The major forums that were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic are gradually returning to international life: scientific and technical, economic, sports and cultural. So the International Music Contest Eurovision-2021, according to its organizers, is planned to be held live, although keeping within strict health and safety limits. The dates of the semifinals are May 18 and 20, and the final will be held on the evening of May 22.
The 65th edition of the world’s largest live music event will be held in Rotterdam, one of the largest cities in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which won the right to host the competition after the country’s representative Duncan Laurence won with the song Arcade at the 2019 contest.
Rotterdam is located in the province of South Holland, which is the most multicultural region of the kingdom. Representatives of 174 nationalities live there, including people from all participating countries. According to the competition website, the city showed fantastic enthusiasm in the fight for holding of the show, which earned the right to welcome delegations from more than 40 countries.
The cities of Utrecht, Arnhem, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Maastricht also competed for the right to organize the world’s largest music television competition with an audience of 200 million people.
On March 2, 2021, the leadership of the European Broadcasting Union confirmed that the competition will be held in the same way as before, but with increased measures to protect the health and safety of people and observance of social distancing, while emphasizing that the way the competition is held may change if circumstances worsen.
According to the proposed scenario of the competition, the number of participants in each of the delegations will be reduced. The number of journalists will also be reduced to 500, and another 1,000 media employees will be able to cover the contest in a special press center. The issue of the public’s presence at the contest will be tackled later.
According to the organizers, the difficulties of the current period and the lessons of the pandemic require more flexibility and changes even in the format of the Eurovision Song Contest itself. Therefore, the contest rules have been adapted to the new reality.
Starting with the 2021 contest, performers will be allowed to use pre-recorded backing vocals. This is done in order to reduce the number of delegation members, expand the creative potential of each applicant and reduce the technical burden of the host broadcaster.
This rule is not mandatory. Live backing vocals can also be used, or use recorded backing vocals along with live ones. The pre-recorded backing vocals should not overlap the lead artist or somehow replace him. There are no restrictions on the number of backing vocalists in the pre-recorded vocals. After the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, this rule may be revised.
As for the competition participants, due to its cancellation in 2020, many broadcasters of the countries send those performers who were supposed to go to the competition last year, while some will hold national selections. At the same time, the rules for selecting songs and performing them no earlier than September 1 of the year preceding the contest remain in force. The main music event will bring together artists from Europe, as well as Australia, representing all the participating countries of the failed 2020 contest.
As Martin Osterdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor said, “The spirit and tradition of Eurovision is to unite Europe on one stage, and we are still determined to achieve this in Rotterdam in May. We are moving forward to implement our plans in organizing a safe Eurovision Song Contest, with all artists performing live in Rotterdam. This protocol demonstrates our commitment for this to happen, thereby the health and safety of everyone present, including the team and the press, are our top priority.”