The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest has become the latest high profile cultural event to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with the annual songwriting competition delayed until 2021. Due to be held in Rotterdam on 16 May, in a statement put out on Wednesday the European Broadcasting Union said: “It is with deep regret that we have to announced the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020”.

The EBU has said discussions are ongoign with Rotterdam about the hosting of the event next year. While it is expected that all this year’s acts will be invited to take part again, it is unclear if the same songs will be eligible. The statement said: “we would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramification of this unprecedented decision”. It is the first time the event has not taken place since it began in 64 years ago.

The UK was set to be represented by singer-songwriter James Newman with his self-penned My Last Breath, whether he will be asked to come up with another track to compete with is yet to be confirmed.

It’s a blow for the country’s chances, after last year’s last place finish – Newman had been selected by the BBC rather than by a public vote having previously worked on 2011’s winning entry from Azerbaijan, Running Scared by Ell & Nicki, and having won a Brit Award for Best British Single in 2014, for Rudimental’s Waiting All Night.

Eurovision is the latest high-profile entertainment music event to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with Glastonbury also cancelled on the same day, and Coachella postponed until October.

More to follow

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