When will Eurovision 2021 air? What acts will return next year?

Here's everything we know so far about next year's Eurovision contest...

Credit: Getty Images

Just as Eurovision fans were gearing up for the 2020 competition, due to take place in The Netherlands, the coronavirus pandemic struck, leading the international singing competition and other global events to be cancelled.

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Although Eurovision 2020 didn’t go ahead, the BBC aired two specials in its place – Eurovision: Come Together and Eurovision: Shine a Light.

For those of you already looking to next year, here’s everything we know so far about Eurovision 2021, who will be taking part and where it will be held.

When will Eurovision 2021 take place?

An official date has not yet been set. “It is currently too early to discuss any specifics regarding the event next year,” the EBU said in March.

Which country will host Eurovision 2021?

Eurovision 2021 will take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where this year’s contest was due to take place.

Eurovision 2020 was due to take place at the Rotterdam Ahoy stadium – however following the event’s cancellation, the venue is now being used as an emergency coronavirus hospital.

Rotterdam Ahoy (Credit: Getty Images)
Rotterdam Ahoy (Credit: Getty Images)

“It’s vitally important that the Eurovision Song Contest returns next year, and we’re pleased to have the necessary commitment from our Members in the Netherlands to bring this much-loved show back to audiences across the world,” said Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s new Executive Supervisor.

“I firmly believe that all of us involved in the Eurovision Song Contest will stand united through challenges and change to bring the Contest back stronger than ever, ensuring its longevity for decades to come.”

Though the Eurovision Song Contest is expected go ahead in some form in 2021, developments surrounding COVID-19 and evolving social distancing guidelines could impact planning and might mean changes to the usual format.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has therefore announced that it will “work with its Dutch Members and the City of Rotterdam to ensure the continuity of the event in a number of different scenarios”.

“Our team is proud and excited to look forward with renewed energy to organise a fantastic Eurovision Song Contest in 2021,” said Sietse Bakker, executive producer of the event. “Yes, with a sense of realism that fits with the times we live in, but also with ambition and creativity. We are looking forward to working with the entire Eurovision family to make it happen.”

The Dutch government announced in May that it will not be allowing mass events to be held in the county until a vaccine against COVID-19 has been found.

“We understand that the public would like to know what the corona measures will mean for the organisation of an event such as Eurovision in 2021,” Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO said. “Of course, the health of participants, employees and visitors always come first.”

Will the Eurovision 2020 acts compete in 2021?

Following the 2020 event’s cancellation, the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, which represents all participating broadcasters across the globe, agreed that songs due to participate this year cannot be used next year.

This is in accordance with the Eurovision Song Content rules, which state that songs competing in Eurovision should not be commercially available before 1st September the year before. Therefore, any songs to be used in Eurovision 2021, cannot have been publicly available before 1st September 2020.

The group also said that using the same songs would “not be in the spirit of the Contest”.

Jeangu Macrooy – the Netherlands' 2020 entry
Jeangu Macrooy – the Netherlands’ 2020 entry

However, this year’s artists will be able to compete in Eurovision 2021 if their country’s broadcasters choose to select them once again.

So far, the following counties have confirmed that their 2020 contestants will be taking part next year also.

It’s currently unclear if UK entry James Newman will be back in 2021.

“The EBU, which is the Eurovision committee, said that local broadcasters can re-enter their acts so I could go back next year as long as it’s with a different song, but nothing has been decided yet,” Newman told RadioTimes.com. “It’s up to the BBC, my fate lies in their hands.”

Who won the last Eurovision?

The winner of Eurovision 2019, which took place in Israel, was the Netherland’s entry Duncan Laurence with his song Arcade.

The year before that saw Netta, Israel’s act, win the competition in Cyprus with Toy – her clucky dance hit.

Over the last six decades, Ireland has placed first in Eurovision more than any other country, winning the title seven times with 1996 being the last time they took home the title.

The UK has won five times since 1956, the last time being 1997, when Katrina and the Waves sang Love Shine a Light.

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Who would have won Eurovision 2020?

According to RadioTimes.com‘s Grand Final poll, Bulgaria would have won with 40 per cent of the vote, with Lithuania coming second with 36 per cent. Iceland came third, with 13 per cent.

If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.