The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 across the BBC
The world’s biggest music competition returns this May as the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the longest-running and most-watched non-sporting events in the world, is broadcast live from Rotterdam across the BBC
"After a year without the live contest, we can’t wait for it to return bigger and better" — Kate Phillips
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
NEWS PROVIDED BY
In celebration of the biggest music competition in the world, the BBC is promising plenty of Eurovision content across TV, radio and online.
The Netherlands will play host to the competition following the country's victory in 2019 in Israel with Duncan Laurence who wrote and performed Arcade.
This year marks the 65th edition of the competition, after it was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year there will be 39 countries competing in the contest, including two semi-finals that will be broadcast live on BBC Four, and the grand final which will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.
As one of the Big Five countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy), the United Kingdom does not have to qualify from the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Saturday Grand Final. The Netherlands, as host, also has automatic qualification to the Grand Final.
Multi-platinum selling, Brit award-winning and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter James Newman will be representing the UK with his single Embers, released by BMG after the renewed collaboration with BBC Studios for the contest.
The result of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest will be determined by a 50/50 vote. 50% of the votes come from the televoting in each participating country and the other 50% of votes will come from a group of five music professionals from each of the 39 countries taking part.
Director of Entertainment, Kate Phillips says "Eurovision is coming back with a boom bang a bang to the BBC this year! After a year without the live contest, we can’t wait for it to return bigger and better. We’ll be celebrating Eurovision across the BBC on all our platforms, from TV, radio and online. Over on BBC Four, coverage will go beyond the semi-finals, where viewers can watch some classic Eurovision moments from across the years. Radio 2 continues to be the home of Eurovision on the airwaves, and Radio 1 Newsbeat brings an exclusive documentary to iPlayer following James Newman and his journey to Rotterdam! Not forgetting the Grand Final over on BBC One, plus so much more brilliant Eurovision content not to be missed this May on the BBC!"
The BBC’s Eurovision coverage is a BBC Studios production, commissioned by Kate Phillips, Director of Entertainment. The Executive Producer and Head Of Delegation is Andrew Cartmell, and the series producer and Assistant Head of Delegation is Lee Smithurst. Suzy Lamb is the MD for BBC Studios Entertainment and Music and Mel Balac is the Creative Director. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Rachel Ashdown.
Graham Norton will provide the commentary on BBC One for Europe’s biggest party night of the year.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2021, will be hosted by Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Edsilia Rombley and Nikkie de Jager (also known as NikkieTutorials) and broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2. The qualifying acts from the semi-finals will join hosts Netherlands plus the Big Five countries France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom in the Grand Final of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest from The Ahoy in Rotterdam.
This year we will see interval performances from Dutch DJ Afrojack featuring Glennis Grace and Wulf as they will perform Music Binds Us a specially commissioned piece for the Grand Final. Current reigning Eurovison winner from 2019, Duncan Laurence, will be performing his winning song Arcade. Plus we will a multi act performance entitled Rock the Roof, a collaboration featuring six former Eurovision winners - Lenny Kuhr (1969), Teach-In (1975), Sandra Kim (1986), Helena Paparizou (2005), Lordi (2006) and Måns Zelmerlöw (2015).
After viewers have cast their votes, each national spokesperson from the 39 participating countries will be called in to present the points of their professional jury. Amanda Holden will be the United Kingdom’s spokesperson, delivering the all-important results live from London.
After the presentation of the scores from the juries, the televoting points from all participating countries will be combined, providing one score for each song. These televoting results will then be announced by the host building towards a dramatic climax.
More details regarding the voting procedure and how you can get involved can be found at bbc.co.uk/eurovision
The semi-finals will be live on BBC Four, presented by Rylan Clark-Neal, Scott Mills and Chelcee Grimes.
In the first semi-final, the first group of countries will compete for a place in Saturday’s Grand Final.
The 16 countries competing are: Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Malta.
Opening the show is The Netherlands Duncan Laurence, the most recent winner of Eurovision from 2019. Since 2019 Duncan's Eurovision winning song Arcade became a TikTok phenomenon, and earlier this year it returned to the UK charts along with an appearance in US Billboard charts.
Highlights of the first semi-final includes one of the bookies favourites Destiny, who is representing Malta. Also appearing is a Russian rapper who is also a women's rights activist, a Ukrainian electro-folklore outfit, and a Cypriot act whose song El Diablo has faced protests from some of the country's devout Christian community.
Thursday 20 May, 8pm
The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will feature 17 different acts taking to the stage in the hope of securing a place in Saturday’s Grand Final.
Competing this evening are: San Marino, Estonia, Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Poland, Moldova, Iceland, Serbia, Georgia, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and Denmark
Viewers in the United Kingdom are able to vote in this semi-final once all of the nights acts have performed.
