Back in May, producers of the Eurovision Song Contest promised that the show would go on in 2021 one way or another. And today, at a press conference inside Rotterdam Ahoy, they outlined the various forms that could take.
There are four scenarios which respond to different ways the Covid-19 pandemic could affect holding the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. It’s clear that the EBU and host broadcasters have taken a lot into consideration and are determined that the show will go on, one way or another.
Scenario A: A normal Eurovision Song Contest
This is the Eurovision we know and love. It will be held at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena and will include the usual nine shows (the three live shows plus rehearsals). The arena will be packed full of fans and delegations. There will be activities galore around Rotterdam, including the Eurovillage and Euroclub.
However, the EBU says that “the feasibility of this scenario largely depends on the roll-out of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 or the availability of reliable testing.”
Scenario B: Socially distant Eurovision Song Contest – at 1.5 meters
This version would also involve the usual nine shows at the Ahoy Arena — but this time with social distancing. The audience at the shows would be required to stay 1.5 metres away from each other at all times.
The EBU acknowledges that this would require a new seating layout which would mean fewer people would be able to fit in the arena and therefore some people will have to give up their tickets. The EBU says, “If that happens, a fair draw will be held to decide who can still attend each show.” They also confirm that full refunds would be given.
Under this scenario, there will also be limits on the size of each delegation and on the number of media that can attend. Activities in Rotterdam may also be reduced.
This scenario also meets the Dutch government’s current restrictions for live events.
Scenario C: A Eurovision Song Contest with travel restrictions
This scenario is for a situation where some delegations would be unable to travel to Rotterdam.
The shows in Rotterdam would be similar to Scenario B, with social distancing and a reduced audience. If any delegations were unable to travel to Rotterdam, they would still be able to compete in the contest. They would perform their song in their own country and that would be incorporated into the show.
The EBU confirms that the distance performances would be pre-recorded while the show in Rotterdam will remain live.
This is reminiscent of the format that Junior Eurovision 2020 is using for all its competing acts.
Scenario D: Eurovision Song Contest in lockdown
This is a worst-case scenario. If the Netherlands ends up in a strict lockdown situation again, there will still be a Eurovision Song Contest. However, this version will not involve a live audience nor activities around Rotterdam.
The EBU describes this scenario as being very like Junior Eurovision 2020. The participating countries will stay home and submit a pre-recorded live performance on their song. These will be incorporated into the show hosted at Ahoy Arena — but with no live audience.
When will a decision be made?
The EBU says that “a definitive choice between scenarios will be made based on the situation in the early months of 2021.”
Dutch host broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTRS have two years preparation time and are determined that a show will happen.
The Eurovision 2021 stage design, the slogan and the logo
At the presentation, Executive Producer Sietse Bakker also confirmed a few details about the look and feel of the contest.
The 2020 stage design will remain. Bakker revealed that the stage has already been built and is waiting to be assembled in storage at Ahoy Arena.
The contest slogan will also remain “Open up”. While the slogan had a certain interpretation in 2020, it has taken on a new meaning as Eurovision opens up after its year off.
Bakker also confirmed that the logo will be given a tweak for 2021. Details of this were not specified, however the 2020 logo was specifically designed around the 41 competing acts of that year and included a visual timeline from 1956 to 2020. With this in mind, it is possible that the new logo won’t be revealed until after the 2021 participating countries have been confirmed.