Eurovision 2021 live backup tape recordings

The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 are masters of scenario planning. Owing to the ongoing pandemic they had to figure out how to stage the contest in a variety of scenarios — including a totally remote edition. Hence all of this year’s participating acts had to supply so-called live-on-tape performances. These would be used in the event acts couldn’t fly to Rotterdam. In the end, only one back-up recording — from Australia’s Montaigne — was used during the live shows.

But what of the rest? Well they haven’t gone to waste. The EBU decided to celebrate these contributions with the Eurovision Song Celebration — a two-part series on their YouTube channel that showed what the delegations had up their sleeves. Artists were allowed to perform three times at a studio or arena of their choice, and could then choose the best tape to submit.

Ahead of Friday’s first episode dedicated to the eliminated semi-finalists, Eurovision organisers confirmed that viewers would not see Ireland’s Lesley Roy or the UK’s James Newman in the shows. The official website writes: “Neither the MAPS or Embers Live-on-Tape performance will feature in the Eurovision Song Celebration shows, as both artists want the live performance they delivered in Rotterdam to be the version that people remember”. It added that Lesley and James would still appear in the shows.

That means that all y’all have now seen 37 live-on-tape performances, including Australia’s backup which aired during semi-final one. Naturally we have to ask: Which live-on-tape performance is your favourite? You can vote for as many performances as you’d like, but you can only submit your responses one time. Be sure to make it count by ticking the box next to each performance you want to send some love.

 

Eurovision Song Celebration: Who gave the best live-on-tape performance?

During our live-stream chat, several of us noted that certain performances really elevated in the backup recording. For instance, many of us thought that Czech Republic’s Benny Cristo seemed more vigorous and vocally on-point during his backup tape. By performing in a smaller space, the artist can sometimes seem more larger-than-life — they don’t get swallowed by the stage.

Other performances were pretty much copy-and-paste from the national final. For instance, Croatia’s Albina gave a lovely performance, but it felt very familiar to anyone who had watched Dora. She did, however, tweak the on-screen graphics.

Portugal filmed their live-on-tape performance shortly after The Black Mamba won their national final. Producers wiped down the floor and they recorded from 02:00am local time. Norway also filmed their live-on-tape shortly after the final. TIX hit the stage on the Monday after his win.

We know that Germany and Lithuania pooled resources to film on a massive stage in Vilnius — it literally recreated the ESC stage with its own runway. North Macedonia traveled to RTS studios in Serbia, effectively sharing the space with Hurricane.

 

So, which countries did you vote for? In a full-on live-on-tape scenario, who do you think would have won? Let us know in the comments box below!

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Patrick Pastor
Patrick Pastor
11 days ago

2022 is going to have a hell of a time topping 2021.

Christopher
Christopher
13 days ago

If Ireland and the UK want to start getting votes at Eurovision they should participate in things like this that are loved by the fans- by them not showing their taped performances they are just giving the fans another slap in the face. Pathetic.

Jonas
Jonas
13 days ago
Reply to  Christopher

Things like Wiwi interviews and concerts… oh wait, they did. For over a year.

CyxCy
CyxCy
13 days ago

Either way, live-on-tape is a good idea to keep for later editions. Of course, it will be necessary to regulate their use, but this will allow countries to participate even if they encounter a problem, and it will prolong the party as with these two evenings organized on the website.

Una
Una
14 days ago

Måneskin were så goooood!!! I could see they had the concept for the live show well put together. Doors open from behind the scenes Damiano welcomes us into their world Damiano accompanies us up and front Damino bows while saying “buonasera signore e signori” (good evening ladies and gentlemen) Then he says “fuori gli attori” (the actors are out there) and Damiano and Victoria come down next to him. *Top staging and choreo*. OMG it was så good. The best Eurovision staging ever!! The only thing I liked more in the live-on-tape was that we could see more of Ethan… Read more »

Jenny
Jenny
14 days ago

Azerbaijan is just a trainwreck

Kirby
Kirby
14 days ago

I would think Rotterdam 2021 could be mere paperwork, a listless and half-hearted edition. Quite the contrary: It resulted in a powerful comeback, one of the best editions ever, such a competitive year with a nerve-racking voting sequence. Unforgettable, epic!!! The Netherlands broadcaster and EBU produced a quality event, the entrants focused more on performance rather than bringing human hamsters, robotic paraphernalia and trampolines. In sum, Rotterdam 2021 will be something to treasure in your memories for good.

