Eurovision 2021 was a welcome return from the continent-wide song contest. Votes are coming in right now and we await the result.
Held in Rotterdam after a year”s postponement, the reduced but typically crazed audience were delighted to witness a true smorgasbord of talent.
Obviously, it was a mixed bag. But there’s no doubt that it was good to have it back.
Rotterdam hosted the event after Duncan Laurence, who couldn’t perform live this year due to testing positive for COVID, won the 2019 gala.
For viewers watching the UK stream, the redoubtable Graham Norton was on hand to provide an always necessary slice of realism.
“This is marmite…if you hate marmite,” he said of the German entry, which was less a yeast feast and more of a children’s cartoon.
Of the Lithuanian entry, Norton suggested it resembled “people from IT who had dressed up as (UK pop act) Steps. And not without due cause.
Ukraine came to the party in the guise of the 90s ‘judderman’ METZ advert. A nightmarish folk-ridden dance threat. “If you ever wondered what happened to Orville… the lead singer appears to be wearing him,” Norton quipped, referring to the lead singer’s green plumage.
Serbia advanced their case for EU membership with the girl power threesome, Hurricane, and Finland once more expounded their Heany Metal credentials, following in the footsteps of 2006 winner Lordi.
‘Just like Cleopatra’ sang the Azeri entry, who revisited the story of Mata Hari for some reason.
Norway’s TIX brought a pop-rock sensibility to the proceedings, and the Tourettes sufferer sported a huge pair of angels’ wings. His song mentioned angels, so that’s ok. And the key change was beamed in from 1988, which was refreshing.
UK entries, once much vaunted in the early days of Eurovision, have been lamentable in recent decades save for a 1997 win by Katrina and the Waves. This year’s impoverished entry did nothing to settle the stomach.
France had one of the most committed vocal performances of recent years, and will bring comparisons to the Celine Dion victory of 1988. That’s 33 years ago for those of us who enjoy the masochism of feeling old.
Italy came at the evening with a rock act that was by turns Freddie Mercury and Rage Against the Machine. “Rotterdam: make some noise” they screamed. And the limited crowd made that noise. I hope the trousers catch on, they were superb. Rock is a big deal in Italy so it’s good to see them bring that to Eurovision.
Million record-selling rap artist Flo-Rida was on hand, inexplicably, to accompany the San Marino entry. Cavorting on a revolving rhombus, the Cleo-Lane-esque performer was dizzying. And though her famous co-star did little to contribute to the spectacle, there was an undoubted spritz to this, the final song before voting.
“Music brings us together,” say the hosts. And it’s hard to argue. The songs were largely decent this year, and although there was no great love for the UK entry, it was more due to it being uninspiring than to any kind of political agenda.
The votes are now coming in, so stay tuned for the result!
As Dr Eurovision told Euronews, it’s anyone’s prize this year.
More to follow…