To date, 2020 has been a devastating year for many of us. The outbreak of a strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, originated in China and has spread across the world, with thousands losing their lives and billions being impacted. As a result, many events that would require groups of people to be in close proximity to others has been completely cancelled or has been postponed. This includes sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the European Football Championship and music and television events. The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to take place from the 12th to the 16th of May, has been cancelled.
So where does this leave the hosts, organisers and the participating artists, whom were waiting to showcase their talents in front of an audience around the 200 million mark?
How did we get here?
The spread of COVID-19 to countries all over Europe in the first few months of 2020 meant many countries, such as Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, were heavily affected, and a decision had to be made that could allow the performers to showcase their entries for the contest but not cause any undue risk. The idea of a virtual contest was floated around on social media, whilst the Danish representatives were selected in an eerie show with no studio audience. Finally, on 18 March 2020, after weeks of pressure, the European Broadcasting Union formally cancelled the contest, due to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This was the first time in the contest’s 64 year history that an edition was cancelled.
What about the Hosts & Performers?
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was due to take place in Rotterdam, in the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, and hosted by the Dutch national broadcasters AVROTROS, NOS and NPO, following Duncan Laurence’s win in the previous contest with his stirring ballad “Arcade”. As of May 2020, the EBU is in talks with various parties to discuss carrying over the host broadcaster, city and the return of artists due to compete. To throw in my two cents, I believe that the Dutch broadcasters should be in control of the 2021 edition of the contest, or whenever it is safe and possible to have such an event. Coronavirus has changed the way that we live our lives and though there are developments in finding a cure to the virus, there is no official time frame on how long this will take.
Following the official cancellation of the contest by the EBU, fans have taken to social media to beg the broadcasters to allow selected artists, especially those picked by the public in national selections, to be able to perform in the next edition. Many broadcasters have already responded, and the likes of Montaigne from Australia, Efendi from Azerbaijan and Roxen from Romania have internally been selected. The rules of Eurovision however state that all artists would have to come up with new songs for any future contest, despite heavy arguments to the contrary. That means that fans of the contest will not get to see the big performances of the tracks they have been listening to for months. The official CD of the contest will still be available to purchase and download for fans to enjoy
However, those bigger broadcasters who make a lot of revenue from viewership of their national selections, including those representing Sweden, Norway and Estonia, have declined giving their 2020 representatives the artist spot for the next contest, whilst many, such as fan favourites The Roop from Lithuania, have yet to be confirmed to compete next year. You can see the full list of artists confirmed for the 2021 contest on the Wikipedia page, which you can find here.
What is Happening in its Place?
In space of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, the Dutch broadcasters will be hosting a special show, entitled Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light. The show will air at 21:00 CEST and will showcase the talents of the forty-one acts who were meant to be competing this week, with twenty six of them in the grand final planned for tonight. It will also feature performances from some Eurovision alumni. You can watch the show on the official Eurovision site at https://eurovision.tv/ or through the host broadcaster of your country, excluding the UK and Ukraine, whom can only watch via their broadcaster.
Several countries have also recorded special shows that would highlight the songs that were meant to take part. Sweden and Austria have already broadcast their shows and selected who they would have given their 12 points to, whilst countries such as the United Kingdom are also celebrating the contest in their own way. Germany has gone above and beyond with two contest-like shows, one for the official Eurovision songs and a second Eurovision-style contest with up and coming artists from the German music industry. Check your host broadcaster’s schedule to see what they are doing!
A Note from the Editor
The Eurovision Song Contest will be back, that much is clear. During this global crisis, the health of loved ones is more important than whether an international music contest goes ahead. All I ask is that the competing artists, the recording teams behind their entries and the host broadcasters are given the opportunity to shine, and not be forgotten in time. I have no doubt though that Eurovision will be back very soon, more dazzling, spellbinding and extravagant than ever before!
What were your plans for the contest prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and how are you going to celebrate the contest? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments section below.
I hope to see you very soon when more news about the possible 2021 edition of this brilliant show comes to light.