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Eurovision 2021!

Dear Blog,

It’d that time of year again and after a years hiatus thanks to the pandemic, Eurovision is back! I have reviewed a few Eurovision’s over the years, so I am extremely excited to be able to do this again. To me, the song contest is so much more than singing. It’s art. It’s an expression of culture and an insight into what music means to different countries. I love everything about.
This year I’m going to do a running commentary so everything I type is live with the performances. Sit back and join my rambling for the biggest song contest of the year.

Cyprus – ‘El Diablo’
Cyprus is kicking the show off this year with a song titled ‘El Diablo’. From the offset, we get quite a pop vibe. I must be honest; it isn’t my style of music, but I can see it being something you’d hear on the radio. The chorus has a very Lady Gaga feel to it. Elena Tsagrinou looks beautiful in her jewelled dress though and I’m a fan of the red hues but that is probably my only highlight from this song. Unfortunately, I won’t be giving my heart to El Diablo. It was super cute when Elena’s backup dancers ran back on strange to give her a hug at the end of her performance. 

Albania- ‘Karma. Albania’s enter begins with more red. I wonder if this will be the theme of the night? Anxhela Peristeri is also wearing a loose jewelled strap dress. The song itself is being sung in Albanian and personally I prefer it when countries sing in their native language rather than singing a song in English. It’s nice to hear all the different languages. A puff of blue smoke has just appeared, its a nice contrast to the red. I’m not 100% what this song is about, the title would suggest karma but nothing about the performance really connects with the song. Unfortunately, this song is just far too similar in style to Cyprus and because of it’s position in the contest, it will most likely get over shadowed.

Israel – Set me free. 
I’ve paused the show temporary before israel perform Just to have some pre-performance thoughts. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict that has been erupting over the past few weeks has dominated our news here in the UK and so I’m wondering if this will be put aside so Eden Alene can have her moment to fairly represent her country like everyone else in the contest or whether we’ll get some sort of intruder or boos from the crowd. I personally think Eden has as much right as anyone else to be on that stage. One more thing to add; Graham Norton (who narrates the British version of Eurovision) said that Eden is going to attempt to sing the highest note ever sung at Eurovision: B6. I’m looking forward to that. Right, time to press play. 

Wow! Eden’s hair is amazing! And no more red. Israel have gone for a more electro-Tron vibe for this performance and the singing is very Ariana Grande-esk. Eden is wearing a retro silver dress that continues the Tron theme. She is accompanied by 5 backup dancers who are all very energised. They’re formation is impressive, and while they do their routine, they always keep Eden in the centre, almost like a protective cage.  Oh there’s that B6 (I think). A very impressive high note that made my own vocal cords wince. All in all, an enjoyable performance. 

Belguim – The wrong place. Our first group of the night is Belgium’s Hooverphonics. Graham Norton stated that the lead singer actually left the group but has re-joined for this performance. Nice bit of juicy drama for us there. Lovely close up of an exposed piano to open the song. That pleases me. There is a gloomy vibe to this song. Each member of the band is on a square, black platform that circle the lead singer. She has a much calmer tone to her voice than the previous contestants. I really like the mood to this song. It feels rawer and only uses strobe lights as a special effect. This is the sort of song you could listen to on a long drive home at high. Its very easy listening. My favourite so far.

Russia – Russian Woman. Oh… My… God. Just look at Manizha‘s dress! She looks like Joey from Friends when he wear everything Chandler owns. Ok, This is entertaining, the dress is motorised. And as I typed that, Manizha bursts out of the dress into a very comfy looking red boiler suit. I should also mention that Manizha is singing in Russian so I don’t 100% know what she is singing about but Graham mention that she was is very liberal. Be strong is being projected cross the back screen followed by a bored featuring different woman. As like the previous two entries, Manizha is surrounded by 4 back up singer. These singers remain relatively stationary, dancing on the spot in what I’m guessing is traditional Russian clothing however it has more of a Bangladesh vibe. Either way I’m enjoying it. Question is; do I enjoy it more than Belgium?

Malta – Je me casse. Destiny Chukunyere is a Eurovision veteran. She won junior Eurovision (I didn’t know that was a thing) when she was just 13! So I am expecting great things. Of the bat, Destiny is stunning. Wearing a stringy silver dress in the same sort of style to Cyprus and Albaina’s entries. She sings with a soulful voice. The song has a pop/jazz vibe which is quite catchy and its a impowering song about being able to wear what you want without being objectified. There is some funny choriography where Destiny and her 4 backup dancers seem to can themselves down with their hands. This was a fun entry but it isn’t my favourite. I think Destiny has a singing career in font of her though. Her stage presence is brilliant.

