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Eurovision 2020 in review: The fuel for change

30 December 2020 at 17:00 CET
The new logo for Eurovision 2021 Clever ° Franke
After the unprecedented cancellation of the Contest and the unifying production of 'Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light', it's now time to pave the way towards an unforgettable 2021. Let's conclude our 'Eurovision 2020 in review' series by opening up to new adventures.

What can you expect after a year of the unexpected? It's been an interesting 2020 to say the least; a lot has happened and frankly, a lot hasn't. Last time, we left you with the question: What does the future hold for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021? Without further ado, let's find out!

Moving forward no matter what

As Aksel from Finland sung: "we never know what we have until it's over and we're looking back," (Looking Back, 2020). Many of us Eurovision enthusiasts didn't realise how much the Contest meant to us until it was taken away. Perhaps, we will think the same way when we look back at all that we've achieved together this year.

Finland's Eurovision 2020 representative Aksel Mona Salminen

For instance, it brought to light the amazing abilities of the Eurovision community. Against all odds, we banded together to celebrate the Contest, producing online events at breakneck speed, despite all the challenges that come with being in lockdown. We also saw amazing fan-created events as well as musical performances by Eurovision participants both past and present on social media.

Celebrating Eurovision at home Twitter account of @MrGrybovsky

These initiatives have shown us the potential we have to make the Contest an even bigger and better one next year! Now, it's time for all of us to finally move forward with all the new-found knowledge and experience we gathered over the last few months and look ahead at what we can all achieve together in 2021.

Long live Eurovision!

One of the more optimistic messages that came out of 2020 was that the competition would go ahead next year "no matter what".

Sietse Bakker is the Executive Producer of Eurovision 2021 EBU / Stijn Smulders

Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 and 2021 said: "The ambition to make it happen and to make the best Contest to date is definitely still there". In order to be able to make that promise, the EBU and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS announced 4 potential scenarios for hosting the competition next year, which you can revisit in the video below:

The comeback

Rotterdam quickly and eagerly put their hand up for the chance to welcome the competition back and shortly afterwards, it was excitedly announced as the Host City for 2021 during the Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light broadcast.

And in December, the 2021 logo was released too:

Explanation of the 2021 logo CLEVER ° FRANKE

Let your imagination run wild

The sheer determination to build on from this year has ignited our collective passion to create a bigger and better show. As the Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl said: "We can now move forward... we will stand united through challenges and change to bring the Contest back stronger than ever, ensuring its longevity for decades to come."

Martin Österdahl is the new Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest EBU / Stijn Smulders

Martin also reminded us that "with great challenges come great opportunities". You only have to look at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2020 to see what can be done.

The broadcast was hosted by Polish broadcaster TVP and combined prerecorded performances with a live show in Warsaw that included the use of augmented technologies never used before in the competition.

Eurovision 2019 winner Duncan Laurence virtually took to the stage to perform his winning song Arcade with Junior Eurovision 2019 winner Viki Gabor and Junior Eurovision 2018 winner Roksana Węgiel. What's particularly amazing about this collaborative piece is that Duncan wasn't even in Poland at the time. Roksana and Viki sung live on the Junior Eurovision stage while Duncan's prerecorded performance was displayed right between the two of them!

So, if this Junior Eurovision 2020 show is anything to go by, we have so much to look forward to in 2021!

New year, new surprises

We've also been told that the challenging year has led to even more creativity for the artists too!

Arilena Ara (who was set to represent Albania in 2020) let us know that she's about to release a new song in collaboration with "one of the best male singers in Albania" and she's working on her new album coming soon! Well, if that's not something to look forward to, we're not sure what is!

And Slavko Kalezić used this year to look inward. "Despite this messy worldwide situation, I have to say that 2020 for me was very big and important. I was focused on myself and my spiritual world," he said. He was also offered new opportunities in theater and can "hardly wait to show it to the [Eurovision] audience." In particular, he is looking forward to sharing his mono theater play called Soulfood written by Žana Poliakov.

"I promise a theatrical spectacle in the first half of 2021" and a "new me " he said. He will, of course, continue to make new music too, as he tells us: "Stay tuned and get ready for S-LOVE-KO!" Again, the Eurovision community has plenty to look forward to in 2021!

Do you think this peculiar year will spark even greater creativity for the delegations, artists and their songs next year too?

On your marks, get set, go!

Speaking of new music and new surprises, many countries have already started their process towards choosing a next representative.

Norway's Melodi Grand Prix 2021 will have its final in February. Plans are already underway to determine Denmark's artist and of course, the event has had to make some adjustments to ensure a safe, yet entertaining show.

