Today, the European Broadcasting Union has announced that a number of changes are being made to the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest to ensure that there will be no chance of a cancellation to any future Eurovisions in the years to come.
Pre-recorded backing vocals are in!
Most notably, the new Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Martin Österdahl, has announced that for the 2021 contest, delegations will be permitted to use pre-recorded backing vocals on their backing tracks. This rule change is not yet a permanent change and will be revisited after the 2021 contest has taken place.
The use of pre-recorded backing vocals will be entirely optional. Delegations can continue to use live backing vocalists if they wish, or a mixture of live and pre-recorded backing vocals. By allowing this, the EBU states that this will mean delegations can save money by having smaller delegations with fewer performers as well as keeping the contest safer in times of the ongoing global pandemic.
In addition, the EBU mentions that as the musical landscape progresses, this change will allow the live performances be even closer to their studio counterparts. Examples of songs that have been forced to adapt due to the previous set of rules include Poli Genova’s “If Love Was a Crime” and JOWST’s “Grab the Moment”.
Safer and cheaper
In regards to the changes made for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Österdahl has made the following statements:
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. We must be able to be more flexible and to make changes even to the format itself and how we organize the event in these challenging times.
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.
Österdahl concludes by stating that when Eurovision returns in 2021, it will be “back for good”:
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. 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.