Portugal – Love is on my side. Second band of the night, The Black Mamba. We are being presented with a black and white performance which give the group a nice retro feel. It’s a slow jazz song that I can imagine people singing. The group is dressed in full suits and bow ties. The lead singer is also rocking a stylish white wide brimmed fedora hat which adds to the whole look of the band. We’ve lost the balck and white filter now and can see the stage in all it’s glory. The back drop is gold and shimmery with sillohets of streetlights. This was a lovely slow song and I think it deserves a lot of love. Sometimes the nicest song are the ones with the most soul.

Serbia – Loco Loco. A girl group are up next in the form of Hurrican. We start with some heavy strobe lights and the groups name filling the backdrop. Each woman is dressing in a black skin tight outfit littered with silver balls. It’s quite tasteful (sounding old, I’m not a fan of skimpy outfits, I feel they distract from the performance.) I’m struggling to tell whether this song is being sung in English or Serbian or a combination of both but honesty, I find this performance a bit boring. It’s just too… Generic.

UK – Ember. This sounds pretty bad but I’m never very patriotic when it comes to Eurovision. We have sent in some awful entries that don’t do us any justice. I hope James Newman fares better. Apparently his is a platinum selling artist but I’ve never heard of him. James is treating us to a song he’s written himself. He is presented on a black platform with 2 trumpets hovering him and a brass band/ backing dancers jazz behind him. The song is so lack Luster. The chorus is quite catchy, but it is just nothing compared to the previous entries. We will never learn that generic pop songs don’t ever benefit us. About 15 years ago we sent in a group called Scooch and they did terribly however, they are still remembered to this day. James, unfortunately, this performance won’t be remembered.

Greece – Last Dance. Stefina Is representing Greece. She is only 18 and is the youngest contestant tonight. She’s sporting a sparkling purple, skin tight jump suit against a pink backdrop. As the song picks up, a backup dancer appears against the greenscreen to give the illusion that just clothes are dancing. It’s a cool effect but makes me wonder what the audience can see. I’m not sure why but I get a sort of superhero vibe from this performance. She sounds amazing considering she is only 18 and she gave it all.

Switzerland – Tout l’Univers Singing in French, Gjon’s Tears stands on a white box frame while giving us many hand motions. He’s donning a black shirt with silver detail. I can see silver is the theme tonight. Heavy strobe light accompanies the chorus. Gjon is sort of sweet but watching him makes me feeling like I’ve stumbled upon a friend singing in his bedroom. He seemed to enjoy himself, which is all that matters, and the song wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t captivating.

Iceland – 10 Years. Welcome the first weird act of the night with Daði og Gagnamagnið and 10 years. 6 members of the group are on stage wearing 90’s inspired turquoise jumpers with each of their faces pixilated on the front. 3 members are also rocking some funky curved keytars that all connect to make a loop keyboard. That was pretty cool. They are come back together and continue their sort of dad dancing around their mics. I liked it and it was a catchy song. I enjoy the art element of it more… and the keytars.

Spain – Voy A Quedarme. Spain is up next with Blas Canto who starts his song softly amongst some mist and a stary backdrop. He is singing in Spanish so he’s already got points in my book. As the lights go up, the backdrop changes to represent a total Eclipse of the sun. As I type, a moon emerges and sits just above Blas. I don’t know what he’s singing about but he’s very passionate and you can feel that. He displays his impressive vocals in what I can only guess is Blas’ attempt to beat Eden at her B6 note. Nice song with a subtle performce.

Moldova – Sugar. Before Natalia Gordienko comes on to perform, Graham informed us that Moldova’s perform will feature the longest note heard in Eurovision. What a treat for us tonight with two firsts! Now on with the show.Another silver, shimmery dress. Natalia, singing in English starts by singing from her chair made up of 4 back up dancers. Another very generic song with a minimal chorus and extended instrumental segments as the bass drops. We have more of a pink theme in the back ground and the backup dancers are dressed in black shirtless suits. The long note is impressive but sadly don’t make the song remarkable. I would struggle to tell this apart from Albania and Cyprus.

