It’s disappointing for us fans, but imagine how it must feel for the Eurovision 2020 acts, who had won selection processes in their home countries, fine-tuned their songs and prepared themselves to perform for the world’s biggest audience.
These acts include the UK’s James Newman, who was due to sing My Last Breath in Rotterdam on Saturday night.
But which countries face the double whammy of missing out not just on the performance but also on a potential victory? Here’s our guide to the acts who have just had Eurovision immortality snatched from under their noses…
Before the contest was cancelled, Bulgaria was the clear bookies’ favourite to take this year’s trophy. With its haunting melody and personal lyrics about overcoming mental health battles, Tears Getting Sober doesn’t sound like a typical Eurovision song, but it has already made a huge impact. Victoria is an up and coming star in Bulgaria and must be gutted that she didn’t get her moment on the Rotterdam stage – the contest was hers to lose. RadioTimes.com readers love the song too, making Bulgaria the clear winner of Group Three of our Eurovision poll.
Glossing over their devotion to green tracksuits, Icelandic singer Daoi Freyr and his band Gagnamagnið made Europe smile with this upbeat, fun entry called Think About Things. You loved it too, lending it your full support in our RadioTimes.com poll. Indeed, even though it was pipped to the post in a lot of bookies’ lists, the feeling was that this song was the people’s favourite, with a viral Twitter video earning them lots of new fans and Spotify registering huge interest in users streaming the song.
Diodato’s power ballad Fai Rumore was also gaining traction before the contest was cancelled and would have racked up the points on the night. Italy has had a complicated relationship with Eurovision – they have withdrawn many times over the years, but are now one of the ‘big five’ countries who help to finance the event. They haven’t won the contest since 1990, but this song had a real chance of glory. It has already topped the charts in Italy and gained fans all around the world on YouTube. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be a Eurovision winner in 2020.
Ever since they joined the contest in 2015 Australia have dazzled with their brilliant song-writing and performances, leaving UK fans hopeful that Eurovision may finally take place in Britain once again… because we would probably take on hosting duties to save the European contingent jetting over to Melbourne for a broadcast with a huge time difference. This year’s act – Montaigne with Don’t Break Me, a dance track about a relationship breakdown – wasn’t riding quite as high with the bookies but could have proved a surprise contender. Australia has already taken one victory this year though, clinching the AI Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Dutch broadcaster VPRO. It was a different song that won though, Beautiful the World, which was inspired by Australia’s recent battle with wildfires.
Lithuania’s best result at Eurovision has been sixth place in 2006. This year promised a likely top five finish, if not a win for pop-rock group The Roop, whose catchy song On Fire has impressed fans and pundits. The group are already popular in Lithuania, and European stardom looked set to follow. Here’s hoping they get their chance next year.
The BBC’s alternative Eurovision coverage begins on Saturday night at 6.25pm. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide.
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.