There’s a little uncertainty around Junior Eurovision 2020 and now it appears host broadcaster TVP is even considering what might happen if the contest doesn’t go ahead. The broadcaster has announced that the winner of Poland‘s JESC national final will get to perform at the Opole Song Festival in 2021 if this year’s Junior Eurovision is cancelled.
As reported by the Polish Eurovision news site Dziennik Eurowizyjny, the broadcaster confirmed the news in a presentation of their upcoming autumn schedule. Notably, there was nothing said about TVP’s plans for Junior Eurovision 2020. This was a big contrast with last year, when the hosts of JESC 2019 were presented at the broadcaster’s event.
But TVP did make one announcement regarding the Polish act for Junior Eurovision 2020. Poland will again use a junior version of the national final contest Szansa na sukces to select its act for JESC. But in the event that Junior Eurovision doesn’t go ahead, the winner of Szansa na sukces will have a chance to perform at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole.
The festival — which has been running since 1963 — is a celebration of contemporary Polish song and songwriters. It’s an important event on the Polish music calendar. In recent years Eurovision stars Michał Szpak and Tulia have taken home major prizes from the contest.
The JESC edition of Szansa na sukces 2020 is due to begin on 6 September. On the judges’ panel will be Poland’s Junior Eurovision 2019 winner Viki Gabor, Eurovision 1994 queen Edyta Górniak and music composer Piotr Rubik.
A year of pandemic withdrawals
It hasn’t been smooth sailing in the lead-up to Junior Eurovision 2020.
With four countries — Ireland, North Macedonia, Australia and Wales — withdrawing from Junior Eurovision 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns, the question remains whether other countries will have to make the same decision regarding their participation in Eurovision 2021.
Earlier in August, a spokesperson from the Portuguese delegation told Eurovision media, “if there is a competition, RTP will be present”. The wording of the statement implied that in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Junior Eurovision 2020 still isn’t a done deal.
Portugal’s “confirmation” leaves 13 countries that have provisionally confirmed their intention to participate in the contest. This includes Germany, which will be making its debut. Fans are still waiting on the 2019 participants Albania, Armenia and Italy to confirm their participation for 2020.
It is important to note that the four withdrawing nations have only confirmed their non-participation at Junior Eurovision 2020, not total withdrawal from all future editions of the contest.
Junior Eurovision 2020 is scheduled to take place in Warsaw, Poland on 29 November. If it does go ahead as intended, we can expect a show unlike any that’s gone before. The show is due to take place in a television studio rather than an arena. The production should also act as a testing ground for both the EBU and participating broadcasters on how to best organise Eurovision itself in 2021.