Despite the cancellation of the 2020 contest due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across Europe, the European Broadcasting Union are adamant that the 2021 contest will go ahead regardless of the state of the pandemic by May next year. In an interview with RTS, Event Supervisor for the EBU Nadja Burkhardt stated that the organisation are planning two scenarios for next year’s contest.
Collaboration and innovation
Besides Eurovision, the EBU exists to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources between member broadcasters. In these uNpReCEdeNtEd tImEs, this is more important than ever. She specifically mentioned the BBC as a member institution they have been collaborating with to map out their options for next year.
We work with other organizations and organizations, especially sports and with our members, such as the BBC for example, to find out how they plan their events, what are the elements that we have not yet considered.Nadja Burkhardt, Events Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest
Though many fans have called for an online alternative for the contest, the EBU have outright rejected this and have emphasised that the contest will undoubtedly take place, even if alternative measures need to be implemented.
Specifically regarding travel restrictions, she has emphasised the fast-paced nature of current events:
We are copying what is happening right now: overnight, countries on the red list are coming off it or vice versa. We can travel and the next day we can no longer travel. We need to change the planning at the last minute.Nadja Burkhardt, Events Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest
Two possible scenarios
She went on to set out two scenarios are currently being considered, with the second one having many sub-scenarios.
Scenario 1: The pandemic is over and the competition is held normally as we knew it until now.
Obviously the ideal; the first scenario is one where the pandemic is stabilised to the point where the contest can proceed ‘as normal’. This means that there will be no travel restrictions, AHOY will have a full audience for the live shows and there will be all the trimmings, such as a press centre, Eurovision village, Euroclub, etc.
Scenario 2: The pandemic is still ongoing and the competition will be held with some restrictions.
This is the scenario that fans would rather not think about, but perhaps seems more likely. In this eventuality, the contest will still go ahead, albeit with as many elements as is feasibly possible depending on the restrictions in place in the Netherlands in May, as well as the participating countries.
She did not specify the exact logistics, however, she stressed that this would be very dynamic, and flexible enough to adapt to last-minute policy changes.
What I am particularly interested in is whether we can move from one scenario to another. How easily we can change from one version to another at the last minute, is what currently concerns the organizing committee.Nadja Burkhardt, Events Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest
The interview concluded with Nadja by repeating the sentiments of executive supervisor Martin Österdahl, stressing that the show WILL go on!
We will really try to do everything so that the competition can take place on siteNadja Burkhardt, Events Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision 2021 so far
Over the past few months, a number of broadcasters have confirmed whether they will be keeping their 2020 artists for next year’s contest. Whilst most have confirmed that they will be sticking with their 2020 selection, the likes of France and Cyprus will be sending different acts next year. So far, the 19 confirmed artists are:
- Australia – Montaigne
- Austria – Vincent Bueno
- Azerbaijan – Efendi
- Belgium – Hooverphonic
- Bulgaria – VICTORIA
- Czech Republic – Benny Cristó
- Georgia – Tornike Kipiani
- Greece – Stefania
- Israel – Eden Alene
- Latvia – Samanta Tīna
- Malta – Destiny
- Moldova – Natalia Gordienko
- Netherlands – Jeangu Macrooy
- Romania – Roxen
- San Marino – Senhit
- Slovenia – Ana Soklič
- Spain – Blas Cantó
- Switzerland – Gjon’s Tears
- Ukraine – GO_A
We also know that national selections will be going ahead in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
Did you find this interview reassuring? Are you looking forward to Eurovision 2021 in whichever form it takes place? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the over the coming months.1