As the world continues to adjust to life during the coronavirus pandemic, officials behind the Junior Eurovision Song Contest are adapting, too. The EBU has announced that Junior Eurovision 2020 will be hosted from Warsaw, but all artists will perform remotely from a studio in their own country.

Martin Österdahl, the contest’s Executive Supervisor, said:

“Travel restrictions and the ongoing issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic mean regrettably we cannot bring all the artists to Poland to compete in person at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest this year.”

“We are determined, however, that the show must go on and that this competition, held annually since 2003, must continue. Despite the changes this year, all the talented youngsters chosen to represent their countries will still have an equal chance to shine, and, as is tradition, families from around the world will be able to vote for their favourite songs online.”

The statement from the EBU goes on to say that the 18th edition of the contest will still be hosted live and from last year’s winning country Poland “with all presenters and necessary crew socially distancing.” Interval acts will also perform live from Warsaw.

“To protect the health of all the artists and ensure the competition can still take place in a fair and safe way, all the competing songs will be performed in a studio in each participating country.”

Don’t expect one artist to sing on the top of an iconic mountain and another to perform inside a broom closet. To help ensure fairness, the broadcasters from the 13 participating countries will use a similar stage layout and technical setup.

Junior Eurovision 2020: The 13 participating countries

  • 🇦🇲  Armenia (ARMTV)
  • 🇧🇾  Belarus (BTRC)
  • 🇫🇷  France (FTV)
  • 🇬🇪  Georgia (GPB)
  • 🇩🇪  Germany (ARD/ZDF/Kika)
  • 🇰🇿  Kazakhstan (Khabar Agency)
  • 🇲🇹  Malta (PBS)
  • 🇵🇱  Poland (TVP)
  • 🇷🇺  Russia (RTR)
  • 🇷🇸  Serbia (RTS)
  • 🇪🇸  Spain (RTVE)
  • 🇳🇱  The Netherlands (AVROTROS)
  • 🇺🇦  Ukraine (UA:PBC)

Who isn’t competing in Junior Eurovision this year?

With just 13 countries in the contest, Junior Eurovision 2020 has the lowest number of competing acts since 2013 when just 13 acts competed.

It also means that of the competing countries from last year, seven won’t be in the contest this year. Taking this year off are: Albania, Australia, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia, Portugal and Wales.

Wales’ broadcaster S4C was the first to pull out, citing “present circumstances” as their reason. This led to hope from fans that another UK broadcaster would fill into the gap, but no UK broadcaster has done this.

Australia‘s SBS was next to withdraw, citing “current restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty around this situation”. North Macedonia’s MRT soon followed, saying they wouldn’t be competing “due to the current COVID-19 pandemic”.

Ireland‘s broadcaster TG4 also confirmed they were out, citing restrictions on large gatherings and travel issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, Portugal’s broadcaster RTP seemed to be confirming when they said “if there is a competition, RTP will be present.” However, Portugal is not on the list of confirmed countries.

Neither Albania nor Italy‘s broadcasters had previously indicated they would not compete in Junior Eurovision 2020.

But most importantly, these absences are not permanent. There is no reason to think that these broadcasters won’t return to the contest in future years.

Why couldn’t Eurovision 2020 be held remotely?

Naturally, Eurofans have been asking, “Well, why couldn’t they do that for Eurovision 2020?”

While it’s easy to say that in hindsight, the fact remains that the world is in a much different place today than it was back in March when Eurovision was cancelled. The pandemic came on quickly, catching people off guard, and countries had widely varying approaches to lockdown, restrictions, treatment, testing and so on.

In a novel situation with a novel virus, there were simply too many uncertainties to make that a reality. At the time many people even suggested, “Oh, let’s just push the contest back a few months, everything will have calmed down by then.” How wrong that thought has proven to be.

As well, a remotely-hosted contest would have been at odds with the 2020 contest rules. The official regulations specifically described the competition as involving live arena performances. It did not allow for the contest to be reformatted to allow remote performances. The Eurovision 2021 rules, however, are more flexible.

