Watching Eurovision from inside the arena is an amazing experience. You really feel the energy that the singers give the crowd — and you feel the wave of energy that they give back to the artist. There’s also another big highlight of being a few metres from the stage: seeing what happens in between performances.
During Eurovision 2021, about one minute passed between one artist saying “Thank you, Europe!” and the next artist starting their performance. On TV this gap was filled with cutaways to the audience and other artists cheering. It also included the postcards, which saw an illuminated house popping up in various parts of The Netherlands before it was filled with projections of the artists and clips from their personal life (like TIX cradling his cat Findus).
While that’s rolling effortlessly on screen, the actual stage can be a bit chaotic. We filmed some of the action to show you how quickly and efficiently the crew works not only to set up props and get artists on and off the stage, but also to sweep and wipe down the floor to ensure that performers are safe. The crew are unsung heroes of Eurovision — without them the performances would not be possible (or we’d have to wait forever as artists like Stefania rolled in their own green screen staircases).
The video that follows mostly focuses on what happens between performances, so if you want to see the actual performances just search for them on YouTube. We’re not playing favourites with these clips. Sometimes we had our cameras on for key moments and sometimes we didn’t! Cinan and I were simultaneously uploading clips to Instagram and Twitter, so things sometimes got a bit jammed.
Eurovision 2021: What happens on stage during the TV postcard segments?
Here are some timestamps in case you want to skip ahead.
Belgium to Russia
00:05 The stage crew roll off the piano and other equipment from Belgium’s Hooverphonic to make room for Russia’s Manizha. A male crew member wears her Russian doll dress to get it on the stage before jumping out so Manizha can get in. During the opening bars of her song you see a steady-cam operator swirling around her to capture her iconic facial expressions.
Albania to Israel
01:46 Albania’s Anxhela Peristeri concludes her performance before being escorted off the stage. Israel’s Eden Alene and her backing dancers then move onto the stage (which is drained of smoke over the course of thirty seconds). Wires fall from the ceiling so that the crew can raise some equipment to the rafters. Another steady-cam operator stands in front of Eden for her opening notes.
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Finland to Bulgaria
02:59 A crew member helps Bulgaria’s VICTORIA climb onto her rock (which is really a metal frame with a wooden exterior and a man inside steering it). Two camera operators get close to capture our girl in all her glory. Notice that at the end, as she shouts to the crowd, a door opens on the right of the rock. Presumably this is how the operator inside climbs out.
Lithuania to Ukraine
03:58 Ukraine’s Go_A stand at the back of the stage as their wintery forest props are rolled out and put together. We count at least nine crew members who sweep the floor and assemble the main stage piece. If you look to the front of the forest, it seems that the crew struggle to make sure that two pieces are fully joined. Several people pile in.
Iceland to Spain
05:43 Spain’s Blas Canto sang beneath a beautiful moon, which connotes the cycles of life and the ever-changing tide. But the moon is actually a giant balloon! At the start of this clip you see a deflated rubber mass or some kind of giant sick bag that, in less than 30 seconds, inflates to create a beautiful moon.
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France and her camera operator
06:10 This final clip comes from the end of the performance by France’s Barbara Pravi. She doesn’t have any props. Instead, she finishes the song by singing directly into a camera held and operated by a man right in front of her face. It’s obvious they have developed a close bond. You can see Barbara give him a fist bump as she exits the stage for the final time.
Are you as obsessed with this efficient stage crew as we are? What other changeovers looked difficult to you? We’ll try and find more on our camera rolls!
— William Lee Adams (@willyleeadams) May 22, 2021