After being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Eurovision Song Contest is back with a bang. Find out everything you need to know about this year's event below.

When does Eurovision 2021 take place?

On March 18 2020, it was announced the much-loved contest would not be going ahead. A show, Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light, was aired in its place on May 16, 2020.

2021 has seen Eurovision fans rejoice as the popular event begins on Tuesday, May 18 and runs to Saturday May 22.

The first semi final is on Tuesday, May 18 the second is on Thursday, May 20 with the final on Saturday, May 22.

Seventeen countries are taking part in the first semi: Australia, Belarus, Ireland, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Norway, Romania, Ukraine.

The second semi final has 18 participants: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Moldova, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Portugal, Switzerland.

The theme for the 65th Eurovision Song Contest will remain the same – Open Up.

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Where is Eurovision 2021 being held?

Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena in the Netherlands was chosen as the arena for Eurovision Song Contest 2020, and again for Eurovision 2021 following the country's victory at the 2019 contest with the song Arcade by Duncan Laurence.

The impressive venue consists of three halls with the largest being with a capacity of 15,000, which meets all the conditions set by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

For Eurovision Song Contest 2021, there will be a maximum capacity of 3,500 people in the audience due to COVID-19 restrictions. All spectators will be seated.

Rotterdam Ahoy hosted Junior Eurovision 2007.

Inside the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam. Pic credit: https://eurovisionworld.com

Who will be taking part?

In total, 39 countries will be participating in Eurovision 2021. The 'Big Five' countries (the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy) gain automatic access to the Final. The Netherlands, as host, also has automatic qualification.

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Who will represent Ireland?

Lesley Roy missed out last year due to the pandemic - but that's only added to her sense of anticipation as this year's contest finally comes around. She will represent Ireland, performing Maps at the Eurovision Semi-Final on May 18.

Earlier in the week, Roy's catchy track hit over 1 million views on YouTube and returned to the Irish Homegrown Chart Top Ten.

The visuals for the catchy and uplifting song show Roy running through a forest, a motif which will be carried through to her performance in Rotterdam where she will be taking to the stage barefoot.

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The Dublin singer recently said she was "so excited" for this year's contest.

"I'm so excited after waiting so long to come and see everybody and to have our feet on the stage - I'm so happy.

"It's such a build-up to get to it. It feels great after the first rehearsal, the first time seeing it together."

"We have a few more things that we want to look at and tweak over the next few days, but I'm very happy with how that went," she said.

Any big changes?

Back in June, the EBU announced a rule change for the 2021 contest that permits pre-recorded backing vocals to be used on stage. The EBU says this is a one-year trial, and is being done to help keep delegation numbers down.

Commenting on the amendments to the competition, Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest's Executive Supervisor, said:

"We believe allowing backing vocals to be pre-recorded increases the creative potential and diversity of acts and facilitates modernization of the Eurovision Song Contest. It also allows songwriters and producers to present their work as close as possible to their original composition. The change also provides the flexibility for participating broadcasters to minimize the size of their delegations, thus saving costs.

"Permitting recorded backing vocals also contributes to reducing the technical burden and costs for the host broadcaster as well. This all contributes to the sustainability of the Contest in our new reality."

Who will be presenting?

The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be hosted by Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley, Jan Smit and Nikkie de Jager (better known as NikkieTutorials).

Chantal Janzen is a well-known singer, actress and presenter, Edsilia Rombley a presenter, singer and two-time Eurovision participant, Jan Smit is a singer and Eurovision commentator for the Netherlands and Nikkie de Jager is a professional hair & makeup artist and beauty guru with over 13 million subscribers on YouTube.

Where can you watch Eurovision 2021?

You can watch The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Tuesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 20 at 8pm.

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The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final takes place on Saturday, May 22 at 8pm. You can watch it on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.