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Eurovision 2021 When is Eurovision on, where can I watch it and who’s representing Ireland ?

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Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest is finally set to go ahead in the Netherlands on Tuesday after being delayed last year by the pandemic.

Like many events in 2020, Covid-19 prevented the contest from going ahead, but this year the organisers made plans so that no matter what, the show would go on.

Here’s everything important to know about this year’s contest.

When does it start?

As usual, the contest is split into three: A semi-final on Tuesday, May 18, a second semi-final on Thursday, May 20, and the grand final on Saturday, May 22.

All three shows begin at 8pm in Ireland.

Where can I watch it?

Each show will be broadcast in full on RTÉ Two with Marty Whelan providing commentary. However, those who prefer Graham Norton’s style of presenting can tune into BBC Four instead.

Both programmes usually cut out some of the contest - either for ad breaks or their own pre-recorded segments - but the entire show in its original format will also be livestreamed on the Eurovision YouTube channel.

Where is the show taking place?

This year’s contest will be taking place in Rotterdam Ahoy convention centre, as it's typical for the winner of the last show to host. With no winner in 2020, the last person to hold the trophy was the Netherlands Duncan Laurence with his song Arcade.

When is Ireland competing?

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In total, 39 countries will be competing - from Iceland to Australia. Ireland will be competing in the first semi-final against 16 other contestants. Meanwhile, semi-final two will see 17 countries face off against each other.

Only ten from each semi-final will advance to the grand final. Along with them, the Big Five (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) automatically qualify for the final, as well as the host country, the Netherlands.

Who is representing Ireland?

Lesley Roy from Balbriggan, north Dublin, will be flying the Irish flag in Eurovision this year with her song Maps.

She was internally selected by RTÉ last year and was originally going to perform Story Of My Life. Ireland has famously won Eurovision more than any other country - with seven wins under its belt - could Lesley make it eight?

How long is each show?

Be sure to stock up on snacks, as each semi-final is expected to run for around three hours. Meanwhile, the final could go on for over four hours.

How has Covid-19 changed things?

The big elephant in the room is Covid-19. Eurovision is typically a giant concert with thousands of spectators waving flags throughout the performances. Thankfully, there will be a somewhat large live audience, with 3,500 seated fans permitted to attend.

Unfortunately, not every act will actually be in Rotterdam though. Australia will do a “live-on-tape performance” instead, as their team believed it was too much of a risk to travel.

These back-ups are also in place for other contestants should they contract Covid-19. Currently, both the Icelandic and Polish delegations are quarantining after positive test results.

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