Rotterdam 2021 FAQs

Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.

FAQs about making the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 happen

The EBU and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have been working on 4 basic scenarios for hosting the competition.

Read more about the 4 scenarios in this press release.

Which scenario is the most possible?

If we were forced to make a decision today, with the measures that currently apply, B is the most possible scenario.

Which scenario do you prefer?

Of course, we prefer to organize the largest and most spectacular Eurovision Song Contest 2021 possible, with everything that goes with it, as we are now used to.

The fact remains that we are dealing with a pandemic that requires certain choices to be made. The safety of our artists, employees and performers is paramount at all times.

We will, however, do everything in our power to organize an unforgettable Eurovision Song Contest within the possibilities that suit each of the four scenarios, physical or virtual.

Who decides which scenario is chosen?

The EBU will decide in consultation with the Contest organizers NPO, NOS and AVROTROS and the municipality of Rotterdam.

When will you choose a scenario?

The developments in the coming months will play a major part in influencing when a choice is made, but for the time being, we expect to make a decision in the first months of 2021.

Can you imagine a situation in which the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will not take place?

No. There will definitely be a Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 and three shows on May 18, 20 and 22, 2021, from which a winner will be chosen. What these shows will look like will be determined in the coming months.

What will happen to all the events in Rotterdam around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest?

Based on the different scenarios, Rotterdam will consider what kind of extra activities are appropriate in each circumstance. Events at an appropriate distance or partly online are possible.


How are you guaranteeing all countries can participate in 2021?

In the event that several or all countries cannot perform in Rotterdam next year because of, for instance, travel restrictions related to the COVID 19 pandemic each delegation is being asked to submit a live-on-tape back-up recording of their song.

What does live-on-tape mean?

Live-on-tape means recording a song performed live on stage 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.

Do all the live-on-tape back-ups have to look the same in each country?

Rather than trying to impose a strict format for the live-on-tape back-ups, the EBU and Host broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS decided to fully embrace each country's diversity in creativity, ambition, and style.

Beyond a set of basic guidelines and minimal limitations, each participating broadcaster will have maximum freedom to create a performance they are proud of and they feel will best represent their country.

How will you ensure fairness when it comes to the live-on-tape recordings?

Before the recording each participating broadcaster will meet with a co-ordinator from the Host Broadcasters and submit a recording session schedule, studio set up, camera plan and signed Declaration of Compliance with the Production Guidelines.

The Head of Delegation must be onsite during the 60-minute recording session of the permitted three takes and, either alone or together with someone who has the appropriate mandate, make the final decision on which take is selected.

A live connection will be set up during the recording to allow the ESC Executive Supervisor and a representative from the Independent Voting Observer (E&Y) and the Host Broadcaster to observe the recording session, to provide assistance and support, but also to ensure the integrity of the Contest.

Who has the final sign off on the live-on-tape recording?

All materials will be checked for approval by the Host Broadcasters and the EBU. The Host broadcasters will perform on a final sound mix and any image enhancements to ensure uniform levels and quality. A copy of that final mix will be sent to the respective Head of Delegation for approval (not to be unreasonably withheld)

Is there a limit on how many rehearsals can take place before the live-on-tape recording?

No, the number of rehearsals prior to the recording session is up to the participating broadcaster.

What are the basic guidelines for producing the live-on-tape recording?

The live-on-tape recording should be produced in line with the Eurovision Song Contest Rules and essentially be a recording of a single 3-minute live stage performance. It should not be a music video.

The back-up should be recorded in a studio or studio-like environment without an audience present or audience sounds.

The use of a recognisable set of an existing protected TV format is not allowed. The recording should be unique and should not be published before the event in May.

What familiar ESC elements can the broadcasters use in their performances?

Each broadcaster may use any of the elements that they would benefit from if they were performing live on stage in Rotterdam. For example (but not exclusively); a multicamera set up, LED video content, projection, pyrotechnics, smoke and wind machines and certain props.

What can’t broadcasters use in their performance?

The live-on-tape recordings should not contain any augmented or virtual reality, overlays, confetti, drone shots, water, use of chromakey or green screen.

Can autotune be used on the live-on-tape recordings?

No, autotune or any other alteration of live vocals, is not permitted on the recording.

Should the live-on-tape performance be similar to the planned stage performance?

Each broadcaster is free to either produce a recording of their planned stage performance or an alternative performance. However, the audio track should be similar.

Can a country submit their national selection performance where appropriate?

No, the live-on-tape backup should be unique recording and not be publicly available before the event in May. A national selection set can be used, however, and similarities are fine.

Will broadcasters be given assistance by the Host Broadcaster in making their Live on Tape recording?

Yes. It is up to each Participating Broadcaster to develop a creative concept for their live-on-tape recording. as they would for their on-stage performance for Rotterdam. The ESC 2021 Contest team will be available to advise, guide and support.

The Contest team will oversee all the creative concepts, lighting, and LED content, to ensure diversity across the 41 acts and to avoid significant similarities.

When do all the live-on-tape recordings have to be delivered by?

Each participating broadcaster must submit their live-on-tape recording by 26 March 2021.

The Show

Where will the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 be held?

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS are excited to have reached an agreement to stage the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the Ahoy Arena.

When will it take place?

