The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual international song competition where participants are primarily from European countries. Last year’s competition was ruled out by the coronavirus but Eurovision’s executive supervisor Martin Österdahl assured that canceling the event once again was “never a consideration.” Now, participants are more hyped up than ever.

Eurovision 2021 takes place in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This year’s contest is considered to be hugely symbolic because of the pandemic and recent events, and the artists took this as a joint mission—and a challenge—to balance public safety and entertainment. 39 contenders feel a huge sense of responsibility to pursue this cause and many have been preparing for nearly two years since the pandemic hit, refusing to have it get in the way for the second time. “It’s all a part of getting back to normal. We always said no matter what happens with the pandemic we will have a song contest,” Österdahl said. Lighting the green light means giving the postponed contest a second shot. 26 out of 39 countries have re-selected their last-year entries and they have been rehearsing for more than a week in Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena while following strict safety protocols. Everyone on site is also required to be tested every 48 hours. The Dutch government permitted the arena to have a maximum number of 3,500 people in each of the semi-finals and grand final.

The pandemic has affected each artist differently. They did various techniques to stay clear of the virus while making their way to the hotels and rehearsing on site. Despite the difficulties they had to endure, each artist displays their eagerness to make Eurovision 2021 a success, with the go signal pushing them to take the stage once more.