EBU cancels Scenario A, still wants artists & audience in Rotterdam for Eurovision 2021

Ahoy Arena — Photo: Rotterdam Ahoy

The EBU and host broadcaster AVROTROS have given an update about the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. The organisation now fully focuses on getting as many artists as possible live on stage in Rotterdam.

Earlier in this season, the EBU announced that there are four scenarios on the table for the music competition. From a fully packed venue like we are used to, up to a contest in lockdown where all songs are pre-recorded.

Scenario A cancelled: “Regrettably impossible”

The option all Eurovision fans would have wanted most, the so-called Scenario A, is now off the table.

“Of course, the health and safety of all participants is the top priority,” said Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. “In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) together with Dutch Host broadcasters NPO, NOS, and AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam have ruled out that the 65th Contest can take place ‘as normal’ this year. This means that Scenario A will not go ahead. The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely make its welcome return this May despite the pandemic. However, in the prevailing circumstances, it is regrettably impossible to hold the event in the way we hoped.

Is “Scenario A” truly realistic for Eurovision 2021?

Three scenarios left for Eurovision 2021, audience still in question

The event will definitely take place on 18, 20, and 22 May. With just over 3 months to go, the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 have agreed upon a determined, yet realistic approach in the final phase of preparations.

The organizers will now focus their efforts on Scenario B. This circumstance would involve hosting a socially distanced event with artists performing in Rotterdam, while realistically keeping downscaling options on the table for the weeks to come.

“The security, health and safety of all participants at the Eurovision Song Contest, from the crew to the artists, is our top priority. We are following international developments closely. And continuing to explore and plan for 3 revised scenarios (B, C and D) first announced last autumn,” Österdahl added.

The remaining scenarios for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021

EBU will take a further decision the Contest in the coming weeks. Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event for Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS said. “By staying flexible for as long as we can, we are aiming to make the best possible Eurovision Song Contest under the circumstances. Our primary goal is to get the 41 artists to Rotterdam, to all perform on the same stage, and to welcome journalists to cover the Contest.”

What do the three scenarios mean?

Scenario B: Socially distanced Eurovision Song Contest

– Everyone attending the Eurovision Song Contest at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena would need to practice social distancing.
– Strict health and safety measures (including frequent COVID testing) would be in place at the venue. A protocol to protect artists, delegations, and crew on and off site would be there too.
– If there are any delegations who cannot travel to Rotterdam, their artists will perform “live-on-tape” with a recorded performance being used.
– Those who can travel to Rotterdam will perform their songs live on stage.
– There would be 9 shows (6 dress rehearsals, 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final), either with no audience or a reduced audience to allow for social distancing. The final capacity would be dependent on local government guidelines.
– There will be activities in the city of Rotterdam held in a safe and responsible way.

Scenario C: A travel restricted Eurovision Song Contest

– A Eurovision Song Contest, from Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena but no delegations or artists will travel to Rotterdam.
– Hosts and interval acts will still be live from the Ahoy.
– The performances of ALL the participants will be “live-on-tape”.
– Strict health and safety measures (including frequent COVID testing) would be in place at the venue.
– A protocol to protect crew on and off site would be there too.
– There would be 9 shows (6 dress rehearsals, 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final), either with no audience or a reduced audience to allow for social distancing. The final capacity would be dependent on local government guidelines.
– There will be reduced activities in the city of Rotterdam held in a safe and responsible way.

Scenario D: a lockdown Eurovision Song Contest

– A Eurovision Song Contest without an audience and virtual activities will be considered to explore the host city of Rotterdam.
– The performances of all the participants will be “live-on-tape”.
– There would be 9 shows (6 dress rehearsals, 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final), but no audience.

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