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.”
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These are the 13 countries that will compete in Junior Eurovision 2020. It will be hosted from Warsaw, but staged remotely. The EBU says: “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.” ?????????????????????????? #jesc #jesc2020 #junioreurovision #junioreurovisionsongcontest
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!