While Eurovision 2020 was cancelled, the European Broadcasting Union is insistent that next year’s edition will go ahead. Along with the change that will allow pre-recorded backing vocals to be used, the EBU has also been making some tweaks to the Eurovision 2021 rules to ensure that the song contest will take place, no matter what.

The EBU aren’t giving away any specifics, but they have made clear that there have been changes to the official rules.

In a Q&A section in yesterday’s announcement, the EBU talk about how the rules have been changed so that they are “able to make modifications to the format of the shows and the organization of the event that would allow the Contest to still take place despite restrictions imposed on us by a now unknown scenario.”

They also note that the 2020 rules did not allow such changes to be made, which might explain why Eurovision 2020 could not be turned into an “at home”, lockdown-friendly competition.

The EBU aren’t saying what specific changes could happen, suggesting that for the moment at least, it’s all theoretical. They are, however, still focused on a classic Eurovision show, “in a packed arena with fans and delegations.”

Martin Österdahl explains

Martin Österdahl, the EBU’s new Executive Supervisor of Eurovision, has elaborated on the future of Eurovision in a press release. He explains that “The focus of the ESC team and the Host Broadcasters in the Netherlands now is to bring the Contest back stronger than ever in 2021. Our current efforts are not just focused on delivering a Contest next spring in Rotterdam but also securing the ESCs longevity for decades to come.”

He explains that there has always had a contingency plan to move Eurovision if faced with a crisis in the host country. However, the sort of problems caused by a global crisis required a new set of backup plans.

What did the Eurovision 2020 rules say?

The Eurovision 2020 rules clearly spelt out the format of the contest. It describes the contest being “composed of three live shows, two Semi-Finals usually taking place annually, generally in May, on Tuesdays and on Thursdays and one Final taking place on Saturdays in the country of the Host Broadcaster.”

The rules also describe Eurovision as “a state-of-the-art, prime-time entertainment programme, world-class television production.”

These rules anchor the show to a particular type of format, with shows held in the host country. It is possible that the 2021 rules permit changes to this format to allow the competition to still be valid if Covid-adjustments are needed.

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Eurovision Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl has revealed that the EBU will give broadcasters the option to use pre-recorded backing vocals during Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. It’s meant to help create a more sustainable contest. Among other benefits, delegations would be able to travel with fewer people. Österdahl explained that the EBU is relaxing the rules on backing vocalists singing live in order to help countries cope with new realities. “The lessons learned from the spring of 2020 are that we need to plan for a global crisis, and we have tailored the rules of the Contest to that effect. We must be able to be more flexible and to make changes even to the format itself and how we organize the event in these challenging times.” “As organizers of the world’s largest live music event we are determined and united in our mission; to bring back a Contest, a new winner and a handover to a new Host Broadcaster. These elements are in our DNA and part of our legacy.” #esc2021 #eurovision #eurovisionsongcontest #eurovision2021

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What hurdles could Eurovision 2021 face?

Currently, the Dutch government has effectively banned all large events until 1 September. If this rule is extended beyond that date, it could affect the ability to hold Eurovision 2021.

But with so much around the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic being unknown, it’s difficult to predict how things will be in September, or indeed in May 2021.

One possibility is for Eurovision 2021 to go ahead with no live audience — much like the Danish national final earlier this year, or the second half of the Spanish talent show Operación Triunfo.

Or could the event have a live audience, but a socially distant live audience? Could this mean an all-seated show to avoid the close contact of the standing area?

Or given that some countries may be at different states than others, would the show be able to accommodate some acts who were unable to travel internationally due to border restrictions? Could live performance from another country be slotted into the show via satellite?

But at this stage, it’s impossible to know for sure what Eurovision 2021 will be like. One thing is certain though — the EBU are determined that Eurovision 2021 will happen!

What do you think? What sort of back-up plans should the EBU have? Would you be happy watching a scaled-down Eurovision show? Tell us your thoughts and ideas below.

