When Hungary‘s broadcaster MTVA wasn’t on the list of confirmed acts for Eurovision 2020, many fans hoped it would be a one-off. But the broadcaster has now released the rules for the 2021 edition of its national song contest A Dal — and once more, there’s no mention of Eurovision.
MTVA has opened submissions for A Dal 2021 and has released the rules for entry. There is much in common with standard Eurovision rules — artists must be at least 16 years old, songs must be no more than three minutes long, no animals are allowed on stage.
But A Dal also varies a little from Eurovision in that up to ten performers are allowed stage. A Dal 2021 also allows pre-recorded backing vocals — something that is also new for Eurovision 2021.
The winner of A Dal 2021 will receive support to record up to ten songs as well as one music video. As well, four other finalists will receive music production support.
The champion will also receive the Petőfi Music Award. There will also be category Petőfi awards given to the Best Lyricist, and the Best Discovery for an artist making their A Dal debut.
But despite all that, one thing is missing from the A Dal 2021 rules: there is no mention of the Eurovision Song Contest.
While Hungary could still compete at Eurovision 2021 by selecting their act through another method, given Hungary’s withdrawal in 2020, it seems likely they will be taking another year off.
Montenegro’s broadcaster RTCG recently confirmed that it would not be returning to Eurovision in 2021.
Hungary’s withdrawal in 2020
Prior to 2020, the A Dal rules explicitly confirmed that the winner of A Dal would also go on to represent Hungary at Eurovision. But since 2020, this has been dropped, replaced with the Petőfi Music Award prizes and other perks.
MTVA did not give a specific reason for why they were withdrawing from Eurovision 2020 but said that instead of doing Eurovision, they “will support the valuable productions created by the talents of Hungarian pop music directly.”
However, after speculation in foreign press that Hungary had withdrawn from Eurovision over the presence of gay performers, the broadcaster issued a strongly worded statement saying this was not the case.
A Dal 2020 went ahead without the Eurovision connection. And despite it suffering from low viewership, things turned out well for the winners. Hungary’s Eurovision 1997 singer Gergo Rácz along with Reni Orsovai won A Dal 2020 with their song “Mostantól”. The song broke records, spending 19 weeks at No.1 on Hungarian radio.
Hungary’s history of Eurovision breaks
Hungary has a history of withdrawals at Eurovision. After their 1994 debut, Hungary ended up taking a break between 1999 and 2004. After their return in 2005, they took the years 2006 and 2010 off, citing financial difficulties.
Since then, they’ve had an impressive qualification streak from 2011 to 2018, including three top-ten finishes. Hungary also regularly does well with songs in the Hungarian language, though its most recent Hungarian entry — Joci Pápai’s “Az én apám” — failed to qualify.
Other countries have taken a year off from Eurovision with impressive results on their return. Ukraine didn’t compete in 2015 due to the Crimea situation and won on their 2016 return. Likewise, Portugal didn’t compete in 2016 due to financial issues and won on their 2017 return.
While it remains to be seen whether Hungary will eventually return to Eurovision, many fans eagerly await a Hungarian comeback.
Entries for A Dal 2021 are currently open and will close on November 10. The contest will run from 23 January to 13 March.
What do you think? Should Hungary return to Eurovision? Or is MTVA better to stay focused on Hungary alone? Tell us your thoughts below!