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Rotterdam 2021 FAQs

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

Where will the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 be held?

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS together with the City of Rotterdam will stage the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam at the Ahoy Arena.

When will it take place?

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

How many countries are taking part in the Contest?

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

How are you ensuring the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in 2021?

The EBU and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have been working on 3 scenarios for hosting the competition.

Read more about the 3 scenarios in this press release.

Which scenario are you currently using?

We prefer to safely organize the largest and most spectacular Eurovision Song Contest 2021 possible under the current circumstances and right now we are on track to produce an event aligned to Scenario B.

However, the fact remains that we are dealing with a pandemic that requires us to remain agile. The safety of our artists, employees and performers is paramount at all times.

We will do everything in our power to organize an unforgettable Eurovision Song Contest.

Who decided on which scenario is chosen?

The EBU has decided on Scenario B in consultation with the Contest organizers NPO, NOS and AVROTROS and the municipality of Rotterdam.

Ongoing developments with the coronavirus pandemic of course are playing a major part in planning for the event.

We will remain agile, always keeping in mind that there will be opportunities later to downscale should it be necessary.

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?

Regrettably, due to local restrictions around the corona pandemic, there will be no Eurovision Village this year in the Host City.

Will there be an audience for the shows?

Yes, the Dutch government has granted us permission to have audiences attend the 3 live shows and 6 dress rehearsals as part of the local FieldLabs Events initiative.

3,500 tickets will be available for each show in May.

Those attending will be required to wear masks when not seated (eg, when visiting the concession stands and bathroom facilities).

The FieldLabs initiative does not require social distancing or mask wearing while seated.

Further information can be found here.

Will artists and delegations be mixing with the audience?

The health and safety of all those attending the event remains our top priority

All delegations, artists and production crew will be following a strict protocol and will not come in contact with audience members.

Those with tickets who are working on the production or are invited guests will be sat separately from members of the public.

Will I be able to buy tickets for this year’s shows?

Because of reduced capacity in all Scenarios, only those who purchased tickets for the 2020 Contest are being offered the chance to buy tickets for the 2021 event. If you are already a ticketholder please see our FAQs here.

How many journalists will attend the event?

We are welcoming up to 500 journalists on site in Rotterdam. This is a third of the usual number we would have capacity for at a Eurovision Song Contest. We will however have an Online Press Centre for the first time meaning that those who cannot travel to Rotterdam can cover the Eurovision Song Contest remotely. The Online Press Centre will permit all accredited journalists the same access to press conferences, meet and greets and rehearsals.

Live-On-Tape Recordings

How are you guaranteeing all countries can participate in 2021?

In the event that several or all countries cannot perform in Rotterdam because of, for instance, travel restrictions related to the COVID 19 pandemic or quarantine on site, each delegation has submitted 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 had maximum freedom to create a performance they are proud of and they feel best represents their country.

How have you ensured fairness when it comes to the live-on-tape recordings?

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

The Head of Delegation was onsite during the 60-minute recording session of the permitted 3 takes and, either alone or together with someone who has the appropriate mandate, made the final decision on which take was selected.

A live connection was 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 had the final sign off on the live-on-tape recording?

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

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

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

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

The live-on-tape recording should have been 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 have been a music video.

What couldn’t broadcasters use in their performance?

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

They should have been recorded in a studio or studio-like environment without an audience present or audience sounds.

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

Could a country submit their national selection performance where appropriate?

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

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

Yes. It was 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 was available to advise, guide and support.

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

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

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

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

No, the ESC Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, 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.

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 are consulted and kept fully informed about the planning for the event.