Eurofan
Eurofan
14 days ago

I think Greece had a better performance on their back-up clip.
Less glitchy green screen and back to basics.
Liked her outfit too….although as a man, I couldn’t complain about her Rotterdam catsuit either. Vocals about the same…really good in both cases.

Eurofan
Eurofan
14 days ago

Yes, I would like to add my gratitude to all those hundreds of people who have made this years contest possible. I was worried that this year would be of a lower standard…..a kind of Eurovision lite !! I needn’t have worried. This year has been one of the strongest in recent years, for the quality of the artists and songs, as well as the hosting country putting on a fantastic show. A message to the hosts…..your country may have finished near the bottom of the score board, but to me and countless other fans of Eurovision, you are the… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
14 days ago

I want to thank everyone involved in this season. It has been a tremendous achievement under challenging circumstances. The live-on-tape performances have been a lovely bonus this year and have given very interesting insight into the creative processes. I haven’t seen all of them yet, as I have been busy this weekend, but what I have seen looks great. Thanks and lots of love.

OberonYronwood
OberonYronwood
14 days ago

Somehow, Ukraine was as spectacular on the live tape as it was on the actual contest, damm.

I think this made me appreciate the effort that the host country puts into creating a stunning stage show even more. Congratulations to the EBU and ARVOTROS for giving us such a quality show, specially this year when you didn’t even have half of the income you could have had during a normal year.

Héctor
Héctor
14 days ago

Ukraine was even better than on the Eurovision stage.

KuhKatz
KuhKatz
13 days ago
Reply to  Héctor

I mostly agree with this, the only issue I have, is that the camera work was way better in Rotterdam.

However, the LoT has one special thing that missed the big stage, and that‘s the backdrop that make it feel like they‘re on a platform floating through their story into cyberpunk world. The floor in Rotterdam was just not built for this and that made it hard to recreate.

hebbuzz
hebbuzz
14 days ago

So again nil points for UK!
That wont teach them,sadly.
They refuse to reflect on their own behaviour and way of treating eurovision. ?

Torry
Torry
14 days ago
Reply to  hebbuzz

Ireland missing too??

Eurofan
Eurofan
14 days ago
Reply to  hebbuzz

I would agree that the song and performance was lacklustre.
Also, I have no issue with us receiving zero points. I do think James and the BBC were treating the contest with respect, but just didn’t come up with a good overall package.

taco
taco
14 days ago

lithuania built a replica of the stage wowww
greece and moldova had vocal tuning??

Last edited 14 days ago by taco
Aisha
Aisha
13 days ago
Reply to  taco

Yes, Lithuania build a replica of the Rotterdam stage. It was actually the biggest stage in the country:D Jendrik also used it for live on tape.

Sot
Sot
14 days ago

It’s so funny how Azerbaijan is last in the poll, rightful place I guess

Blackcat
Blackcat
14 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Those suspenders were a little bit distasteful for Eurovision.

Thomas
Thomas
14 days ago

Gotta give props to Lithuania for remaking the stage.

Ieva
Ieva
14 days ago

I voted for Lithuania whose performance was just as good, and Belgium whose was even better!

Friedenau
Friedenau
14 days ago

Oh wow, Ukraine was EVEN better on this live on tape performance!!! the projections on the floor are really amazing.

Dimos
Dimos
14 days ago

Something that I think almost nobody noticed: Stefania’s dancers are dancing on Moldova’s live-on-tape

Jinbeizaki
Jinbeizaki
14 days ago

I’m so thankful EBU showed us those tapes and even helped us cure with post Eurovision depression. It was amazing to see how some delegations already had pretty much the whole package ready, the tweaks that were made or just the complete different staging we got. Yet it also showed to me how much I appreciate the Netherlands for making Eurovision 2021 happening with an audience because how sad it was at moments to not hear reactions from an audience, it also makes some artists shine even more with an actual audience listening and cheering for them. For people who… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
14 days ago
Reply to  Jinbeizaki

I hope DIODATO will be part of the interval acts next year in the Grand Final with a proper stage performance, not a recording.

