Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen — the Head of Contest for Eurovision 2021 — has a lot going on. In our following interview, filmed in Hilversum on March 25, he tells us about some of them, including how he helps participating delegations bring their stage shows to life within the bounds of what’s possible and practical.
Twan also discusses the live-on-tape back-up recordings process and how countries had the flexibility to record them whenever they chose. For example, Portugal’s The Black Mamba did their recording immediately after Festival da Canção — at 2am! — after cleaning the stage. That meant he and team members who check and observe the recordings had to set their alarms early.
Eurovision 2021 Head of Contest Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen
Together with the NPO/NOS/AVROTROS team, the Head of Contest is responsible for the creation of the Eurovision 2021 show. That includes everything from PR to ticketing to regulation.
In their office at the NOS building in Hilversum, a team of around 100 people are working on the contest day in and day out until May. As you’ll glean from the interview, it is not quite a 9-to-5 job!
Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen told us:
“It is a lot of work, it’s also very fun to do. Well, I can’t imagine another production in which you are talking to people from Iceland and from San Marino and from Georgia, and all of Europe and beyond of course.”
The Head of Contest revealed that the semi-final running order has been decided, and that he is now waiting for final approval from the EBU. We can expect it sometime next week.
The meeting to decide the running order included eight people, including the Head of Show, multi-cam directors, someone from the technical production team and other executives. His team also used input from each country about the difficulties they may face on stage and the ideas they hope to convey. It’s not just about the flow of the music. It’s also about matters like moving props quickly and efficiently from one act to the next during the 35-second postcards.
Are you excited to hear the running order? Who do you expect to open and close? Let us know in the comments down below!