Eurovision Song Contest organisers have said that the event will "definitely take place" across the three nights, May 18, 20 and 22, in Rotterdam, and that they "have agreed upon a determined, yet realistic approach in the final phase of preparations".
At a press conference this afternoon, they announced that three possible scenarios now remain under consideration for the hosting of this year's event.
The @EBU_HQ, @PubliekeOmroep, @NOS, @AVROTROS & @rotterdam have agreed a determined, yet realistic approach to #ESC2021.#Eurovision will definitely make its welcome return in May!— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) February 3, 2021
Read more about our planning ?? https://t.co/gV69sxSF2J pic.twitter.com/93pNkY0IVJ
In a statement, organisers said: "We can now confirm that one scenario has been ruled out for the competition leaving three potential scenarios still in play for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
"Last year, it was announced there’d be four potential scenarios in which the Contest could take place in 2021. As the Contest gets closer and closer, it has become apparent which one is no longer viable."
Following consultation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Dutch host broadcasters and the City of Rotterdam in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they have ruled out the possibility of the 65th Contest can take place 'as normal’ this year.
"The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely make its welcome return this May despite the pandemic but, in the prevailing circumstances, it is regrettably impossible to hold the event in the way we are used to," said Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
"We very much hope to be able to gather in Rotterdam in May and will do all we can in the coming weeks to achieve this. With an ever-changing situation we are taking our time to ensure that we can host the Eurovision Song Contest in the best and safest way possible," he added.
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Last December singer Lesley Roy was announced as Ireland's 2021 Eurovision hopeful if this year’s competition goes ahead.
She was due to perform her song Story of My Life in The Netherlands last year but the song contest was cancelled for the first time in its 65-year history. Instead, a virtual 'song celebration’ was hosted in May featuring Roy.
The singer, who has moved back from New York to concentrate on Eurovision, is due to perform a new song at this year's contest and the new track will be revealed in the coming weeks with the launch of her entry video.
Organisers say they will now focus their efforts on Scenario B, which would see a socially distanced Eurovison with artists performing in Rotterdam, while realistically keeping "downscaling options" on the table for the weeks to come.
"The security, health and safety of all participants at the Eurovision Song Contest, from the crew to the artists, is our top priority. We are following international developments closely and continuing to explore and plan for 3 revised scenarios (B, C and D) first announced last autumn," Österdahl added.
A further decision on how the Contest will be staged will be taken in the coming weeks.
Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event for Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS said: "By staying flexible for as long as we can, we are aiming to make the best possible Eurovision Song Contest under the circumstances.
"Our primary goal is to get the 41 artists to Rotterdam, to all perform on the same stage, and to welcome journalists to cover the Contest."
Organisers have outlined the three possible ways to host Eurovision 2021
Scenario B: Socially distanced Eurovision Song Contest
Everyone attending the Eurovision Song Contest at Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena would need to practice social distancing, with strict health and safety measures (including frequent Covid testing) would be in place at the venue. A protocol to protect artists, delegations, and crew on and off site would be adhered to.
Scenario C: A travel restricted Eurovision Song Contest
A Eurovision Song Contest, from Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena but no delegations or artists will travel to Rotterdam.
Hosts and interval acts will still be live from the Ahoy.
The performances of ALL the participants will be "live-on-tape".
Strict health and safety measures (including frequent COVID testing) would be in place at the venue.
A protocol to protect crew on and off site would be adhered to.
Scenario D: a lockdown Eurovision Song Contest
A Eurovision Song Contest without an audience and virtual activities will be considered to explore the host city of Rotterdam.
The performances of all the participants will be "live-on-tape".