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Eurovision announces sweeping changes to ensure contest can come ‘back for good’ in 2021

Patrick Kelleher June 18, 2020
Iceland Eurovision coronavirus rules

Iceland's 2020 Eurovision entrant Daði og Gagnamagnið (YouTube)

Eurovision organisers have announced a series of sweeping rule changes that will ensure the song contest will go ahead next year.

Fans of the contest were left heartbroken earlier this year when the contest was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But organisers have insisted that next year’s contest will go ahead as planned – and they are already making changes to ensure that it can proceed without disruption.

They are amending rules to allow greater flexibility in the way the contest is run, which will mean they can prepare in advance if there are further outbreaks of COVID-19 in Europe.

Eurovision will allow performers to use recorded backing vocals for the first time.

The new rules, which have been approved, will allow performers to use recorded backing vocals for the first time ever.

Up until now, recorded back-up vocals were not allowed, with organisers insisting that all vocals were performed live on stage.

This will change next year in an effort to bring down the number of delegates travelling across Europe to take part in the competition.

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.

However, competing nations will not be obliged to provide recorded back-up vocals, and they will still be able to send a team of vocalists if they so choose.

The rule change will remain in place on a one-year trial basis and could be rolled out permanently if successful.

Furthermore, organisers are updating rules which will allow them to modify the format of the competition if there is a second outbreak of COVID-19.

The change in rules would mean that the contest could still go ahead in an alternative format in the event of a further outbreak.

They said it is “currently too early to speculate” on scenarios they could face with next year’s contest.

The contest could go ahead in an alternative format if there is a subsequent outbreak of COVID-19.

“It is of course our preference that we are able to come back with a contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations,” the organisation said.

“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,” said Martin Österdahl, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.

“As organisers of the world’s largest live music event we are determined and united in our mission; to bring back a contest, a new winner and a handover to a new host broadcaster,” he added.

“These elements are in our DNA and part of our legacy.”

He insisted that “authenticity and fairness” have been at the front of their minds in amending the rules.

“We have to adapt, even if, as preferred, we are able to come back with our A-scenario; a contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations.”

He added: “When we bring the contest back in 2021, we are bringing it back for good.”

 

More: Coronavirus, Europe, eurovision, eurovision song contest

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