And just like that, our first weekend of the national final season has been and gone. And after the events of 2020 it sure felt great to be back, didn’t it? After months of never ending bleak news it was so much fun to be back switching between streams, mocking fashion choices and being angry at questionable results. Felt like a homecoming for Eurofans.

Norway’s protracted head-to-head based process launched with a show overshadowed by the automatic qualifiers, rather than the competing entries. The hardest working cinnamon rolls in all of showbiz, Keiino, stole the show with their first live performance of Monument. Whether it was Fred’s increased solo presence, Alexandra’s insanely impressive “speorg note” or just the overall euphoric feel of the song they’ve certainly come to win in 2021.

What the other automatic qualifier, Tix, may lack in quality of song he more than makes up for in clothing choice and fanbase. Apart from being in Norwegian (which he would change in the event of making it to Eurovision) Ut av mørket really has very little going for it in terms of international appeal. Tix, on the other hand has been very prominent in the Norwegian charts in recent years. Whilst Eurofans are fully on board the Keiino hype train, rule out Tix at your peril. You really can’t miss him when he’s dressed like a cross between your Grandma’s cherub ornaments and an inflatable aeroplane emergency landing chute.

Of the actual competitive Norwegian entries it was Blåsemafian with vocalist Hazel who confirmed their slot alongside the aforementioned artists in the grand final. The fun combination of brass, dance and a great vocal proved a winning combination on Saturday night. They firstly saw off heavy mental Logan-alike, Jorn, in their first duel. Still not fully sure if I was meant to be laughing at, or laughing with that performance but it did somehow end up putting a smile on my face. After seeing of ol’ mental horns, Blåsemafian then beat Stina Talling in the final. Elevate is a fine song but lacked the the vibrancy of Let Loose in a live setting. Beady Belle was also there *shrugs*.

Best use of an LED floor seen in many a year.

Looking further east, Saturday also saw the first show of the Lithuanian national selection Pabandom iš Naujo!. After a strong showing last year this proved to be a highly popular show amongst the fan community. However, one fears after the first heat that like Zoom quizzes and paying healthcare staff with clapping they may have peaked in 2020. The odd highlight included the gothic metal stylings of Black Spikes and the sheer fun that is Twosome but other than that it was a rather bland offering. Even worse when neither of the above made it through.

Hey, Lithuania…

Either LRT got very lucky in 2020 and just so happened to pull a great national final out of the bag, or the big hitters know to stay away for 2021. When looking at the line-up of last year’s final not one artist, other than The Roop, have returned for a shot this year. With such a strong backing both nationally and Continent wide it’s hardly surprising that they are clear favourites for 2021. Perhaps acts such as Monika Marija & Monique will be waiting until they actually stand a chance at winning to re-enter. It would seem we’re getting that daft hand on head dance move for another year. Yay.

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