Rotterdam 2020+1 – News, Thoughts and Feelings

It’s been a little while since we heard the expected, but still devastating news that the Eurovision Song Contest had been cancelled. Eurovision fans worldwide were united in their feelings of disappointment, and even anger that there wasn’t an alternate way to see the 41 songs compete for the trophy. What else we have in common is that we all now have to come to terms with the decision.

What else has happened in the past few weeks?

We thought the cancellation was a knife to the heart, but the EBU then delivered the next blow. The 41 competing songs would not be eligible for the 2021 contest, set to take place in Rotterdam as far as we know, although this is yet to be confirmed. Each individual nation may choose to re-select their acts, but the songs that we became connected to this year will not be seen on the Eurovision stage. It’s difficult to know that we went through months of national selections, the highs and the lows, and we will never know which song reigned supreme, but I guess we have to treat it as a ‘choose your own adventure’ where each individual fan can come to some sort of conclusion on their personal winner.

On one hand, it’s easy to see why the Reference Group made the decision that they did – the songs would be over a year old once they hit the Eurovision stage, and it would be breaking the publication date rule. On the other hand, this situation is totally unique, and perhaps breaking the rules for one year wouldn’t be so bad? I guess the most devastating part of the choice is that the likelihood seemed high that a nation that had not yet won Eurovision would actually win.

It’s not just fans that have spoken up about the decision, but we have seen artists, delegation members and songwriters speak up. Thomas Schreiber, Head of Entertainment at NDR in Germany has spoken up to say that he does not agree with the decision to not allow the 2020 songs a chance on the Eurovision stage for the reason that it has ‘destroyed large investments in 41 countries, destroyed the hopes and dreams of many artists, and disappointed the Eurovision family.’ Bulgaria’s broadcaster BNT have also mirrored this sentiment, as has San Marino’s RTV.

Returning Artists, or a Fresh batch?

At the time of writing this, a total of 13 artists have been re-selected for Eurovision in 2021:

  • Australia – Montaigne
  • Azerbaijan – Efendi
  • Austria – Vincent Bueno
  • Belgium – Hooverphonic
  • Bulgaria – VICTORIA
  • Georgia – Tornike Kipiani
  • Greece – Stefania
  • Israel – Eden Alene
  • Netherlands – Jeangu Macrooy
  • Romania – Roxen
  • Spain – Blas Cantó
  • Switzerland – Gjon’s Tears
  • Ukraine – Go_A

Some nations have determined that they will still move forward with their national selections, and whether the 2020 artists will take place or not is yet to be seen. Perhaps most devastatingly for Eurovision fans is the recent news that Daði Freyr will not be returning to the Icelandic selection should that go ahead, as he feels that he would be selected again regardless of the song, rendering it unfair to the other competing acts. Considering he was perhaps one of the strongest favourites to win the contest, if I were on the Icelandic delegation, I would be doing everything humanly possible to select him as the representative. Nonetheless, we will see how this pans out in the coming weeks or months. A similar situation is happening with Lithuania, Norway and Denmark, where the normal national selection has been announced.

Filling the Void

The EBU has announced an intention to honour the songs and artists of Eurovision 2020 through the programme Europe Shine A Light, which will be produced by the Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS in collaboration with the EBU. This will be aired on the night the Grand Final was set to be held, Saturday May 16th. All 41 songs will be featured in a non-competitive format, and will be hosted by the three hosts who were set to present Eurovision this year, Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit. Online content presenter NikkieTutorials will also be involved.

Although it will certainly not replace the beloved contest, it’s at least something to recognise the work gone into the entries this year. In addition, some national broadcasters have announced special television programs, including the United Kingdom who will broadcast a show called ‘Come Together’ on May 16th. Sweden has also announced alternate programming, giving the Swedes a chance to vote.

What’s Next for Eurovision Union?

After a brief break, Eurovision Union is back, and we plan to bring you a whole range of new content over the next few months. Our collaboration with ESCDaily will continue, and we have some exciting things to come, which will hopefully reignite the Eurovision spark after the devastating (but necessary) news that Eurovision 2020 was cancelled.

We have also decided to go ahead with our 2020 Song Reviews, and we would love for you to follow along, and comment on our social media with your thoughts on the would-have-been entries of 2020.

Although we are devastated that we can’t bring you content live from Rotterdam, the most important thing is that everyone stays safe and well.