Germany – I don’t feel hate. Graham prewarns us that this song might be like Marmite: You’ll either love it or hate it. From his tone, I can tell it isn’t his most favourite, but I like the weird and wonderful so bring it on. Jendrik starts by strumming his silver ukulele wearing a bright pink blazer and blue trousers. There are 3 backup singers armed with horn instruments and a dancing hand. I defiantly get the vibe that this is a song aimed at 5 year olds but I kind of like it. I don’t know what that says about my taste. It’s a fun song and is certainly a different vibe to what we’ve has before. Theres a cute but of tap dancing at the bridge. I can tell I’ll be humming “I don’t feel hate” for the rest of the afternoon. I’m guilty of liking this song and I hope it does well. Well done Germany for thinking outside the box. This is defiantly a memorable entry.

Finland – Darkside. I remember watching Eurovision in 2006 and subsequently downloading Lorde’s Hardrock Hallelujah onto my MP3 player. Tonight we have been blessed with another heavy metal entry from Finland; Blind Channel. We are off to a weird start. Images of an upside-down spinning guitarist is projected onto the backdrop. From the start we are instructed to put our middle fingers up as the band is circled by pyrotechnics. There is no doubt that this is heavy metal and I’m all for including other genres besides pop into the Eurovision song contest. Its surprisingly catchy with some nice guitar riffs. I can see myself downloading this and listening to this on the way home from work. I can’t work out why I’m still sat here with my middle finger up. This is in my top 3.

Bulgaria – Growing up is getting old. This song has a sad backstory, with a picture of Victoria’s father in the background. He has been diagnosed with ALS so this song comes from a deeply personal place. We open with some gentle stumping of a guitar with Victoria sitting on the floor, singing softly. As the darkness lifts we see her caress the photo of her dad. She seems to be perched on a piece of ‘Floating’ wood. Aiding the illusion of being lost. As the wood starts to rotate, Victoria stands and we can see she is wearing a relaxed fit light blue shirt and a gold jewelled necklace. It’s a sweet performance that I don’t think will win but I’m happy Victoria was able to have that moment to herself.

Lithuania – Discoteque. Lithuania have given us The Roop; an older group of 3 men. As the song starts, one singer starts off as a silloett against a white background before the spotlight shows him in a bright yellow jumpsuit. As the chorus approaches, 2 backup dancers, equality dressed in yellow join us and the other two members of the band become visible. This song has an electro 80’s vibe and you can see it being played in some sort of futuristic nightclub. The singer does something fun with his fingers, separating them all differently. It’s a catchy background song that’s similar to Iceland’s entry.

Ukraine – Shum. Go-A are our next performers. We are off to a… screechy start. We have a lead singer donning a back dress with a green shaggy shroud. 3 other band members and 2 back up dancers all in white and black coats. The two backup dancers have some funky ring lights to dance with. The stage is also littered with small bare white trees. As for the song… It is very intense, fast paces and slightly monotone. It was sung in Ukrainian and sounds very similar to Ukraine’s 2007 entry ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ by Verka Serduchka. Same sort of repetitive droning. I’m not a fan.

France – Voila. France’s entry begins with a dimly lit stage illuminating Barbara Pravi as she sings in French. The backdrop is black but this time it is the floor that tells the story. It switches from birds to stars and is very subtle. Barbara is dressed in a plain but tasteful tube top and black trousers, and it just fits with the lyrics of the song. I don’t speak French, but you can see that Barbara builds with the song and as her hand movements become more and more flamboyant, it feels like she is singing to herself. Almost to convince herself she is enough. As a whole, this is a beautiful people of art that felt French. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Azerbaijan – Mata Hari. Azerbaijan are next with Efendi singing Mata Hari. We open with 5 women dressing in black in the centre of the stage. The backdrop is blue with what looks like lotus flowers. Efendi gives off the Arianda Grande vibes with her high ponytail and high-pitched voice. The song has a pop/ middle eastern vibe. It makes very little impact. While it’s a fun song that again could eaisly blend in to our Top 40, it just lacks the wow factor. There isn’t think that makes this song stand out. It’s a shame.

Norway – Fallen Angel. Graham gives us quite the intro to Norway’s entry, Tix, aptly named after his facial ticks which coincide with his tonettes. Tix also has OCD and is open about his struggles with mental health. I hope his song is good because he’s captivated by with his back story. As the lights come up, we see Tix, singing in English, centre stage with some huge white angel wings. They accompany his white fur coat and silver body suit. To top it off, he has chacles on his wrists that his 4 backup angels pull at occasionally. It fun. There is a East 17 “Stay another day” vibe. Perhaps it’s the coat. Its a nice enough song. Tix managed to channel a 90’s boy band song all by himself. All I can say is that I don’t hate it.

