Caption: Eurovision 2021: Who might be in with a chance of winning at this year’s competition? (Picture: DPPA/SipaUSA)
Is there a better excuse for having a party with your TV than Eurovision?
The annual song contest was one of the early casualties of the pandemic in 2020 so fans have been waiting a long two years to dress up as Maltesers, deck the tables with Slovenian kranjska klobasa – it’s a sausage – and source a bottle or five of Cricova Cabernet Sauvignon from Moldova.
Eurovision party hosts can be very demanding.
And while Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam is a scaled-down affair, with just 3,500 fans in the Ahoy Arena under instruction to stay seated (so no flag-waving shoulder-surfing), there’s nothing to stop us getting into the full Eurovision spirit.
But who is likely to succeed Dutch winner Duncan Laurence, whose winning 2019 song, Arcade, became an unlikely TikTok trend earlier this year? It’s a wide open field…
Voilà! It’s France
France is in with a chance (Picture: FTV/ Joel Saget)
It’s been 24 years of hurt for the UK since our last win but that’s small beer compared to five-times-winners France, who haven’t tasted victory since 1977.
But they have a real shot thanks to classy chanteuse Barbara Pravi, whose voilà is a throwback to the golden age of Jacques Brel and could have popped up in any Eurovision of the past half century.
Is it Malta’s Destiny?
Can Destiny win again? (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)
Teenage vocal powerhouse Destiny could make history as the first winner of Junior Eurovision to lift the grown-up crown too, and mark Malta’s first ever win in the process.
If an upbeat dance banger is going to win then Je Me Casse, a swaggering slice of female empowerment, is the most likely. It’ll get you up on your feet, though it does sound like three songs mashed into one.
Dadi’s back for Iceland
How do Dadi’s songs keep getting better? (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)
Eurovision 2020 may have bitten the dust but there was a winner: Iceland’s Dadi Freyr and his engaging band of green tracksuited chums went viral and scored a hit with the catchy Think About Things.
Would it have won? We’ll never know. But now Dadi’s back – still in a tracksuit – with a sweet paean to marital bliss called 10 Years. A contender to do well.
However, on Wednesday it was revealed Iceland ‘probably’ won’t perform live in this Thursday’s Eurovision Song Contest semi-final, after one of the band tested positive for Covid-19 and their performance will now be replaced with a recording of their rehearsal.
No crying shame for the Swiss
Switzerland is bringing the emotion (Picture: EBU / Thomas Hanses)
Gjon Muharremaj, who goes by the stage name Gjon’s Tears, was among the favourites last year and he’s a front-runner again with the powerful Tout L’Univers, a fabulous high-flying ballad – Gjon’s got quite a falsetto on him – that stands out as the class act of the competition.
The catch? It may be too downbeat to bag votes.
Italy say Let’s Rock!
Is Italy too cool for Eurovision? (Picture: Francois Delacroix)
Bless the Italians, they always bring something different to the party.
This time it’s too-cool-for-school rock band Måneskin (imagine if The Strokes had Italian cousins) whose riff-driven Zitti E Buoni (loosely translated as ‘shut up and behave’) is the last thing you’d ever expect to turn up on Eurovision.
It could either (let’s hope) run away with it or bomb completely.
Dance alone… in Lithuania
Roop’s dance moves could go down in Eurovision history (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)
No Eurovision is complete without a classic dance routine and Lithuanian oddballs The Roop, resplendent in canary yellow outfits, have got the armography down pat when they shimmy their fingers to the infectiously understated Discoteque.
The lyrics, telling us it’s OK to dance alone, hit a poignant note while you’re grooving on down.
Flo Rida joins San Marino
Flo Rida is on the track… but will he be joining Senhit on Saturday night? (Picture: EBU/ THomas Hanses)
Euro minnows San Marino have pulled off an odd kind of coup by enticing old-school club legend Flo Rida to add his weight to Senhit’s wannabe dance anthem Adrenalina – and he’s now confirmed that he will be there on the night.
Our guess is that he thought Eurovision was a Milan club gig.
Victoria has got the voice, but has she got the song? (Picture: EBU/ Thomas Hanses)
If anyone was robbed of a win last year it was Victoria, Bulgaria’s answer to Billie Eilish, whose Tears Getting Sober had real winner vibes.
Now she’s back with Growing Up Is Getting Old, which would sound great on the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack but as a Eurovision winner, not so much. Victoria is a talent worth checking out, however.
We’re in it too… the UK
John Newman’s brother promises to be a bit underwhelming (Picture: Victor Frankowski)
James Newman gets a second chance for the UK and he’s upped the tempo with Embers, a dance number ambitiously aimed at ‘lighting up the room’.
It gets the job done but feels too safe to make much of a mark – likely to be everybody’s 12th favourite song, which under Eurovision’s voting system translates as precious few votes. Sorry.
Nul Points for Jendrik of Germany? It’s OK, he doesn’t feel hate…
Quite a lot of people might hate Jendrik (Picture: NDR)
Well, it’s different. Chirpy blond muppet Jendrik pops up for Germany with a ukulele-based novelty number called I Don’t Feel Hate that’s, erm, divided opinion in his homeland.
It’s unbelievably irritating and should have nul points written all over it – but it’s certainly (unfortunately) not forgettable.
So now watch it strum off with the win! That’s Eurovision.