Jinbeizaki
Jinbeizaki
14 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

YES! I hope very very much so many previous Eurovision Italian acts would be part of Eurovision 2022 and for Diodato to be able to have a chance to perform his song especially with how much it resonated with the situation then and still now.

Maartijn
Maartijn
14 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

Diodato would’ve and should’ve won Esc 2020. His performance in Verona arena was epic.

sTommie
sTommie
14 days ago
Reply to  Maartijn

According to the rules that performance was never eligible as a live on tape performance.

Una
Una
14 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

Wooow. Fab idea. RAI please listeeen to la gente! Diodato with “Fai rumore” on the Eurovision stage in Italy.
It would be very fitting because:

  • “Fai rumore” was the rightful winner of 2020 and Diodato did not manage to get to Eurovision.
  • “Fai rumore” may be the most iconic songs of 2020 for Italian people.
  • Eurovision is coming back to Italy after 30 years. “Rumore”!!
Sot
Sot
14 days ago

Semifinalists’ performances (B=better live-on-tape, W=worse, BTS=basically the same, NOT THE BAND)

Slovenia: W
Australia: BTS (actually, TS)
North Macedonia: W
Croatia: W
Romania: B
Estonia: W
Czech Rep.: B
Austria: BTS
Poland: B
Georgia: W
Latvia: W
Denmark: BTS, but actually W

Alen
Alen
14 days ago

Disappointed with Malta and Switzerland, greatly surprised with Spain, Serbia, Ukraine and Italy

Alex
Alex
10 days ago
Reply to  Alen

Blas’ song is a masterpiece in every way. He also produced the song. He’s a seasoned artist. He’s COMPLICADO album is also a piece of art. Every single song! I haven’t listened to an album beginning to end in 10 years. This one has been in rewind on my phone for the past week. And this is from American to Spain. Go Blas. Can’t wait for his soon to be released second album.

Eurofan
Eurofan
14 days ago

What I found/my opinions: Most of the live on tapes from the semi 1 nq’s were not very good. Australia probably had the best one out of them. I really didn’t like a lot the camera angles used, especially when they zoom out a lot. It made it look like they were either on a very small stage or studio. France’s was incredible. Ukraine’s also extremely good Poland’s LoT was better than their actual performance I still can’t believe Lithuania recreated the Rotterdam stage A theory: So each delegation got full creative freedom basically. Some tried to replicate the Rotterdam… Read more »

Erik
Erik
14 days ago

Do anyone know when Sweden was being recorded? Because I hear a Tusse with his former voice…. His voice was completely gone on the Monday following the melfest final. If they did the backup recording on the Sunday it could pretty well be the straw that broke the camels back. Maybe they wanted to record it while they still had the stage and all. Hmm. If this is the case then perhaps it was the Swedish production that pushed him too far. He has said himself that he was advised by the doctor not to speak at all for the… Read more »

Day one
Day one
14 days ago
Reply to  Erik

It’s the melodifestivalen rehearsal footage so was recorded before Tusse won

Samo
Samo
14 days ago
Reply to  Day one

I don’t think that’s possible. Live-on-tape recordings were made under EBU’s supervision and I highly doubt producers sat through all 10 Melfest finalists during their rehearsals.

sTommie
sTommie
14 days ago
Reply to  Samo
Erik
Erik
13 days ago
Reply to  Samo

*12 finalists

Jenny
Jenny
14 days ago
Reply to  Day one

That’s not possible since it wasn’t allowed, I guess it was recorded soon after the Melodifestivalen final.

Erik
Erik
14 days ago

Surprised by the overall quality. Not every national selection holds a ESC standard. Most did more than I expected. The only thing I noticed is a few obviously too small stages with strange lightning being used. This would surely have worked as a backup. Only sad thing is money would have mattered. That makes the big stage so powerful actually. Kudos to everyone involved in achieving this good backups!