Back in May, at the end of Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, producers said that Eurovision 2021 will take place in some way no matter what. The running of Junior Eurovision 2020 remotely shows how serious they are: They’re exploring possibilities for what might happen in May.

What do you think of the Junior Eurovision 2020 format? Could the same thing work for Eurovision in May? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more Junior Eurovision 2020 news here

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Anthony
Anthony
20 days ago

To me, 13 countries is a fair amount, if not less than I hoped for (which I did)

Marcelo
Marcelo
20 days ago

Today, news came out that the EBU is still open to other countries joining the contest even after the deadline to come to Warsaw!

So, yeah, 13 might not be the final number after all…

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Marcelo

That would be nice. 13 isn’t a bad number, but it’d be nice to have even more.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago

Apparently, the EBU said there’s wiggle room for other countries to participate and this isn’t necessarily the final list. So Beccaboo’s gang of regulars may still show up!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
20 days ago

Last month: “If there is a competition, RTP will be present.”
This month: RTP is not present.
Does anyone from RTP have a comment on that?

Esc addict
Esc addict
20 days ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Yes RTP have said to Esc portugal it was because of the Covid, nothing more, I don’t understand this choice but it’s their choice, their neighboors who are very very affected by the Covid will compete but not them, waiting to know now the reason for Italy cause I don’t understand there are no logic…..if some countries can even with Covid why not the others.

Cameron
Cameron
20 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Because, quite simply put other countries are poorer than others, in this case Portugal has got significantly less money than Spain

Esc addict
Esc addict
20 days ago
Reply to  Cameron

Last month they could and now no, last month they could travel to Poland if the contest happened, they had the money, but now no, moreover knowing they can save money because there will be no travels to pay and hotel rooms to pay for the delegation.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
20 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Thanks. I can speculate, as always. Could it be possible that certain individual participants are more “at risk” than others, and have simply opted out personally? How about the lack of insurance, especially if the contest were to be cancelled at last minute? – All those individual remote stages in home studios could be too big a financial risk. Who knows really. I do like William’s final point in the article: “The running of Junior Eurovision 2020 remotely shows how serious [the EBU] are” about possibly doing the same with the ESC in 2021. In other words, it’s a trial… Read more »

Fatima
Fatima
21 days ago

>Naturally, Eurofans have been asking, “Well, why couldn’t they do that for Eurovision 2020?”

They still could.

No reason why they couldn’t still arrange a remote contest involving all the 2020 songs. It’s not too late. This decision proves that.

I also think that references to the 2020 contest rules are hardly relevant in an era of new rules and regulations affecting every aspect of our lives.

Vagabondo
Vagabondo
21 days ago
Reply to  Fatima

the 13 JESC acts will actually be prerecorded in order to ensure continuity and fairness which can’t be guaranteed on a live broadcast should there be an interruption to the live satellite feed from either one of the participating countries’ TV studio. One can’t rule out that the ESC 2021 contest will resort to making similar compromises if the pandemic mitigation measures aren’t effective enough by January 2021. In addition, all 13 participating countries agreed to use a similar stage layout and technical setup for each performance. It’s unclear yet how the prerecorded acts will be monitored by an EBU… Read more »

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Vagabondo

I think they’re all smart enough to know not to get fancy and glossy. Also, the kids might be talented, but there’s no guarantee they’d be any good at lip-syncing.

cmh787
cmh787
20 days ago
Reply to  Fatima

this comment has bernie sanders could still win the 2016 election, here’s how energy

Hyunwoo
Hyunwoo
21 days ago

I think we owe 2019 an apology

Una
Una
21 days ago
Reply to  Hyunwoo

Why?

