Eurovision Song Contest set for May 2021 with same theme intended for 2020

Semi-finals for the Eurovision Song Contest will be held on May 18 and 20, and the final on May 22. There will be 41 countries participating despite significant doubts about the exact format as COVID-19 continues to cause restrictions around the world.

41 countries to participate despite doubts about exact format with COVID-19

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, in May, 2019. The contest will take place in 2021, with the same theme that was set for 2020. (Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press)

Eurovision Song Contest organizers on Monday announced dates for the 2021 event in Rotterdam with the same "Open Up" theme planned for this year's edition, before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Semi-finals will be held on May 18 and 20, with the final on May 22. There will be 41 countries participating despite significant doubts about the exact format as COVID-19 continues to cause restrictions around the world.

The European Broadcasting Union said it was working with four scenarios ranging from a relatively normal version of the contest to one in which the Netherlands is in lockdown. In that case, performances would take place without live audiences.

Organizers said they believe live performances with reduced audiences and social distancing measures should be possible at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.

The Eurovision song contest is one of the world's largest television events, drawing up to 200 million viewers. Eurovision features live musical numbers from most European countries and a few beyond, including Israel and Australia.

Songs entered for this year's event are no longer eligible, but 19 participating countries have said they will send the same performer or group to the 2021 contest.


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