music first, always: “I think the Eurovision Song Contest is about opening up, being who you want to be and not holding back. It’s such an amazing platform to show your music and artistry. I’ve always felt appreciated for who I am as a person and artist by Eurovision Song Contest fans from around the world.

This year I see a lot of artists coming to the stage with a “music first, always” attitude. I think that’s great. Music to me is one of the purest forms of making a connection. And man, don’t we all long for connection in these times? That’s why we need the Eurovision Song Contest. To feel connected again.

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019, my life has changed completely. I went from writing songs in my bedroom to being on stage with millions of viewers. It was a huge chance for me to make some of my biggest dreams come true: a successful international tour, signing a record deal with the famous Capitol Records in Los Angeles and performing all over the world. I even got to work with one of my musical heroes: Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic).

‘Arcade’ resulted in Gold and Platinum records all over the world and has also been awarded multiple times, one of these being an Edison Award, the Dutch version of the Grammys.

Who would have thought that there would now be an entrance called the Door Duncan in Rotterdam Ahoy, one of the most legendary venues? Or that my album would reach the number one position in countries like Chile? It all started on that Eurovision Song Contest stage two years ago, in Tel Aviv.

Two years after winning, ‘Arcade’ was reintroduced to the public thanks to its popularity on TikTok. This allowed the song to grow outside of Europe and it led to performances on US TV: The Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. To hear Ellen, one of the most iconic people on American television, say “Arcade has been streamed over one billion times” gave me so many goosebumps.

For me, Open Up means being who you want to be and not having to compromise this is who I am, deal with it. Because this is my life, and I can only live it once. But it’s also acceptance. 

Accepting that we’re all unique and at the same time all in this world together. I hope that everyone who‘s part of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, by either participating or watching, it will feel inspired by the show. Just that little bit of hope we all need in these weird times.

Eurovision Song Contest, thank you, you’ve changed my life and I’m forever grateful.”Duncan Laurence, vincitore dei Paesi Bassi all’Eurovision Song Contest 2019 con il brano “Arcade”, con 498 punti.

  • Dates: Semi-final 1, 18 May 2021 • Semi-final 2, 20 May 2021 • Final, 22 May 2021
  • Host: Venue: Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands • Presenter(s): Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley, Jan Smit & Nikkie de Jager • Directed by: Marnix Kaart, Marc Pos, Danieñ Kelinek • Execuitive Supervisor: Martin Österdahl • Executive Producer: Sietse Bakker, Astrid Dutrénit • Host broadcaster: AVROTROS, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) &Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO).
  • Opening actSemi-final 1: “Feel Something” performed by Duncan Laurence • Semi-final 2: “Forward Unlimited” performed by Redo and Eefje de Visser • Final: Flag parade introducing the 26 finalist countries with music by DJ Pieter Gabriel
  • Interval act: Semi-final 1: “The Power of Water” performed by Davina Michelle and Thekla Reuten • Semi-final 2: “Close Encounter of a Special Kind” performed by ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh and BMX-er Dez Maarsen • Final: “Music Binds Us” performed by Afrojack, Glennis Grace and Wulf, “Rock the Roof” featuring Lenny Kuhr, Teach-In with Getty Kaspers, Sandra Kim, Helena Paparizou, Lordi and Måns Zelmerlöw, “Arcade” performed by Duncan Laurence, “The Human Countdown”
  • Participants: Number of entries: 39 • Debuting countries: None • Returning countries: Bulgaria, Ukraine • Non-returning countries: Belarus, Hungary, Montenegro.
  • Voting system: Each country awards two sets of 12, 10, 8–1 points to 10 songs: the first–from a professional jury, the second–from viewers.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is set to be the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, following the country’s victory at the 2019 contest with the song “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence. The Netherlands was due to host the 2020 contest, before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the fifth time that the Netherlands hosts the contest, having previously done so in 1958, 1970, 1976 and 1980.

Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcasters Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO), Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) and AVROTROS, the contest will be held at Rotterdam Ahoy and will consist of two semi-finals on 18 and 20 May, and the final on 22 May 2021. The EBU discussed carryovers between the 2020 and 2021 contests, and many participating countries allocated the same artists who were due to represent them in 2020. The three live shows will be hosted by Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley, Jan Smit and Nikkie de Jager.

Thirty-nine countries will participate in the contest. Bulgaria and Ukraine will return after their absences from the 2019 contest, while Hungary and Montenegro will not return after their 2019 participation. Armenia and Belarus had originally planned to participate, but Armenia later withdrew due to social and political crises following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and Belarus was disqualified after their intended entry was found to be in violation of the contest’s rules.

• Location. The 2021 contest will be held at Rotterdam Ahoy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, following the country’s victory at the 2019 edition with the song “Arcade”, performed by Duncan Laurence. It will be the fifth time that the Netherlands hosts the contest, having previously done so in 1958, 1970, 1976 and 1980. Rotterdam Ahoy had previously hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007, and was set to host the 2020 contest before its cancellation.

Selection of the host city: By Eurovision tradition, the Netherlands received the right to host the Eurovision Song Contest after the country won the competition in 2019. The Dutch host broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS launched the bidding process in the same month, on 29 May, in which five cities—Arnhem, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Maastricht, Rotterdam, and Utrecht—submitted their bid books during a ceremonial event held in Hilversum on 10 July 2019. On 16 July, Maastricht and Rotterdam were shortlisted, and after the NPO visited both cities, on 30 August 2019, Rotterdam was announced as the host city of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 contest, the EBU began talks with broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS, as well as the city of Rotterdam, on the possibility of staging the 2021 contest in the city. On 23 April 2020, the municipal council of Rotterdam approved an increased budget after Dutch media reported that the city would require an additional €6.7 million to host the contest. The decision was imminent as it was required that the EBU be informed by late April if Rotterdam was willing to host the contest. If Rotterdam declined to host the event, NPO, NOS and AVROTROS had until mid-May 2020 to find an alternative.

During the broadcast of Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, which aired on 16 May 2020, Rotterdam was confirmed as the host city of the 2021 contest.

Other sites:

Turquoise Carpet. The “Turquoise Carpet” and Opening Ceremony events, where the contestants and their delegations are presented before the accredited press and fans, will take place at the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal (Rotterdam’s Holland Amerikakade) on Sunday 16 May 2021 starting at 18:00.