Hyunwoo
Hyunwoo
21 days ago
Reply to  Una

I see that many people are complaining that 2020 is horrific due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and multiple tragedies that served as a reminder of how unpredictable our life can be. I understand why they would be losing their minds over 2020. After all, this is something we didn’t prepare although we expected that a pandemic could happen sooner or later. When this kind of unprecedented disaster occurs, people tend to ignore the fact humanity went through worse and that people eventually rose above it. I’d say that it’s just people being hyperbolic as always. Remember how everyone freaked… Read more »

Vagabondo
Vagabondo
21 days ago

According to the German Eurovision.de website, the 13 acts will be prerecorded in order to ensure continuity and fairness which can’t be guaranteed on a live broadcast should there be an interruption to the live satellite feed from either one of the participating countries’ TV studio. In addition, all 13 participating countries agreed to use a similar stage layout and technical setup for each performance. It’s unclear yet how the prerecorded acts will be monitored by an EBU steering group at real time and how close to the actual date of the contest they will take place.
It

Female Lotus
Female Lotus
21 days ago

I am so glad they choose that way. mostly my friends didn’t agree with this option, remotely form each country. But I think it will bring safe to everyone, while the show can still go on, so I hope the best for JESC 2020. I hope it can be a good precedent for ESC 2021.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
21 days ago

This is what the situation should’ve been like in May. Bit surprised that it’s what we’re getting for JESC at the end of the year. I mean, as we’ve seen with sporting events, they made the Champion’s League (football) work, the NFL is coming back, basketball is back, the US Open (tennis) is going on.
I’m all for safety (and I don’t even mind a remote contest) but for me, Eurovision has been one step behind throughout and has not dealt with any restrictions/safety measures well.

Jonas
Jonas
21 days ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

I think that might be a little unfair. The EBU were unlucky in that they had to make all their crucial decisions right at the height of the outbreak, when future planning was impossible.

James
James
21 days ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Yep but there have been instances where a player is tested positive leading sports leagues to suddenly scramble to control potential outbreaks.

Baseball I think was among the first to have experienced that after mere days i to resuming their season. Ignorance of protocols and aftershow partying led to an outbreak affecting a number of tennis players taking part in a tennis tour led by Novak Djokovic, himself infected as well.

And we’re talking about the most vulnerable here, children. We can’t bring them all in one place at the risk of catching the virus.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
21 days ago

As far as I can tell, none of the withdrawing countries specifically said their reason for withdrawing was not wanting to travel to Poland. Covid restrictions are still affecting countries, including workplace situations. There’s only so much that can be done on Zoom. A JESC entry would need in-person rehearsals, vocal coaching, costume fittings, choreography, etc and not to mention the actual filming of the performance. These could be at odds with a country’s government Covid restrictions. To look at Australia, this would currently rule out at least using anyone from the state of Victoria – where three of Australia’s… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago

Ok but when a country is still able to product and make Tv stuff even with the Covid restrictions, I don’t see the problem.

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Australia is making a mask singers show in this moment for example, it’s a big show, with rehearsals, vocal coaching, costumes fitting, so where is the problem to film a 3 minutes performance in the same circumstances

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Masked singers in Australia for example, a big show needing, rehearsals, vocal coachings, costumes fitting, so it’s possible to pre record a 3 minutes performance in the same conditions.

Jordan
Jordan
21 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

As much as you may not like to here this, the world doesn’t revolve around Eurovision. Maybe the Australian broadcaster thought it would be more beneficial to sit out for one year the same with all of the other broadcasters who have sadly withdrawn. The situation we are in at the moment is changing on an almost daily basis and broadcasters need time to plan for an event like this, so it should come as no surprise to anyone to see some broadcasters deciding to sit out this time. The shows they produce in Australia like the masked singer are… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago
Reply to  Jordan

Of course I get your point, I’m not as stupid as some people think here, I’ve said I’m happy Jesc will happen I’m happy of what we will have, better that than nothing. Entitled? Not at all, I just express myself as I feel it on the moment. But when I see the Ebu trying to create something even with Covid , they try to facilitate the way to compete, they have found a way to make a fair contest without advantages for the big countries, they have found a way for the delegations to not be obliged to travel… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago

Nobody has said that some countries don’t WANT to travel to Poland, but some travel restrictions or travel banned was one of the reasons for some countries to withdraw.

