The televised event – which sees entrants representing 41 different countries from around Europe and beyond competing in the same venue – had been due to take place in Rotterdam on 16 May, with semi-finals in the days before.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has now confirmed that the event will not be going ahead, in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
They shared the news in a statement on Wednesday afternoon, explaining: “Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.
“However the uncertainty created by the spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions set in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.”
They also asked fans to “bear with us” while they “work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision” and “patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks”.
“We would like to pay tribute to all the host broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard on planning this year’s event,” the statement continued.
“We are all heartbroken as they are that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May and know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”
In a separate Q&A posted on the Eurovision website, explaining why they made the decision to cancel fully rather than postpone until later in the year, they said: “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.”
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 already had a devastating effect on the entertainment industry, with Glastonbury organisers announcing that this year’s event was also being cancelled earlier that day.