Eurovision 2021 set to proceed with 41 live performances

The annual song contest is hoping to return in May in the Netherlands

The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest have said that all 41 artists will perform live and in-person at this year’s competition.

Eurovision is hoping to return this year – with the final set to be held on May 22 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands – after it was forced to cancel its event in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eurovision’s executive supervisor Martin Österdahl has now confirmed that the contest intends to have all 41 acts perform live in Rotterdam in May. The contestants had previously been asked to submit a “live-on-tape” performance in case they are unable to travel or take part due to the pandemic.

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Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast, Österdahl said that the contestants’ travel to Rotterdam was “necessary”, adding: “This isn’t a holiday trip, this is actually a job that needs to be done.”

Delegations from each country will be limited to 20 people (down from an average of 38), while media and commentators – such as the BBC’s Graham Norton – will broadcast from ventilated commentary booths to further help prevent the spread of the virus.

Österdahl, who stressed that “very thorough” health and safety measures will be in place at the Rotterdam venue, also said that the Eurovision organisers hadn’t yet decided if a live audience would be in attendance, but that they were hoping for “the most normal Eurovision song contest that we can”.

“Hopefully we’ll have some audience: it makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of the broadcast if we have some people present.”

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James Newman will represent the UK at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. The singer-songwriter was previously chosen as the UK’s entrant last year.

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