Online Eurovision Village. It can feel impossible to capture the spirit and energy of physical events and translate that into a digital experience, but as we can’t bring the Eurovision fans to Rotterdam and Eurovision Village, we will bring Rotterdam to them! It is our challenge to fit 1.5 years of work, creative ideas and inspiration into a worthwhile experience. To do this, we decided to create a next-level virtual experience full of energy, a little crazy and above all personal. We will reimagine the physical experience and transform it into a virtual one by building an interactive, 3D Eurovision Village map. It shows known and lesser known locations in Rotterdam. The online Eurovision Village is Open (Up) starting 15 May. 

• Production. The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be a co-production between three related Dutch television organisations — Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO), Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) and AVROTROS — of which each assumed a different role. Sietse Bakker and Astrid Dutrénit will serve as executive producers, while Emilie Sickinghe and Jessica Stam will serve as deputy executive producers.

In January 2020, the EBU announced that Martin Österdahl would become the executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest after the 2020 edition, succeeding Jon Ola Sand. Before his appointment, Österdahl had been an executive producer for the 2013 and 2016 editions, and had been a member of the Eurovision Song Contest reference group between 2012 and 2018.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: On 7 May 2020, Dutch authorities prohibited all mass gatherings in the country until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. The host broadcasters stated that they were assessing the decision and how it would impact the event.

On 18 September 2020, the EBU released a summary of contingency scenarios for the contest, including:

  • The event being held as normal (Scenario A);
  • The event being held with social distancing measures in place (Scenario B);
  • Providing the option for acts to perform from their home country if they are unable to travel to Rotterdam (Scenario C);
  • A fully-remote contest hosted from Rotterdam (Scenario D), with all acts performing from their home country, and no in-person festivities or audience in Rotterdam. This scenario was trialed during the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in November 2020.

In February 2021, the EBU and the host broadcasters stated that it had ruled out hosting the contest as normal (Scenario A). Scenario C was also modified – all acts would perform remotely like in scenario D. A health and safety protocol for the contest was published on 2 March 2021, with the EBU affirming that the contest will be held under scenario B, while reiterating that downscaling options remain on the table should circumstances change. On 30 April 2021, the EBU confirmed scenario B for the contest.

Overview of the hosting scenarios (as of 3 February 2021)
Contest aspect Scenario A
Scenario B
(1.5 meter) †
Scenario C
(Travel restrictive)
Scenario D
Shows from Ahoy Yes Yes Yes Yes
Participants in Rotterdam All All/most None None
Audience in the arena 100% 0-80% 0-80% None
Side events in Rotterdam Yes Adapted Reduced None
Press Centre 1,500 on site 500 on site
1,000 virtual
1,500 virtual 1,500 virtual

On 1 April 2021, it was announced that an audience of 3,500 people will be allowed at each of the nine shows, including the three live shows and six rehearsals; the Dutch cabinet later gave its approval on 29 April. All audience members must have tested negative for COVID-19.

Due to pandemic precautions, the “Turquoise Carpet” and Opening Ceremony events will be the only in-person side events to take place in 2021 – the Eurovision Village will be held in an online-only form, while the EuroClub and EuroCafé will not take place.

• Format. 

Visual design: On 18 September 2020, along with possible scenarios, the EBU confirmed that the planned visual design and slogan for 2020, “Open Up”, will be used for the 2021 contest as well. The revamped official logo and branding was unveiled on 4 December 2020. Designed by Clever°Franke, it is “an abstract presentation inspired by the map of world and visually connects the location of the capitals of the [then] 41 participating countries with Rotterdam as Europe’s beating heart”.The revamped visual identity, designed by MediaMonks and NEP, was built around patterns and ‘tracks’ that symbolises the Netherlands and “opening up”.

Presenters: On 18 September 2020, along with possible scenarios, the EBU confirmed that the 2020 planned presenters will be appointed as the presenters for the 2021 contest as well: actress and television host Chantal Janzen, singer and commentator for the contest Jan Smit, singer Edsilia Rombley, who represented the Netherlands in the 1998 and 2007 contests, and beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager (NikkieTutorials). In addition, De Jager and Krista Siegfrids (Finland’s representative in the 2013 contest) will be the presenters of the contest’s online content, including two behind-the-scenes YouTube series to be recorded with the participating artists. Koos van Plateringen, Hila Noorzai and Samya Hafsaoui will host the contest’s press conferences.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be hosted by Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley, Jan Smit and Nikkie de Jager (better known as NikkieTutorials). Chantal Janzen is a famous actress and presenter, Edsilia Rombley a presenter, singer and two-time Eurovision participant, Jan Smit is a successful singer, presenter and Eurovision commentator for the Netherlands and Nikkie de Jager is a professional hair & makeup artist and beauty guru with over 13 million subscribers on YouTube.

  • Chantal Janzen. Chantal was born in 1979 in Tegelen and studied at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. She rose to fame as a musical actress, performing in Tarzan, Petticoat and Hij gelooft in mij (He Believes in Me). She also acted in several well-known Dutch movies. Chantal started her TV career at public broadcaster AVRO, where she hosted the award show Gouden TelevizierRing Gala from 2008 to 2010. In 2011, she made the transfer to commercial broadcaster RTL where she hosted shows like Holland’s Got Talent and The Voice of Holland. Chantal Janzen won the Televizier-Ster award for best TV presenter an impressive five times.
  • Edsilia Rombley. Born in Amsterdam in 1978, Edsilia was introduced to the general public when she won the Dutch talent programme Soundmixshow in 1996. A year later she also won the European Soundmixshow and, in 1998, she represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest with Hemel & Aarde, finishing fourth. In 2007, she took part for the second time with On Top of the World. Edsilia also presented the Dutch voting and jury results twice. She hosted the first season of the successful AVROTROS programme Beste Zangers. Since 2005 the popular singer has completed seven theatre tours and from 2014 she has been performing annually as part of the formation Ladies of Soul.
  • Nikkie de Jager (NikkieTutorials). With over 13 million subscribers on YouTube and 14.3 million on Instagram, self-described professional hair & makeup artist and beauty guru NikkieTutorials is the biggest Dutch internet star of the moment. Her success reaches far beyond national borders: Nikkie has done the makeup of stars such as Kim Kardashian, Jessie J and Lady Gaga just to name a few.
  • Jan Smit. Jan Smit was born in 1985 and grew up in Volendam and scored his first hit at the age of 10. In 2005, his reality show Gewoon Jan Smit won the Televizier-Ring award. Jan is also a member of De Toppers and the German formation KLUBBB3. Since 2012, he has been hosting the AVROTROS show Beste Zangers, which got nominated for a Televizier-Ring award in 2017 and 2019. As a singer, Jan is not only well known in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He is the most successful Dutch artist in Germany, reaching up to 12 million viewers with Schlagerchampions, Die Hüttenparty and Schlagerboom.

