Back to Stories

4 scenarios revealed for Eurovision Song Contest 2021

18 September 2020

As confirmed earlier this year, the Eurovision Song Contest will definitely return in 2021 and, following 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final on 18, 20 and 22 May, a new winner will be crowned!

In order to be able to make that promise, the EBU and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have been working on 4 basic scenarios for hosting the competition.

A decision will be made on what the 65th Eurovision Song Contest will look like early next year.

The 4 scenarios are as follows:

Scenario A: Normal Eurovision Song Contest 

In this situation, the Eurovision Song Contest will be organized as normal from Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena with 9 shows (including the dress rehearsals) in a packed venue, with delegations and artists from all the participating broadcasters and numerous activities in and around Rotterdam.

The feasibility of this scenario largely depends on the roll-out of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 or the availability of reliable testing.

Scenario B: Socially distant Eurovision Song Contest - at 1.5 metres

Everyone present at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam would need to practice social distancing and remain 1.5 metres from each other at all times.

Again, there would be 9 shows, with an audience in the arena, but with limited capacity to allow for social distancing.

Teams from each participating broadcaster would travel to Rotterdam, but with limits on the number of people in each delegation and on the number of press who could attend. Activities in and around Rotterdam would be adapted accordingly. 

Because there would be less space for the audience in this scenario, a new seating layout would have to be made. If that happens, it will be determined in the fairest possible way which of the current ticket owners keep a ticket. There will be more information about this in the first months of 2021.

Ticket holders who do not get to keep their tickets will of course be refunded the full purchase amount..

Scenario C: Eurovision Song Contest with travel restrictions

A Eurovision Song Contest, probably also socially distanced, from Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena as in scenario B, with 9 shows and a limited number of audience members in the arena.

If there are any delegations who cannot travel, their artists will perform from their own country. 

All performances in the shows will be brought together in Rotterdam. The entries of the countries that are allowed to travel and the opening and interval acts will still be performed live.

Scenario D: Eurovision Song Contest in lockdown

Should the Netherlands end up in a lockdown-like situation again, there will be a Eurovision Song Contest without an audience and probably without activities in and around Rotterdam. 

The performances of the participants will all come from their own country and be brought together in the TV shows from Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena, much like we will see at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in November. 

Open Up again

The 4 scenarios were outlined at press conference at the Rotterdam Ahoy on Friday 18 September during the signing of the cooperation agreement for the organization of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 by Saïd Kasmi (Alderman of Host City Rotterdam) and Gerard Timmer (Director General of NOS, on behalf of Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS). 

It was also confirmed that the theme for the 65th Eurovision Song Contest will remain the same – Open Up. 

The stage design for 2020 will also return in 2021 as will the 4 presenters: Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Edsilia Rombley and Nikkie de Jager.

Further details about the shows will be announced at a later date. There's more on the Official Eurovision Song Contest website



Relevant links and documents


Dave Goodman

Digital and Communications Manager - Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest