The Radio Times logo

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

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

Published: Saturday, 22nd May 2021 at 7:00 pm

The biggest song competition of the year is officially here! After a year without Eurovision in 2020, this year's countries will take to the stage at the Eurovision 2021 final taking place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Advertisement

This year begun with 39 countries in the Eurovision 2021 line-up however, only 26 could go through to the semi-finals, as the Eurovision 2021 semi-final results revealed.

Along with the Big Five, which includes the UK's James Newman - and this year's host The Netherlands, 20 acts will perform on Saturday night's show before one is crowned the winner!

Newman's new song Embers is a "a joyous concoction of explosive dance beats, blended with its gospel-inspired vocals, melodic piano lines and horn sections" and we hear he's very "ready" to take to the stage.

Eurovision 2021 has put on quite the show already, with the first and second Eurovision 2021 semi-finals bringing us some pretty impressive performances.

Just hours before the second show, it was revealed Iceland wouldn't be performing live at Eurovision 2021 after a group member tested positive for coronavirus.

However, Iceland wowed at the Eurovision 2021 semi-finals as the show aired a rehearsal recording instead, which secured them a place in the final.

Unfortunately Rylan Clark-Neal had to pull out of presenting the Eurovision 2021 semi-finals due to illness.

However, we managed to catch up with him days before he was set to go live for the show, and he talked us through some of his favourite moments from the song contest.17

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Rylan reflected on the past 65 years of Eurovision, saying: "I think it’s a show that just brings people together and I think the reason why it’s still going strong now and it’s not just getting bigger, is because I think a lot of people grow into Eurovision."

Similarly Eurovision 2019 winner Duncan Laurence won't perform live at the final after testing positive for coronavirus.

Due the current climate, lots of Eurovision 2021 changes have been put in place to ensure the show goes ahead.

As the final airs, here's everything you need to know, including what time the final will air, the countries taking part and where Eurovision 2021 will be held this year.

When will Eurovision 2021 take place?

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will take place on Saturday 22nd May 2021 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

BBC One will be broadcasting live coverage of the competition, with Graham Norton commentating, while on BBC Radio 2, Ken Bruce will be providing commentary.

Norton said he was so "excited" for the return of the contest, adding that "it’s exactly the kind of joy the world needs".

"The UK have a great entry with James Newman and ‘Embers’, it’s a banger and represents everything that Eurovision is. It’s arguably the best night of the year and I can’t wait – bring it on!"

Meanwhile Amanda Holden will this year take on the role of Britain's spokesperson, delivering the results of the UK professional jury vote.

She said, "What an honour to announce the UK’s votes this year. I’m utterly thrilled. It’s an ambition ticked after 45 years of watching it! Now, what to wear…"

The Eurovision semi-finals will be held on Tuesday 18th and Thursday 20th May, and will be broadcast on BBC Four.

They will be presented by Scott Mills, Sara Cox and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and presenter, Chelcee Grimes. Ryan Clark-Neal won’t be hosting this week’s Eurovision Song Contest semi-final coverage for the BBC after dropping out due to illness.

Grimes said that she had always been a fan of the contest and couldn't wait to host the semi-finals. "I’m looking forward to seeing all the weird and wonderful performances, as well as cheering on my mate James who is waving the flag for the UK," she said.

"James and I have written together for a previous Eurovision winner and we've also penned some songs for the Romanian entrant so he is the best person for the job. JAMES TO WIN!"

For a full breakdown, here is how to watch Eurovision 2021.

Where is 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 was used as an emergency coronavirus hospital.

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.

Eurovision bosses have ruled out a full-scale live show and have asked contestants to produce a "live-on-tape" performance ahead of the competition, with the videos being used if artists cannot travel due to the pandemic.

Various scenarios had been mapped out, ranging from the usual arena show with an audience to a mostly virtual event, however, bosses have since ruled out scenario A, which involved a packed venue.

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 2020 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?

A total of 26 acts from last year will return to the Eurovision 2021, while the show will welcome 13 new acts.

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

In February 2021, the BBC confirmed that James Newman had been selected to represent the UK for the 2021 contest in Rotterdam. He'll be singing a brand new song, telling Radio 1 Newsbeat that it'll be "positive and upbeat".

Here's a full list of all the countries competing in the Eurovision 2021 final, as well as the other countries who qualified for the show this year:

  • United Kingdom - James Newman performing 'Embers'
  • Spain - Blas Cantó performing 'Voy a quedarme'
  • France - Barbara Pravi performing 'Voila'
  • Germany - Jendric performing 'I Don’t Feel Hate'
  • Italy - Diodato performing 'Zitti e buoni'
  • The Netherlands - Jeangu Macrooy performing 'Birth of a New Age'
  • Norway - Tix performing 'Fallen Angel'
  • Israel - Eden Alene performing 'Set Me Free'
  • Azerbaijan - Efendi performing 'Mata Hari'
  • Russia - Manizha performing 'Russian Woman'
  • Lithuania - The Roop performing 'Discoteque'
  • Malta - Destiny Chukunyere performing 'Je Me Casse'
  • Cyprus - Sandro performing 'El Diablo'
  • Belgium - Hooverphonic performing 'The Wrong Place'
  • Bulgaria - Victoria performing 'Growing Up is Getting Old'
  • Greece - Stefania performing 'Last Dance'
  • Iceland - Daði & Gagnamagnið performing '10 Years'
  • Sweden - Tusse performing 'Voices'
  • Ukraine - Go_A performing 'Shum'
  • Albania- Anxela Peristeri performing 'Karma'
  • Portugal - The Black Mamba performing 'Love Is on My Side'
  • Serbia - Hurricane performing 'Loco Loco'
  • Moldova - Natalia Gordienko performing 'Sugar'
  • San Marino - Senhit performing 'Adrenalina!
  • Switzerland - Gjon’s Tears performing 'Tout l’univers'
  • Finland - Blind Channel performing 'Looking Back'

Other countries in the Eurovision 2021 line-up:

  • Australia - Montaigne performing 'Technicolour'
  • Austria - Vincent Bueno performing 'Amen'
  • Czech Republic - Benny Cristo performing 'omaga'
  • Estonia - Uku Suviste performing 'The Lucky One'
  • Georgia - Tornike Kipiani performing 'You'
  • Ireland - Lesley Roy performing 'Maps'
  • Latvia - Samanta Tīna performing 'The Moon is Rising'
  • North Macedonia - Vasil performing 'Here I stand'
  • Romania - Roxen performing 'Amnesia'
  • Slovenia - Ana Soklič performing 'Amen'
  • Denmark - Fyr og Flame performing 'Øve os på hinanden'
  • Croatia - Damir Kedžo performing 'Tick-Tock'
  • Poland - Rafal performing 'The Ride'

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.

Advertisement

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. Sadly, it looks like Iceland won’t be able to perform live in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest 2021 final after Jóhann Sigurður, a member of Daði og Gagnamagnið, tested positive for coronavirus.

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

Sponsored content