A combination of less national finals and seemingly every internally selecting broadcaster holding back their song until March has resulted in a quiet start to the 2021 season. With two or three shows every Saturday since mid-January it has felt like a fairly gentle introduction. However, the mayhem finally begins proper tomorrow as one selection starts, two more continue and three countries choose their song. Here’s a rundown of what is happening, what I want to happen and what I think might happen.
ESTONIA 🇪🇪 – EESTI LAUL
Coming up first chronologically we have the second semi-final of Eesti Laul. EL has felt like an increasing disappointment in recent years, and although 2021 is no great leap in quality it certainly feels like a solid step in the right direction. This semi is a real mixed bag with plenty of returnees, my favourite of the bunch and my least favourite song across all this year’s national finals.
WANT: Gram-of-Fun & REDEL to qualify.
PREDICTION: A man, a man, some men, some more men, another man and one last man will make the final.
Before others followed the 80s electronic theme this year, G-o-F were the first to go for the throwback sound. It still stands out as one my favourites, and although I don’t think it’s winning it should still do well. Two of the Winny Puhh lads are returning as REDEL and one can only hope they can live up to the stage show of old, with Tartu.
However, given the results of the first semi, it looks like Estonia are trying to emulate Sweden and Italy by going a bit ‘penis heavy’. So that’ll be Uku Haasma, Uku Suvitse, Juri Pootsman. REDEL, Gram-of-Fun (female lead vocal but the rest are blokes) and an all male band we’re not naming here. There’s a genuine chance the Eesti Laul final could end up with less women than men called Uku. Doesn’t l-uku good, does it?
NORWAY 🇳🇴 – MELODI GRAND PRIX
Albania’s Festivali i Këngës aside, MGP really kicked off this year, and with weekly shows since mid-Jan it will feel odd not having it back next week. The format and quality do come in for a kicking from some quarters but for me, it’s been solidly entertaining and has produced a pretty fun final. Six automatic qualifiers, five heat winners and one inexplicably wildcard winning Jorn will battle for the win on Saturday.
WANT: KEiiNO, obviously. Would also be happy with Raylee, Rein, Blåsemafian, Emmy or Imerika. Basically anyone but…
Given his immense popularity and the success of Fallen Angel (not the English version) this one really feels like a foregone conclusion. One can only hope his fanbase don’t care for MGP and every single Keiino stan gets on board and votes. I still believe with Monument Norway have a shot at Eurovision victory but with Fallen Angel? Pretty much the exact opposite.
FINLAND 🇫🇮 – UMK
Now their flirtation with the ‘one singer, multiple songs’ approach is over (Aalto, average. Darude, disaster) UMK has done well with the recent editions. In seven songs this year they have achieved a greater musical diversity than most others do, even with a 20+ strong list. There’s compelling stories for a number of the participants and with a 25/75 jury/televote split it’s a tough one call. But since that’s kinda what I’m doing here..
WANT: The Teflon Brothers x Pandora
PREDICTION: Aksel…or maybe Danny
Given the proliferation of 80’s synth pop inspired entries this season it would be a shame if we didn’t actually get one at the Contest. I Love You from the non-stick siblings is probably the best chance of that happening. I think this would be a welcome addition to any semi and, hopefully for Finland, final. Sadly though I do think the back story is going to get laid on thick and the juries will have just enough of an influence to sneak Aksel through.
Though I can see a world in which Danny’s funeral plan set to music does well enough to sneak victory. I have a soft spot for this song and if it wins my bank balance will join in me in having said soft spot.
SWEDEN 🇸🇪 – MELODIFESTIVALEN
It’s a big night for Nordic Eurovision as Sweden’s Melfest makes it the third Saturday Scandi selection. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the opening two heats haven’t been up to scratch for me. Arvingarna and Eva & Ewa aside, of course! This week feels like it has a slightly higher bar but once again, one of the more experienced acts is stealing the show…
WANT: CHARLOTTE PERELLI DIREKT TILL FINALEN PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!
PREDICTION: Tusse & Charlotte DTF, Emil Assergård & Alvaro Estrella to AC
Tusse feels like the likely favourite to go top this week but I do think (and hope) Charlotte should sneak straight through in 2nd place. Based on the performance stills and one minute snippet Still Young could well go down as one my favourites of the year. Emil & Alvaro’s songs also seem to have just enough about them to get a decent shot at Andra Chansen.
PORTUGAL 🇵🇹 – Festival da Canção
Portugal gonna Portugal huh? If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from recent seasons is that FdC will always choose the right song for Portugal, not necessarily the Eurovision Song Contest. Just so happens the two worlds collided a few years and rightly brought them to victory. They have their own distinct (often fado) infused style that always makes it genuinely interesting to watch their national final play out. Also makes predictions something of a fool’s errand, but here we go…
WANT: Karetus & Romeu Bairos!
PREDICTION: K & RB, The Black Mamba. Miguel Marôco, Nadine & Valéria
Karetus & Romeu Bairos’ Saudade is probably my pick of the bunch to win FdC ouright, let alone just this semi. It feels like the sort of song you’d set a mysterious, sexy Argentine Tango to on Strictly. Definitely ticks all my boxes. As for the rest The Black Mamba & Miguel are different enough to stand out from the pack and Nadine & Valéria satisfy the fado contingent.
SPAIN 🇪🇸 – Destino Eurovisión 2021
I remember from my Uni days whenever there was a student election there was always this RON guy popping up on the ballot. RON, it turned out, stood for re-open nominations, allowing those voters who felt no candidate appealed to their taste a chance to voice their indifference. That’s how I’d vote here. We have a two song national final (just why?) when really neither are going to set the world alight come May. You can either opt for the bland pop-y one or the bland ballad-y one so I’m going for…
WANT: Voy a quedarme (ballad-y one)
PREDCITION: Memoria (pop-y one)
In all honesty I really don’t have a bloody clue on this one. I’ve only chosen my prediction based solely on the one I (even marginally) prefer normally falls by the wayside. But in all honesty my feelings for Spain can be summed up in one GIF…