Highlights of the second semi-final include one of the bookies favourites, San Marino with their entrant Senhit. Plus Daði Freyr is back for Iceland. Daði was due to appear last year and even though the contest was cancelled, their entry Think About Things was a viral sensation racking up more than 75 million Spotify Streams.
Classic Eurovision content on Friday 21 May...
The A-Z of Eurovision
Rylan Clark-Neal narrates a guide to all things Eurovision in this compilation of highlights, as he takes a sideways look at the greatest singing contest on the planet.
Moving through the alphabet, Rylan will be taking us from A, which is of course for Abba & Azerbaijan but also animals - featuring the Italian gorilla suit man and Azerbaijan’s artist dancing with a horse’s head through Z is for Zelmerlöw, Måns Zelmerlöw to be precise. The only Eurovision performer to have won the contest, hosted the contest and taken part in an interval act.
The A-Z of Eurovision, first broadcast in 2020 and produced by BBC Studios, will feature all the disasters, the costume changes and memorable musical moments from 65 years of Eurovision.
Eurovision at 60
First shown to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest’s 60th anniversary in 2015, BBC Four joins the celebrations with an appreciation of the joy, fun, scandal and intrigue that has defined the Eurovision Song Contest.
It’s a story of pioneering songs, singers and programme makers; complex and extraordinary technology, laborious voting and a bit of naughtiness. Above all, it can be argued that Eurovision is a symbol of tolerance. As Graham Norton says of Conchita Wurst’s 2014 win: “The people had spoken… and they were nicer and more tolerant people than their governments let us think.”
This documentary features interviews with Graham Norton, Conchita Wurst, Sir Terry Wogan and a whole host of Eurovision stars, songwriters and programme makers.
Abba at the BBC
Abba at the BBC charts the meteoric rise of the band with some of their greatest performances at the BBC. We begin in 1974 with their Top of the Pops appearance; we even get to see the band entertaining holidaymakers in Torbay in a 1975 Seaside Special.
There are many classic ABBA tunes from the 1979 BBC special Abba in Switzerland and we even have ABBA's final BBC appearance on the Late Late Breakfast show in 1982.
This compilation is a must for all Abba fans and includes great archive interviews, promos and performances of some of Abba's classics from Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know, Thank You for the Music, S.O.S, Fernando and Chiquitita, plus many more.
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 celebrates Eurovision 2021 across the station, building up to the live Eurovision Grand Final hosted by Ken Bruce on the big night itself on Saturday 22nd May. Ken will be live from Wogan House in London from 8pm - his first time broadcasting from there since March 2020. He’ll be introducing the 65th Eurovision Song Contest, which is taking place at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, bringing listeners every country’s performance from the final of the world’s biggest song contest. After last year’s contest was cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic, James Newman returns to represent the UK, although he brings a brand new song, Embers. And in what has now become a touching tradition, Ken will be toasting Sir Terry Wogan before contestant number nine’s performance (8pm until the end of the final, Saturday 22 May) - a BBC Audio production.
Ken Bruce says: “I can’t find the words to describe how I feel to be presenting my 33rd Eurovision! I’ve been broadcasting my daily show from a turret in Bruce Towers, but finally - after over 13 months away - I’ll be returning to the seat of Radio 2, Wogan House, for the live final. Good luck to James Newman - the Radio 2 listeners are behind you every step of the way!”
Laura Busson, Radio 2 Commissioning Executive, says: “Radio 2 is full of pride to be the radio home of Eurovision once again this year. Across our shows and on BBC Sounds we’ll be bringing listeners all the excitement of the build-up, the semi-finals, the dress rehearsals and the show itself - presided over by our King of Eurovision, Ken Bruce.”
Other Radio 2 content includes...
In the weeks building up to the final, OJ Borg will be playing his very own Eurovision One Hit Wonders. OJ loves Eurovision - he’s half Maltese and, for Malta, it is like their World Cup! He’ll be playing some of the contest’s best one hit wonders that charted in the UK, including the last Eurovision song to get to number one. He’ll also be chatting to Sally Ann Triplett from Bardo who represented the UK in 1982 in Harrogate. They finished in seventh place with their song, One Step Further, which reached number two in the charts - it was also John Peel’s favourite Eurovision song! Sally was also a member of Prima Donna who finished third in Eurovision 1980 with Love Enough For Two, but just missed out on the UK Top 40 (midnight-3am, Monday 10 May) - an Audio Always production.
James Newman picks his Tracks Of My Years from Monday to Thursday on The Ken Bruce Show (17-20 May) and is the guest on Ken’s Eurovision Preview Special where he’ll be catching up with reigning Dutch Eurovision winner, Duncan Laurence, and hearing from two of the main presenters on the night - Jan Smit and Edsilia Rombley. Also that day Ken will be looking ahead to some of the songs tipped to score big points in the final with broadcaster and self-confessed Eurovision super fan, Paddy O'Connell (9.30am-midday, Friday 21 May).