Press centre hosts: 

  • Koos van Plateringen. Koos van Plateringen is a presenter and programme maker. Since 2009, Koos has been a reporter at the Eurovision Song Contest every year. The Netherlands know him as the presenter of the entertainment program Shownieuws. As an interviewer, he reports on important press events from all over the world. Because of his annual involvement in the Eurovision Song Contest as a reporter, Koos has grown into a much sought-after  expert.
  • Samya Hafsaoui. Samya Hafsaoui is a programme maker, writer and journalist. She has been seen on Dutch television as a presenter for various programmes. She also writes for magazines such as Glamour and Cosmopolitan, has her own column for Elle and the Theaterkrant and her first book was published in 2020. She is currently one of the writers of a popular Dutch web series and participates in the Netflix New Voices trajectory. As a music journalist, Samya has previously interviewed big names such as Billie Eilish, Mark Ronson and Lizzo. With knowledge of music as a musician and as a journalist, Eurovision is the perfect combination.
  • Hila Noorzai. Hila Noorzai worked as a DJ for national radio, Qmusic and made the switch to TV in mid-2020 and has since presented for news program the EenVandaag on AVROTROS twice a week. Hila has also been presenting the news updates for a national newspaper every week since 2019. The love for music has not left Hila in the radio studio and therefore she cannot wait to get started backstage at the Eurovision Song Contest

Stage design: During the announcement of the dates of the 2021 contest, Sietse Bakker, executive producer of the 2021 contest, stated that the planned 2020 stage design will also be used in the 2021 contest. The design is inspired by the slogan “Open Up” and the typical Dutch flat landscape. The Eurovision stage was designed by German stage designer Florian Wieder, who also designed the stages for the contests in 2011–12, 2015, and 2017–19. Its features include a revolvable primary LED screen that is 52 meters wide and 12 meters high, and a retractable semi-transparent LED screen which can be used as a backdrop for the secondary stage. The stage design will be complemented by augmented reality effects. Unlike the 2019 contest, the green room was placed in the main performance venue, and will encompass the entire floor space previously reserved for the standing audience, so as to facilitate social distancing.

Open Up: The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest branding is derived from last year’s style, with some familiar colours and shapes, but with a new outlook. In 2020 we focused on the contest’s history creating the branding around the number of years countries have been participating. This year we focus on the original goal of the Eurovision Song Contest: unite all countries and celebrate with music.

The new data driven logo designed by CLEVER°FRANKE visualizes all participants coming together in Rotterdam, Europe’s beating heart for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

All parts of the symbol are made up of two colours of the flags of the participating countries. The country’s position is determined by the angle and distance from its capital to Rotterdam.

MediaMonks joined the design team and added a new design system, called the Track. It expands the flag-coloured beams of the symbol to an ongoing pattern. This makes our look & feel more dynamic and suitable for all branding elements. From social media to merchandise and from city dressing to the spectacular shows.

Why is ‘Open Up’ our theme? Open Up reflects what the Netherlands and its inhabitants stand for; a country with an open outlook to the world, where we speak our mind, with respect for each other. A theme that reflects the spirit of our times. With the slogan ‘Open Up’, we warmly invite people to open up to others, to different opinions, each other’s stories and of course to each other’s music. Even though this slogan was conceived pre-pandemic, it turns out to be more relevant than ever: we’re all desperately longing to Open Up… again. As long as we are connected by music, there are no boundaries.

Entries: On 18 June 2020, the EBU announced that, for this year, delegations will have the option to use pre-recorded backing vocals. Each delegation can still choose to use backing singers, whether on or off stage, or a combination of live and recorded backing vocals. All lead vocals performing the melody of the song, including an eventual use of a so-called lead dub, must still be live on or off stage in the arena, according to the rules.

On 18 November 2020, the EBU revealed that, as a measure to guarantee that all participants can take part in the contest, every national broadcaster will create a ‘live-on-tape’ back-up recording prior to the contest which can be used if a participant cannot travel to Rotterdam, or subjected to quarantine on arrival. The recordings will take place in a studio setting, in real-time (as it would be at the contest) without any edits to the vocals or any part of the performance itself after the recording. A set of production guidelines was also revealed to ensure fairness and the integrity of the recordings.

Other rules for the entries will stay the same in the 2021 contest. This includes that the maximum length for a song is three minutes, that there can be at most six performers on stage, and that the compositions (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released before 1 September of the year before. Following the cancellation of the 2020 contest, the EBU explored the option of allowing the songs selected for the 2020 contest to compete in the 2021 contest, which needed to be discussed with the Eurovision Song Contest reference group and the national broadcasters. Victoria, Bulgaria’s representative for 2020 and 2021, publicly expressed her support for such a move. However, on 20 March 2020, the reference group decided that, in accordance with the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, the 2020 songs would not be eligible to compete in the 2021 contest.

live-on-tape and voting:

‘live-on-tape’ backup videos. In many ways, the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is a unique edition where a creative mind and can-do attitude are essential. Everyone involved is doing their best to produce three incredible television shows live from Rotterdam Ahoy where all 39 participating countries will be performing live on stage. In the unfortunate event that an artist or act is not able to perform live on stage, ‘Live on Tape’ backup videos will be used.

