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!