On March 20, the EBU confirmed that the Eurovision 2020 songs can NOT be held over until the next edition of the song contest.
The Eurovision Reference Group decided that “in accordance with the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, this year’s songs will not be eligible to compete when the Contest returns in 2021.”
This news was disappointing to some broadcasters and artists who had hoped to carry over their 2020 entries for the next edition. After all, they had made significant investments into their production, songwriting camps, music videos, staging ideas and more.
Bulgaria’s Eurovision 2020 singer VICTORIA had earlier written on Instagram, “we, the 2020 #Eurovision artists, should be allowed to perform our songs in 2021.” Following the official decision from the EBU, VICTORIA quoted from the song, writing “In time my wound will be a scar”.
Cesar Sampson says exclusion of Eurovision 2020 songs was a “thoughtless” decision
Well now Cesar Sampson — a member of the esteemed songwriting collective The Symphonix — has issued a statement on the matter. Cesar, who wrote Malta’s Eurovision 2020 entry and who famously won the jury vote as a competitor in 2018, didn’t mince his words. He most definitely disapproves. He, along with Austrian, Bulgarian, German, English, Lithuanian and Swiss songwriters, are joining forces to express their dismay with the EBU’s decision.
In a statement on his Facebook page, he wrote:
“Not letting the delegations & artists choose which song they are going to send to ESC2021 was in my opinion a poor decision on behalf of the EBU, a rather thoughtless and careless one.”
“The way this was announced so swiftly and over the heads of so many people involved, shows how we are all still rattled by recent events and the crisis we are in. On every level administrations are only trying to react fast, to present solutions, in an effort to self-stabilise. But all too often this brings a whole other set of problems with it, namely when entire groups of people are being overlooked in the process. And in a format that calls itself “Songcontest”, that was built on the songs and their creators, but nowadays hastily hands out songwriter-awards backstage, it is not surprising that it’s the creatives that will suffer now.”
“Because make no mistake, this is about economic survival just as much as it is about creative freedom. The teams behind each ESC2020 song conceded a large share of their rights to the EBU, the trade-off was supposed to be the international exposure & marketing that Eurovision provides.”
“True, it is not the EBU’s fault they cannot keep their end of the agreement this year. But it will be the EBU’s fault if they deny those songs the chance of a second life in 2021.”
“At this point only a very small percentage of the European viewers/listeners have even heard the songs that would have been performed at ESC2020. It is not too late — let delegations decide how they want to move forward in 2021.”
“The songs that were particularly strong this year will be just as strong next year, and the countries that could have done better will get the chance to do so – and we all win.”
Borislav Milanov says the decision disrespects songwriters
Borislav Milanov has given Wiwibloggs an extensive interview on the matter, and he reads many of the comments from his colleagues in our interview. Boris believes that — given the unprecedented situation — countries should have the option to reuse their Eurovision 2020 songs. He discusses what that might look like for him. He also discusses the decision-making process at the EBU Reference Group and wonders why delegations weren’t consulted.
I agree with Samson. I think we all want to see who would have won from the class of 2020. Now we’ll never know and the songs are consigned to oblivion. After 51 years of watching the contest, my interest is evaporating.
He is right. A terrible decision and completely unrelated to the virus. Whether songs carryover is irrelavant to the situation. It was in their hands and they followed the money.
Now broadcasters gets to do their cash-cow selection shows again and the artists lose out. Disgusting.
You can’t be fans and argue the contest has artistic merit unless you also accept that 2020 had its own unique artistic consciousness. It existed, as every show does, as an artistic moment. The moment is lost forever now. How cruel for them.
Couldn’t be said better!
I know there’s a saying you can’t please everyone. But you try to please as many as possible. And the best way of doing so is to give countries the option to do so. That way those who are in favour and those who aren’t could be made happy. And Borislav came up with some great ideas in the Wiwibloggs interview that could prevent the songs being carried over having a commercial advantage. This is a man who has thought through all the potential consequences and ramifications of carrying over the songs and how they can be combated, unlike the… Read more »
Wait.. what?? The decision was made without the delegations??? It’s outrageous. I thought The Reference Group discussed it together with the heads of delegations and reached this “compromise”, bcs some delegations didn’t want to keep the songs so the rest had to agree to give up on theirs.
