There has been a great flow of news regarding next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Rotterdam, following the cancellation of the 2020 event over the coronavirus pandemic. Just three days ago, our three host broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS announced the dates for the 2021 contest, but now we are in front of historical changes, which aspire to ensure the smooth running of the competition in the future, regardless of global conditions.
Each and every one of us got into uncharted waters during this ongoing pandemic. So did the producers of our favourite competition, who had to deal with unprecedented conditions, which made the cancellation of this year’s competition their only option. However, according to the new executive supervisor of the contest, Martin Österdahl, the lessons learned from this year’s situation will make them more flexible with their planning and the competition’s rules, which are being modified in order to ensure Eurovision’s staging in the years to come. Mr. Österdahl states:
As organizers 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. These elements are in our DNA and part of our legacy.
The new Executive Supervisor of the event and his entire team might be facing major challenges, but look decided to maintain this annual tradition despite the difficulties:
It is my mission, as I step into the big shoes left by Jon Ola Sand, to ensure the Eurovision Song Contest remains agile but true to its traditions, its values, and its history. When we bring the Contest back in 2021, we are bringing it back for good.
Backing vocals may be pre-recorded
Αs confirmed today, the beginning of these changes will be made by lifting the ban on the existence of backing vocals on the tracks that play during the performance of the competing songs on stage. All delegations that wish to provide backing vocals for their lead artists, will not be required to send vocalists to the competition, but will be able to decrease their size, after recording the supporting vocals in the track that will be heard during the performance of each contestant.
According to the EBU, this change will give the delegations the ability to come up with more creative ideas and proposals, as well as to reduce the cost of their trip by traveling with fewer people, as well as to limit any technical challenges for the host broadcaster.
The implementation of this most flexible regulation is entirely optional, as any country wishing to provide backing vocalists on or off stage will be free to do so. Mixed vocals (both pre-recorded and live) are also acceptable. However, the pre-recorded track will not be allowed to include any “Lead Vocals, Lead Dubs and/or any other vocals that would have the effect of, or aim at, replacing or unduly assisting the Lead Vocals during the live performance on stage”.
At present, this innovation is only approved for 2021, while it will be examined whether it will be valid for future Eurovision editions after the end of the upcoming contest.
Will there be any other changes?
The EBU suggests, any other new change in 2021 or later is possible, but it is still too early for more decisions and announcements. However, the great ambition of all is the potential for a Eurovision Song Contest in the way we know all these years.
Under the slogan Open Up, the 65th Eurovision Song Contest will be staged on 18, 20 and 22 May 2021 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.