Every year, just before rehearsals start, I set out my stall with a top ten judged on the songs alone. This is before anyone does a Fuego with their staging and brings themselves up in my estimation. Or before anyone does an Outlaw in Em and makes themselves look like a massive [word redacted].
Now in previous years I have always done a two-part top ten list. However such is the quality of this year’s selection I thought it would be fitting to document my top fifteen. Having been starved of Eurovision for two years we are incredibly lucky that the participating nations have brought such a high calibre of song for its glorious return. So let’s kick off my faves with ranking those in #15 – #11.
#15 – 🇦🇿 AZERBAIJAN
Efendi – Mata Hari
As with every year I’ve used the marvelous sorter courtesy of Mr. Gerbear, as scientific as possible a method to find your faves. After sorting the songs I was surprised to find this one quite so high. Some returning 2020 acts have stuck fairly closely to the style of their previous entry. None quite so blatantly as Efendi. I’m not sure if it’s actually possible to plagiarise ones self but if it is then this is it. It’s a decent banger that I’ll no doubt dance along to but it’s saving grace? Actually using the phrase “just like Cleopatra”. Fair play for that one.
#14 – 🇲🇩 MOLDOVA
Natalia Gordienko – Sugar
This is complete and utter trash, in a good way of course. One has to overlook the production ‘dream team’ (who’ve produced all of zero Eurovision wins) behind it in order to appreciate it. It’s total filth with a video that’s as perplexing as it is diabetes-inducing. Rest assured this is on stage will be a memorable affair for sure.
#13 – 🇨🇿 CZECH REPUBLIC
Benny Cristo – Omaga
For my money, Benny is one of the 2020 acts to have had the biggest glow up in 2021. I never really took to Kemama in the way I have to Omaga. When this pops up on the playlist I can’t help but feel a little brighter. The video is a real charming effort too. If all of Benny’s personality that shines through the video can make it to the Eurovision stage then the Czech Republic will once again find their way to the grand final.
#12 – 🇬🇧 UNITED KINGDOM
James Newman – Embers
After the fairly standard issue ballad that was 2020’s One Last Breath James Newman promised he’d return in 2021 with a banger. Well he only went and bloody well did. It feels odd for the UK to be sending something that actually feels fresh and modern. I always have the urge for a boogie when I’m listening and I’m sure all of James’ charm and stage presence will produce a package we Brits can be proud of. G’WAN YERSEL JIMMY SON!
#11 – RUSSIA
Manizha – Russian Woman
Little who, sorry? The will they/won’t they that seemingly dragged until the last minute actually allowed for the most authentic Russian entry for years. After all the insincere peace ballads and over polished pop boys Manizha’s Russian Woman feels like a massive breath of fresh air. The powerful message of her song has resulted in a vile torrent of abuse slung in her direction but still she stands strong. Russia have sent far worse songs and made the grand final, it would be a travesty if this didn’t.
Be sure to come back later in the week as the countdown through the top ten continues…