At least that’s what was written in an official statement immediately after the cancellation: “This is to be discussed with the Reference Group AND THE PARTICIPATING BROADCASTERS and a decision will be communicated later.”
Agree with everything he says!
Oh my god, get over it finally. We’ll have new artists next year so it’s nonsense to have new and old song.
It’s cancelled due to virus epidemy, it’s not that they cancelled it for fun. Get over it. Life is not always fair.
And what’s funny, almost no one is complaining and everyone understand decision… besides few countries and somehow, they’re all linked to Milanov.
After all, these artists have their career aside ESC. No one will steal their songs, they’re still there as a part of their careers… they just won’t perform it on ESC.
Ok I absolutely agree with Cesar but please let it die already. Its over. It is frustrating and painful as it is! Everyone should just move on. It is a long time since May 2021 to spend in this divisive and overall aggressive tone.
I don’t think Cesar even thought about how the EBU Headquarters had an outbreak of CoronaVirus. These people who cancelled the show were themselves directly effected by the Pandemic. I’m sure they have little time for song writers who have been in the contest before, might I add, complaining that they haven’t had their 100th song sung at Eurovision.
I understand how horrible it is for the artists to not show off their work this year, but let’s face it, having no preselection season next year and lots of songs that would be over a year old would make for a less exciting contest. And I’m pretty sure more people would complain about that.
I started to believe that most of the ESC fans are totally delusional.
right! in my eyes it just doesn’t make logistical sense to have this years entries compete next year.
It’s completely nonsensical and stupid. Also most of the ESC fans are starting to go on my nerves now because of this.
For God’s sake stop complaining about 2020 songs being dumped. For 2021 there will be completely new songs, accept it and that’s just the way it is.
All these people complaining didn’t even consider how the EBU Headquarters was ground at the centre of a Corona Virus outbreak. They have no sympathy for the people who were directly effected by the Pandemic . I’m sure that experience was a great influence on their decision.
Yawn…People are pissed ‘cuz they’re the composers this year. If they were not, don’t think they would say anything to support others.
Uhhh, obviously??? I don’t see any non-2020 artists saying anything on the matter for the same reason.
Most of the 2020 planned artists say that they are just dissapointed with the desicion for the contest to be cancelled. Nothing else.
This guy Cesar calls himself “advocate for musicians’ rights” for a long time already so no, I’m pretty sure he would say smth even if he wasn’t involved.
P.S.: Strangely enough, elsewhere I saw somebody who thought Cesar isn’t involved this year, using this as contra-argument to his statement, like “who daf even asked u, it isn’t affecting u personally so why do u speak?”.
So guys, decide already the problem is that he has personal interest or that he doesn’t have one.
Either way, he’s done Eurovision before. He’s just coming across as greedy now.
I’m going to be brutally honest, and this is just my opinion, so don’t take it personally (don’t be offended, don’t mind my mood… Lol). I am actually really glad that the 2020 songs aren’t returning in 2021. It’s just the 1st of April, and I am still listening to only 3 of the 41 songs from this year (i.e., the songs from Latvia, Sweden, and Switzerland). For me, the majority of the songs selected this year were extremely underwhelming, disposable, and dire, especially in comparison to previous years. This is the first Eurovision Song Contest that I’ve followed were… Read more »
You are so right! I started following in 2006 and if any year was going to be cancelled since then, I would’ve picked this year to be honest.
I would have picked 2011. Hate that year.
I agree with your general notion but not on the 3 songs lol. I am thirsting for Bulgaria, Georgia, France and Russia. The rest, bye!
Yes totally agree. I think it would be up to the national broadcaster and artists to decide. I think the EBU should rethink about this situation again
I’ve said it before – and will say it again. I totally AGREE. Talk about OPENING UP? What kind of opening up did EBU have in mind? The handling of the 2020/2021 entries has been a total disgrace!
