21/03/2020 10:23 GMT

Eurovision Explores 'Alternative Programming' After Coronavirus Leads 2020 Contest To Be Cancelled

Organisers are still planning to "honour the songs and artists" that had been chosen to perform at the cancelled event.

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Eurovision organisers have offered fans a glimmer of hope, following the news that this year’s song contest had been axed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

After weeks of speculation, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed on Wednesday that Eurovision would not be going ahead in 2020, having initially been scheduled to take place in Rotterdam in May.

However, a statement was issued on Friday night, teasing that Eurovision bosses were planning “alternative programming” in order to “honour the songs and artists that have been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020”.

Eurovision had been due to take place in Rotterdam this year

They said: “We have been overwhelmed with the love that the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) family has shared since the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event.

“The EBU is very much aware of how much the Eurovision Song Contest will be missed this year. The Contest’s values of universality and inclusivity, and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music, are needed more than ever right now.

“The EBU and its members are therefore currently exploring alternative programming, but not a competition, to help unite and entertain audiences around Europe during these challenging times.

“It is our intention with this programming, and on our online platforms in the coming months, to honour the songs and artists that have been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.”

They added that the songs that had been accepted for this year’s cancelled competition would not be eligible to compete in 2021, when the Eurovision Song Contest is expected to return as usual.

In a Q&A posted on the Eurovision website on Wednesday, the EBU explained why they made the decision to cancel fully rather than postpone until later in the year, saying: “The current situation across Europe is likely to remain uncertain for the coming months and at this stage we cannot guarantee we would be able to stage an event of this size with this many stakeholders later this year.

“A Contest later in the year would also reduce the amount of time the winning broadcaster would have to prepare for the following year’s competition.”

The EBU will now “continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021” with the City Of Rotterdam, where it had been due to take place this year, following Duncan Laurence’s win for The Netherlands in 2019.

After ending up at the bottom of the leaderboard last year, the UK took a different approach to Eurovision in 2020, teaming up with record label BMG to decide on a song and artist to represent the UK.

This year, we had planned to send singer-songwriter James Newman, who has previously penned number-one hits for Rudimental, Calvin Harris and his famous brother, John Newman.

The UK last won Eurovision in 1997, with Katrina And The Waves’ song Love Shine A Light.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the entertainment industry, with Glastonbury organisers confirming that this year’s event was also being cancelled on the same day as the Eurovision announcement.