Netherlands – Birth of a new age. Our raining champions are sending Jeangu Macrooy on to the stage next. From the offset I get a 80’s America vibe. I’m not 100% what Jeanhu is wearing. It’s some sort of royal blue shirtless suit with bands across the arms and an almighty belt. The chorus is nice. They sing ‘You can’t break me” in Dutch against a nice African beat. As the song progress, the backdrop becomes more and more colourful and the whole spirit of the song comes to life. I really liked this entry.

Italy – Zitti e buoni. Maneskin are our second mental band of the night! It’s rare to even get one so it is a real treat for us to be given two. I enjoyed Finland’s entry so it’ll be interesting to see how the two songs compare. Graham doesn’t appear to be a fan of this song and is confused as to why it has received so much love. Onwards!Singing in Italian, we are greeted by the lead singer of Maneskin who is wearing the ultimate high waisted trousers. He walks towards his band who are treating this like a rock concert. I can’t blame them. Rock it. This song is lot calmer compared to Finland’s entry. I would define it as more rock than metal in all honesty. Perhaps the lyrics say otherwise but I don’t speak Italian. The song has a nice rhythm to it, and it doesn’t feel out of place. The lead singer seemed to be happy with his performance. Not in my top three though. Perhaps top 10.

Sweden – Voices. I often enjoy swedens entries. They think outside the box and are usually a joy to watch. Tusse is representing his country and he enter the stage in a red sleeveless judo style jumpsuit. Balck jewelled arm warmers complete his look. He has an amazing voice, and the chorus sends chills down my spine. I would listen to this. The backdrop is water ripples and halfway through the song it becomes the stage for several people or ‘voices’ as they appear to walk towards the stage. I like this song. Tusse should be proud with that performance.

San Marino – Adrenaline. Our final song (Thank god, my hands need a break). For some reason, Flo Rida is going to be present during this song. I’m not 100% sure what his connection to San Marino is but let’s see if he has a possitive input. We open with Valentina Monett covered in feathers, wearing a huge gold head dress. Her backup dancers come to undress her to reveal a black jumpsuit with feathery sleeves. It looks so soft! Valentina Has 4 back up dances who are giving it there all. Oh, here comes Flo Rida. I don’t really have much to say… He looks like he’s having fun but if am being honest, it felt like a cheap way of getting some extra points. I don’t know if it will work but Flo Rida didn’t add anything to the song.

Right thats it. All 26 acts have performed. I’ll give you by top three and then we can talk about the results. In 3rd we have Germany. I just loved the change of pace their entry brought and it looked fun, didn’t take itself too seriously. It was bright and vibrant which was a pleasant change from the previous entries we had seen. In 2nd place, I’m going to put the Netherlands. Their entry was smooth with a nice mix of English and Dutch that really captivated me. A very 80’s Lionel Richie vibe. And my favourite act of the night has got to go to France. Their performance felt like a piece of art and Barbara put her heart and soul into it. She deserves to score high for that performance.

The Results.

I am writing this second the following morning as I was just too tried to stay up for the results. Unfortunately, my morning routine for checking BBC News back fired on me as I learnt who had won: Italy! I have to say that I am surprised. If a rock/metal band were going to win, I’d have thought Finland would have secured the position. This years voting was a bit different than previous years (I am a firm believer that if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it) where the ‘Jury’ countries accounted their votes (only verbally announcing who won their 12 points place rather than 8, 10 and 12 points) followed by the hosts reading out the total number of public votes a country received. This meant that as soon as the public vote was announced for the UK, we were done for the night. I preferred the old method, where you still had hope that the public might have saved you. I was surprised at how much love Switzerland receive for their entry (I personally don’t see it) and they held on too their lead for quite a while before Italy won over 500 points. I am very happy with France coming in second. Very well deserved. Then Switzerland settled into 3rd place which is quite honourable. The UK won a total of 0 votes, to no ones surprise. Why we even enter is beyond me but James did well and he can go home knowing he got to sing in the Eurovision Song Contest.

It has been a great event and boy, am I glad to have Eurovision back this year. Now to see what 2022 has in store for us.

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