Love Shine A Light
performed by the artists of Eurovision 2020
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was going to be the 65th edition of the contest. It was planned to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on May 12th, 14th and 16th after the country's victory in 2019 in Tel Aviv. However, on Wednesday 18 March, the Eurovision Broadcasting Union (EBU) "regretfully had to announce the cancellation of this year's Contest due to the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities". This was the first time in the contest history that it had to be cancelled.
"The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to not continue with the live event as planned. The health of artists, staff, fans and visitors, as well as the situation in the Netherlands, Europe and the world, is at the heart of this decision. We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May" Said the EBU in the official announcement posted on their website.
The EBU refused to postpone the event the because "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".
Asked if they couldn't have held the contest without an audience the EBU argued "We are carefully following the advice of the relevant authorities to protect the health and wellbeing of all citizens. Dutch restrictions on gatherings of large numbers of people and international travel restrictions mean that holding the event, even without an audience, is impossible at this time".
Finally, to the suggestions that the show could have been held remotely the EBU replied "It’s in the DNA of the Eurovision Song Contest to bring delegations, artists and fans together in one place and provide an equal platform for all artists to compete together on the same stage and the same opportunity to shine. We felt that under the extreme circumstances we face this year, organizing the Eurovision Song Contest in another way would not be in keeping with our values and the tradition of the event. The unique format of the Song Contest as an international live event means that it is not possible to identify any realistic alternative. We therefore have no choice other than to cancel the show".
As fans were curious whether the same songs would be elegible o compete in 2021, on March 20th, the EBU made an stament that "The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest should be upheld for the event when it returns in 2021. This means that the songs that compete next year cannot be commercially available before 1 September 2020, which excludes the current selection of songs chosen for this year’s cancelled event." However, participating broadcasters could choose to send the same artists, should they wish, or choose a new one. On May 25th, only five days after the cancellation, the following countries had already announced that they would be represented in 2021 by the representative initially selected for this year: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
On May 16, at the same time that the grand final of Eurovision 2020 should have taken place, the European Broadcasting Union broadcast, from Studio 21 in the Dutch city of Hilversum (venue of the festival in 1958) the alternative event titled "Eurovision: Love Shine A Light". The name of the show was inspired by the song of the band Katrina & The Waves with which the United Kingdom had won the 42nd edition of the contest in 1997.
The show was hosted by the three hosts who would have presented the Eurovision Song Contest 2020: actress and TV presenter Chantal Janzen, singer and contest commentator Jan Smit and singer Edsilia Rombley, who represented the Netherlands in 1998 and 2007.
During the show, the 41 songs that had been chosen to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 were honored in a non-competitive format and, together, the artists performed "Love Shine a Light" from their respective countries of origin creating a choral message of encouragement. for audiences around the world supported by the lyrics of the song. The emotional final touch to the interpretation was put by Katrina herself, from her home, accompanied by her pet, 23 years after her victory in Dublin.
The EBU and the Dutch broadcasters confirmed in April 2020 that Rotterdam would be the venue for the festival in 2021. It was also decided that the contest would not be canceled in any way that year, opening the possibility for it to be held with less public, without public. at all and even, if Europe were confined, with the participants performing from their respective countries. So, one way or another, it looks like we will have the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2021
See you then!