Monday saw the first part of my own personal top 15 for the 2021 Contest. In a banger heavy year it was no surprise that these first five were all largely fun, up tempo entries. Will positions 10-6 be any different? In a nutshell…no.

#10 – 🇮🇸 ICELAND

Daði og Gagnamagnið – 10 YEARS

There’s an alternate universe where we’re heading to Reykjavik for the first Icelandic Contest with a performance of the Academy Award nominated Husavik for the interval act. Sadly, it was not to be and now we have the viral smash of 2020 returning for another crack of the whip. There is a law of diminishing returns here but that shouldn’t hide the fact we’ve got another great song from Dadi and the gang. The music video is a work of art and I’m sure the live performance will live up to his previous attempts.

#9 – 🇱🇹 LITHUANIA

THE ROOP – DISCOTEQUE

Another returning act from 2020 but one I certainly didn’t feel the same warmth to as I did for our plucky band of Icleanders above. Last year I found The Roop’s On Fire far too far over the ‘wacky’ line. Whilst most found them charming I found them purely irritating. And although their performance still retains some of those offputting elements the song is much stronger. It’s got a darker vibe and far more purposeful feel with lyrics we can all identify with after the past year. Write this off for the win at your peril!

#8 – 🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA

MONTAIGNE – TECHNICOLOR

The first ever competing Eurovision entry that will not do so on the stage itself. At the time of writing Australia will be the only country reverting to the ‘live-on-tape’ recording to compete. For me, this should help the Aussies in their quest to make the final once again. Technicolor is a super fun song that stands out even in a female-pop-banger saturated field. Montaigne has a wonderful stage presence but doubts over the live vocal cannot be ignored. Not having to rely on the live performance on the night could help Australia keep their 100% qualification record.

#7 – 🇩🇪 GERMANY

JENDRIK – I DON’T FEEL HATE

I should not like this. I’ve never enjoyed ukulele music, it’s twee and more than a tad irritating. Jendrik is a polarising figure that could illicit the hate he professes not to feel. However, for me, he lands on the right side of charming. He’s an energetic performer and has brought a lively song that never fails to raise a smile. It’s also the only one I could hum after only one listen when the songs were being released. Based on the video and the live-on-tape images released this is going to be a full-on, flashy fun three minutes.

#6 – 🇳🇱 NETHERLANDS

JEANGU MACROOY – BIRTH OF A NEW AGE

This year’s Contest is packed with returning 2020 artists taking risks knowing there was no competition for their place. Jeangu has gone all out and created something very personal to him but with a message for us all. After all the events of the last 12 months Birth of a New Age manages to convey something incredibly important but at the same time making me smile and urging me to dance along. This has gone under the radar since it’s release so I’m more than a little intrigued to see if it can capture voters’ imaginations on the night itself.

And with that home entry the lower half of the top ten is complete. Be sure to come back on Friday for my top picks for this year’s show.

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