Music, community, celebration and finding 'Vores Sang' (our song) is the key to the national selection, according to Leading Editor-In-Chief at DR Culture, Gustav Lütshøft. "Last year we were in one of the biggest venues in Denmark. This year we will be broadcasting from our own studios at DR. From there, we will produce a show that is aimed at reaching out to our audience and really bringing people together," he said.

Familiar faces

The 61st edition of Melodifestivalen will see the return of The Mamas. The 3 piece girl group were set to perform for Sweden in 2020 with Move but are now putting all their focus on battling it out again to represent their country in 2021.

"We didn’t plan to participate next year, " they said. "But we were in the studio with Robin Stjernberg finishing up our EP when he played us the song... it just felt magical. It was so emotional, and we cried. We felt we had to do this again!"

The group promises to "bring out the best of The Mamas" with an "uplifting performance" full of "joy and happiness." We can't wait to hear it, can you?

Uku Suviste is also having another crack at Eurovision after representing Estonia in 2020 with What Love Is. He teased us with a little description of his song too: "It’s a bit more modern and adds a bit of drama in it compared to last year’s song. We chose for a bit of a different approach. No candles this time... maybe only one," he laughed.

Well, if his performances in Eurovision Home Concerts offers any insight into his act next year, we have a lot to look forward to with Uku!

Uku Suviste ERR

Who else do you want to see back in the race at their national selection for 2021?

New kids on the block

The race to Eurovision 2021 has well and truly begun and just like previous Contests, a new year welcomes new artists.

The 59th edition of the Albanian music competition Festivali i Këngës had its final on 23 December. Anxhela Peristeri and her song Karma will go on to represent the country in Eurovision 2021!

Anxhela Peristeri will represent Albania at Eurovision 2021 RTSH

Elena Tsagrinou's "dream came true" when it was announced that she will represent Cyprus in 2021 with the song El Diablo. Despite her not being a 'returnee' from the class of 2020, she knows that all the artists will be "looking forward to meeting each other." After all "music unites... that's the magic of the Eurovision Song Contest," she said. Along with rest of us, she will be "striving to make this yet another unforgettable ESC!"

Elena Tsagrinou for Cyprus 2021

We can't wait to hear her new song when it's released next year!

Back for more

Who's excited to see more returning artists for 2021? Can't choose which artist you're more delighted to see back again?

What about Montaigne, who back in April was announced by SBS to represent Australia again. A little while ago she reminded us to "keep streaming Don’t Break Me so it gets its dues before it’s superseded by a new banger!!" We can't wait to see what bop she has planned for us!

Or how about Gjon's Tears for Switzerland? He is "so happy" to be back for Eurovision 2021 and frankly, so are we!

And Lesley Roy from Ireland warned us that she's coming for us all in 2021, so you better be ready when she drops her new song early next year!

Eden Alene is coming back for Israel in 2021 too, which is unsurprising given the fact that her 2020 song Feker Libi was in the top 50 most watched videos on our Official YouTube channel this year! "So now it's really happening... And I'm really sure you'll be with me, this time too," she said.

Then there's Daði og Gagnamagnið who are set to return to Eurovision 2021 and are already working on their new song, which promises "good vibes" only. "I'm mostly looking forward to everything surrounding Eurovision, the super fans and the atmosphere there," Daði said.

Vincent Bueno (Austria), Efendi (Azerbaijan), Hooverphonic (Belgium), Victoria (Bulgaria), Benny Cristo (Czech Republic), Tornike Kipiani (Georgia), Stefania (Greece), Samanta Tina (Latvia), Destiny (Malta), Roxen (Romania) Senhit (San Marino), Hurricane (Serbia), Ana Soklič (Slovenia), Blas Cantó (Spain), Jeangu Macrooy (The Netherlands), and Go_A (Ukraine) are so far all the other artists confirmed to compete again next year with a new song!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing back in 2021?

The answer

So, what does the future hold for the Eurovision Song Contest next year?

There has never been such an imperative and creative opportunity to embrace change. Whatever difficulties come our way in 2021, we know that the Eurovision community will tackle any challenge and seize the moment to create an unforgettable event.

Our experiences over the past year have really shone a light on the shared passion that can unite us all. The Contest's long and successful history has not only been the result of the efforts of just one or two people. It has come from the collective spirit of not only the broadcasters and performers, but also from you - the fans. This leaves us in no doubt that the future of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is bright!

We all have the power now to make this one of the best seasons yet and, whatever happens, in whichever scenario the competition takes place, we will 'Open Up' to new music.

And to that we say: Hasta La Vista 2020! Let's bring on Eurovision 2021 and make it one to remember!

Are you ready? "Say yes, say yes, say yes!"(Ben & Tan, 2020).