Ted
Ted
14 days ago

Considering that these pre recorded live on tapes were submitted in February and March, I was amazed at just how many were so close to looking like they were on the grand final be it LED, costume or staging. Just goes to show that those countries that did well were ahead of the game and all they needed to do was tweak and polish. Those entries were elevated on the big stage in Rotterdam. I’m going to use this space to throw some shade to the BBC here. Shameful that a broadcaster that gave the world the infamous and legendary… Read more »

Julie
Julie
14 days ago

Lithuania’s staging was on point! So happy they appreciated their artists enough to take this seriously and not put them in a shoe box :))

Last edited 14 days ago by Julie
Vytautas
Vytautas
14 days ago
Reply to  Julie

And yet, somehow Lithuania got only 55 points from Jury (3 times less than from Televote – 165) while Iceland (basically, just as quirky as Lithuania, but more phlegmatic) got 198 points from Jury. Say whatever you want but if ESC would be apolitical, Lithuania would have been in in the TOP5 instead of TOP10. Still happy for The Roop and the 2nd best Lithuanian result but it’s really questionable whereas some countries (include our, Lithuania) should take part in this contest since winning it is impossible. At least I’m happy Televote gave a middle finger to Malta for copy-pasting… Read more »

Jamie
Jamie
14 days ago
Reply to  Vytautas

Stop crying. Portugal won for the first time after participating for more than 50 years. Lithuania is completely fine, they have absolutely no reason to withdraw. Their selection is steadily improving every year, the future is bright for Lithuania. I can see them winning in the upcoming years. So stop this nonsense, please.

Shan
Shan
14 days ago

Considering some of the lyrics on Mata Hari, I don’t wonder why Armenia chose not to broadcast Eurovision this year. Some people might find it a bit tasteless mostly because of the lyrics of the song.

“I’m a liar
Playing the game of desire
Ain’t gonna leave no survivors
Would you fall for me now?”

“The army of lovers
I start a fire

I am a dangerous lover
Drinking my poisonous water
And you’re under my spell
Mesmerizing
Moving my hips, you are trying
You can’t resist, try to fight it
Got a story to tell

Azaad
Azaad
14 days ago
Reply to  Shan

I know Efendi might have questionable politics, but her songwriters were probably not trying to taunt Armenians. The lyrics are fairly appropriate for a song about a supposedly legendary spy (though IRL Margaretha Zelle, the woman behind Mata Hari, wasn’t a great spy), who was chosen to be the subject of the song because she was Dutch and we were in Rotterdam.

Shan
Shan
14 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Yes I can agree that, I doubt the song is aimed at Armenia in any way, but if I would be an Armenian recovering from yet another war, I doubt the lyrics would sound good to hear since it could be misinterpreted.

Pip
Pip
14 days ago
Reply to  Shan

Despite their differences, you have to respect that Armenia and Azerbaijan have never tried to censor each other’s performances. Even in 2012, Armenia still aired the final despite not attending in Baku.

I don’t think the lyrics would be interpreted with a war rhetoric. “Set Me Free” is rather more politically dodgy to interpret but …I don’t think that’s what they were going for either.

Azaad
Azaad
14 days ago
Reply to  Pip

The thing is, Set Me Free’s lyrics aren’t in any way problematic, but it becomes ironic if you think about which country is singing them.

Shan
Shan
14 days ago
Reply to  Pip

Yeah that’s true, at least they try to get along most of the time as much as possible.

Helen
Helen
14 days ago

Italy, Ukraine, France, Lithuania, Belgium were the best ones, also Poland and Croatia looks better on tape.
Italy would still won I think, Malta looked a bit dark, but I like Destiny’ dress so much , Gjon’ performance on Rotterdam stage looked more impressive, Moldova wouldn’t qualify with it and Portugal probably too…

off topic, looks like there is a slow burn romance between Kateryna and Gjon, they are absolutely adorable, they gonna meet soon in Paris, he calls her “my Kate” now…. aww,
I like they didn’t hype it for PR in Rotterdam

Last edited 14 days ago by Helen
Berta
Berta
14 days ago
Reply to  Helen

yup, I was sure they’re just close cute friends, but after last Kateryna’ night stream when Gjon popped up with words : “I love you my Kate, can’t wait to see you soon” and her reaction and her words about him its obvious they’re in love, I adore them even more now lol, also Gjon confirmed they’re seriously thinking about colab with Kate and the band since last year

Last edited 14 days ago by Berta
Mil
Mil
14 days ago
Reply to  Berta

He is 22, she is 32, and when asked about him in the interviews she speaks of him as of her younger brother.

