When the EBU announced that Eurovision 2020 would be cancelled, it felt like a dark, gloomy storm cloud had drifted over the Eurovision fandom. But every cloud has a silver lining, and as the Eurovision 2020 season continued, we came to realise that there was plenty to enjoy about the season. Here are 11 reasons why the Eurovision 2020 season wasn’t so bad after all.
1. The national selections slayed
2020 really was an exceptional year for national selections. This year we saw multiple countries showcasing more of their talented Eurovision hopefuls, with Armenia, Poland and San Marino all reverting back from previous internal selections, and Israel and Norway extending their previous national finals. Such was the overall quality that some outstanding acts didn’t even make it to Eurovision, including fan favourites like Elvana Gjata, Erika Vikman, Raylee and Dotter – many of which we expect to return for vengeance in the years to come.
2. Daði Freyr’s UK chart success
Going into Eurovision 2020, Daði og Gagnamagnið’s song “Think About Things” seemed like Iceland’s great hope to finally take home the crystal microphone. But while that could never be a possibility in 2020, the cancellation of Eurovision 2020 certainly wasn’t the end of the road for the song. “Think About Things” went on to be a bona fide hit in the UK, spending nine weeks in the chart, peaking at No.34. The popularity of the song has been enough to warrant a UK tour for Daði in April 2021.
3. The Eurovision movie gave us something to obsess over
Even in a regular year, things are pretty quiet over the summer. Thankfully this year, we had something to keep us occupied — the Netflix movie, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The film was the work of the American comedian Will Ferrell — a self-confessed Eurovision fan. He had spent years researching Eurovision and the end result was a film that captured the essence of Eurovision, as well as making audiences laugh and cry. It also came with plenty of Easter eggs for fans, from that hamster wheel to a cameo from our own William. And a bonus is the film soundtrack, full of songs that could easily work at real Eurovision entries. PLAY JAJA DING DONG!
4. National final veterans were finally selected
2020 was a year where perseverance paid off for many artists. Lithuania’s The Roop, Iceland’s Daði Freyr, Georgia’s Tornike Kipiani and Italy’s Diodato all won their respective national selections on their second attempt, as did Estonia’s Uku Suviste on his third. Then there’s Azerbaijan’s Efendi who was selected on her fifth attempt, and Samanta Tīna who finally won her ticket to Eurovision after a whopping seven attempts for both Latvia and Lithuania. Now that is what you call dedication!
5. We had something to dance to
Some of the most loved songs of 2020 came complete with memorable dance routines. The Roop, Little Big, Daði og Gagnamagnið, Samanta Tīna and VAL all introduced their songs with simple dance-along moves. Daði Freyr’s “Think About Things” even inspired its own choreography, with fans using the song as the soundtrack for their quirky TikTok videos.
6. Some 2020 artists were given another shot
The 2020 national final season introduced us to a lot of compelling new artists that we were looking forward to seeing perform live. But while Eurovision 2020 was cancelled, for a lot of these artists their Eurovision dream hasn’t ended. Some broadcasters have given their acts a return ticket to Rotterdam, ensuring they’ll have another chance to slay on the Eurovision stage.
7. American Song Contest announcement
All going well, we’ll be getting another song contest next year. After much speculation, the producers of the American Song Contest announced that the show was due to launch sometime in the holiday season of 2021. While a broadcaster hasn’t been confirmed, the show will reportedly use a similar format to Eurovision. In the meantime, it’s given fans plenty to speculate about.
8. Eurovision stars treated us to at-home performances
In the spring, many countries used some form of lockdown in order to keep Covid-19 under control. So while it meant that artists couldn’t perform gigs at live venues, they could still deliver performances from home. The EBU organised the weekly Eurovision Home Concerts series, and even the Wiwi Jam stayed at home. Many Eurovision stars generously contributed performances and let fans enjoy the Wiwi Jam magic from their sofas. A shout-out also to the #EurovisionAgain team — letting fans experience classic Eurovision editions while tweeting along at home.
9. Little Big smashed a YouTube record
The music video for Little Big’s Eurovision entry “Uno” was released only a few days before the EBU announced that Eurovision 2020 would be cancelled. But there was something about the video that captivated viewers, perhaps the alluring retro flared-jumpsuit dance moves. The video went on to clock up over 147 million views, making it the most viewed video on the official Eurovision account.
10. The year of the underdogs
At the time of cancellation, the top three favourites to win were Bulgaria, Lithuania and Iceland – none of which have ever won the contest. It was both heartwarming and exciting to see the hype surrounding these acts in their proud native countries, as well as in the international media. And now that the underdogs have had a whiff of victory, they are sure to come back fighting even harder in 2021.
11. Eurovision united us in times of serious need
When dark events struck the world, for many of us, stuck at home with minimal human contact, music was one of our only escapes. During lockdown in an Italy devastated by coronavirus, households gathered on their balcony to sing their Eurovision entry “Fai Rumore” in solidarity. In a year where age-old struggles with racism were brought to light in the Black Lives Matter movement, we had a record seven out of 41 countries represented by black artists, displaying a message of visibility and inclusion to Europe. In a time of international crisis and mass grief, Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light brought together not only all 2020 acts, but households from all over Europe, giving us some much needed Eurovision spirit but in a sensitive and touching way.
The 2020 Eurovision season may not have lived up to our hopes. In fact, it may not have even come close to it. However, we’ve still had some nail-biting thrills, got to know many wonderful new artists, and heard some jolly good music. The Eurovision community is now closer than ever before, and the things we have learnt this challenging year can only make us, and the contest, stronger and stronger. Now, let’s raise a glass to the class of 2020!
And let the season of Eurovision 2021… begin!
What were your favourite moments of the 2020 season? Share your thoughts below!