The Eurovision Song Contest‘s cancellation due to coronavirus broke the hearts of fans all over the world, as 2020 became the first time since 1956 that the spectacular 4-hour event would not take place.
Not to fear however – Eurovision will be gracing our screens this weekend albeit in a very different form.
The BBC will be screening multiple replacement shows, the main two being Eurovision: Come Together, presented by Graham Norton, and Grand Final substitute Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, organised by the EBU and its Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVOTROS.
If you want even more Eurovision-themed content this weekend, BBC Two will be home to a host of shows dedicated to the international song contest, including Rylan Clark-Neal’s The A-Z of Eurovision and Top of the Pops 2 Goes Eurovision, featuring an archive of songs from Lulu, Bucks Fizz and Cliff Richards.
A sprinkling of Eurovision will be sure to cheer up the nation, however small – here’s everything you need to know about these alternatives to the musical offering…
When is Eurovision: Come Together on TV?
The Eurovision special will air on BBC One on Saturday 16th May at 6.25pm – the original planned date the song contest’s Grand Final.
What will happen during Eurovision: Come Together?
Hosted by Eurovision commentator Graham Norton, Eurovision: Come Together will give UK viewers the chance to vote for their all-time favourite song from the past 64 years of the international competition.
A shortlist of iconic songs has been selected by a panel of “Eurovision experts”, which includes Mel Giedroyc, Radio 1’s Adele Roberts, semi-final commentators Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills, former UK Eurovision acts SuRie and Nicki French, as well as Radio 2’s Ken Bruce.
During the one-hour-thirty show, we’ll also be treated to a performance from James Newman, who was due to represent the UK in Rotterdam this year as well as previews of other contestants causing a stir, including Iceland’s viral entry Think About Things which is front-runner in our poll.
The show will finish with Graham revealing the act voted by the British public as Eurovision’s all-time favourite act – will be it ABBA’s Waterloo? Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
It appears to be separate to the alternative programming that the European Broadcasting Union are planning, which is intended to “honour the artists” who missed out on performing in 2020.
Who will host Eurovision: Come Together?
Veteran Eurovision commentator Graham Norton has been confirmed to host the show, though this may well be as a voiceover.
When is Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light on?
The new show, which acts as a replacement for the Grand Final, will air on Saturday 16 May at 8pm on BBC One.
The live show is expected to last approximately 2 hours and will also be broadcast from the official Eurovision YouTube channel.
What is Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light about?
Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light will honour all 41 songs, in a non-competitive format, as well as providing plenty of surprises for fans and viewers at home. The show will be hosted by Dutch Eurovision presenters Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley (Eurovision 1998 and 2007) and Jan Smit.
Broadcast simultaneously across Europe, the show intends to bring together 2020’s artists, from their respective locations, in a performance of a past Eurovision hits, with unifying lyrics appropriate for the current situation we’re in.
Featuring live commentary from Graham Norton, the show will also stage a virtual sing-a-long, encouraging fans from all over the globe to dress up and perform Ireland‘s winning 1980 song, What’s Another Year.
Ireland’s Johnny Logan winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, with his song ‘What’s Another Year?’. (Credit: Getty Images)
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Contest on behalf of the EBU, said: “Sadly there will be no Eurovision Song Contest this year. Instead, we intend to unite Europe on 16 May with a unique prime-time TV programme. We are encouraging all broadcasters who were due to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and EBU Members in other countries, to air this show in the spirit of unity and togetherness.”
When is the A-Z of Eurovision on TV?
The A-Z of Eurovision will air on BBC Two at 10pm, after Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light.
What is the A-Z of Eurovision
Narrated by Rylan Clark-Neal, who commentates Eurovision’s semi-finals, A-Z of Eurovision provides viewers with a guide to the campy, international competition.
Rylan will take a “lighthearted yet affectionate sideways look at the greatest singing competition on the planet” and serve up some of the most memorable moments on the show across the last six decades.
Which acts were due to perform this year?
Iceland’s entry Daði and Gagnamagnið
While James Newman was due to represent the UK this year, other talked-about international acts included Lithuania’s entry The Roop with their song On Fire, Italy‘s Diodata with Fai Rumore, Bulgaria‘s Victoria with her song Tears Getting Sober and Azerbaijan‘s Samira Efendi with song Cleopatra.
Other contestants receiving lots of hype before Eurovision was cancelled were Russia’s punk band Little Big with song Uno and Iceland‘s entry Daði & Gagnamagnið with their song Think About Things.
Shine a Light will air on Saturday, 16th May on BBC One. Eurovision Come Together also airs on Saturday 16th May at 6.25pm with classic Eurovision acts performing. While you wait for Eurovision 2021 check out the full list of Eurovision winners, the Eurovision 2020 acts.
If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.