Skip to main content

2021 artists to record song “live-on-tape” to ensure Contest will happen

18 November 2020 at 15:00 CET
With Eurovision 2021 getting closer we can now reveal how all participants will be guaranteed to take part in the competition. Every broadcaster will create a ‘live-on-tape’ recording prior to the event which can be used if a participant cannot travel to Rotterdam due to the current pandemic, or in the unfortunate instance of an artist having to quarantine on site.

Earlier this year it was announced that the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will take place “no matter what” in 4 potential scenarios. We very much hope that all artists and delegations will be able to travel to and perform in Rotterdam. The live-on-tape recording will ensure that you can enjoy an act from each country whatever the circumstances in May.

What is the live-on-tape performance?

All the participating broadcasters have been asked to record a live performance of their act in their own country. This recording will be delivered prior to the event and will take place in a studio setting. The recording will take place 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.

A camera used at the Eurovision Song Contest EBU / Andres Putting

OpenUp to variety

The Host Broadcaster’s creative concept for the live-on-tape backup recordings is OpenUp to variety. Rather than having a strict format, the Contest will fully embrace the artistic freedom, creativity, ambition and style of each of the 41 countries.

A set of production guidelines will ensure fairness and the integrity of the Song Contest. There will be no audience present at the live-on-tape performances. The recording should be unique and remain unpublished before the event in May.

Delegations are allowed to use similar technical possibilities and dimensions that would be available on-stage in Rotterdam, but are also free to opt for a more down-scaled production setup. The live-on-tape recordings should not contain any augmented or virtual reality, overlays, confetti, drone shots, water, use of chromakey or green screen.

The OB directors truck at Eurovision 2018 EBU / Stijn Smulders

How to keep it fair

Normally at the Eurovision Song Contest all the artists would perform on the same stage under the same circumstances providing them all with the same opportunity to shine. For the live-on-tape recordings the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest has approved additional measures to guarantee the fairness of the competition.

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 and camera plan.

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 an 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.

No national final performances can be submitted but each country can record on the same set. The “live-on-tape” recordings have to be delivered by the end of March.

Hopefully, all or most artists will be able to travel to Rotterdam in May but having the live-on-tape recording ensures that their performance will be seen by millions of viewers come what may.

We’ve answered more of the frequently asked questions about the live-on-tape recordings. Make sure to take a look!