These recordings are a ‘plan B’ initiated by the EBU and Host Broadcaster. Together with all 39 delegations, backup performance tapes were introduced to ensure continuity for the competition in any given scenario. If an artist or act cannot travel to Rotterdam or has to go into quarantine or isolation during their stay, the Live on Tape backup video will be used during the live show. This way all entries get their moment to shine during the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. The show must go on!.

voting. Since 2016, both professional juries and televoters from participating countries award contestants a number of points from 1 to 8, 10 and 12. Starting in 2019, the order in which the televoting results are revealed is determined by the ranking of the jury result. The announcement of the televoting results starts with the country receiving the fewest points from the juries and ends with the country that received the highest number of points from the juries. 

voting in the semi-finals. Viewers at home and professional juries both determine the outcome of the two Semi-Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. 16 contestants in the first Semi-Final and 17 in the second Semi-Final vie for one of the 10 tickets per Semi-Final giving access to the Grand Final.

televoters. Viewers in all countries taking part in one of the Semi-Finals are invited to vote via the official app, or by telephone and/or SMS. Also, the Big Five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) as well as the Host Country (the Netherlands) vote in one of the Semi-Finals. For Germany, Italy and the Netherlands that will be the first Semi-Final. France, Spain and United Kingdom will vote in the second Semi-Final. The voting window opens after the last song has been performed and ends approximately 15 minutes later. Televoters determine 50% of the outcome.

professional juries. Professional juries in all countries taking part in or assigned to one of the Semi-Finals are required to vote. They determine the other 50% of the outcome. The jury, which consists of five members (including a chairperson), is the same jury that will vote in the Grand Final. The ten qualified countries are announced at the end of each Semi-Final in the order decided by the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. This order does not reflect the actual ranking on the scoreboard.

voting in the grand final. In all participating countries, televoters and professional juries will each award 1 to 8, 10, and 12 points. Televoters can vote via the official app, telephone and/or SMS. The voting window opens after the last song has been performed and ends 15 minutes later. These votes determine 50% of the outcome and are counted by Digame, the EBU’s voting partner. The vote of the professional juries determines 50% of the outcome. The jury, which consists of five members (including a chairperson) is the same jury that voted in one of the Semi-Finals. They will be watching live and will rank all songs based on the second Dress Rehearsal, the so-called Jury Final.

After the televoting window has closed, the results of the juries are presented in the usual format by national spokespersons. During this time the EBU, its voting partner and an independent observer compute and verify the televoting results.

After all the jury points have been awarded, the total points from the televote for each country are added up.

These totals are then added to the scoreboard, starting at the bottom and working up to the top. The country at the top of the scoreboard is declared the winner.

Televoters and juries cannot vote for the country they represent. The full results, including the televoting and the jury result in every participating country are published on after the Grand Final

Semi-final allocation draw. On 17 November 2020, the EBU confirmed that the semi-final allocation draw for the 2021 contest would not be held. Instead, the semi-finals will feature the same line-up of countries as determined by the draw for the 2020 contest’s semi-finals, which was held on 28 January 2020 at Rotterdam’s City Hall and hosted by contest presenters Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit and Edsilia Rombley. The draw also determined which semi-final each of the six automatic qualifiers – the Big Five plus the Netherlands – would have to vote in. The EBU also decided to maintain the Netherlands’ grand final running order position – 23.

The pots used initially for the 2020 contest featured as follows:

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4 Pot 5
  •  Albania
  •  Austria
  •  Croatia
  •  North Macedonia
  •  Serbia
  •  Slovenia
  •   Switzerland
  •  Australia
  •  Denmark
  •  Estonia
  •  Finland
  •  Iceland
  •  Norway
  •  Sweden
  •  Armenia[a]
  •  Azerbaijan
  •  Belarus[b]
  •  Georgia
  •  Moldova
  •  Russia
  •  Ukraine
  •  Bulgaria
  •  Cyprus
  •  Greece
  •  Malta
  •  Portugal
  •  Romania
  •  San Marino
  •  Belgium
  •  Czech Republic
  •  Ireland
  •  Israel
  •  Latvia
  •  Lithuania
  •  Poland
  1. [a] Armenia withdrew from the contest on 5 March 2021.
  2. [b] Belarus was disqualified from the contest on 26 March 2021.

Postcards: The “postcards” are short videos shown on television whilst the stage is being prepared for the next contestant to perform their entry, and usually lasts about up to 45 seconds. Filmed between March and April, and directed by Martijn Nieman, the 2021 postcards are based on the “Open Up” theme of the contest. In a departure from the initial concept created for the 2020 contest’s postcards owing to travel restriction concerns, the postcards involved the acts being presented through footage shot in their country of origin, inserted via chroma keying on the framework of a decorated ‘tiny house’ set-up in various locations around the Netherlands. So far, the following three locations have been revealed:

  •  Australia – Sparta Stadion Het Kasteel
  •  Portugal – Delft Town Square 
  •  Ukraine – Veluwezoom National Park

postcards opening up tiny houses: What connects telescopes, Wi-Fi, the good old cassette tape and Eurovision Song Contest postcards? They were all invented in the Netherlands!

At the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest in Amsterdam, the Dutch host broadcaster (NOS) devised a creative way of disguising set changes between contestants while keeping the viewers at home glued to their screens. Short films were commissioned to introduce each competing act from their home nation to be shown before their performance, and so an integral part of the Eurovision experience was born.

Five decades later the Dutch team is innovating once more, creating postcards without the artists having to travel to the Netherlands before May. The short films are created using a range of the latest digital filming techniques. Each postcard features a tiny house which provides a home for the story and personality of each country’s artist. The return of the Eurovision Song Contest should feel like coming home. Especially after a year in which our homes played an even more central role in our lives.

Gerben Bakker: ‘Our country has so much beauty to offer.

We received over 750 suggestions for locations after inviting the Dutch to share with us the beauty that surrounds them. 

We want to tell the story of each artist and present the diversity of the Netherlands with beautiful nature, architectural masterpieces and historical places.

Opening and interval acts: On 4 May 2021, the EBU released information about the opening and interval acts.

First Semi-Final, 18 May 2021:

  • Get Ready! opening act: Get ready, because the Eurovision Song Contest is back! In an upbeat tempo we reveal all the ingredients that make us love the contest. From the venue, stage and special effects to our hosts, dancers and of course the reigning winner Duncan Laurence. Duncan performs ‘Feel Something’. The hit single he produced together with Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren
  • The Power of Water interval act: This exceptional time is all about resilience, to emerge even stronger. The story of the Netherlands is dominated by the relationship with and resilience towards water. The interval act will show a high-end video in which two internationally known artists play a leading role: actress Thekla Reuten and singer Davina Michelle. Pop-sensation Davina Michelle will appear in an augmented reality world of water. She uses the stage like she never did before. A performance where film and the live act on stage merge and together form a large visual spectacle.

