Eurovision is still happening, kind of (Picture: BBC)
Eurovision fans in the UK were concerned that they would miss out on the Europe-wide Shine A Light special this month, after the BBC announced their own replacement show.
But fear not, as another Brexit-style separation is off the cards.
The BBC has confirmed its replacement schedule for the Eurovision Song Contest on 16 May, and both their homegrown ode to Eurovision and the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) official show will be aired.
On the night when the grand final was supposed to air, BBC One will kick off their celebrations at 6.30pm with Eurovision: Come Together, a one-off special from BBC Studios hosted by Graham Norton.
Norton – who is in charge of the UK’s commentary – will interview James Newman, the UK’s 2020 entry, while viewers will get to vote for their favourite Eurovision performance from an ‘eclectic shortlist compiled by experts and celebrity super fans’.
Then, at 8pm, the official EBU event Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light will be shown, simultaneously broadcasting across Europe with Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit – the hosts of what would have been Rotterdam 2020 – at the helm.
Eurovision was due to take place this month in Rotterdam (Picture: Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
The special will honour all 41 2020 entries in a ‘non competitive format’, before a virtual singalong from fans of Ireland’s winning song from 1980, What’s Another Year by Johnny Logan.
If you’re missing your annual dose of sarcasm, Graham Norton will also be on hand to commentate during the Europe special too.
And that’s not all for the night – because as we all know, Eurovision voting goes on forever and the BBC have a big schedule gap to fill.
At 10pm, Rylan Clark-Neal will narrate The A-Z of Eurovision on BBC Two, ‘taking us from A, which is of course for Abba & Azerbaijan but also animals – featuring the Italian gorilla man and Azerbaijan’s backing dancer wearing a horse’s head through Z is for Zelmerlöw, Måns Zelmerlöw to be precise’.
Finally, 10.30pm will see Top Of The Pops take on Eurovision, with a rerun of 2007’s TOTP2 Goes Eurovision! hosted by Steve Wright.
Rotterdam’s chosen hosts will present Europe Shine A Light (Picture: NPO/AVROTROS/NOS
Norton said: ‘Eurovision offers a real escapism for people, which is something we need more than ever throughout these times. This year people at home can celebrate the amazing spirit of the event and hopefully get the chance to take their mind off the current situation for a few hours.’
While Rylan added: ‘It’s so sad that Eurovision 2020 had to be cancelled, but it’s understandable and it doesn’t mean we can’t still escape to the Eurovision bubble. We’re so excited to be bringing Eurovision content to Saturday 16th May to keep up the tradition of many years of this amazing event. I’m thrilled to be fronting The A-Z of Eurovision and Eurovision Kings and Queens of Pop and looking forward to leaving the current situation behind for a night of pure Eurovision gold!’
Eurovision 2020 was due to take place in Rotterdam following Duncan Laurence’s win with Arcade in Tel Aviv.
However, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the difficult decision to cancel the contest was made.
While all 41 artists are invited back to compete in 2021 if they want, the songs entered in 2020 cannot be entered next year.
This will be the first contest missed since its inauguration in 1956.
BBC’s night of Eurovision begins at 6.30pm on BBC One on Saturday 16 May.