• Dale Roberts

All artists to record live-on-tapes as back-up for Eurovision 2021



Overnight the EBU announced that all broadcasters will create a "live-on-tape" performance with their artist for the 2021 competition.


So what does that actually mean?


Well, it doesn't mean that live in arena performances are cancelled or won't happen.


Previously, four scenarios were put forward on how Eurovision can take place in 2021.


  • A - The Contest we all know and love, full crowd and all artists live in Rotterdam

  • B - Socially distanced event but all artists in Rotterdam

  • C - Some artists in the arena in Rotterdam, some from a studio in their home country (if COVID-19 impacted them for example)

  • D - Full lockdown - all artists to perform from their home country

A live-on-tape is essentially the way the artists in scenario C and D can compete. If they can't attend the Contest in Rotterdam (or if they have to quarantine in Rotterdam if they were to get COVID-19), this tape will be used as their performance.


It's pretty much a "back-up" in the case they can't perform live.


So what exactly is the live-on-tape performance?


Well for this we will provide Eurovision's word-for-word explanation:


"All the participating broadcasters have been asked to record a live performance of their act in their own country. This recording will be delivered prior to the event and will take place in a studio setting. The recording will take place in real time (as it would be at the Contest) without making any edits to the vocals or any part of the performance itself after the recording.


A set of production guidelines will ensure fairness and the integrity of the Song Contest. There will be no audience present at the live-on-tape performances. The recording should be unique and remain unpublished before the event in May.


Delegations are allowed to use similar technical possibilities and dimensions that would be available on-stage in Rotterdam, but are also free to opt for a more down-scaled production setup. The live-on-tape recordings should not contain any augmented or virtual reality, overlays, confetti, drone shots, water, use of chromakey or green screen."


So other than no confetti, what else can we take away from this? Essentially that the EBU and Eurovision organisers are ensuring the Contest can go ahead and all nations will be able to compete. This will be done well ahead of the Contest, with the tapes due by the end of March - around six weeks before Eurovision takes place.


They are also ensuring this can be as fair as possible while still allowing for artistic freedom. A number of features we all know and love will be allowed these include LED video content, pyrotechnics, smoke and... WIND MACHINES.


Additionally to ensure people play by the rules (but to also off "support"), the Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor, a representative from an independent observer (Ernst and Young) and the Host Broadcaster will observe the live recording.


Overall, this is, in our opinion, a good move from organisers. This ensures that the Contest will happen under all scenarios, particularly with last minute COVID-19 issues.


You can read Eurovision's official FAQs on this news here.










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