Although I hate to say it, we need to understand that a decision has been made and we need to move on. It doesn’t matter how many times we complain, the decision is not going to be reversed. 2020 has started and so far it has been a horrific year. Let’s concentrate our efforts and energy to a great contest in 2021.
History shows that public backlash is what makes decisions turn around. That’s why those who are against it should voice their disagreement over and over again. Nothing good ever came out of behaving like a helpless and conforming slug.
An actual backlash would be people going to EBU HQ in Switzerland with matching pitch forks and torches.
Oh, Mr. Whatabout, we’ve been expecting you
And Borislav is heading a backstage movement not just to get the decision overturned, but also for songwriters to have more of a say in future decisions and already a lot of songwriters outside people connected to him are agreeing.
I think that the decision to have people sing a new song is only fair. Artists evolve within a year and I’m pretty sure that many artists wouldn’t want to sing a song that’s already outdated. I feel like they should feel lucky enough to have gotten the exposure that they already got from Eurovision and not complain all the time. I’m so sick of everyone complaining about this situation. And I feel like songwriters are a bit too much the point of attention nowadays. For me it’s about the artist and THEIR song.
The problem is that in most of the cases, it’s not the artists’s song but the one from the songwriters. There’s no attention going to the songwriters, what are you even saying? Like Borislav said, songwriters literally only get a quick award backstage fifteen minutes before the live broadcast of the final (cfr. Marcel Bezençon Awards). In the presentation banner right before the performance, their names are in a smaller font than the name of the song and the artist. Although I don’t want to go back to the times before the 1990s where songwriters got all of the attention,… Read more »
When this horrendous virus disappears, EBU will be able to think again. And when that time comes (soon I hope, but for the virus, not for ESC), they need to consider what lots of people are telling them.
Absolutely agree with Cesar.
Well, finally someone with common sense.
Woah chill out people he’s probably just new no need to bash him for it. He is the Austrian representative of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 and came 3rd with the song Ain’t nobody but you.
He’s one of those people who have no gratitude for the people who gave him his success.
What privileged! People are losing their jobs, failing to pay rent and mortgage, Hungary has become a dictatorship, people are getting sick and dying. And this is what Cesar chooses to put his energy into. Give me a break.
It’s a privilege to participate in Eurovision, not a right. No one owns you anything, especially not the EBU. Some of these Artists need to see some perspective.
It’s going to be a long year if the music industry people keep acting in this selfish manner.
You sound just like dictator btw.
Are those so called song writers such talented?
Please enlight us with new songs.
So the various Cesar, Borislav would have the possibility to generate generic songs again.
Si for Cesar was right to present the Albanian song selected n 2019 and sang in 2021?????
Such a nonsense
What a straw argument. I can use this in like every situation where people aren’t happy for a legitimate reason and name something a lot worse happening in some other third world country.
But it’s not happening in a Third World Country. I’m pretty sure it’s happening in his own hometown.
Have you been living under a rock?
It’s a pity the song submission deadline came days earlier than the cancellation of ESC. Now the EBU owns the songs for nothing. 🙁
His statement is very well thought out and worded. Respect to him
Yes, but nothing in there about the people dying. No thoughts given to the reason why the contest was cancelled. He’s only thinking of himself.
People havent just started dying in the last month. People have been dying all around the world from preventable causes since time began. With your logic, nobody could ever complain about anything ever again, as there is always someone worse off in the world.
Ok Mark but can you find what’s really wrong with Cesar’s statements other than resorting to whataboutism? Because you haven’t pointed it based on your reply.
I hope you retire from this forum asap
The decision was made because although ESC is a cultural festival about music, at the end of the day it is a business too. Keeping the songs would mean less revenue – fewer national selections as they serve no purpose would generate lesser interest in these countries. Year old songs that are currently hits at the moment would not be cared about a year from now and would not generate the same streaming stats/CD sales/purchases as usual. All the coverage the acts have already received this year would translate to less coverage next year, all which results in less interest… Read more »
Totally expected from someone like him. Keep in mind that he also advocates for no music in the future to be left for free, that everybody will must pay to hear music, exactly because of the same reason (artists’ and songwriters’ hard work and money they invested to make music). Personally, I think this topic is debatable, but I understand the reasons behind this position, so regarding EBU’s decision I completely agree with him.
