It's been a full month since the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled, and we're still not quite over it.
Nevertheless, as far away as it may be, there's always 2021 to look forward to - and organisers have put some measures in place to ensure that the contest will happen next year.
A small but significant rule change has been implemented which means that countries will be given a little bit more freedom to explore different creative routes with their songs - as well as making the production of the show easier.
Until now, each performance has always been 100% live - but now the rules have changed to allow recorded backing tracks and harmonies, although the lead vocals must remain live.
It's only a one-year trial for 2021, but the idea is to lessen the burden on the host country, as well as potentially make travelling delegations from each country smaller and generally make the whole contest more flexible.
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Following the cancellation of #Eurovision 2020 we’d like to share some news with you from @ebu_hq. . We have been overwhelmed with the love that the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) family has shared since the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event. . The EBU is very aware of how much the Eurovision Song Contest will be missed this year. The Contest’s values of universality and inclusivity, and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music, are needed more than ever right now. . The EBU and its Members are therefore currently exploring alternative programming, but not a competition, to help unite and entertain audiences around Europe during these challenging times. . It is our intention in this programming, and on our online platforms in the coming months, to honour the songs and artists which have been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. . With that in mind, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has decided that, in accordance with the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, this year’s songs will not be eligible to compete when the Contest returns in 2021. . At their discretion, Participating Broadcasters may decide which artist(s) to send in 2021, either this year’s or a newly chosen one. . We ask for your patience while we work through ideas in the coming days and weeks.
"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," a rep confirmed. "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."
Executive Chairman Martin Osterdahl added: "The lessons learned from the spring of 2020 are that we need to plan for a global crisis [such as coronavirus], 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 organise the event in these challenging times.
"As organisers 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."
The new dates for Eurovision 2021 are May 18th - 22nd, and the contest will be staged in Rotterdam, as was planned this year. The countdown is on...