SBS has confirmed that an Australian delegation will not be traveling to Rotterdam for the Eurovision Song Contest this year, citing logistical difficulties.
The announcement came via social media with commentators Joel Creasy and Myf Warhurst discussing the decision with staff and officials at the Contest in Rotterdam. Australia’s artist Montaigne shared the news via Twitter and said while she was “sad” to miss out on the opportunity to take to the Eurovision stage, she was thankful that she would continue to perform and participate from abroad.
SBS cited “challenges of the ongoing pandemic” as a major reason for opting not to travel the Contest proper this year, including the “many factors involved in traveling to and from the event from Australia”.
For over a year, Australia has closed its borders to all travelers, except for Australian citizens and residents, and their immediate family members. Those eligible to return to Australia are required to complete fourteen days of government-managed quarantine on arrival and are often required to pay a contribution to the costs of their quarantine.
The reality of the ongoing public health crisis has been front of mind for the organizers of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Last year, officials described four scenarios in which the Contest would be held, depending on the state of the crisis. The most liberal scenario—Scenario A—was ruled out as organizers admitted that a Eurovision-as-normal would be impossible to produce. Scenario B, a socially-distanced Eurovision, remains the current working scenario.
Part of the planning involved with hosting a Eurovision under each scenario includes the prospect of no performances taking place in Rotterdam: a so-called “lockdown” option.
To ensure a viable Contest can occur in this situation, participating broadcasters are required to record and provide a ‘live-on-tape’ version of their artist’s performance, to be used if the coronavirus situation deteriorates in Rotterdam.
Australia will avail itself of this option to ensure Montaigne can participate in the contest. If Scenario B proceeds in May, Montaigne’s pre-recorded live-on-tape performance of “Technicolour” will be spliced into her spot at Semi-Final One. Creasy and Warhurst will commentate the event for SBS from Australia.
Australia is, so far, the only participant to confirm that they will not attend the Contest in-person.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will take place in Ahoy, Rotterdam in The Netherlands on 19, 21 and 23 May 2021. Eurofans in New Zealand can watch all three shows live on the official Eurovision YouTube channel, without commentary.