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What’s a gay to do? Two rival Eurovision Song Contest replacement specials set to air on the same night

Nick Duffy March 31, 2020
The Eurovision logo seen outside the Rotterdam Ahoy, the official venue for the planned Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

The Eurovision logo seen outside the Rotterdam Ahoy, the official venue for the planned Eurovision Song Contest 2020. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Eurovision Song Contest replacement specials are like buses: you spend weeks wallowing in self-isolation, and then eventually two come along at once.

We’re still in mourning for the 2020 edition of the pan-European song contest, which was cancelled for the first time in its 65-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But fans hoping for something to fill the Eurovision void are in for a treat, as two competing specials have now been announced to take the place of the contest’s grand final.

Rival Eurovision specials to air on the same night.

The European Broadcasting Union announced on Tuesday that it is to air a two-hour celebration, titled Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light – which will bring together the 41 artists that were meant to compete at the contest from the safety of their own homes.

Meanwhile, the UK is doing its own thing – with the BBC having already announced its own dedicated special hosted by Graham Norton, titled Eurovision: Come Together.

While we appreciate the vintage references in both names, the two projects are currently both set to go out on exactly the same night – Saturday, May 16.

Netherlands' Duncan Laurence performs the song 'Arcade' after winning the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 19, 2019
Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence performs the song ‘Arcade’ after winning the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 19, 2019 (Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The EBU’s project, supported by Dutch broadcaster NPO, will see well-known Eurovision artists from recent years “invited to participate in linking Europe through other familiar songs from the past, performed in iconic European locations”.

The 2020 artists will also join together for “a performance of a past Eurovision hit, with unifying lyrics appropriate for the current situation we find ourselves in”.

Per the release, Dutch internet star NikkieTutorials – initially set to be a green room host for the 2020 contest – will  still create online content for the special broadcast.

Europe Shine A Light will bring together 2020 acts

Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the Contest on behalf of the EBU, said: “Sadly there will be no Eurovision Song Contest this year. Instead, we intend to unite Europe on 16 May with a unique prime-time TV programme.

“We are encouraging all broadcasters who were due to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and EBU Members in other countries, to air this show in the spirit of unity and togetherness.”

It’s unclear as of yet if the EBU’s special will air in the UK, though it will also be available on the Eurovision YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, the BBC says of its special: “BBC One and Graham Norton bring the country together for a special Eurovision broadcast – Eurovision: Come Together on Saturday 16 May.

“Produced by BBC Studios the show will feature classic Eurovision performances, a look at what would have been in 2020 and entertaining interviews, including this year’s UK entry James Newman.”

More: BBC, eurovision, eurovision come together, eurovision song contest, eurovision: europe shine a light, Graham Norton, NikkieTutorials

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