Last edited 21 days ago by Esc addict
Marc
Marc
21 days ago

International Sports events are happening.
For example Tennis players and coaches and teams are travelling to USA and next week to Europe. Roland Garros will probably even have small live audience.
Safety always first but those events are possible if people work together and take care.

Jordan
Jordan
21 days ago
Reply to  Marc

All of these sports teams also have medical staff with them at all times and the players and coaches are being tested multiple times a week.

Broadcasters at the moment dont have this luxury. And before you say it, I know that isn’t fair but that’s just the way it is right now.

Alex
Alex
20 days ago
Reply to  Jordan

EBU can hire a medical staff as well. Prevent and do all right. It’s happening in many events. I don’t see a problem or something complicated to get or do.

Last edited 20 days ago by Alex
Whisker
Whisker
21 days ago

Right!

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
21 days ago

I’d imagine if coronavirus is still a problem next year than Eurovision 2021 will look like this.

ESC8
ESC8
21 days ago

A great idea for the JESC, it seems that the countries that decided not to compete in order to avoid travelling to Poland made a bad choice. However, this couldn’t work for the ESC and I don’t think that the EBU will select this method. Besides, the JESC 2020 is about to be held in November, and the ESC in May 2021. We all hope that a lot of things will be better by that time. Fingers crossed

Sirius
Sirius
20 days ago
Reply to  ESC8

Russia starts vaccination in October

Esc addict
Esc addict
21 days ago

Ok good news, the jesc will take place, so happy for that, but with the conditions exposed by the Ebu I can’t understand the withdrawals of some countries, no travels, performances done at home in each countries, so Australia could compete, I mean if Spain France Germany can take part of it, Italy and Portugal for example could be able too…..so I don’t understand their decisions. Moreover when you see even Belarus competing knowing the problems in this country, Australia, Albania, North Macedonia, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Wales, WAKE UP!

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
21 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Every country had their own restrictions relating to workplaces and Covid. Every broadcaster has their own decision to make.

1998
1998
21 days ago

So we can expect the show similar like 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
21 days ago

I love the JESC a lot but I think this is the right decision. If all participants stay at home than maybe it is possible for the country’s who said not to take part this year to change their decision at least. I hope to see Albania. Australia, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia,
Portugal, and Wales  back in 2021.

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
21 days ago

I’m not interested in JESC, but I appreciate that many are and it’s a good place to try out ideas.

Looking ahead, if a live contest is possible next year, I was thinking they could use one of the Ahoy’s smaller configurations, and have live video screens where the audience would be, like they have for WWE

Whisker
Whisker
21 days ago

This sounds practical and realistic. Good luck to all participants!

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
21 days ago

The biggest hit for me is definetely Wales, Ireland, North Macedonia and Albania, because they are underrated and have really good songs . I will be sad because of Italy and Portugal. And a bit for Australia, but not a lot. I hope that they will participate in 2021 :D!

Olivia
Olivia
22 days ago

It’s fair. I actually prefer this format over not having any contest at all, so it will be interesting to see. Now I’m wondering if more countries will join, given that this format will ensure the safety of the participants.

1998
1998
21 days ago
Reply to  Olivia

Better something than nothing at all.

Una
Una
22 days ago

About the question on JESC format and if same could work for Eurovision in May: considering the smaller scale of JESC, I think that the format could work well. I’ve never seen the contest before – only selected performances whenever someone here on wiwi said something that made me curious. So I think that that could work for JESC but I still have the same thoughts as before: technical capabilities of each broadcaster. Standards need to be the same for all broadcasters to be fair to all artists. We can already see from the different national selections that the looks… Read more »

