UNITED KINGDOM – Graham Norton, who commentates for the UK’s BBC Eurovision coverage, has said the song contest will go ahead this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s definitely going to be a Eurovision… The competition element is going to happen,” he said.
Contest organisers told the BBC: “We can confirm the Eurovision Song Contest will definitely take place this year.”
But pre-recorded performances may be used if acts cannot travel to Rotterdam or have to isolate when they get there.
Last year’s contest was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was replaced in the UK with a programme looking back at the event’s history, including a vote to find the greatest Eurovision song of all time.
Norton told US radio station Sirius XM that if some artists are unable to travel to the Netherlands in 2021, “they can Zoom in a performance”. He added: “I doubt we’ll be in a stadium full of 20,000 people.”
Organisers stressed that while “the general gist of Graham’s comments is correct”, pre-recorded performances will be used if an act can’t travel, rather than asking them to perform live from their home country.
The filmed routines will be shown “if a participant cannot travel to Rotterdam due to the current pandemic, or in the unfortunate instance of an artist having to quarantine on-site”, a spokesman said.
Broadcasters will have to follow a “strict set of guidelines” to help them record their “live on tape” performances “to keep the competition fair should it not go ahead traditionally”, he added.
The new rules state: “The recording will take place in real-time (as it would be at the contest) without making any edits to the vocals or any part of the performance itself after the recording.”