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!

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Safia
Safia
16 days ago

They are the backbone of eurovision! And is why I want to go to the contest one day. Barbara and her cameraman’s fist bump was just perfect.

Una
Una
16 days ago

I am just amazed at the technology. The staging in Rotterdam was that impressive that it’s reached my own top of “which edition had the better staging”. LOL, I don’t even have to wait for the article to be published!!

And of course, I am expecting that Italy surpasses the Netherlands as host. It should only get better!!

Robert
Robert
16 days ago
Reply to  Una

Why talk about surpass when the Netherlands just did an amazing job.. I don’t get that.. I hope Italy at least equals.. This has been an amazing show and thank the Dutch for that, credit where credit is due..

Last edited 16 days ago by Robert
Una
Una
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert

I was very complimentary about the Netherlands and said they’re in my top of best staging. First place to be more specific.

Expecting even better is not something bad and it does *not* take anything away from the amazing shows in Rotterdam.

WannaEatMySpaghetti
WannaEatMySpaghetti
16 days ago

You mean the performers and their props don’t magically appear and disappear on stage? Unbelievable. Sarcasm aside, it’s always interesting to see this kind of moment on video. What I would like to see is the artists backstage 10 minutes before they go on stage.

Colono
Colono
16 days ago

One friend of mine, who has never watched the contest before, couldn’t believe it was a live show. He keept asking me that is this really live, how everything looks so different and every performance looks like a video clip.
I said b*tch thats the reason why we are in love with Eurovision lol

Erik
Erik
16 days ago

Indeed it was spectacular to see in Stockholm 2016. Things like dami im being lifted up to a huge block. Sergeys large wall. Rolling out a mat for the sparkling pyro to land on. All the stuff for Annie-Lee of Germany being carried out within that 40 seconds timeframe. A drum set being brought in etc. Also how the items position and arrows to where the artist should leave and where the others should enter where perfectly marked with the led screen in the floor. What happens in between is like even more impressing than the acts themselves sometimes. They… Read more »

sTommie
sTommie
16 days ago
Reply to  Erik

I remember from Duesseldorf how there was a countdown counter on the led floor for the artists, so they knew exactly when the backing track started.

Branko86
Branko86
16 days ago
Reply to  Erik

Annie-Lee of Germany??? Who is Annie-Lee?

Jjj
Jjj
16 days ago
Reply to  Branko86

She wore a bizarre head dress made of what looked to be toys and such, search up Germany 2016

Una
Una
16 days ago
Reply to  Branko86

I think Erik’s talking about Germany 2016 – the artist was called Jamie-Lee. I think she ended up last with 0 points.

shin
shin
17 days ago

the footage of manizha’s dress being shifted backstage cracks me up

Ted
Ted
17 days ago

Love these behind the scenes snippets.
It’s amazing how quick the crew can change scenes. Would love to see more next year.

Alvaro
Alvaro
17 days ago

Really nice to see some light to the enormous effort that goes to put on an amazing show like this, well done!

Sot
Sot
17 days ago

Yeet