Second Semi-Final, 20 May 2021: 

  • Forward Unlimited opening act: In this spectacular opening we tell the life story of breakdancer Redo (Redouan Ait Chitt), a one-of-a-kind dancer. His story symbolizes resilience and perseverance. His physical challenges have become his absolute strength. The musical interpretation is given an extra dimension through the inspiring performance of Dutch singer Eefje de Visser. She vocally tells Redo’s story as she performs her song live on stage.
  • Close Encounter of a Special Kind interval act: Two men, two backgrounds, two stories. In this spectacular and thought-provoking dance act. The story of two Dutch people who try to come together in a world adrift. Classic ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh and BMX-rider Dez Maarsen from ISH Dance Collective perform an extraordinary act in which they not only connect urban dance to classical ballet, but also tell the story of the power of opening up to one another. Metaphorically they portray finding their way again independently of each other. And eventually, surrounded by the dance crew, they find each other. 

Grand Final, 22 May 2021:  

  • Flag Parade opening act: A spectacular opening with the entrance of the 26 finalists, featuring dancers and Augmented Reality with a prominent role for the tiny house from our postcards: the home of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Upcoming DJ-talent Pieter Gabriel delivers a modern remix of a world-famous Dutch music track, with a special appearance of our hosts. 
  • Music Binds Us interval act: One of the leading DJs in the world Afrojack, will feature in this act which starts with a VT from the Erasmus Bridge where a classical orchestra is set up to play together with singer Wulf. At a unique location in the city centre of Rotterdam Afrojack – “Hero” and Wulf will be giving a first class show. Dancers will help create a transition to Rotterdam Ahoy, where Glennis Grace (Dutch entry Eurovision Song Contest 2005) gives a glittering performance. The act is directed by Dutch director Tim Oliehoek.
  • Rock the Roof interval act:  Bring six former Eurovision Song Contest winners to great new heights. The former winners literally take over Rotterdam with a spectacular performance from three unique locations, high up in the air. We reflect on our legacy and give past winners a unique rooftop stage on which they perform their winning songs. Starring: Lenny Kuhr (1969), Teach-In with Getty Kaspers (1975), Sandra Kim (1986), Helena Paparizou (2005), Lordi (2006) and Måns Zelmerlöw (2015).
  • The Story Continues interval act: To music first. Duncan Laurence live on stage and bringing a mini concert to all Eurovision Song Contest viewers at home. This performance concludes with the song ‘Arcade’, where it all started, and of course also new music as Duncan’s musical journey continues in 2021 and beyond.
  • The Human Countdown interval act: It is impressive. It is short. The last one and a half minute to vote for your favorite performance of the evening. The seconds are ticking away in a unique dance act. The dancers symbolize the numbers and act as a countdown clock. The Human Countdown: more than just counting down.

  • RED: Participating countries in the first semi-final
  • PINK: Pre-qualified for the final but also voting in the first semi-final
  • BLUE: Participating countries in the second semi-final
  • BLUE-CLAIR: Pre-qualified for the final but also voting in the second semi-final

Participating countriesThe EBU initially announced on 26 October 2020 that 41 countries would participate in the contest, featuring the same line-up of countries that were set to participate in the cancelled 2020 edition. Bulgaria and Ukraine will mark their return to the contest after their absences from the 2019 contest, while Hungary and Montenegro were confirmed as non-returning following their latest appearances in 2019.

In March 2021, Armenia and Belarus confirmed their non-participation in the contest; Armenia withdrew due to social and political crises in the aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, while Belarus was disqualified after submitting an entry in violation of the rules, thereby reducing the number of participating countries to 39.

Stato Artista Brano Lingua Processo di selezione
Albania Albania Festivali I Këngës 59, ¿?-¿?-2021
Armenia Armenia Depi Evratesil 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Australia Australia Montaigne Interno (Eurovision – Australia Decides 2020, 8 febbraio 2020); cantante riconfermata il 01-04-2020
Austria Austria Vincent Bueno Interno (cantante annunciato il 26-03-2020); cantante riconfermata il 26-03-2020
Azerbaigian Azerbaigian Samira Efendi Interno (cantante annunciata il 28-02-2020); cantante riconfermata il 20-03-2020, 
Belgio Belgio Hooverphonic Interno (gruppo annunciato il 01-10-2019); gruppo riconfermato il 20-03-2020,
Bielorussia Bielorussia Finale Еўрабачанне-2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Bulgaria Bulgaria VICTORIA Interno (cantante annunciata il 25-11-2019; cantante riconfermata il 21-03-2020,
Cipro Cipro Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
Croazia Croazia DORA 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Danimarca Danimarca Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Estonia Estonia Eesti Laul 2021, 06-03-2021
Finlandia Finlandia UMK 2021, 20-02-2021
Francia Francia Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
Georgia Georgia Tornike Kipiani Interno (Georgian Idol 2, 31-12-2019); cantante riconfermato il 19-03-2020,
Germania Germania Unser Lied Für Rotterdam, ¿?-¿?-2021
GreciaGrecia Stefania Interno; (cantante annunciato il 03-02-2020); cantante riconfermata il 18-03-2020,
Irlanda Irlanda Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
Islanda Islanda Söngvakeppnin 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Israele Israele Eden Alene Interno (HaKokhav HaBa 2020, 04-02-2020; cantante riconfermata il 22-03-2020,
Italia Italia Festival di Sanremo 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Lettonia Lettonia Samanta Tīna Interno (Supernova 2020, 08-02-2020); cantante annunciata il 16 maggio 2020
Lituania Lituania Pabandom Iš Naujo 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Macedonia del Nord Macedonia del Nord Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
Malta Malta Destiny Interno (X Factor Malta 2, 08-02-2020); cantante annunciata il 16 maggio 2020
Moldavia Moldavia O Melodi Pentru Europa 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Norvegia Norvegia Norsk Melodi Grand Prix 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Paesi Bassi Paesi Bassi (organizzatore) Jeangu Macrooy Interno; cantante annunciato il 10-01- 2020; cantante riconfermato il 18-03-2020,
Polonia Polonia Szansa na sukces – Eurowizja 2020, ¿?-¿?-2021
Portogallo Portogallo Festival Da Canção 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Regno Unito Regno Unito Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
Rep. Ceca Repubblica Ceca Benny Cristo Interno (Eurovision Song CZ 2020, 03-02-2020); cantante annunciato il 13 maggio 2020
Romania Romania ROXEN Interno (cantante annunciata l’11-02-2020);  cantante riconfermata il 23-03-2020,
Russia Russia Interno, ¿?-¿?-2021
San Marino San Marino Senhit Interno (cantante annunciata il 06-03-2020); cantante annunciata il 16-05-2020
Serbia Serbia Beovizija 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Slovenia Slovenia Ana Soklič Interno (EMA 2020, 22-02-2020); cantante annunciata il 16 maggio 2020
Spagna Spagna Blas Cantó Interno (cantante annunciato il 05-10-2019); cantante riconfermato il 18-03-2020,
Svezia Svezia Melodifestivalen 2021, ¿?-¿?-2021
Svizzera Svizzera Gjon’s Tears Interno (artista presentato il 04-03-2020; cantante riconfermato il 20-03-2020, 
Ucraina Ucraina Go_A Interno (Vidbir 2020, 22-02-2020); gruppo riconfermato il 18-03-2020, 

