Eurovision is often called the musical Olympic Games. But this competition is more likely to be compared not with the Olympics, but with the European or World Cup. The feeling of euphoria that captures viewers after winning the representative of their country at Eurovision is comparable to the victory of their native team at the World Cup.
Coronavirus deprived participants and spectators of Eurovision
In 2020, coronavirus deprived young viewers of the Olympics, the European Football Championship, and Eurovision. Many leading television companies of the world faced a serious challenge: how to fill in the airtime. In the case of Eurovision, we are talking about one of the most expensive slots - Saturday prime time. In addition, it would be wrong not to pay tribute to participants from 41 countries who were waiting in Rotterdam.
The advantage of a music competition over sports competitions is that the audience has the opportunity to get an idea of how the participants could sing. Video clips of Eurovision 2020 songs have long been uploaded on the Web. In some countries, such as Germany and Sweden, even the finalists were selected and their winner selected from the performers of the current competition.
Concert instead of Eurovision
The real winner, if the contest had not been canceled, we would have found out late on Saturday, May 16, when the final was to be held. Instead, the organizers of Eurovision - the European Broadcasting Union and three broadcasters of the Netherlands - decided to show the concert "Europe Shine a Light". This is the changed name for the 1997 song “Love Shine a Light” by Katrina & The Waves from the UK.
As Bjorn Ulveus, a former musician of the legendary Swedish band ABBA, joked during his inclusion on Saturday's show: “It's good that they chose“ Love Shine a Light ”and not“ Waterloo. ”Yes, it was with this song that ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 year, but Waterloo is still synonymous with major defeat. The idea of the organizers did not fail. All the participating countries of 2020 broadcast the show "Europe lights the light."
Did you light the audience
His idea was as follows: each performer received one minute so that the commentators could introduce the participant and the song, and the performers could appeal directly to the audience. The task is not easy - to keep the attention of the public with so many contestants. And at times it really got boring. Video messages were recorded in advance, and therefore a little outdated, as for the situation with the spread of coronavirus, and more like performances of participants in beauty contests with their desire to make the world a better place.
Sterile video messages did not give a chance to minor flaws and improvisations, which the audience loves so much. But it's hard to blame the performers for something. The coronavirus pandemic was a serious test for everyone. And in the current situation, different versions of the songs of the former Eurovision winners sounded differently.
Eurovision and Coronavirus
They - also on record - were shown during the show and were designed to “dilute” the performance of 2020 participants. Mons Selmerlev sang "Heroes", and it was clear that the real heroes of our time are doctors and nurses. "Prayer" by Maria Sherifovich - hope for better times in which there will be at least a "little peace" ("Ein bisschen Frieden)." With this song, German Nicole won in 1982.
The culmination of the evening was not the announcement of the results, but the performance of "Love Shine a Light" in a virtual choir by all participants of the current Eurovision. For the first time in the history of the contest, they sang together, and did not compete with each other. It is impossible to say which of them would win Eurovision 2020. A European vote was not possible, including due to the fact that insurance payments in connection with the cancellation of the contest would be at risk.
To whom Germany would give first place at Eurovision 2020
But the Germans chose their winner. As early as May 9, they identified ten “finalists” on the air of the “daughter” of ARD. And it was an impeccable choice. The largest public-law television channel in Germany invited them to a show in Hamburg, which was shown before "Europe lights the light." Due to quarantine restrictions, three participants of the “German finals” were able to come to Germany: the duo Ben & Tan from Denmark, The Roop from Lithuania and Daði og Gagnamagnið from Iceland. The songs of the remaining performers were presented in the recording, some of them from performing on stage, albeit in a hall without an audience.
The show in Hamburg was also broadcast from the empty hall of the Elbe Philharmonic. And there was something surreal about it. In a direct duel on stage, the group The Roop with the composition “On fire” won a victory over the Icelanders by the jury and the audience, winning the “German version” of Eurovision 2020. Third place Germany gave Little Big from Russia - in front of Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan.
Eurovision as a symbol of European unity
Of course, neither one nor the other show could replace a real contest. However, they were worth a look to support the very idea of Eurovision - the most European, according to former ABBA musician Bjorn Ulveus. Watch "Europa Shine a Light" - how to buy a voucher for your favorite restaurant: purchase now, and after a pandemic - eat. In the case of Eurovision - wait for him and see.
"Love Shine a Light" has sounded twice Saturday night. Before the participants sang it, the orchestra of the Rotterdam Philharmonic performed a melody - also on a distance. And to this music throughout Europe illuminated the sights of the cities of the continent. A beautiful and touching idea is a symbol of hope and unity.