Martin Österdahl, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 gave an exclusive interview about how the preparations for next years competition are going on and about how the contest will most likely be held with the pandemic.
The EBU announced four possible scenarios for next years competition later this year:
Scenario A: A normal Eurovision Song Contest with no restrictions
Scenario B: A Eurovision Song Contest with restrictions in the audience, events and press centre
Scenario C: A scenario where travel restrictions may occur and restrictions in the participants, audience, events and press centre may happen
Scenario D: A Eurovision Song Contest in case Rotterdam is in lockdown where all Eurovision artists will perform remotely from their home countries, just like the EBU did with the Junior Eurovision Song Contest this year in Poland, Warsaw.
Speaking to dn.se, Martin Österdahl said that currently Scenario B and C look more likely:
“We are not eager to try to look into the crystal ball, this is a difficult pandemic. What you can say is that at the moment Scenario A, an ordinary Eurovision Song Contest, doesn’t seem so likely. Instead, it holds scenario B or C, which is a competition with more or less physical distancing and where artists may need to use a recorded performance, as most likely. In the worst case, we could be forced to do the show just as in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, that all delegations compete with recorded acts.”
One question many fans asked themselves is if there will be an audience in the shows in the Ahoy, the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Martin Österdahl announced that it is too early to say any exact numbers and that the decision will depend on the regulations of the Dutch authorities for huge live events:
“It is constantly evolving and changing. We’re not entirely sure what it will look like in May, but as it stands it would be a very limited amount of the arena’s normal capacity. The fans there are extremely important to Eurovision, but it should not be forgotten that the competition is primarily a TV show. It is possible to do a TV show even without an audience, we will if we have to, but clearly we would love to have an audience in place if possible.”
About the deadline where all the final decisions will be made, Mr. Österdahl says:
“It looks like that the start of next year will be crucial for our decisions and preparations. It’s just because we have such a long pre-production time. We have to be in an arena for six weeks to build a lightweight platform, stage and stuff like that. You don’t want to take any risk on these decisions, if we feel it won’t work we have to make a decision early, otherwise we just incur very high costs.”
Indeed, we may have a Eurovision Song Contest where fans and delegations will be divided into so called “social bubbles”, where as far as possible you only have contacts within your own group:
“Eurovision is a bit tricky, the competition is structured so that you share the rehearsal rooms, the stage rooms and backstage. We will limit the number as much as possible. Delegations going to Eurovision will experience quite a different competition. There will be no free movement. It’s unclear what exactly the structure looks like for those who remain in the arena, but masks and rapid tests that show if someone is infected with Covid-19 will be part of the scenario. It will be a prerequisite for gaining access to the arena area that you can show a negative Covid-19 test. In a normal year, each country sends just under 30 people, but in Rotterdam they can expect a limit of 20 people maximum”
Asking about vaccine requirements, Martin Österdahl answered that there are no plans to introduce something like that:
“We are following the development of vaccines very closely. We have no such thing in our regulations so far.”
It looks like that we have to wait and see how the EBU will decide on all critical decisions next year.
Do you think that Eurovision can happen under normal circumstances next year? What do you think about the current ideas of the EBU? Tell us in the comments section below.