Returning artists: After the cancellation of the 2020 contest, the participating broadcasters of 24 countries announced that, for the 2021 contest, they would internally select the same artists initially selected for 2020. In addition, the artists initially selected for Estonia and Lithuania in 2020 won their national finals to represent their countries in 2021.

Discounting 2020, the contest will feature three representatives who also previously performed as lead vocalists for the same country, and five artists who participated in other Eurovision events or as backing vocalists for the same or for another country.

Artist Country Previous year(s)
Natalia Gordienko  Moldova 2006 (alongside Arsenium)
Senhit  San Marino 2011
Sanja Vučić (member of Hurricane)  Serbia 2016
Ksenija Knežević (member of Hurricane) 2015 (as backing vocal for Knez, representing Montenegro)
Destiny Chukunyere  Malta Junior Eurovision 2015 (winner)
2019 (as backing vocal for Michela Pace)
Stefania  Greece Junior Eurovision 2016 (representing the Netherlands as a member of Kisses)
Vincent Bueno  Austria 2017 (as backing vocal for Nathan Trent)
Vasil  North Macedonia 2019 (as backing vocal for Tamara Todevska)

Semi-final 1. The first semi-final will take place on 18 May 2021 at 21:00 (CEST). Sixteen countries will participate in the first semi-final. Those countries plus Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will vote in this semi-final. Belarus was originally allocated to participate in the first half of the semi-final, but was disqualified from the contest after submitting an entry in violation of the rules.

Draw Country Artist Song Language(s)
01  Lithuania The Roop “Discoteque” English
02  Slovenia Ana Soklič “Amen” English
03  Russia Manizha “Russian Woman” Russian, English
04  Sweden Tusse “Voices” English
05  Australia[c] Montaigne “Technicolour” English
06  North Macedonia Vasil “Here I Stand” English
07  Ireland Lesley Roy “Maps” English
08  Cyprus Elena Tsagrinou El diablo English[d]
09  Norway Tix “Fallen Angel” English
10  Croatia Albina “Tick-Tock” English, Croatian
11  Belgium Hooverphonic “The Wrong Place” English
12  Israel Eden Alene “Set Me Free” English[e]
13  Romania Roxen “Amnesia” English
14  Azerbaijan Efendi “Mata Hari” English[f]
15  Ukraine Go_A “Shum” (Шум) Ukrainian
16  Malta Destiny Je me casse English[g]

Semi-final 2. The second semi-final will take place on 20 May 2021 at 21:00 (CEST). Seventeen countries will participate in the second semi-final. Those countries plus France, Spain and the United Kingdom will vote in this semi-final. Armenia was originally allocated to participate in the second half of the semi-final, but withdrew from the contest due to social and political crises in the aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Draw Country Artist Song Language(s)
01  San Marino Senhit[h] Adrenalina English[i]
02  Estonia Uku Suviste “The Lucky One” English
03  Czech Republic Benny Cristo “Omaga” English[j]
04  Greece Stefania “Last Dance” English
05  Austria Vincent Bueno “Amen” English
06  Poland Rafał “The Ride” English
07  Moldova Natalia Gordienko “Sugar” English
08  Iceland Daði og Gagnamagnið “10 Years” English
09  Serbia Hurricane Loco Loco Serbian[k]
10  Georgia Tornike Kipiani “You” English
11  Albania Anxhela Peristeri “Karma” Albanian
12  Portugal The Black Mamba “Love Is on My Side” English
13  Bulgaria Victoria “Growing Up Is Getting Old” English
14  Finland Blind Channel “Dark Side” English
15  Latvia Samanta Tīna “The Moon Is Rising” English
16   Switzerland Gjon’s Tears “Tout l’Univers” French
17  Denmark Fyr & Flamme Øve os på hinanden Danish

Final. The final will take place on 22 May 2021 at 21:00 (CEST). Twenty-six countries will participate in the final, composed of the host country, the Big Five, and the ten best-ranked entries of each of the two semi-finals. All thirty-nine participating countries will vote in the final.

Draw Country Artist Song Language(s)
 France Barbara Pravi Voilà French
 Germany Jendrik “I Don’t Feel Hate” English[l]
 Italy Måneskin Zitti e buoni Italian
 Spain Blas Cantó Voy a quedarme Spanish
 United Kingdom James Newman “Embers” English
23  Netherlands Jeangu Macrooy “Birth of a New Age” English, Sranan Tongo
  1. [c] Due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Australia will compete using their ‘live-on-tape’ performance.
  2. [d] Contains repeated words in Spanish
  3. [e] Contains several phrases in Hebrew
  4. [f] Contains one repeated chant in Azerbaijani
  5. [g] Contains one repeated phrase in French
  6. [h] The song features vocals from Flo Rida.
  7. [i] Contains one repeated word in Italian
  8. [j] Contains one sentence in Czech
  9. [k] Contains one phrase in English and one repeated word in Spanish
  10. [l] Contains two spoken sentences in German
  11. [m] The first semi-final will be broadcast delayed.

• Other countries. Eligibility for potential participation in the Eurovision Song Contest requires a national broadcaster with active EBU membership that would be able to broadcast the contest via the Eurovision network. The EBU issued an invitation of participation in the contest to all active members. Associate member Australia does not need an invitation for the 2021 contest, as it had previously been granted permission to participate at least until 2023.