Grft
Grft
14 days ago
Reply to  Mil

also gjons is gay

Nick
Nick
13 days ago
Reply to  Grft

he could be bi anyway, and I would go straight for Kateryna’ love lol

Berta
Berta
13 days ago
Reply to  Mil

how age gap is even a problem? if it was vise versa nobody would care, it’s a pure sexism and it’s not like she double older than him anyway, and she never called him her little bro, she said many times she loves everything about Gjon,she even met his parents in Roterdam and her teammates were saying: finally our Kate met her parents in low (yes they were joking, but I doubt they would said it if they were just friends) it’s so obvious she has crush on Gjon , though I still don’t clearly sure about how Gjon feels,… Read more »

Blackcat
Blackcat
14 days ago
Reply to  Helen

They are just friends.

Maldric
Maldric
14 days ago
Reply to  Helen

Portugal was a sure qualifier…no matter the stage

ESC Stan
ESC Stan
14 days ago

My comment isn’t intended as a discussion on whether i like the song or not, nor whether she would have qualified in different circumstances, but seeing these its hard to deny that Australia was at a severe disadvantage this year. I suppose if they weren’t going to qualify this year was the year to do it.

Anita
Anita
14 days ago

Ukraine by far. It is better than in Rotterdam.

Xxx
Xxx
14 days ago

I’m shocked at how many artists didn’t take live on tape seriously.

Grft
Grft
14 days ago

Ukraine, Belgium and France. Wow. In a full LoT scenario I think France would have won the contest (perfect performance), Ukraine the televote (that staging looks way better in a studio, it looks like the platform is floating, this is really mesmerizing) and Belgium would be top10 (THIS IS SO GOOD why couldn’t they build such a staging in Rotterdam? Was it too complicated to set up?). Finland, Bulgaria and Lithuania were also great – did Lithuania really have enough money to replicate the Ahoy stage? That’s impressive. Also Romania and Australia would have had a better shot at qualifying… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Grft
May
May
13 days ago
Reply to  Grft

Lithuania and Germany shared the stage in Vilnius and probably also the costs 🙂

Barry
Barry
14 days ago

Funny to hear that some people here found the smaller stages on the Live-on-tapes better, while during the construction of the Rotterdam stage many complained that it was small.

Samo
Samo
14 days ago
Reply to  Barry

Maybe they weren’t the same people? There are quite a few of us who always said big stages don’t make sense for ESC as only 6 people per performance are allowed so you end up with a huge empty space that doesn’t look good on TV. And there are others who like big stages such as Moscow 2009 and those probably complained about Rotterdam. It’s normal for different people to have different views 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
14 days ago

It was interesting to see how advanced most staging concepts were already in late February/early March. Just a few countries came with a different plan. In my opinion, France and Ukraine had the best live on tape performances, so maybe they would make things more difficult for Italy in the overall result and the televote respectively. Though both Maneskin and Blind Channel did their best to give the small studios a real stage feel. I actually liked Switzerland more in the live on tape. The camera cuts were way better and Gjon looked more comfortable with his moves (maybe because… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Sabrina
Jonas
Jonas
14 days ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Belgium – I think that big empty place might be where the 1987 contest was held.

James
James
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

It was. 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
14 days ago
Reply to  James

I recall reading that the producers of Eurovision 2021 took a while to understand what the Belgium delegation was trying to do with their live on tape, so maybe they weren’t understanding why using such a big place to film it, but that shot explained everything about their intentions. And it looked great.

