COVID-19 strikes again – #Eurovision 2020 has been cancelled

(image via Eurovision.tv (c) Photo: NPO/AVROTROS/NOS)

To my great sorrow, COVID-19 has claimed yet another event – the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

It is nothing compared to the suffering it has caused countless people worldwide and you could well argue it’s cancellation is a minor thing in the grand scheme of things.

But it’s something I love, and in a week where countless film festivals have been cancelled and my socila outings have been reduced to nothing, it’s a major blow.

May simply won’t feel the same.

I will be continuing with my planned reviews of all 41 songs, partly because it’s fun to do but also because it’s my best of keeping some Eurovision fun in my life.

The plan is to get everyone to vote on the winner near the end just for a bit of fun; it won’t quite be the public and jury voting fiesta of the normal event but it will celebrate the artists and the songs that otherwise would be consigned to history.

Here’s the full text of the official cancellation announcement from Eurovision.tv

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.

Over the past few weeks, we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.

However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to not continue with the live event as planned. The health of artists, staff, fans and visitors, as well as the situation in the Netherlands, Europe and the world, is at the heart of this decision.

We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May.

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor: “We are very proud of the Eurovision Song Contest, that for 64 years has united people all around Europe. And we are deeply disappointed about this situation. The EBU, together with the Host Broadcaster NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue to talk to see if it’s possible to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in 2021. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the process of staging a great Eurovision Song Contest this year. Unfortunately, that was not possible due to factors beyond our control. We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.”

NPO chairwoman Shula Rijxman: “This decision by the EBU was inevitable, given the circumstances currently affecting all of Europe as a result of the coronavirus and all the measures that governments must now take. This is a big disappointment for the Dutch audience, the fantastic team behind the scenes, the presenters and the artists. In recent months, a large group of people have worked hard on the Song Contest. We thank them for their great commitment and regret that the results of the efforts will not be visible in the short term. We would particularly like to mention the municipality of Rotterdam, which has proven itself as the ideal partner in this project in the past year. This edition was an excellent opportunity to understand each other differently in a period of uncertainty in Europe, but above all an opportunity to really bring Europe together. Music is universally binding and – I am sure – it will stay that way. Even after this corona crisis.”

Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event, understands that many people are disappointed that the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will not take place: “For the artists from 41 participating countries, our opening and interval acts that put their hearts and souls into their performance. For the fans who have always supported us and have kept confidence until the last moment. And not least, for the fantastic team, which has worked very hard in recent months to make this 65th edition a great success. We understand and share that disappointment. Some perspective is appropriate because, at the same time, we also realize that this decision and its consequences don’t compare to the challenges faced by people affected, directly or indirectly, by the coronavirus and the difficult but necessary measures.”

We ask some patience as we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await further news in the coming days and weeks. During that time, we would like to pay tribute to all the Host Broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 public service broadcasters who have worked so hard planning this year’s event.

We are all heartbroken that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May but feel confident that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.

We are answering some of your questions about this cancellation here (FAQ).

There has, as the text above illustrates, been considerable social media reaction to this horrible news including from one of the co-hosts of the Australian telecast Joel Creasey and from Montaigne, the artist chosen by Australian public vote to represent the country at this year’s now-cancelled contest. (For the full article, go to ‘I’m hiding from the news’: Fans react to Eurovision being cancelled)

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