Active EBU members: 

  •  Andorra – In November 2019, Democrats for Andorra, the ruling party of Andorra, stated that the country would eventually return to the contest, with a cost assessment as a prerequisite. Susanne Georgi, the 2009 Andorran representative, stated in May 2020 that she had secured the funding required for the country to return. Later that year, on 1 August 2020, Georgi explained on Eurovision fan website Wiwibloggs’ podcast that she had held a meeting with Prime Minister of Andorra Xavier Espot Zamora, in which they verbally agreed to make a return to the 2022 contest (as they did not want to participate under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic).
  •  Armenia – Having intended to compete in 2020, Armenia were initially confirmed for the 2021 contest when the list of participants was announced by the EBU in October 2020, and were set to perform in the second half of the second semi-final. However, on 5 March 2021, the Public Television Company of Armenia (AMPTV) confirmed that they were subsequently unable to participate due to social and political crises in the country in the aftermath of 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
  •  Belarus – Having intended to compete in 2020, Belarus were initially confirmed for the 2021 contest when the list of participants was announced by the EBU in October 2020, and were set to perform in the first half of the first semi-final. However, on 26 March 2021, Belarus was disqualified by the EBU after their entry “Ya nauchu tebya (I’ll Teach You)” by Galasy ZMesta was rejected due to violating the rules, and not being able to submit an eligible replacement entry.
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina – In October 2020, Bosnian broadcaster Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT) confirmed that the country would not return in 2021, citing ongoing financial issues. Bosnia and Herzegovina last participated in 2016.
  •  Luxembourg – In July 2020, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg confirmed that Luxembourg would not participate in 2021, stating that they have no “focus on entertainment and music shows” and that participating “would put the broadcaster under a financial strain”. Luxembourg last participated in the contest in 1993.
  •  Monaco – Monégasque broadcaster TMC confirmed in September 2020 that they would not participate in 2021.
  •  Montenegro – Montenegrin broadcaster Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) confirmed in October 2020 that they would not participate in 2021. They had previously withdrawn from competing in the later-cancelled 2020 contest due to a series of poor results and the costs associated with participation.
  •  Morocco – In response to rumours that the EBU had been in discussions with Morocco regarding participation, Karim Sbai, the Director of Communications of Morocco’s Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision, stated in February 2020 that Morocco’s possible return had not yet been discussed. Ultimately, Morocco was not included on the final list of participants for 2021.
  •  Slovakia – In July 2020, a spokesperson from Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) stated that the broadcaster was unlikely to participate, and confirmed their non-participation in August 2020.
  •  Turkey – In May 2020, Faruk Kaymakcı, Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & Director for EU Affairs, stated that he hoped to see Turkey returning. However, Turkey was not included on the final list of participants for 2021. Turkey last took part in 2012.

Associate EBU members:

  •  Kazakhstan – In August 2020, the EBU stated that they had no intention to invite Kazakhstan for this year.

Non-EBU members:

  •  Kosovo – In August 2020, the EBU stated that they had no intention to invite Kosovo for this year.
  •  Liechtenstein – In July 2020, Liechtensteiner broadcaster 1 FL TV announced that they had ruled out debuting in 2021. The broadcaster had attempted to become an EBU member in the past but halted its plans when its director, Peter Kölbel, unexpectedly died. It would also need the backing of the Liechtenstein government to be able to carry the cost of becoming an EBU member and paying the participation fee for the contest.

• Broadcasters, commentators and spokespersons.

Spokespersons: The points given out by the national juries will be announced during the final by a spokesperson from each participating country. The following spokespersons have been announced as of May 2021:

  •  Cyprus – Louis Patsalides
  •  Denmark – Tina Müller
  •  France – Carla (French representative in Junior Eurovision 2019)
  •  Israel – Lucy Ayoub (Co-presenter in 2019)
  •  Portugal – Elisa
  •  Sweden – Carola (Swedish representative in 1983 and 2006; winner of the 1991 contest)
  •   Switzerland – Angélique Beldner
  •  United Kingdom – Amanda Holden

Broadcasters and commentators: All participating broadcasters may choose to have on-site or remote commentators providing an insight about the show to their local audience and, while they must broadcast at least the semi-final they are voting in and the final, most broadcasters air all three shows with different programming plans. Similarly, some non-participating broadcasters may still want to air the contest. These are the broadcasters that have confirmed their broadcasting plans and/or their commentators:

Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
Country Show(s) Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s)
 Australia All shows SBS Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey
 Bulgaria All shows BNT 1
 Cyprus All shows RIK 1, RIK HD Louis Patsalides
 Czech Republic Both semi-finals ČT2 Jan Maxián and Albert Černý
Final ČT1
 Denmark All shows DR1 Henrik Milling and Nicolai Molbech
 Finland All shows Yle TV1, Yle Radio Suomi, Yle X3M Finnish: Mikko Silvennoinen
Swedish: Eva Frantz and Johan Lindroos
Russian: Levan Tvaltvadze
 France Both semi-finals Culturebox (France 4) Laurence Boccolini
Final France 2 Stéphane Bern and Laurence Boccolini
 Germany Both semi-finals One Peter Urban
Final Das Erste, One
 Greece All shows ERT1 Maria Kozakou and Giorgos Kapoutzidis
 Iceland All shows RÚV Gísli Marteinn Baldursson
 Israel 1st semi-final and final Kan 11 Asaf Liberman and Geula Even-Sa’ar
2nd semi-final Asaf Liberman and Akiva Novik
 Italy Both semi-finals Rai 4 Ema Stokholma and Saverio Raimondo
Final Rai 1 Gabriele Corsi and Cristiano Malgioglio
Rai Radio 2
 Netherlands All shows NPO 1 Cornald Maas and Sander Lantinga
 North Macedonia
 Norway All shows NRK1 Marte Stokstad
 Poland All shows TVP1, TVP Polonia Marek Sierocki and Aleksander Sikora
 Portugal All shows[m] RTP José Carlos Malato and Nuno Galopim
 Romania All shows TVR
 Russia All shows Channel One Yuri Aksyuta and Yana Churikova
 San Marino
 Spain Both semi-finals La 2 Tony Aguilar, Julia Varela and Víctor Escudero
Final La 1
 Sweden All shows SVT1 Edward af Sillén and Christer Björkman
SR P4 Carolina Norén
  Switzerland Both semi-finals SRF zwei German: Sven Epiney
 Ukraine All shows UA:First Timur Miroshnychenko
STB Serhiy Prytula
 United Kingdom Both semi-finals BBC Four Rylan Clark-Neal, Chelcee Grimes and Scott Mills
Final BBC One Graham Norton
BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce
Broadcasters and commentators in non-participating countries
Country Show(s) Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s)
 Canada All shows Omni Television No commentary

• Incidents. 