There will be lots of build-up on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show as Eurovision superfan Richie Anderson supports James and his Eurovision bid (6.30-9.30am). On The Steve Wright Show, Scott Mills and Rylan Clark-Neal will join Steve to look ahead to the semi-finals taking place that week (2-5pm). The Sara Cox Show will be featuring a Eurovision themed First & Last, chatting to a listener about their memories of the first and last Eurovision shows they attended (5-7pm, Thursday 20 May). All BBC Audio productions.
Rylan will have Sonia - who came second in 1993’s Eurovision with her song, Better The Devil You Know - as his guest (Sat 8 May) and a Eurovision Desert Rylan Mix (3-6pm, Saturday 15 May) - an Ora et Labora production.
Michael Ball will be closing the vote for the greatest Eurovision Song of all-time (10am-1pm, Sunday 9 May); there will be a Eurovision special of his weekly On the Ball topical entertainment quiz and he’ll be re-living his own Eurovision experience, leading the nation with his One Step Out of Time routine for the weekly dance sensation that is Boogie with Ball (Sunday 16 May)! A Listen production.
On Saturday 22 May, the day of the Grand Final...
Dermot O’Leary will be speaking to Irish singer and two times Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan (8-10am) - an Ora et Labora production
Claudia Winkleman will be chatting to James Newman live from Rotterdam ahead of the final that night, finding out how he’s feeling now the show is just a few hours away (10am-1pm) - A TBI Media production.
Ken Bruce reveals The UK’s All Time Eurovision Top 50, counting down the chart of favourite entries as voted for by UK Eurovision fans (available on BBC Sounds from Tuesday 18 May and on Radio 2 from 1-3pm today) - a BBC Audio production.
Rylan and Scott’s Eurovision Party will be hearing from some of the contest’s commentators from across Europe and beyond and speaking to Michelle Visage (3-6pm) - a BBC Audio production.
Ken Bruce presents the star attraction - the Eurovision Grand Final from 8pm until the end of the show - a BBC Audio production
Then it’s Richie Anderson’s Eurovision After Party continuing the celebrations for those who want to keep the party going (from the end of the Grand Final until 2am) - a Somethin’ Else production
A special edition of Vanessa Feltz’s A Dance Through The Decades features classic Eurovision anthems from each of the last six decades of the contest (from Friday 14 May) - a Listen production.
There will be two editions of Rylan’s Singalong Eurovision Anthems - The Singalongadingdong Eurovision Mix featuring all the wild tracks that have entered over the years including Cezar’s It’s My Life, Genghis Khan’s Dschinghis Khan and Netta’s Toy (available now), and The Classics featuring all the best-known and much-loved entries (available from 8 May) - both Ora et Labora productions.
Plus a My Life in a Mixtape Eurovision Special with Loreen, the Swedish winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Euphoria, will be playing the songs that have meant the most to her - shaping her musical journey, the songs she adored as a teenager, what was the first song she sang, which artist will she’ll never stop loving and more. The show will dip a Eurovision toe into the wealth of past winners and, of course, Loreen’s own Eurovision journey - BBC Audio Scotland production.
Also available on BBC Sounds is the Eurovision Collection featuring classic shows from the BBC archive from the past 20 years, including The Luck of the Irish with Terry Wogan, From Abba to Azerbaijan with Maria McErlane and featuring Terry Wogan, Terry Wogan’s Tracks of My Eurovision Years with Ken Bruce and Terry, Steve Wright’s Eurovision Love Songs, Nil Points with Rufus Hound, Eurovision Pick of the Pops 50s & 60s with Tony Blackburn, Eurovision Pick of the Pops 70s & 80s, and Eurovision Pick of the Pops 90s & beyond.
After the Grand Final, from Sunday morning Visage’s Eurovision Review will be available with Michelle Visage giving her review of the highs and lows of the Eurovision 2021 final.
Eurovision 2021: The Road To Rotterdam
From Monday 17 May
An iPlayer documentary from Radio 1 Newsbeat with exclusive access to James Newman as he prepares to represent the UK with Embers at one of the world’s biggest song competitions in the world. The team follow him for the last few months as he gets ready for the biggest moment of his life... from his music video shoot, to his rehearsals... all the way to his arrival in Rotterdam. The documentary also features many of the other 38 acts to show how they've been navigating a global pandemic to get to the Netherlands.
There will also be a Eurovision collection on iPlayer to celebrate the contests return, including classic Eurovision Song Contest finals and a selection of music programmes including a TOTPs special and a profile of one of Eurovision’s most loved winners, ABBA.
Social & digital
Follow BBC Eurovision on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as BBC Radio 2 social channels. Plus visit bbc.co.uk/eurovision for all the latest news and information
Source BBC One
May 1, 2021 7:00am ET by BBC One