Una
Una
22 days ago
Reply to  Una

About the remote performance for Eurovision in Rotterdam: I’ve made comments on the topic and I maintain my position – which is no remote broadcast – unless safeguards are given to all broadcasters and artists as to fairness to all. See again the comparison between broadcasters in my comment about JESC. It would be unfair that in current times more money would be channeled to public broadcasters for Eurovision to improve technical standards. It should be less costly to subsidize a bubble for all artists and delegations for 2-3 weeks before the contest in Rotterdam, considering that broadcasters make the… Read more »

Last edited 22 days ago by Una
Africavision
Africavision
22 days ago

Pre-Covid, if there were any changes announced to the Eurovision format, I’d be livid that they are altering our beloved contest, and if any countries withdrew, I’d be crying my eyes out, rolling on the floor, and yelling “*insert country name*, why don’t you love us anymore?”. However, post-Covid, and following this year’s ESC cancellation, I’m not, in the least bit, bothered by format changes and withdrawals! As long as a contest is actually taking place, I’m good, because at least I now have something to look forward to for the next couple of months. Beggars can’t be choosers right?… Read more »

Esc43
Esc43
22 days ago

It’s ok at least we’re gonna have q contest… Not so awful as not being held at all

Una
Una
22 days ago

JESC on 29 November 2020. We have a date and that’s great. Good luck to all participants!
Question: do broadcasters release songs in the same vein as ESC? If so, is there a release date for all or does each broadcaster do the same as in ESC? Thanks.

Kaitlin
Kaitlin
21 days ago
Reply to  Una

Well, Germany and Ukraine are out already!

Una
Una
21 days ago
Reply to  Kaitlin

Thanks. OMG is that the best Germany could send to Poland? Theme of the song and English lyrics seem to be for grown ups, not 13-year olds. The vocal gimmick – can it be made live on stage? Her diction in English was good. That’s the only good thing I found about the song/studio version. Ukraine: it started off quite boring then the chorus kicked and I liked it. Then a mix of different parts put together without much cohesion. I could not make the difference at times between the English and the Ukrainian words. So no winner for me… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
22 days ago

Shouldn’t they have seen this sooner, or at least made it an option? Then maybe there wouldn’t have been those withdrawals.

James
James
22 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I’m guessing the approach was discussed before in a recent meeting amongst the Reference Group members with the JESC delegations. Another point to consider is whether there are restrictions preventing kids to leave their homes in some of the withdrawing countries, as I can imagine fielding child performers in consideration for a potential internal selection alone is difficult enough.

Jonas
Jonas
22 days ago
Reply to  James

That’s a point to consider, but with schools mostly open in those countries…

James
James
22 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Is it even safe for kids to be back in schools there? There’s still a lot of anxiety with how education officials in America alone want to shape the upcoming school year this month. On my side of the bush, inaccessibility to online classes have become a textbook reflection of socio-economic inequality where most kids in impoverished and far-flung remote places in my country cannot even be provided with a decent internet connection because the infrastructure is lacking (but the rates are expensive in comparison to other countries).

Jonas
Jonas
21 days ago
Reply to  James

I don’t know if it’s safe, but it’s happening. Thirty energy-filled children in the same room. Maybe education is considered worth the risk, but entertainment not. Which is fair. Caution is best!

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
21 days ago
Reply to  James

Yeah, I suspect all those countries knew about the revised format and chose to stay away. Every country has their own national Covid restrictions, including those that affect workplaces.

Africavision
Africavision
22 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

That’s true, Jonas. I’m hoping that we see a repeat of what happened in JESC2018, where initially 19 countries were announced to be participating, and a few days later, Ukraine decided to join the list of participants as well. Based on that occurrence, I think it is still possible for countries to join even after the final participant list is released.

Leo
Leo
22 days ago

Where’s Portugal?
I mean didn’t they confirm their participation last month??

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
22 days ago
Reply to  Leo

But, unfortunately, they don’t return this year

beccaboo1212
21 days ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

Next year 🙂

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
21 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Anything before today’s announcement is just a provisional confirmation. Earlier in the year, both Italy and Ireland also spoke positively about JESC 2020, but things change!

