Alternative Eurovision Song Contest 2020

You may have seen our very first Blog post that lamented over the cancellation of Eurovision 2020 due to Covid-19. In fact it’s absence has hit us so hard that we’re moved to publish a second post! Why? … because we’re confused as to why the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 could not have gone ahead virtually so that every entrant could have had their moment in the sun.

Here’s how it could have worked.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 goes ahead on 16th May as originally planned and is hosted by the presenters who had already been chosen i.e. Jan Smit, Chantal Janzen and Edsilia Rombley.They can be sitting in a glamorous and fabulous studio (socially disancing of course!) and chatting and larking about in the classic style of the Eurovision presenter i.e. over dramatic and occasionally irritating.

Just like all the previous live shows the presenters would introduce each of the 26 finalists in turn with the usual 30 second long ‘postcard’ video introduction which each country could have filmed for themselves on home ground … or even ‘at home’ if they wanted to promote the message of staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Viewers from Europe and further afield would then watch each of the finalist’s videos in turn; of course, each video would have to meet all the usual rules of a Eurovision Song Contest entry e.g. no more than six people on stage, maximum 3 minutes long, no instruments, etc.

Once all of the acts had been broadcast, voting could go ahead as usual by the juries and viewers in the normal way. It has been the case for many years that tens of millions of Eurovision Song Contest fans have voted from home so there would have been no change in this regard. Once the voting window had closed, the spokesperson for each country would declare their results by video link live on air (as usual) and the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 would finally be announced.

So we believe it would not have been a huge task to produce a slimmed-down version of Eurovision 2020 for this year (‘Eurovision Lite’ maybe). We feel genuinely sorry that none of the songs had a chance to be judged because there were some true Eurovision classics in the mix this year. See our First Eurovision 2020 Blog Post for our own opinion on who would have made the 2020 Top 10 but BE WARNED that it’s dangerous to listen to Little Big’s “Uno” because it’ll be stuck in your head for hours if not days. It is an amazing song and one in particular that we wanted to see thrown to the Eurovision juries and fans to see how it would have been received. At the time of posting Little Big’s video has been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube and it is the second-most viewed Eurovision Song Contest video of all time.

The biggest single drawback of our alternative broadcast would be the total absence of any excitement or ‘atmosphere’ from a live audience which would have been somewhat noticeable while the acts were being aired but glaringly obvious while each country was announcing their results; arguably one of the best moments of Eurovision is watching the results roll in and listening to the audience reaction. Despite that, we feel that’s more important that each song – having come so far – should have a chance to be judged; the live audience don’t actually play any part in the voting so for our purposes we can dismiss them on this occasion as unnecessary noise. (There could be an argument to be made that the live audience actively influence the voting public by their reaction to each song … but we’ll also dismiss that as unwanted influence because we don’t want to think we could be persuaded to follow the herd. Also, no audience means no stage invaders! … we’re still fuming about SuRie’s performance being disrupted in 2018 by a serial stage invader who deserves no further attention).

So what did we get? … not ‘Eurovision Lite’ but ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’. This was a show broadcast on the same night as the Final would have taken place and hosted by the original presenters. Initially we were quite excited and optimistic about the idea but – in our opinion – it was rather depressing and lacked any of the usual Eurovision ‘feel good’ glitz and glamour. We recognise that ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ wasn’t meant to be a like-for-like replacement to the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 … and we also recognise that our joint struggle against Covid-19 deserved acknowledging … but what we actually got was a couple of hours of artists regurgitating the same messages about the coronavirus e.g. “stay safe”, “we’ll get through this”, “the world is an uncertain place right now”, etc, etc. If you were hoping that ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ would be a brief and welcome distraction from the worldwide misery and sadness and tragedy brought upon us by the coronavirus then you were severely disappointed! Even our UK presenter Graham Norton (now ‘Eurovision Song Contest Royalty’ along with the late great Terry Wogan) struggled to stay upbeat … and he’s an upbeat kind of guy!

The other major disappointment for us was that this year’s acts were overshadowed and squeezed out by performances from former winners who had been wheeled out to reprise their winning songs … songs which had been skillfully reworked to make them relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of these were OK, such as Måns Zelmerlöw singing an acoustic version of ‘Heroes’, and some were not.

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