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Eurovision updates rules “to be more flexible” when the next global crisis comes

By | Published on Friday 19 June 2020

Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest has announced changes to its rules, which organisers hope will ensure that it will be less likely to have to cancel if it is ever again faced which a massive global event, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the changes are somewhat vague, but will basically allow for more flexibility in the format of the event if and when another global crisis occurs. When the event returns next year, there will also be a trial of lifting rules requiring backing vocals to be performed live – meaning countries could travel with smaller delegations in the future, if necessary.

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

He adds: “When making the rule change, maintaining authenticity and fairness has always been front of mind. [But] we have to adapt, even if, as preferred, we are able to come back with our A-scenario; a contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations”.

This year’s Eurovision, of course, was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – it was the first time it had not been held since it launched in 1956. The 2021 edition in May next year will take place in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, as had been planned for this year. However, this year’s songs will not be eligible for the competition.