Today, after weeks of speculation, perhaps the inevitable occurred – Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam has been cancelled.
In a statement by the European Broadcasting Union, it was announced that the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions across Europe and in The Netherlands itself have made it impossible to organise the contest.
Whilst many fans had hoped the contest would merely be postponed, according to the organisers:
“The current situation across Europe is likely to remain uncertain for the coming months and at this stage we cannot guarantee we would be able to stage an event of this size with this many stakeholders later this year. A Contest later in the year would also reduce the amount of time the winning broadcaster would have to prepare for the following year’s competition.”
The Dutch producers and the EBU are now in talks to discuss the 2021 contest being held in Rotterdam, with more information to be announced in the coming days and weeks.
The United Kingdom was to be represented by singer-songwriter James Newman. The BBC said earlier today:
“We, like the EBU, are incredibly sad that the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has been cancelled, but completely support the EBU’s decision with the uncertainty around COVID-19 throughout Europe and beyond.
“BBC and BBC Studios would like to thank James Newman for all his hard work preparing for Eurovision 2020.”
Aside from the thousands of fans who had intended to travel to Rotterdam and the millions of viewers around the world, the 41 artists will be devastated after putting in the time, effort and expense of preparing for the contest. Some may have cause to be particularly disappointed – here are just a few of them:
Iceland’s Daði Freyr was heavily fancied to win the whole thing with his backing band Gagnamagnið and their song, ‘Think About Things’. The video had already started to go viral, being shared by numerous celebrities, and the song could have brought Iceland its first ever win in its 34 years of competing.
Meanwhile, some artists have been attempting to represent their country for a very long time, with Uku Suviste from Estonia winning his national selection on his 4th attempt and Samanta Tina finally getting to represent Latvia after trying 6 times.
Destiny is already a winner, having triumphed in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 for Malta. After coming of age, many wondered whether she could be the first artist ever to do the double and win Eurovision itself with All of My Love. Sadly, we won’t know, at least this year.
Many countries have already extended invitations to the artists who were set to represent them this year to return in 2021, either to Eurovision or to their own national selections. There is even talk that singers may be able to return with the same song, but it’s early days, and these are details still to be ironed out by the organisers.
One thing we do know is that May will be a slightly less exciting month for Eurovision fans across the world, as everyone battles to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak.