Mo’s 2021 Eurovision preview party: Part Three

For my third shindig, I’m turning down the lights and mixing special cocktails – one part tonic to sixteen parts gin and the smallest hint of orange juice (for fruit and fibre reasons).

With ten slots going begging, it’s another tight contest – and a show that I feel offers more variety than Tuesday’s line-up. It certainly brings some of the least tempting offering to the table – the taramasalata of party food, if you will.

SF1 – Part One SF1 – Part Two SF2 – Part Two Big 5/Host

Second semi-final – part the first

San Marino

San Marino might be in with a chance‘ … is something I never thought I’d type. The micro state is giving Senhit another shot at the Eurovision stage, this time paired with US rapper Flo-rida – who I suspect had never heard of either singer, song or contest until his voice got licensed for use. It’s what those lacking in imagination might refer to as a Euro-banger – the sort of thing that soundtracks cocktails in a Spanish bar. Given Covid put paid to foreign holidays for now, nostalgia might tempt the televoters of Europe to part with their points. The juries won’t so much as blink. As a song, it comes across as cheap and under-produced, though (on video) it’s far more the full package. If Senhit can avoid making this look a shambles on stage, San Marino could cruise through to the final – after that, I suspect it’s a mid table finish. Big shout out to Senhit though for a series of brilliant Eurovision covers over the summer. That’s an album I’d buy.

My vote: 7/10  Will it qualify: Yes

Estonia

This is an absolute dog of a song. Uku is a nice enough chap and can certainly fill a pleasant trouser, but really … he’s lumbered himself with a messy little number that goes absolutely nowhere a bit too slowly. And don’t get me started on the puerile lyric. It can’t end soon enough for me.

My vote: 1/10  Will it qualify: Of course not

Czech Republic

Slick, current and soulful. What might let things down is if the staging goes too cool for school and doesn’t play on Benny Cristo’s personality. That and I’m not so sure rap has a natural home at Eurovision. Prove me wrong, world. This is good.

My vote: 8/10  Will it qualify: I hope so

Greece

If I can bring myself to ignore the dreadful lyric, this is the best thing from ERT in a while. Sure, it’s another 80’s sound – a song that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Laura Branigan album, but I rather like what I hear. Stefani does look terribly young though, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing with something that can’t help but sound like a song written for a much older woman. And then there’s the staging – with warnings of ‘something never before seen in Eurovision‘ (tempted to suggest appropriate staging by the Greek delegation at this point). Remember what Giannis Poulopoulos did in 2019?

My vote: 7/10  Will it qualify: Yes

Austria

I realise ‘Amen’ is a convoluted metaphor, substituting the end of a relationship with funeral imagery with Vincent having a bit of a pop at his uncaring ex. It’s another show-tune song that sounds to have been lifted from a second division musical – one starring Cheryl Baker, perhaps. And then there’s a question mark over Vincent’s out of context remarks that indicated a less than comfortable attitude to diversity and inclusion. It’s probably for the best if he goes home on the Friday morning.

My vote: 5/10  Will it qualify: No

Poland

This is my least-loved song in the 2021 line-up. Forgettable, unremarkable, bland and lifeless. It’s like Kooit Toom took a train from Tallinn and offered to stand in for Poland – provided he gets to wear dark glasses. I could go on, but like the song, I’d just be repeating more of the same.

My vote: 0/10  Will it qualify: No

Moldova

My nan would have said something about ladies of a certain age being careful how much flesh they put on show. That doesn’t seem to bother Natalia Gordienko, who’s intent on channelling a drunken holiday rep in her official video. I’ve picked a TV performance to give you something different to look at. ‘Sugar’ is a Frankenstein’s monster of a song, grabbing hooks and notes from Eurovision efforts past (and dusting the whole thing with ‘Gangnam Style‘ sparkle). That said, on my Spotify playlist, it stood out more than I expected.

My vote: 4/10  Will it qualify: Quite possibly

Iceland

I came to admire the 2020 song – the only one to escape Eurovision and become a hit of any size. This is a reworking, but I gather Jamiroquai-funk-lite is just Daði’s style. The issue I have is that much of his international acclaim arrived thanks to last year’s viral video and there’s nothing especially new on offer this time around. This is an act where the visuals matter and I can’t help but think people will see ‘Ten Years’ as a ‘fun’ entry rather than a serious contender. It’ll score, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the obvious winner I heard last year. Maybe the competition is stronger this time, or maybe the joke wore thin? Had it not been for Covid, we’d be hearing fansitedom talk about how much everything costs in downtown Reykjavik. Except for Mr Phil, who would have had the foresight to pack a Warburton’s farmhouse loaf and three different types of cheese.

My vote: 7/10  Will it qualify: Yes

Serbia

I struggle with this. It’s not the worst song ever, but still sounds to be so frozen in time – determined to take part in the Eurovision of old and pay no heed to change. Then there’s the feeling that the team behind Hurricane took the 2020 Eurovision entry, stripped it of any hook and entered it again. The three performers know their stuff, and I’m sure they’ll make up for what they lack in song with a personality-driven performance … though that could easily become quite unremarkable given the songs around it.

My vote: 4/10  Will it qualify: Doubtful

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