Maldric
Maldric
14 days ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Its a song contest not a staging contest

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
14 days ago

Well, this is all moot to me because I can’t watch in America because it’s geoblocked!

Lolek
Lolek
14 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

really? I’m in Canada and am able to watch though. :O

Kristian
Kristian
14 days ago

Switzerland’s live on tape was so much better than the Live visuals , they should have kept this !!!!

acp
acp
14 days ago

Azerbaijan wouldn’t have qualified with the LoT performance. The backround looks extremely cheap and her dance is way worse than the one in Rotterdam. Thank god she didn’t need to use this one

Lolek
Lolek
14 days ago
Reply to  acp

Agreed. Azerbaijan was one of my favourites this year and I wouldn’t have felt this would have made a worthy qualifier with the presentation here.

Last edited 14 days ago by Lolek
just an esc fan
just an esc fan
14 days ago

In a scenario where all countries competed with their live on tape performance:

France would be the winner, Ukraine would have won televoting and Belgium could be Top10…

Honestly wouldn’t mind these to happen.

I decided to vote for Belgium. Watching the last seconds of that performance was much better than Rotterdam. It was kinda like they were trapped and were in the wrong place, which is exactly the message of their song.

Last edited 14 days ago by just an esc fan
Steven
Steven
14 days ago

It’s interesting that so many artists have kept their stagings from February-March, while others (e.g., Serbia and Malta) made completely new performances.
My winners of the night are Ukraine and France. I still think that either of them should have won this year instead of Italy..

Jonas
Jonas
14 days ago

I don’t understand the Flo Rida bit in San Marino – if it was actually him, or just somebody pretending to be him.

Jamie
Jamie
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Definitely not Flo Rida.

Samo
Samo
14 days ago

I feel a small stage is a much better fit for Russian Woman. They did too many wide shots in Rotterdam, instead of focusing on Manizha’s great performance. But the Russian delegation also made some mistakes, I wish they would keep it more authentic – some of that was lost in their attempts to translate the message into English.

The live on tape was much much better than the Rotterdam performance although it missed the walk-in dress and the sound mix was quite off during the chorus.

Azaad
Azaad
14 days ago
Reply to  Samo

The Marian iconography in the first background’s chorus was such a beautiful visual though.

Shuma
Shuma
14 days ago

Anyone know name of the blonde ukrainian dancer?

BoyWithEmotions
BoyWithEmotions
14 days ago
Reply to  Shuma

i read somewhere his name is Ivan and the other one is Dimitri

Vsl
Vsl
14 days ago
Reply to  Shuma

Ivan (Vanya) Yurkiv, IG: @yurkiv_vania

Colono
Colono
14 days ago

Ukraine is just wow.

Anne Marie
Anne Marie
14 days ago

Serbia had some good elements in their live-on tape, wonder why they didn’t use them in Rotterdam

Jo.
Jo.
14 days ago

Ukraine and Italy, but thank god for the live show!

lol
lol
14 days ago

San Marino was a trainwreck, thank god she didn’t need to use that

Alex
Alex
14 days ago

Ukraine looks amazing. The performance looks really nice when you see the floor and the background as if they were just one, and the group perfectly integrated there. Those visuals make more sense in that context. They know what they’re doing, that’s for sure!

Donkey
Donkey
14 days ago

Ok but Israel and Greece had WAY better performances here. I also preferred Malta’s colours here but she needed dancers.

Erik
Erik
14 days ago
Reply to  Donkey

I’m sorry, how was Greece better here?

Thisisntourlastdance
Thisisntourlastdance
14 days ago

Bulgaria felt so flat coming after Finland. That must be the explanation of her 30 televote points.
Also, she dissapointed me vocally again, I expected better.
It was a mistake to go for her less viewed and streamed song ” just coz of staging potential ” ( she was sitting on a rock during the entire performance )

BoyWithEmotions
BoyWithEmotions
14 days ago

The high quality of Shum live on tape performance left me speechless, Ukranian team definitely know what they are doing, and the BIG standing applause to cameraman work, it was mezmerazing !

France, Lithuania and Italy were amazing as well, bravo!

Last edited 14 days ago by BoyWithEmotions