Eurovision’s cancelled Grand Final was replaced by two shows last night (16th May) in BBC One’s schedules – Eurovision: Come Together, which saw Abba’s ‘Waterloo’ named the contest’s greatest ever song, and Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, a special live show.
Europe Shine a Light saw all 41 of the entries for this year’s Eurovision showcased in a non-competitive format, while participants from the past also took part.
There were certainly some big highlights – including the various artists banding together to perform the 1997 Eurovision winner ‘Love Shine a Light’ from their respective home countries (see below) and Graham Norton’s “awkward” exchange with one of the Dutch hosts.
But some viewers watching at home were left wondering why, with all of the 41 musicians who’d planned to compete in Eurovision 2020 involved, why a virtual Grand Final couldn’t have been organised remotely instead.
So we are having performances from tv studios from all around Europe? Sort of indicates the possibility for another kind of show that we could have had tonight, doesn’t it? #eurovision
— Tobias Larsson (@TobsonHelsinki) May 16, 2020
“Why couldn’t everyone just vote from home (including juries) and then we’d still have a Eurovision?” one fan asked, not unreasonably.
See…where I feel weird is…if they were going to do all this, show the songs, interview the singers…why couldn’t everyone just vote from home (including juries) and then we’d still have a #Eurovision and not break a 64 year streak?
— Catherynne M. Valente (@catvalente) May 16, 2020
But in fact, there are a number of good reasons why a virtual Eurovision Grand Final wouldn’t have been possible and why a non-competitive live show was chosen as the best alternative.
Putting aside the technical and logistical demands, it all comes down – rather dully – to a matter of event insurance, as one fan pointed out.
For the 100th and final time, because everyone keeps asking why this couldn’t be done remotely, event insurance didn’t allow ESC to have this final in a competitive format, as it had to be a substantially different from the original format for it to be covered by insurance
— Lara (@ilcuoredilara) May 16, 2020
It has already been announced that Eurovision 2021 will take place in Rotterdam, originally intended as Host City for this year’s event.
18 of the artists planned to perform in 2020 have confirmed they will be back to represent their country again in 2021, though it’s yet to be announced if UK entry James Newman – who was due to perform ‘My Last Breath’ this year – will also return.
Newman told RadioTimes.com: “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.
“It’s up to the BBC, my fate lies in their hands.”