“Yu no man broko mi” – the Sranan Tongo line in this year’s Dutch entry means “you can’t break me”. While acknowledging the serious background to the lyric, allow me to point out that this – in a weird way – also applies to the Eurovision Song Contest. 2020 has left a mark on all of us. And it left a crack in the history of the contest, which had previously run without interruption since 1956. The interruption of 2020 will stay forever. It’s a permanent scar on our beloved tradition, which to some people is just a TV show in May, but for us, it’s a matter of the heart. For us, Eurovision is about uniting people, however different they even might be, in love, passion and joy. It’s not a trifle. It’s damn important.
And so, the history of the Eurovision Song Contest finally continues – in a very unusual edition, but still. It’s the birth of a new age, as a new decade rises upon Eurovision. While Tel Aviv hosted the 64th Eurovision Song Contest, Rotterdam will host the 65th edition this year. And that counting method is only fair, because the contest of 2020, the actual thing, was cancelled. It didn’t happen. There were no live performances. There was no voting. There were no props, no wind machines. The entries alone don’t matter, as much as many would have loved to see them in the contest. These were aspirants, just like all those entries in Eurovision history that were disqualified or knocked out before the event (just think of “Planet of Blue”, Germany 1996, which isn’t considered a Eurovision entry either).
And this means: For the Eurovision Song Contest, the twenties begin today. A new decade of our favourite thing in the world hits our TVs tonight. How will these 2020s be? What developments will come to the stage in the next eight years? Will augmented reality become the standard? Will prerecorded vocals prevail? Which new genres will hit our ears? Which countries will host the contest for the first time? What changes will there be in the voting system? Will we see new countries eventually? Will Eurovision still be recognizable as such by 2030? I’m beginning this new decade with curiosity, yes – also doubts, but mostly anticipation. It begins tonight.
But as weird as this sounds: I am also looking forward to the end of this season, as a very big part of it has been “on” since late 2019. I can’t wait for a new slogan, a new stage design, new artist names and a new host city to focus on. As soon as all that happens, as soon as our eyes set on 2022, then Eurovision is really back, the flow revived, the void overcome.
Eurovision in its historic and traditional entirety might now have a permanent crack in it. But Eurovision can’t be broken.
Happy new decade, everyone. Happy new Eurovision.