Read more Eurovision 2021 news here

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jack
jack
1 month ago

Without mentioning what has changed, they are releasing general statements trying to hide the fact that pre recorded vocals are allowed. They need to hire a new pr team, this strategy wont work when the swedish mafia will add a second chance round in the contest

Pontus
Pontus
1 month ago
Reply to  jack

and AGAIN. there are around 20 people in the referance group who decide and vote and ONE is swedish. what is it you dont understand. All of them have a vote. ONE is swedish only. try

jack
jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

spare me the lecture bjorn. Bjorkman and Melzig where trying to do that for years. Now that the new supervisor is the 2016 producer aka their muppet, they did it.

Pontus
Pontus
1 month ago
Reply to  jack

Donald Trump 2, spare me from more of your fake news. I only read real ones. I always do research and you are WRONG AGAIN. That ennoys me that you never research anything before you right. Like Donald does. You 2 are twins

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

Your Swedish meltdown is hilarious Bjorn

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Hey Jack, I know this isn’t my argument but I was just gonna inform you that according to Pontus we are the two worst people on Earth! Glad to see that people can find something in common on this website haha

Petro
Petro
1 month ago

Isn’t anyone else suspicious how Sweden is basically taking over the competition and getting unfair coverage in it? Many of the head guys are Swedish, the break during songs is always just before the Swedish song is played, and no matter how shite their song, they always very through to the semi-finals? Plus many more. There is a HUGE unfair favouritism for Sweden in play.

Pontus
Pontus
1 month ago
Reply to  Petro

ONE is swedish in the reference group. how can ONE person decide when all of them votes. they are around 20. so no , fake news again

Denis
1 month ago

I choose to be positive and choose to say we will have a ESC 2021. It might be different but at least we will have it.
Everything from Oscars till Olympics will have to be adapt to the circumstances, it makes sense ESC has to

HJay
HJay
1 month ago

Bye bye Eurovision. It was lots of fun. Now the EBU has ruined it forever

Denis
Denis
1 month ago

I choose to think positively and say that we atleast will have ESC 2021. That is all the positive news I need.It might look differently but at least we will have it..
I mean everything from Oscars to Olympics has been forced to adapt to the circumstances rather than cancelling, it only makes sense ESC does the same..

Marc
Marc
1 month ago

Better to change or adapt rather than cancell. Current Champions League has changed its format and host city but it wasn’t cancelled. and delegations and teams will travel to Lisbon this August to play. I hope EBU could deal to any circumustamces next year.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

Sounds promising. As long as it means Eurovision is happening. I have a sneaking suspicion they might also relax the three-minute rule, but that’s just a hunch.

OrangeVorty
OrangeVorty
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

It sure about this – how does relaxing the three minute rule help us stage the contest during a pandemic? Sounds more like a personal wish. Finger crossed for you!

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  OrangeVorty

…fair enough. And yeah, not acting like it isn’t.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

Hm, sounds like it could be like the Shine a Light event, with the acts live from their own countries. I hope not, but it would at least be better than a total cancellation. The second Eurovision based in Hilversum. Plan B. Or C or D.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

I think it will be nearly impossible to do this with live performances from each participating country. Phone lines fall all the time for the votes announcements. It is very likely that this scenario might not work well enough.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Una

Maybe it might not be live, then…I think the whole point of these rule changes is that there will be a contest in any shape or form.

Una
Una
1 month ago

It’s only normal that different organizations make contingencies for future events. That being said, Eurovision is a very complex game with EBU and all the broadcasters with more or less resources. Not equal by any means in size or resources.
So whatever plan will be enforced in 2021 my only concern and wish at the same time is that it were fair for all participating broadcasters. Long live our Eurovision!!!
 

Whisker
Whisker
1 month ago
Reply to  Una

Long live our beloved Eurovision!

