The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam has been cancelled.
It is the first time in the show’s 64 year history it will not proceed.
The European Broadcasting Union confirmed the news overnight, expressing deep regret at an inevitable outcome.
It expects to return “stronger than ever” in 2021.
In a statement the EBU said, “Over the past few weeks, we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead. However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to not continue with the live event as planned. The health of artists, staff, fans and visitors, as well as the situation in the Netherlands, Europe and the world, is at the heart of this decision.
“We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May.”
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor: “We are very proud of the Eurovision Song Contest, that for 64 years has united people all around Europe. And we are deeply disappointed about this situation. The EBU, together with the Host Broadcaster NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue to talk to see if it’s possible to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in 2021. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the process of staging a great Eurovision Song Contest this year. Unfortunately, that was not possible due to factors beyond our control. We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.”
Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event added, “For the artists from 41 participating countries, our opening and interval acts that put their hearts and souls into their performance. For the fans who have always supported us and have kept confidence until the last moment. And not least, for the fantastic team, which has worked very hard in recent months to make this 65th edition a great success. We understand and share that disappointment. Some perspective is appropriate because, at the same time, we also realise that this decision and its consequences don’t compare to the challenges faced by people affected, directly or indirectly, by the coronavirus and the difficult but necessary measures.”
The news is a blow to Europe which had been hoping the event would reunite a fragile continent, Australian broadcaster SBS and producers Blink TV who had chosen Montaigne to represent the nation. The EBU says it will discuss whether the 41 selected artists can perform their songs next year with its Reference Group.
“We ask some patience as we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await further news in the coming days and weeks. During that time, we would like to pay tribute to all the Host Broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 public service broadcasters who have worked so hard planning this year’s event,” said the EBU.
“We are all heartbroken that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May but feel confident that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”