Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2021 is due to begin in just over two weeks — but things are going to be different this year. Contest producer Karin Gunnarsson recently spoke about how the production will minimise risk from Covid-19.
Talking to to Sveriges Radio show Kulturnytt, Gunnarsson revealed that if anyone — performer or crew — starts to feel sick, there are different backup plans to call on. She explained, “It all depends on what day of week that the person starts to feel sick. We not only have one or two plans but three plans.”
An an example, Gunnarsson explained that if a performer was healthy during the Friday rehearsal but unable to perform on the Saturday show, the Melfest team would have the option of playing the recorded version of the rehearsal on the live Saturday show.
Gunnarsson didn’t elaborate on what steps would be taken if a competitor falls ill before their rehearsal performance, but the implication is that there will be ways to ensure the song is still able to remain in the competition.
In Melodifestivalen it’s the song not the singer that is entered in the competition, so it would be possible to switch a performer at the last-minute without breaking any rules. At Melodifestivalen 2020, singer Thorsten Flinck was disqualified from the competition and replaced by Jan Johansen less than one week before the semi-final where the song “Miraklernas tid” was due to be performed.
Behind the scenes this year, each artist will have their own bubble. The artists, along with their own teams, will remain isolated from others, including being transported to the locations and during rehearsal time.
The flexibility of the new Melfest stage design
Melodifestivalen 2021 will be held differently from usual years. The regular Melodifestivalen tour has been cancelled and instead all six shows will be held at Stockholm’s Annexet hall. As well, the Melfest shows will not have a live audience.
Yesterday SVT shared the design of the Mello stage and confirmed that the stage had been designed to take advantage of the shows not using an audience.
The stage has a lower roof as well as a catwalk-style design that extends out where the audience would normally be. The stage design allows artists to perform in many different formats.
Also speaking to Sveriges Radio, Frida Boström, a spokesperson from Universal Music was positive about the new stage design. She said, “Depending on which song and what kind of performance you want to do, it can be positive to not depend on where the audience sits or stands. I think there will be very good looking performances this year.”
What do you think? Should Eurovision 2021 use similar backup plans for its shows? Tell us your ideas below!