The event is scheduled to take place on 18, 20 and 22 May 2021.

Where will the Contest be staged?

Preparations are underway for the 2021 Contest to be staged at Ahoy venue in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Who will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2021?

The Contest will be hosted by the EBU’s Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS.

How many countries will take part in the Contest?

41 countries will take part in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest.

With the same countries taking part as 2020, will there be a new allocation draw for the Semi-Finals in 2021?

No, the ESC Reference Group decided that a new draw will not take place and all countries will perform in the respective Semi Final they were allocated in January 2020.

Why will the songs of 2020 not be eligible to compete in 2021?

The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, which represents all participating broadcasters, agreed that the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest should be upheld for the 2021 competition. This means that the songs that compete in 2021 cannot be commercially available before 1 September 2020, which excludes the current selection of songs chosen for this year’s cancelled event.

Read more about this here.

Is there an alternative plan if the event cannot take place in Rotterdam due to COVID-19?

The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely return in 2021 and on 22 May a new winner will be crowned.

The EBU and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have been working on 4 basic scenarios for hosting the competition.

Read more about the 4 scenarios in this press release.

Would you host the Contest without an audience?

The current situation across Europe is likely to remain uncertain for the coming months and at this stage, we cannot comment on the final organization for the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

What are the new dates of the shows in 2021?

The new dates are:
1st Semi-Final Jury show: Monday evening 17 May 2021
1st Semi-Final Family show: Tuesday afternoon 18 May 2021
1st Semi-Final Live show: Tuesday evening 18 May 2021

2nd Semi-Final Jury show: Wednesday evening 19 May 2021
2nd Semi-Final Family show: Thursday afternoon 20 May 2021
2nd Semi-Final Live show: Thursday evening 20 May 2021

Grand Final Jury show: Friday evening 21 May 2021
Grand Final Family show: Saturday afternoon 22 May 2021
Grand Final Live show: Saturday evening 22 May 2021

Are you executing the same shows you planned in 2020, with the same interval acts, presenters etc.?

The Dutch Host Broadcasters of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest will review the plans already made for the shows in the coming months.

The theme Open Up and the stage will remain the same. The 4 presenters Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Edsilia Rombley and Nikkie de Jager will also be present again next year.

Further details regarding the content of the shows will be announced at a later stage.

Is it a fair Contest if some of the delegations record a video and some have to perform live? How can you ensure the rules are adhered to if all participants perform remotely?

We are committed to creating the fairest possible Song Contest and all participating broadcasters will be consulted and kept fully informed about the various scenarios being planned.

We will also gain valuable experience and knowledge at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, where artists will perform remotely in November.

When will you decide to switch to a Eurovision Song Contest with remote performances?

The EBU and its partners will decide depending on the circumstances at the time.

Should there be a low number of participants able to attend in person it would not be realistic to produce a show on location.

In that scenario, a decision could be made to switch to a remote Eurovision Song Contest, but many factors will inform the final decision.


How many tickets are available for each show next year? What happens to the tickets that have already been sold?

Depending on the eventual scenario, a smaller audience, or no audience at all, will be able to attend the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.

In the event of fewer tickets being available, it will be determined in the fairest possible way which of the current ticket owners keep a ticket.

More information on tickets will be released in the coming months.

Will ticket holders get their money back?

Ticket holders who do not get to keep their tickets will receive the full purchase cost of their ticket(s) back.

In the event that we have no audience, everyone will receive a full refund. The exact capacity of the arena for each scenario is not yet known. Ticket holders will all be personally informed when more information is available.

I bought tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, are they valid for 2021?

The tickets you have bought for Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will remain valid for 2021. The tickets will be valid for the same show you have booked (for example, if you booked for the 1st Semi-Final Jury show 2020, your tickets will be valid for the 1st Semi-final Jury show 2021). We hope to welcome you to the show in 2021.

Do I receive a new ticket for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021?

We will inform you at a later stage if your ticket layout will be adjusted or not.

Unfortunately, I cannot make it to the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 and would like to receive a refund. Is that possible?

The refund deadline expired on 29 June 2020 at 23.59 hours (CEST). The refund process starts no later than 30 June, after closure of the refund request window. It can take 4 to 6 weeks before you receive your money back on your credit card or to the bank account you used to pay for your ticket(s).

It is not possible to ask for a partial refund of your order.

I can go to the show in 2021 but unfortunately my friends can’t. What can I do with these tickets?

If some members of your group cannot attend the event in 2021 we will open the personalisation process again before further ticket sales begin so you can change the names on your tickets. We will inform you by email at a later stage how this will work. It is not possible to ask for a partial refund of your order.

I bought tickets at Avrotros or Ticketswap, how does that work?

These tickets will also remain valid for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.

The refund deadline expired on 29 June 2020 23.59 hours (CEST). Only the main buyer can ask for a refund. The refund process starts no later than 30 June, after closure of the refund request window. It can take 4 to 6 weeks before you receive your money back on your credit card or to the bank account you used to pay for your ticket(s).

If you have questions related to Avrotros, please contact them at: [email protected]

If you have questions related toTicketswap, please contact them at: [email protected]

I have another question about my ticket.

If you have another question about your ticket(s), we kindly ask you to please contact Paylogic via [email protected].

Please note, you cannot request for a refund via this e-mail address.

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