Bimbamboom
Bimbamboom
22 days ago

So this is plan is ok for JESC but not for adult ESC? It’s sounds strange even if we consider economic issue of the adult version, something similar could have work very well last May. But the main question is if all the participants have to stay home to participate, then why is there not more than 13 participants??? I don’t understand at all?

James
James
22 days ago
Reply to  Bimbamboom

Because preparations for Eurovision 2020 was already well underway at the time of the cancelation, there was simply no sure way how to expect things to be come May, which we knew by then, the pandemic was/ is still reaching record rates of infections. Doing remotely-held live performances from 40+ countries, with one country being in a completely far-away timezone (GMT+8), would be a logistical nightmare to organize in less than 2 months when there is no set protocols on how TV productions would even conducted at the height of the pandemic. In JESC’s case, fewer countries (13 as opposed… Read more »

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
22 days ago

Sad to see that a lot of countries won’t partipicate and that the contest will be held remotely (at least armenia is still part of the game and belarus won’t withdraw because of the situation in the country) but I can understand why, 2020 is overall a shitty year for gigs. About esc2021, I think it must be held in Rotterdam with all partipicating countries performing in ahoy becuase: Poland just hosted a normal show last year while the Netherlands had to wait 40 years to have the contest again there, in the esc2020 cancellation FAQ the ebu said that… Read more »

Neil
Neil
22 days ago

So it’s decided that Oleksandr Balabanov will represent Ukraine in Junior Eurovision…. Why no Polina….

Ashton
Ashton
22 days ago
Reply to  Neil

bcos Oleksandr’s song is miles and miles better

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
22 days ago
Reply to  Neil

I hope too that Polina will be a representant…

Neil
Neil
21 days ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

And on top of that Susan stronger with you won instead of See you later with Susan… JESC whats happening?

Hellohi
Hellohi
22 days ago

This could set a precedent for Eurovision 2021 if the virus isn’t under control .. a studio style contest would be awful

Jonas
Jonas
22 days ago
Reply to  Hellohi

Not as awful as no contest at all.

Hellohi
Hellohi
22 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

It could lead to the contest changing dramatically on a permanent basis . I would rather it didn’t

Fatima
Fatima
21 days ago
Reply to  Hellohi

Life is awful these days, Hellohi. A studio-style contest would make it a bit less awful.

Nobody Important
Nobody Important
22 days ago

I’m upset but it’s completely understandable. I just hope they fix the whole online voting/voting for your own country mess so that some countries won’t have an massive advantage.
cough Poland cough

Last edited 22 days ago by Nobody Important
beccaboo1212
21 days ago

They WILL fix the voting system.

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
21 days ago

I hope too that they will make other voting system, but marking Poland by “cough” is not fair, because not only Poland has advantage.

Safiya
Safiya
22 days ago

Interesting! I’m Polish and I can’t find any info about it in Polish media, it seems that it has not been officially announced by TVP yet (I have just checked their website). I hope that the adult Eurovision will take place in Amsterdam without remote performances… I am sure that they will try to make it as fair as possible but I am afraid it won’t work so well. It also takes away the opportunity to travel and to meet from the artists and fans. But of course health comes first.

Joe
Joe
22 days ago
Reply to  Safiya

Psst…you mean Rotterdam!

Safiya
Safiya
22 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Oops, of course, I meant Rotterdam!

sam
sam
22 days ago

it’s amazing to see belarus is continuing their participation (wouldnt be surprised if it changes) i would be devastated if both north macedonia and belarus withdrew, they’re my two favorite countries at JESC

Alex
Alex
22 days ago

Becaboo1212 Is shook

beccaboo1212
22 days ago
Reply to  Alex

The following better return next year:

• Albania
• Australia
• Ireland
• Italy
• North Macedonia
• Portugal
• Wales unless they permanently close the door on JESC

Joe
Joe
22 days ago
Reply to  beccaboo1212

Nope, still a broken record even now!

beccaboo1212
21 days ago
Reply to  Joe

They WILL return! 🙂

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  beccaboo1212

I admire your relentless positivity!