When is Eurovision 2021? Date, start time and entries explained

18 May 2021, 16:49

This year's Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Rotterdam
This year's Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Rotterdam. Picture: Eurovision

By Emma Clarke

It's almost that time of year again...

Eurovision is set to return this week, after last year's contest was cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The annual Song Contest has come a long way since the first one took place in Italy in 1956.

Full of wacky performances, costume changes and surprisingly catch tunes, Eurovision for many is a highlight of the year.

Read more: The 15 best Eurovision songs of all time, ranked in order of cheesy greatness

Much to the delight of fans, it is returning to our screens after a year hiatus.

Here's everything you need to know about Eurovision 2021 - including the date, how to watch and who the UK's entry is this year.

When is Eurovision 2021?

This year, the grand final will take place on Saturday, May 22.

Kicking off at 8pm BST, the contest usually ends just before midnight.

Where will it be hosted?

Eurovision 2021 will take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The city was due to host the contest last year, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant the event was cancelled.

In its place, the organisation hosted a celebration of the annual event, with last year's entries taking part in a mass singalong to Katrina and the Waves' Love Shine A Light - which also happens to be the last UK entry to win.

You can watch the clip below.

Love Shine A Light performed by the artists of Eurovision 2020 - Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light

What is this year's theme?

The theme for the 65th Eurovision Song Contest is 'Open Up'.

Explaining the decision, the contest's executive producer Sietse Bakker said: "Feel the freedom to complete the slogan in your own way.

Read more: Who has actually won Eurovision for the UK and when have they finished last?

"We found it was important to choose a theme that reflects the spirit of our times.

"With the slogan we warmly invite people to open up to others, to different opinions, each other’s stories and of course to each other’s music."

What is the UK's Eurovision entry this year?

James Newman is this year's hopeful. He was set to appear in last year's contest, before it was cancelled.

The contest's rules stipulate that contestants cannot perform the songs they had prepared last year, so Newman has written a brand new track over lockdown called Embers.

Read more: Who is James Newman? Meet the UK's 2021 Eurovision entry

You may well recognise Newman - not only has he written for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs and Kesha, the 35-year-old has millions of streams on Spotify for his tracks Slow Lane, Head Up and My Last Breath.

Oh, and he's the brother of singer John Newman!

He describes his latest track as "a joyous concoction of explosive dance beats, blended with its gospel-inspired vocals, melodic piano lines and horn sections."

James Newman - Embers - United Kingdom 🇬🇧 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2021

Which countries will be in the final?

At the moment, we don't know. The semi-finals are taking place on May 18 and 20, which is when the finalists will be confirmed.

That said, a few artists have already secured their position in Saturday's show. They are:

  • James Newman, United Kingdom
  • Blas Cantó, Spain
  • Måneskin, Italy
  • Jendrik, Germany
  • Barbara Pravi, France
  • Jeangu Macrooy, The Netherlands

How to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK

The Eurovision Song Contest airs on BBC One from 8pm.

The coverage will of course include Graham Norton's witty commentary and will last until just before midnight.