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Eurovision organisers announce “non-competitive” show in place of cancelled contest

By | Published on Wednesday 1 April 2020

Eurovision Song Contest

Organisers of this year’s now cancelled Eurovision Song Contest have announced plans to “honour all 41 songs” entered for the 2020 event “in a non-competitive format”, with a two hour programme in place of the grand final in May. All 41 entrants are also invited to perform a past Eurovision hit from their home country just for the fun of it.

Titled ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light’, the exact format of this show is not yet clear. It will be made by the Dutch broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS, which had been preparing to produce the 2020 contest. Presenters for the show will also remain actor Chantal Janzen, singer Edsilia Rombley (both former Dutch Eurovision entrants) and other singer Jan Smit.

Viewers are promised “plenty of surprises”, thanks in part to only vague details having so far been supplied. As well as this year’s entrants being invited to perform a past Eurovision hit “with unifying lyrics appropriate for the current situation we find ourselves in”, former Eurovision singers will perform “other familiar songs from the past, performed in iconic European locations”.

Executive Supervisor of the Contest, Jon Ola Sand, says in a statement: “Sadly there will be no Eurovision Song Contest this year. Instead, we intend to unite Europe on 16 May with a unique primetime TV programme. We are encouraging all broadcasters who were due to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and EBU Members in other countries, to air this show in the spirit of unity and togetherness”.

The BBC had already announced its own show to replace this year’s Eurovision final, ‘Eurovision: Come Together’. The broadcaster has not yet announced what effect the new official show will have on these plans.

Meanwhile, the Rotterdam arena that was being prepared to stage the contest is now being transformed into a temporary hospital, according to Dutch media company AD. In an effort to increase the Netherlands’ capacity to manage the COVID-19 outbreak, the building will provide a further 680 beds for those requiring hospital treatment for the illness.