My joke got filtered. Typical.
I just travelled to the future.
The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be…
Happy April Fools. 😛
Aha ha h….
I Totally agree with César, I copy and paste! There were strong comments about the songs being “too old”if used again in 2021. However, it’ll be for us Eurofans who run to youtube everytime a country announces its entry. For most of the audience in the 3 shows (80% of the public vote), they only get to know the songs through the performances on stage. I bet you there are still a grand ammount of people who didn’t listen to the songs this year. Also, it is clear that the Reference group decision benefits the countries who hosts NF annualy… Read more »
I can’t imagine that they put much thought and care into ‘All of my Love’, either. It would not magically become a good song in May 2021. Get someone else, Malta, for your own good and success.
I understand what people are commenting about National Finals still being held regardless of decision. But I wouldn’t be too sure about that because Norway waited until EBU said they could not reuse songs to say they would keep NF. And their remarks made it seems that they would have kept Attention if EBU would have allowed them to keep it. So I wouldn’t say every country would still keep NF because I actually think that wouldn’t entirely be the case. In the case of ESC community getting bored of the same songs if reuse, remember that our community makes… Read more »
Could you make a short resume of your story?
I disagree. I think it would have been thoughtless and careless to just carry the 2020 songs over to 2021. Mainly because lots of countries have national finals which are just as big a part of the Eurovision culture as the actual contest itself, and many broadcasters would be unwilling to give those up, even for just one year. Living in Norway, when everyone initially started asking about potential carryovers to next year’s show, the first thing I thought was, “well if they keep all the songs for next year, what happens to next year’s Melodi Grand Prix, then? In… Read more »
Wow, so there’s still people with some brains. I’ve only seen crybabies so far that don’t realise how unwise would have been to carry all the songs over… It’s unfair for songwriters, sure, but in the end, as you say, it wasn’t an easy decision and it just wasn’t possible to please everyone.
As much as it sucks for songwriters like Boris, this seems like the fairest way to go since this decision also takes into account songwriters who still want to represent their country via national selections.
A lot of these countries don’t even want to keep the same artists so… Even if EBU had permited them to use the same songs, I’m pretty sure some wouldn’t want to, and then, by 2021, it’d be kinda unfair for the old songs to compete against the new songs, as much as we like this year’s songs now, there’s a whole year for us to listen to them over and over again, we’ll grow tired of them.
Exactly! Even before they were confirmed to be returning or the EBU had disallowed old songs from competing, Hooverphonic were already saying that they’d prefer to send a new song if they came back. It would’ve been weird if they sent a new song and other countries kept their old ones.
(It also might’ve been an unfair advantage for the old songs. Would they just not be allowed to revamp them anymore? And if a song was switched out completely, wouldn’t that imply a lack of faith in the artist?)
No to mention the possibility for countries like Hungary and Montenegro returning in 2021.
This is like actually Bulgaria and Ukraine didn’t return and Hungary and Montenegro didn’t withdrew. Because basically, all 41 countries “forcefully withdrawn”.
You are completely right.
You notice that it’s pretty much entirely Symphonix or Symphonix-aligned artists and songwriters who’ve expressed the most vocal dissatisfaction with this decision? Just me?
yeah its just financially for them…
I mean, yeah, I wish we could see some of these songs on the big Eurovision stage. Yeah, I feel sorry for the artists who either have been denied or delayed their big chance, and for those sticking around who now have to come up with something new. None of this is fun. But it’s also unprecedented. The EBU has never had to deal with something like this before, and god willing they never will again. It’s one thing if this happens to one or two songs, which seems to happen almost every year. It’s another if it affects all… Read more »
Tbh i think there is a really simple solution to statisfy everybody: give the broadcasters free choice in what to do.
Thank you, Joe. Finally some sense! I’m a big fan of some songs that now will never be featured on the Eurovison stage, that’s a pity. But it’s the only right decision when you take into account all the stakeholders.