After a decade at the helm, Jon Ola Sand has today announced his decision to step down as Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest after the Rotterdam 2020 contest is complete. At that time, Sand will also resign from his role as Head of Live Events at the EBU, a role in which he also oversees the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision Young Musicians and Eurovision Choir events.
Sand has been involved in the production of the Eurovision Song Contest for over 20 years. After working with the Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK, as producer of their national final, Melodi Grand Prix, he was employed as the Head of the Norwegian Delegation. After Alexander Rybak’s famous win in 2009, Sand took up the role of Executive Producer of the following year’s Eurovision Song Contest, held in his home nation’s capital of Oslo. In 2011, he was appointed as Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, and has served in that position since. The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest will mark Sand’s 10th in the role, and Sand has deemed it “a good time to pass on the baton” in an interview with eurovision.tv.
With his trademark catchphrase, asking the hosts to “take it away!” before every voting sequence, Sand has quickly become an iconic, trusted and highly revered face when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest. This reverence, combined with Sand’s expressive mannerisms and unique energy when speaking on camera, have at times also spurned the internet into making the Executive Supervisor a meme. Perhaps the most famous example of this was Shocked Jon Ola in 2016, which the man himself was… well, a little shocked by.
When you find out about @ShockedJonOla pic.twitter.com/e8qlnXrOXq
— Jon Ola Sand (@jonolasand) May 11, 2016
In an announcement on Twitter today, Sand stated, “The past decade at the EBU headquarters has been fantastic and exciting but it’ll also be good to come home.” This statement was accompanied by the announcement that his next move will be to return to Norway, to undertake a role in Norwegian national broadcaster NRK’s head office.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) September 30, 2019
Sand will remain in charge of the Contest until after the 65th edition in Rotterdam, stating that there is “still plenty of work to do for ESC 2020 before then!” As the EBU continues to work on plans for the big show in May, they will also begin the search for someone to fill the enormous shoes Sand is leaving behind.
What will #YOU miss most about Jon Ola Sand? Let us know in the comments below, in our forum, or on social media.