As Eurovision Song Contest's 2021 season preparation is almost started, broadcasters are searching a way for how to carry out their national selections in the future.
Due to coronavirus outbreak, there is still uncertainty to what restrictions will be in place in regards to large gatherings.
According to Swedish Newspaper Aftonbladet Melodifestivalen tour may be cancelled.
According to Aftonbladet's sources, SVT's executives are afraid of poor publicity and the risk of increased spread of infection during possible arena gigs, even if the restrictions were lifted. Therefore, a contingency plan has been developed to be able to ensure that Sweden's most watched television programs can be broadcast next year as well.
The Melodifestivalen's tour may be canceled.
According to information from Aftonbladet, SVT is instead planning six TV shows in the same venue in Stockholm due to the corona pandemic.
- It will not be as it usually is, it is completely safe, says an industry source.
It would be the 20th edition of the Melodifestivalen on tour across Sweden, with six live arena shows with a total of 100,000 in the audience and millions in front of the TV sets.
But SVT's flagship may be forced to drastic changes ahead of next year's edition. According to several people with good insight, the tour will most likely be canceled completely.
"I have a very hard time seeing that they will be able to sell tickets for an arena tour," says an industry source.
According to Aftonbladet's information, the ongoing corona pandemic has led the Melodifestivalen's management to work with several different backup plans for next year's broadcasts since March.
Equal number of programs
At that time, the Melodifestivalen final 2020 had just failed to be canceled, when the Swedish restrictions for general gatherings were not changed until the week after the Swedish final. Around 30,000 could therefore gather in the Friends arena to follow The Mama's path to victory. In Denmark, on the other hand, the selection for the Eurovision song contest had been made in front of an empty arena. And later the European final was also canceled.
- They will not change the program format. There will still be four competitions, a second chance and final and as many competing songs, says a source with good insight.
Can be without an audience
On the other hand, SVT's alternative plan is to broadcast the six programs from one and the same place in Stockholm, according to Aftonbladet's informant. Depending on the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations, the shows may be broadcast completely without an audience, just as "Allsång på Skansen" and "Lotta på Liseberg" have been done during the summer.
- It could be in the "Idol" studio in Spånga. There you can build a large stage and if you want you can bring in a small audience. The venue can also be changed and let in a larger audience if the restrictions were to ease, says a person with good insight into the industry.
"Idol" has in recent years been broadcast from NEP studios in Spånga, which can accommodate up to 1,600 people.
The Annex next to the Globe is also among the places in Stockholm that, according to Aftonbladet's sources, may be relevant for the Melodifestivalen.
- They do not want to do it in the studio in the SVT house. They want to be able to build a large enough stage so that the stage shows can still look like they think of Eurovision, so it is rather to the Annex or some such place that it leans, says a person close to the Melodifestivalen editorial staff.
"Should feel luxurious and expensive"
According to sources, the Melodifestivalen's managers have also tried to calm down the concerns raised within SVT and the music industry by promising that the Mello show will be as lavish as before.
- They say that it should still feel very luxurious and expensive, says a person with good insight.
- In terms of TV, it is no problem for SVT to get a really good show. The ticket revenue from the audience does not go to the stage show, so SVT can probably give a really good show no matter where they are. But it is sad if they are forced to drive completely without an audience, it loses a lot of feeling then, says another source.
It is still unclear whether SVT has yet made a final decision to cancel the tour and instead use its backup plan.
- But they must probably have made a final decision before September, says a person with good insight.
Melodifestivalen's management at SVT is currently on holiday and therefore refers questions to SVT's press manager Camilla Hagert .
"It is far too early to say anything about the tour in 2021. The editors will start work again next week. We will come back later ", she writes in a text message.