides 2021?
She placed runner-up at Eurovision 2016. And earlier this year, Dami Im set her sights on a return to the competition.
But with Montaigne robbed of her spot on stage, if she returns will she go head-to-head with Australia’s highest-placing Eurovision star?
Many fans had taken Montaigne to their heart, but Dami remains popular with fans for her star turn with “Sound of Silence”. How this pans out remains to be seen.
What questions do you have? And do you have the answers to our questions? Let us know in the comments below!