Belarusian disqualification: After “Ya nauchu tebya (I’ll Teach You)” was announced as the Belarusian entry for the contest, the EBU ruled that the song did not comply with the contest’s rules against political entries, and that the song was not eligible to compete in the contest unless it was modified or replaced. After failing to meet an extended deadline for submitting an eligible entry, with their second submission “Pesnyu pro zaytsa (Song About Hares)” also being found to not comply with the rules, it was announced on 26 March 2021 that Belarus was disqualified from the contest.

• Other awards. 

Marcel Bezençon Awards: Apart from the viewers at home and music industry professionals who decide upon the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, press, commentators and composers also award additional prizes; the Marcel Bezençon Awards. The Marcel Bezençon Awards honour the best competing songs in the final.

The award, named after the founder of the Eurovision Song Contest, was first handed out in 2002, at the initiative of Christer Björkman (Sweden’s representative in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest) and Richard Herrey (member of the Herreys, 1984 Eurovision Song Contest winner from Sweden).

The awards are divided into three categories: the Press Award (given to the best entry voted for by the accredited media), the Artistic Award (presented to the best artist voted for by the commentators) and the Composer Award (a jury consisting of the participating composers who vote for the most original composition).

The awards are traditionally handed out backstage, shortly before the Grand Final.

OGAE: OGAE is an international organisation which conducts a voting poll for the favourite songs among its members before the annual contest. It consists of a network of over 40 Eurovision Song Contest fan clubs across Europe and beyond. The top five overall results, after 21 out of 43 votes had been cast (as of 2 May 2021) are shown below.

Country Performer(s) Song OGAE result
  Switzerland Gjon’s Tears Tout l’Univers 194
 Malta Destiny Je me casse 169
 France Barbara Pravi Voilà 162
 Lithuania The Roop “Discoteque” 143
 San Marino Senhit[h] Adrenalina 118

• Additional programming: 

Eurovision Song Celebration: Live-On-Tape: The EBU announced on 29 March 2021 that Eurovision Song Celebration would be returning for a second edition, premiering on the contest’s official YouTube channel. The show, presented by Krista Siegfrids and airs in two parts on 28 and 29 May, will showcase all 39 ‘live-on-tape’ back-up performances, alongside other bonus material. Like in the previous year’s Song Celebration, fans will be asked to contribute to the show by sending videoclips of their favourite entries.

Krista Calling: Krista Siegfrids will also host Krista Calling, a backstage series to be broadcast on the contest’s official YouTube channel. The series premiered on 28 April 2021 and will run for six episodes until 21 May, and will include interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage from Rotterdam.

LookLab with NikkieTutorials: Alongside the main contest, Nikkie de Jager will also host LookLab with NikkieTutorials, a backstage series to be broadcast on the contest’s official YouTube channel. The series will run daily from 10 to 21 May 2021, and will feature all 39 participants “discussing the glitter, glamour and gossip of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest”.

Official album. Eurovision Song Contest: Rotterdam 2021 is the official compilation album of the contest, put together by the European Broadcasting Union and was released by Universal Music Group digitally on 16 April 2021 and physically on 23 April 2021. The album features all 39 entries including the semi-finalists that failed to qualify for the final.

Eurovision Song Contest: Rotterdam 2021
ESC 2021 album cover.png
Compilation album by Eurovision Song Contest
Released 23 April 2021
Genre Pop
Length 1:54:30
Label Universal
Eurovision Song Contest chronology
Eurovision: A Tribute to the Artists and Songs 2020
Eurovision Song Contest: Rotterdam 2021


Chart (2021) Peak position
Dutch Compilation Top 30 1
German Compilation Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 3
Swedish Physical Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 4
UK Compilation Chart (OCC) 7

The history of the Eurovision Song Contest began as the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon of the EBU. The Contest was based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology. 

The first Contest was held on 24 May 1956, when seven nations participated. With a live orchestra, the norm in the early years, and simple sing-along songs on every radio station, the Contest grew into a true pan-European tradition.

In the beginning, it was obvious for the participants that they should sing in their country’s national language. However, as the Swedish entry in 1965, Absent Friend, was sung in English, the EBU set very strict rules on the language in which the songs could be performed. National languages had to be used in all lyrics. Song writers across Europe soon tagged onto the notion that success would only come if the judges could understand the content, resulting in such entries as Boom-Bang-A-Bang and La La La. In 1973, the rules on language use were relaxed, and in the following year ABBA would win with Waterloo. Those freedom of language rules would be soon reversed in 1977, to return with apparent permanent status in the 1999 contest.

The voting systems used have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975. Voters award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to songs from other countries, with the favorite being awarded the now famous douze (French for 12) points. Historically, a country’s set of votes was decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries (Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) experimented with televoting, giving the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favorite songs. The experiment was a success and from 1998 all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible.

Nowadays viewers may also vote by SMS. Whichever method of voting is used, jury, telephone or SMS, countries may not cast votes for their own songs.

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process has continued to this day with more and more countries joining.

For this reason, in 2004 the Semi-Final format was introduced by the EBU, which turned into two Semi-Finals for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. Now all countries, except the ‘Big Five’ (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), together with the host country, must be in a Semi-Final top-10 to qualify for the Final.

In 2015, the Contest celebrated its 60th anniversary. The BBC hosted a grand show in London, featuring over a dozen former participants. And to honour Australia’s Eurovision Song Contest commitment for over 30 years, having continuously broadcast the show since 1983, the organizers invited SBS to participate for the first time ever.

After more than 65 years, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest live TV entertainment spectacles in the world. 

Some Dutch ESC History. The first song ever heard in the Eurovision Song Contest was Jetty Paerl’s ‘De Vogels van Holland’ in 1956. The Netherlands was the first country to have two wins under its belt. Corry Brokken won with ‘Net Als Toen’ in 1957 and Teddy Scholten took first place with ‘’n Beetje’. The Dutch winner in 1975, Ding-A-Dong, was also the first song to be performed that year. And to top off these ‘firsts’: Duncan Laurence’s winning song ‘Arcade’ was the first win after the Eurovision Song Contest introduced the new way of presenting the votes.