Are pre-recorded backing vocals allowed at Eurovision 2022 in Italy? Well the official rules for the song contest say yes.
The EBU’s Rules of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest were uploaded to the web site of Icelandic broadcaster RUV on Friday, coinciding with the announcement they’d opened submissions for their national selection show Söngvakeppnin.
As was the case for Eurovision 2021, the rules state that the lead singer must perform live. But there’s again flexibility regarding the backing track. The rules state:
“The accompanying Backing track may optionally contain Backing Vocals. However, the Backing track in question shall not contain (i) Lead Vocals, (ii) Lead Dubs and/or (iii) any other vocals that would have the effect of, or aim at, replacing or unduly assisting the Lead Vocal(s) during the live performance on stage.”
Pre-recorded backing vocals are allowed for Eurovision 2022
In June 2020, Eurovision Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl revealed that the EBU would give broadcasters the option to use pre-recorded backing vocals during Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. It was meant to help create a more sustainable contest.
Österdahl explained that the EBU was relaxing the rules on backing vocalists singing live in order to help countries cope with new realities.
“The lessons learned from the spring of 2020 are that we need to plan for a global crisis, and we have tailored the rules of the Contest to that effect. We must be able to be more flexible and to make changes even to the format itself and how we organize the event in these challenging times.”
The EBU elaborated on some of the advantages, saying it would allow songwriters and producers “to present their work as close as possible to their original composition” and to save delegations money by allowing them to bring fewer people. (At the same time, they could opt to use those funds to bring extra dancers instead).
It added that permitting recorded backing vocals “also contributes to reducing the technical burden and costs for the host broadcaster as well.”
At Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam, several countries made the most of pre-recorded backing vocals. Croatia’s Albina, for instance, used her own voice on her backing track, helping to create a truly intoxicating mix.
Several other artists — most famously Iceland’s Dadi Freyr — included large choirs on their track. His even included hundreds of his own fans, including Germany’s act Jendrik.
Pre-recorded vocals were not completely alien to the contest prior to Rotterdam. Popular national finals such as Sweden’s Melodifestivalen and Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix have made use of pre-recorded backing vocalists in the past few years. Norway’s Eurovision 2017 entry JOWST was also allowed to use a vocal sampling during his performance of “Grab The Moment” in Kyiv.