It has been announced today that the EBU have amended the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, to ensure next year’s show goes ahead, and that the contest is never again cancelled due to a global crisis.

The amended rules have announced that, for the 2021 contest, backing vocals and harmonies will be permitted to be provided on the backing track. This decision has been made on a one-year trial basis, and does not exclude performers from having live backing vocals.

The idea behind this change is to allow delegations to travel with a smaller team in the current restricted climate. It will also help to reduce technical burdens on the staff of the Host Broadcaster. As a result of the changes, composers and performers will be able to create performances that more closely reflect the original composition of the song, by using samples and vocal arrangements that are unable to be replicated in live vocals.

After the disappointment of missing the 2020 contest due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the new Executive Supervisor of the European Song Contest, Martin Österdahl, said “The lessons learned from the spring of 2020 are that we need to plan for a global crisis, and we have tailored the rules of the Contest to that effect. We must be able to be more flexible and to make changes even to the format itself and how we organize the event in these challenging times.”

“We have to adapt even if, as preferred, we are able to come back with our A-scenario; a Contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations,” Österdahl explained. “It is my mission, as I step into the big shoes left by Jon Ola Sand, to ensure the Eurovision Song Contest remains agile but true to its traditions, its values, and its history. When we bring the Contest back in 2021, we are bringing it back for good.”

In accordance with the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, lead vocals must continue to be performed live. No backing tracks will be permitted to contain lead vocals, lead dubs, or any other vocal arrangement that may be considered to unduly assist or replace the lead vocal line.

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