It’s been a year like no other ! This time last year ,following a successful Eurovision in Tel Aviv in 2019 , we were all looking ahead to Rotterdam 2020. The slogan had been chosen , tickets sold, semi -final draw had taken place and the city of Rotterdam was getting ready to #openup to Eurovision fans, press and the media to their city . However , quietly in the background, a sinister event was occurring that was to change not just way of life as we normally know it but also impact on ESC itself!
The threat to Eurovision 2020
The emergence of a deadly virus in China, which we now ofcourse know as Covid-19 , started to spread around the world and hit Europe in the early months of 2020. All around the World, countries were starting to take measures to try and tackle the virus , borders were closing, airport checks done and lockdowns were being put into Place . Large scale events started to be cancelled or audiences not allowed to performances. We first started to get a glimpse of how Eurovision might be impacted when Denmark held their national final, Melodi Grand Prix, in Copenhagen in early March without an audience .Ben and Tan won the Danish National Final with their song ” Yes”. Unfortunately , their trip to Rotterdam turned out not to be .
Eurovision Song Contest 2020 is cancelled !
Sadly ,as Europe went into complete lockdown, we received the inevitable news that ESC 2020 would have to be cancelled. This sent shock waves through the Eurovision community as it was the first time in history that the contest had had to be cancelled ! The closest we had previously come was in 1977 for the lesser problem of a strike at the BBC in the UK . The problem was , how would the gap on that Saturday night, normally Grand Final night in May be filled ? The answer came in a replacement show ” Love shine a light ” , which took form of a tribute show to the 2020 acts that would have graced the stage in Rotterdam this year, with the hosts on stage in The Netherlands , and performances coming from performers own homes and countries .Other countries held their own tribute shows alongside this.
The Eurovision Movie
Following the disappointment of not having Eurovision Song Contest this year, we had a welcome positive during the Summer when the much anticipated and awaited film, Eurovision , the story of Fire Saga was released . Set in Iceland in the town of Husavik , it told the story of two singers , Lars and Sigrit as they are given the chance to represent their country at the Eurovision Song contest .The film, also brought us appearances from well known Eurovision stars and brought some much needed laughter and cheer to a season and year that so far had been so abnormal to say the least . It was very well received in all countries and brought us songs, such as Ja Ja Ding Dong, Husavik ( My Home town) and Double Trouble .
Junior Eurovision 2020
With Europe still struggling to control the virus, it was inevitable that we would not get Junior Eurovision as we normally know it this year. However the host broadcaster , TVP had more time and notice than their Dutch counterparts to prepare and plan for alternative forms of the contest which would still provide entertainment while keeping within Covid restrictions. The result was actually an enjoyable entertaining contest, where the performers had the option of performing remotely on stage in their own countries instead of travelling to Warsaw , with travel still being restricted in many countries . The presenters presented live from Poland and we had the traditional voting , done in the usual way . France won the contest with Valentina and J’imagine . The contest demonstrated what could be achieved next year with ESC , should we still be in the same situation with the pandemic .
Final thoughts on 2020 from Eurovision Ireland
There is no doubt that this has been a difficult and stressful year for us all and not having Eurovision 2020 was very hard to take ,but as we have seen in this review, there have been lighter moments amongst the darker ones .The recent Junior contest has given more optimism for a good contest in May, even if things aren’t quite restored to as they were at the start of 2020. We at Eurovision Ireland decided to give our final thoughts on the year we about to leave :
“I think one of the biggest positives for me was Europe shine a light -not because it was brilliant , but because it made it an occasion and we were all on Messenger together , as we were for JESC,so weirdly, we were more connected than we would be at the actual event , when we all sort of go off with our tickets to far flung corners of the arena”
” Positives: We got a show in May, even though the actual contest was cancelled . While this filled a void, quite successfully, Fire Saga helped keep the spirit alive. Come November/December we got contests in terms of JESC and Turkvision. Negatives were disappointment that some fans were not satisfied with the cancelled contest replacement and asking why it couldn’t be done virtually. It wasn’t something that could be achieved in weeks, JESC had much more time ahead to plan in advance.”
“Positives: Hearing people in lockdown in Italy singing Fai Rumore from their homes . For me this represented what Eurovision is meant to be about…people coming together and the fact that a Eurovision song could lift a nation’s spirits spoke volumes . The fact that we got JESC as close to the normal format of the contest as we could , was also a positive. The obvious negatives for me were ESC being cancelled and therefore missing out on joining up with other members of the Eurovision community “
We at Eurovision Ireland would like to wish all our readers and followers a very happy and healthy 2021 , let’s hope we have a good National final and selection season and a good contest in May .. Most importantly, that we all stay safe and well, as the pandemic continues to disrupt life as we normally know it .
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE !
Author: Sarah Rudman
Source : You Tube, Eurovision.TV , Richard Taylor, James Scanlan
Categories: Eurovision 2020