Prerecorded backing vocals allowed during Eurovision 2021

At the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, for the first time in history, it is allowed for countries to use prerecorded backing vocals during the performances. The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest have been amended to ensure that the contest can take place in May 2021, no matter the global circumstances.

The Reference Group has decided on a one-year trial basis to lift the ban of backing vocals (harmonies) from the backing tracks. After the contest, held on the 18th, 20th and 22nd of May in 2021, a decision will be made it this new rule will stay intact for later years.

“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,” said Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s new Executive Supervisor.

“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,” he added.

New Eurovision rules have been approved

The Rules for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 have been approved by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board and distributed to the EBU Members wishing to participate in next year’s event.

According to the EBU, the idea behind the change is: “to offer participating broadcasters the possibility to explore new creative ideas, to travel with a smaller delegation for 2021 and reduce the technical burdens on the Host Broadcaster. It also allows songwriters and producers to present their work as close as possible to their original composition and, importantly, ensures the Contest moves with the times.”

The use of recorded backing vocals will be entirely optional. Each delegation can choose to use backing singers, whether on or off stage. A combination of live and recorded backing vocals is also allowed. All lead vocals performing the melody of the song, including an eventual use of a so-called lead dub, shall still be live on or off stage in the arena.


  1. Ridiculous idea. If it has to be playback, why not showing clips instead? That at least would really help in the fight against Corona. This is just pushing Swedish ideas.

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