Although the 2020 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled, the community has stepped up to create a cavalcade of replacement content. Be it website polls, live streams, bonus editions of podcasts, Rotterdam 2020 exists… just not with the tentpole broadcast.
The week sees the release of another recreation of the lost Song Contest, with a recreation of the Ahoy Theatre, interpretations of the props and staging, and the music of the Semi Finals and Grand Finals all showcased… in Lego.
Bricks As Far As The Camera Can See
The shows come from Alexandro Kröger and his Lego Eurovision channel on YouTube. He’s already brought previous Song Contests to life in bricks, along with Junior Eurovision, Melodifestivalen, and the opening to The X-Files. Ahead of the premier of the 2020 shows, I spoke to Alexandro about the project.
The set for Lego Eurovision 2020 is a far cry from your normal lego set. “I think a regular set maybe holds two hundred to three hundred pieces,” Alexandro tells me. “For the Rotterdam 2020 model, there are nearly 50,000 bricks used, and cost over 2,500 euros. But a lot of the pieces have been bought over many years, and used in many models.”
Designing The Ahoy
The reveal of the stage is one of the many storytelling moments at Eurovision. Although the official site released the visualisations of the stage in December last year, there are not many reference points on the stage itself. How does that translate to the Lego design?
“Planning started at the same time as the stage pictures were revealed. It takes around two months to plan the construction, and then another three months to actually build. On the look, I was lucky enough to see the actual stage plans for Rotterdam. Over the years, the set designers have often praised my work and attention to detail.”
Putting on the individual songs is another challenge. “After listening to each and every song I just get ideas of colours and stagings that could work and then I build and try different ideas. Many of the songs have up to five different versions with different props and colours until I became rather satisfied with the final result.”
One of things that surprises me is how recognisable the various Lego Minifigs look. “That’s easier,” Alexandro explains, “becomes Lego Minifigs are made with more hairdos and faces nowadays than in the past.”
That means it’s possible to say, with a lot of confidence, that this medley opens with Lordi
Then there is the filming. Lego Eurovision is built around a rather classic interpretation of stop-motion animation brought forward to the digital world. There’s no specific animation software used, “no, I just use my iPhone to take the photos and after that I put the pictures together on my Mac. One fun thing I do is that I use additional lenses you can put on your phone to create fun effect, which makes some camera angles look more powerful.”
“Some of the artists have got in touch,” he proudly tells me, “and it’s wonderful to hear when they like what they see.”
Looking Back And Looking Forward
With almost a year until the next Song Contest, what happens next with lego Eurovision? “First of all I will take a few weeks of vacation from Eurovision. I’ll just stay home, read books, and relax. Then work starts on new content, which will be a celebration of all the past Eurovision winners. And later this winter more fun stuff will be made.”
Would this be a chance to replicate older Contests, say the missing shows from 1956 or 1964? “Right now I can’t build new stages. Since I can’t order the bricks needed from each nation that I want to, due to restrictions around COVID-19. But when all of this is over the plan is to create some of the past events. But that will take time.”
Lego Eurovision is debuting the 2020 Contest all this week, Semi Final 1 debuts on Tuesday 16th June, Semi Final 2 debuts on Thursday 18th June, and the Grand Final debuts on Saturday 20th June; all at the Lego Eurovision YouTube Channel.