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

The biggest issue isn’t the new backing vocals being recorded it’s are the contestants going to be able to travel . If we all had a crystal ball that question would be answered but some countries are saying no international travel till sometime next year and only to countries that have control of the carona virus, Counties may get excluded because of the number of active cases still happening. We shouldn’t kid ourselves there are some countries out there who are 4 months in and their numbers are still going up . Then you have counties like mine – Australia… Read more »

Colin
Colin
1 month ago

I think we would all prefer a standard ESC with live performances in the same Rotterdam arena surrounded by massive live audience. I still hope that might be so. However, it’s logical to prepare for different options. And as such, a contest via satellite, or the one without live audiences would be better than nothing. Us fans often have our ratings / reviews based on studio versions alone. This is *primarily* a SONG contest. Sure, performances can sway you one way or the other, but in the end of the day, it’s the song that counts – melody, lyrics, the… Read more »

Bring Back The Orchestra
Bring Back The Orchestra
1 month ago

I really want to see a full packed arena for the 2021 contest! The atmosphere wouldn’t be the same with no audience or a socially distanced audience (sounds depressing tbh).
 
 

Mascha
Mascha
1 month ago

Hmm kind of makes you wonder what exactly held them back from changing the rules back in March. I mean, I guess they needed time to work it out and maybe back then was a little bit short notice, but still.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Mascha

In March, we were just beginning to realize the scale and effect of the pandemic. Kind of hard to prepare when even healthcare professionals were still trying to figure out what to do.

romanian
romanian
1 month ago

So ESC 2021 will be via satellite and they are trying to warm up the audience to the idea.

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago

I don’t think eurovision 2021 will be held remotely because as the ebu said in the 2020 cancellation faq, it’s not in their dna. Actually europe is now opening up again and hopefully there won’t be a second wave (and it will be so hopefully won’t be as bad as the first one), if this situation won’t change so I can see next years eurovision being held with audience.

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago

I actually meant to write if and not it in the brackets

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago

Let’s pray for the best
Here in Israel, we’re already starting our 2nd wave… Not many people here are listening to the restrictions but we’re still opening up so it spreads faster
I hope at least in Europe it won’t be as bad <3

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy Moreno

But still, restrictions are not being tighten yet (while the first lockdown was put there we still had less than 100 infected in a day)

Erik
Erik
1 month ago

Less than 100 CONFIRMED infected you mean? WHO has flagged for this to be a new disease comparable to HIV/AIDS, that will be with us for decades to come. I don’t think it will be cancelled again, but it will be different from prior years and maybe a lot fewer countries than usual. Maybe only one semi heat etc. It’s not realistic to think it will be as usual. And the virus might be down from spread in certain regions but it is still spreading in a lot of regions. And restrictions go down and people travel. The virus continues… Read more »

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Erik

I will never believe this, sorry. You can’t get HIV from going to the supermarket or in public transportation. Terrible example. That’s a disaster of an example. Please don’t say these things. You can’t compare the two by any means. It’s more like flu that comes and goes every season.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Erik

I will never believe this, sorry. You can’t get H*I*V* from going to the supermarket or in public transportation. Ter-ri-ble example. That’s a d-i-sa-ster of an example. Please don’t say these things. You can’t compare the two by any means. It’s more like flu that comes and goes every season even though it’s not really the same.

Kosey
Kosey
1 month ago
Reply to  Una

Please don’t say it is like the flu – that is also a really bad idea.

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago
Reply to  Erik

Tbh, as it seems we will have a lot of countries next year. Eurovision 2021 will be marked as the return of eurovision so I don’t think a lot countries want to miss it. Actually a lot of countries that aren’t rich like: ukraine, bulgaria and latvia have confirmed to partipicate. We will just have a way smaller selection season as most of the countries are choosing their 2020 representatives (which is the right thing to do). I guess there might be a few withdrawals but also I can see some countries like Montenegro and hopefully Andorra returning next year… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Esc2021rotterdam
Erasmus
Erasmus
1 month ago

I don’t really think any country will withdraw, I mean if San Marino is participating, Spain as well (they were really hit by it). Maybe one Balkan nation (Macedonia perhaps), but can’t see any other country withdraw already since 26 countries already confirmed their participation. The ones who are left are: Belarus, N. Macedonia, Russia, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia, Poland, Iceland, Armenia, Albania, Portugal, UK, France, Italy and Germany. Out of these Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Italy. Armenia and Iceland always confirm quite late. Can’t really see UK, Germany and France missing out as well. So that leaves Serbia, Croatia, Iceland, Portugal,… Read more »

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Coratia also confirmed to partipicate a while ago so 27