Changes announced to ensure Eurovision comes “back for good”

Q and A
How are you guaranteeing that there will be a Contest next year?
We have updated the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest so that, should it be necessary, we are able to make modifications to the format of the shows and the organization of the event that would allow the Contest to still take place despite restrictions imposed on us by a now unknown scenario. The old rules did not permit this.

What sort of changes do you envisage?
It is currently too early to speculate on different scenarios that we could be faced with, and any changes that might need to be made, next year or in the future. It is of course our preference that we are able to come back with a Contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations.

What has changed in the rules regarding the use of backing vocals at the Eurovision Song Contest?
In previous years, all vocals at the Contest had to be performed live on stage by the lead singer and by any optional backing singers, whether on or off camera. Whilst the lead vocalist, and any accompanying vocal support (Lead Dubs) must still perform live on stage, we are now giving broadcasters the option to include backing vocals on the musical backing track used in the performance by all delegations.

Who made the decision?
The decision was agreed by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board and was approved by the EBU Television Committee. Both bodies are comprised of representatives of participating EBU Member broadcasters.

Why did you decide to make the change?
We believe allowing backing vocals to be pre-recorded increases the creative potential and diversity of acts and facilitates modernization of the Eurovision Song Contest. It also allows songwriters and producers to present their work as close as possible to their original composition. The change also provides the flexibility for participating broadcasters to minimize the size of their delegations, thus saving costs.

Permitting recorded backing vocals also contributes to reducing the technical burden and costs for the host broadcaster as well. This all contributes to the sustainability of the Contest in our new reality.

Will a delegation still be able to use live backing singers?
Yes. The use of recorded backing vocals is entirely optional. Each delegation can choose to use backing singers, whether on or off stage. A combination of live and recorded backing vocals is also allowed.

In the event of contingency measures restricting the numbers of participants travelling and or performing on stage, backing tracks may have to be amended to include all backing vocals required.

Are there requirements for the content of the backing track?
The backing track cannot contain Lead Vocals, Lead Dubs and/or any other vocals that would have the effect of, or aim at, replacing or unduly assisting the Lead Vocals during the live performance on stage.

Can a song be performed with live and recorded backing vocals?
Yes. A song can be performed with a combination of live and recorded backing vocals if preferred. The eventual combination of backing vocals on track and stage shall be mixed together by the sound technicians at the event.

Will there be a limit on the number of backing singers that can be recorded on a backing track?
No. In the interests of creativity, and in line with modern production techniques, there is no limit on how many backing singers can be recorded, or on the number of voices that can be replicated, on a backing track. This freedom is afforded to all delegations.

Is the rule change permanent?
No, The ESC Reference Group agreed to trial the rule change for one year. As with all the rules for the Eurovision Song Contest it will be reviewed following next year’s event.

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