This evening, the Dutch Broadcasters and the European Broadcasting Union gave a joint press conference to discuss the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, before being joined by France Télévisions to share an update on the organisation of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Martin Österdahl, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, kicked off the press conference by explaining how important it was to see the Eurovision Song Contest back on our screens:
‘We’re incredibly happy with where we are in terms of the entire project, which is arguably the most complex television production in the world, as well as the largest music event. It’s been a long journey to get here, but when I saw the First Semi-Final on Tuesday evening - seeing people in the audience enjoying the show was a great, great feeling.’
So many people have worked so hard to get us here. We knew that the Dutch broadcasters are excellent producers of televisions, but we also learned how incredibly resilient and adaptable they are.
We are all super grateful to the City of Rotterdam and NPO/NOS/AVROTROS.'
Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event, continued the optimistic and grateful tone of the conference, and explained why it was important that the #OpenUp theme was carried over from the cancelled contest:
‘Thank you all for being here, which just a few months ago seemed less possible.
We wanted to stick with the 2020 slogan ‘Open Up’ because that’s what the Netherlands stands for. Our houses often have their curtains open or no curtains at all - we are transparent and speak our minds.
We realise that ‘Open Up’ might appear to be in sharp contrast with the lockdowns we’ve experienced over the last year but what we hope is that even though the Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t mark the end of the challenging times in our lives, it marks a step in the right direction. It’s hope for the future.’
Sietse also revealed the production had already used 175,000 face masks, 25 cameras (with one causing many a headache on Tuesday when it temporarily broke down before the Live Shows), 1,782 moving lights, 887sqm of LED panels and 8,250 metres of fibre-optic cable.
Questions were taken from the assembled press, including one regarding the newly implemented backing vocalist rule.
Martin explained: ‘the opportunity to allow participants to have pre-recording backing vocals was a smart move, and a decision made by the Reference Group. In national finals this rule has allowed domestic productions to evolve but there’ll be no evaluation on whether we’ll keep this rule for Eurovision until after the current production finished.
Martin also expressed his satisfaction with how the online Press Centre has worked this year, and went on to reveal why the names of individual Jury Members has not been revealed in advance of the Grand Final this year:
‘The full list of Jury Members will be released after the Grand Final, to be absolutely sure we have a fair and equal contest. It’s just one extra safeguard to protect the integrity of the show. Each country will be able to announce their Jury Members during the broadcast and then afterwards Eurovision.tv will publish the full list.’
Of course, as you're probably already aware: Jury Members make up 50% of the total points awarded at Eurovision.
The press then got the opportunity to question Alexandra Redde-Amiel, the Director of Entertainment and Variety at France Télévisions, about the upcoming Junior Eurovision Song Contest in France.
First things first, Alexandra revealed that the Host City will be Paris, and the date of the Contest is Sunday 16 December.
‘We want to offer the best and most beautiful show to the entire audience. Junior Eurovision will take place at La Seine Musicale - a spectacular concert hall located on Île Seguin (Seguin Island) on the Seine river. The venue is one of the most impressive and beautiful in all of Europe - we can’t wait to welcome the world.
Alexandra also revealed the Contest’s slogan is 'Imagine' (a nod to Valentina's winning song in 2020) and that she'll be working to convince the United Kingdom to return to Junior Eurovision as the only member of the Big Five group of participants that currently does not participate.
You can find out more about the Junior Eurovision Song Contest at JuniorEurovision.tv.