Eurovision Song Contest returns despite coronavirus pandemic

ROTTERDAM – Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Look at. Large, backlit white wings? Check out.

Immediately after very last year’s Eurovision Music Contest was canceled amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is roaring back to existence this 12 months with coronavirus bubbles extra to its heady mix of music and melodrama.

Nationwide delegations touring to the Dutch port metropolis of Rotterdam are abiding by rigorous actions to reduce the chance of bacterial infections, when the countless numbers of supporters allowed to go to gown rehearsals, two semifinals and May 22’s grand closing will have to endure tests to be certain they do not carry the virus into the cavernous location.

Government producer Sietse Bakker is happy it truly is heading forward at all.

“Organizing the Eurovision Song Contest is always difficult for the reason that you have a lot less than a 12 months to arrange just one of the most important and most elaborate occasions in Europe, but to do it in a pandemic is substantially, significantly extra complicated,” he explained to The Associated Press.

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Inspite of the pandemic measures, the contest that aims to unite Europe in track is continuing its 65-12 months tradition of upbeat exciting.

Lovers near the Ahoy arena can get into the swing of the event early. Site visitors lights at a pedestrian walkway outdoors the venue have been remodeled so that a eco-friendly figure dances to Abba’s iconic 1974 successful tune “Waterloo” when it is really risk-free to cross.

The immensely common party mixes high camp — at rehearsals, Norway’s Andreas Haukeland, identified as TIX, performed his music “Fallen Angel” in big white wings — with lyrics encouraging inclusion and positivity even though averting political messages.

Belarus was booted out right before the contest even begun because organizers the European Broadcasting Union reported the country’s initial tune “puts the nonpolitical character of the Contest in question.” A substitution song also was rejected.

The theme for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is “Open up.” It was actually decided on just before the pandemic derailed community existence all-around the globe, but is now pretty apt as Europe commences to tentatively emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We decided to keep the concept due to the fact, especially in these instances, it’s crucial that we are open in the direction of every single other and that we experience the chance to open up to 1 an additional, to show our real emotions, emotions and feelings,” Bakker stated.

The 2019 Dutch winner, Duncan Laurence, claims on the event’s site that he sees new music as a way of forging backlinks. “That’s why we have to have the Eurovision Track Contest. To really feel connected once more.”

Thousands of lovers will be able to make the connection in particular person.

Each function will be open up to 3,500 people today — only about 20% of the ability of the arena — who have to demonstrate a damaging take a look at outcome that is considerably less than 24 several hours outdated.

The best 10 from each and every semifinal joins France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — together with host place the Netherlands — in the closing. Voting is performed in every collaborating country by a panel of tunes business specialists and viewers.

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The pandemic compelled the cancellation of very last year’s celebration and this 12 months prevented Australian singer Montaigne from traveling to Rotterdam. The Netherlands is internet hosting the function mainly because the state received the very last time the contest was held, in 2019.

Montaigne is even now getting aspect, but by sending in a recorded dwell general performance.

She’s not the only one lacking out. The mother of Dutch entrant Jeangu Macrooy also is not able to show up at as she are not able to travel from her property in Suriname. Swedish singer Tusse’s father wants to know if he can vote for him from his house in Congo.

Ukraine had a scare when the guide singer of its band, Go_A, Kateryna Pavlenko, had to skip a rehearsal in Rotterdam and get examined following experience unwell. The end result was detrimental and she was welcomed again.

She and her band are amongst 39 national entrants vying for a coveted victory that can be a springboard to a world-wide job or a fleeting style of fame.

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For several, the stage and global tv viewers of thousands and thousands is a probability to express messages of inclusion and positivity.

Russia’s performer, Manizha, sings a tune whose lyrics include the lines: “Every Russian Girl. Requirements to know. You’re potent adequate to bounce against the wall.”

The singer, whose household fled to Russia from Tajikistan, reported the message is for females all above the earth “because we require to be, we have to be brave. We will need to be happier. And I’m happy that I can encourage them on that phase due to the fact, you know, Eurovision phase is the one of the hugest stages in the entire world.”

Maltese singer Destiny also has a concept of entire body positivity and is tipped to choose it to the remaining. The 18-calendar year-old’s potent voice helped her earn the Junior Eurovision contest and access the semifinals of Britain’s Got Expertise in 2017.

Amid the many more than-the-best performances, the rather restrained track “Voilà” by French singer Barbara Pravi has emerged as the bookmakers’ favorite.

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Cyprus’ performer Elena Tsagrinou has now been in the spotlight immediately after Orthodox Christian devoted on the Mediterranean island protested that it promoted satanic worship.

Tsagrinou states her music, “El Diabolo,” which she performs flanked by four dancers in pores and skin-restricted red costumes, was misinterpreted and is truly about an abusive romance between two fans.

She laughs off the controversy that saw protesters keep up picket crosses and sing hymns exterior of Cyprus’ condition broadcaster in March.

Tsagrinou explained working with the COVID-19 limits is tough in advance of the contest, “but that’s not heading to continue to keep us back again and we’re heading to experience the vibe that we want to sense and the smile on our face.”

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