Ahead of Eurovision 2021, the European Broadcasting Union announced that pre-recorded backing vocals would be allowed to help create a more sustainable contest. The thinking, according to Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl, was that the move would help countries cope with new realities, such as the pandemic and tighter budgets. Delegations could pre-record their backing vocals, thereby leaving those singers at home. It would save them money and could reduce the size of the traveling delegation (if countries chose not to replace the backing singers with dancers, anyway).
It’s now been tested for 2 years and I think it’s time for @Eurovision to stop allowing vocals on the backing track again. It’s just not as interesting. I want to know that every vocal is live, but maybe that’s just me.— Daði Freyr ? (@dadimakesmusic) May 18, 2022
As was the case for Eurovision 2021, the rules for Eurovision 2022 stated that the lead singer must perform live. But there was flexibility regarding the backing track. The rules stated:
“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.”
At Eurovision 2021, 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.
“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,” Martin said. “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.
As we saw with the glorious Chanel and Ronela, however, a lot of delegations instead choose to use the extra space to fill the stage with dancers.
What do you think? Should pre-recorded backing vocals be allowed? Do you think it would impact the quality of the show if they were banned? Let us know in the comments box below.