WHEN?: 8pm UK time Thursday 20 May 2021
WHERE?: Ahoy Rotterdam
A dozen of the 17 acts competing in this 2nd semi would have been in contention in 2020 and read on for details of the 7 we think will progress to the final.
- Read on for reasons including which acts we think will have their Eurovision moment of glory on 22 May 2021
- SAN MARINO Senhit feat Flo Rida Adrenalina (Chanel Tukia, Tramar Dillard, Jimmy Thornfeldt, Joy Deb, Kenny Silverdiquel, Linnea Deb, Malou Linn, Eloise Ruotsalainen, Senhit Zadik Zadik, Suzi Pancenkov and Thomas Stengaard) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Italian singer Senhit finished 16th in her semi final while representing San Marino in 2011 with Stand By and was last year due to return singing Freaky!. We described it as ‘easily the country’s best ever Eurovision entry’ and thought it would place 16th to 20th. The country has only made the final twice at nine attempts, with its best result in 2019 when Serhat finished 19th. Senhit is appearing with *checks notes* chart topping American rapper Flo Rida and Adrenalina is a female-fronted banger with an outside shot at winning the Contest. Will Mr Rida make it to the Eurovision stage? We very much hope so.
2. ESTONIA Uku Suviste The Lucky One (Uku Suviste, Sharon Vaughn) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
Suviste’s 2021 entry has the same co-writers as 2020’s and we see it sharing the fate we predicted last year and not qualifying for the final. The Lucky One is 1 of a number of entries in this semi to have an 80s feel although this plods a little too heavy and is not melodic enough for us to progress.
3. CZECH REPUBLIC Benny Cristo Omaga (Ben Cristovao) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
We had Cristo down as a surprise qualifier in 2020 and Omaga will be there or thereabouts but we don’t think it’s a quite good enough song in this current crop. The title is not a reference to Make America Great Again but apparently is short form for Oh my God that is slightly longer than OMG. Obvs.
4. GREECE Stefani Last Dance (Dimitris Kontopoulos, Pavlos Manolis, Anastasios Rammos, Diveno, Gabriel Russell, Egon Parreniasi, Loukas Damianakos, Sharon Vaughn) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Of all the 80s-influenced entries this year, we think this is the 1 to most likely cut through with televoters. Stefania has retained the team behind her 2020 entry, which we thought was a finalist, and Last Dance is full of memorable and catchy backing vocals which we think will propel this to an impressive result.
5. AUSTRIA Vincent Bueno Amen (Tobias Carshey, Ashley Hicklin, Jonas Thander) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
Bueno is also a returner but has changed his writing team and we’re a little underwhelmed by the song which shares its title with Slovenia’s semi 1 entry. We suspect it will share Slovenia’s fate because, although there’s an anthemic Take That/Gary Barlow feel to the chorus, the verses feel a little too gloomy for us in these pandemic times. It’s placed between 2 80s bangers, of varying degrees of success, which will help it stand out but we feel Bueno may just miss out on a final slot.
6. POLAND Rafal The Ride (Joakim Övrenius, Thomas Karlsson, Clara Rubensson, Johan Mauritzson) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
‘Hold on for The Ride of your life’ offers the chorus of this uptempo, 80s-infused keyboard banger and it’s quite a promise that Rafal never comes close to achieving. It’s fun though and will find its audience although we suspect will struggle to be remembered coming ahead of a run of 3 fine entries.
7. MOLDOVA Natalia Gordienko Sugar (Mikhail Gutseriev, Sharon Vaughn, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Philipp Kirkorov) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Gordienko definitely got the memo about the R’n’B horns which feature heavily in this track as well as a number of others in 2021’s crop. Her songwriting team has plenty of Eurovision experience and she herself finished 20th in the 2006 final in Athens which we saw performing the song Loca with Arsenium and Connect-R.
8. ICELAND Dadi Freyr & Gagnamanid 10 Years (Dadi Freyr Petursson) PREDICTION: Qualifier
A song of the week for us in March, we said: ‘it’s musically where Freyr is taking a risk which is how 10 Years might have alienated his Eurovision fanbase who haven’t greeted this with open arms because it is essentially a song without a strong hook.’ We thought Think About Things would finish 3rd in 2020 and that this effort is so assured, lyrically a familiar theme without being a repeat, that this is the song we think is most likely to win in 2021.
9. SERBIA Hurricane Loco Loco (Nemanja Antonic/Sanja Vucic) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Lyricist Vucic is 1 of 3 members of the girl group and finished 18th in the 2016 final singing a song she didn’t write called Goodbye (Shelter). She co-wrote last year’s entry Hasta La Vista which we felt was a finalist but we have a sneaking regard for the belting pop bounce that is Loco Loco and feel it could do even better.
10. GEORGIA Tornike Kipiani You (Tornike Kipiani) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
We described 2020’s Take Me As I Am as a ‘strange, moody song with an angry performance’. You is more pleasing but a long way we think from qualifying from this semi.
11. ALBANIA Anxhela Peristeri Karma (Olti Curri, Kledhi Bahiti) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
Peristeri is 1 of only 5 artists in this semi not scheduled to appear in 2020 and Karma has been revamped from its selection with Greek producer Dimitris Kontopoulos at the helm. It’s a fine Balkan pop ballad well-performed but just struggling to make Saturday’s final we think.
12. PORTUGAL The Black Mamba Love Is On My Side (Pedro Tatanka Caldeira) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Often the biggest clue to how successful Eurovision entries will be is one’s reaction to them on 1st listen. Particularly if it’s an entry you know little about. We didn’t rate this much at all when we 1st heard it, but for us it’s probably the Contest’s biggest grower now we’ve really lived with the entries. There’s an asexual, Prince-like quality to the voice and the music too could sit happily in the Purple one’s canon.
13. BULGARIA Victoria Growing Up Is Growing Old (Victoria Georgieva, Maya Nalani, Helena Larsson, Oliver Bjorkvall) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Victoria was the most successful of the female artists giving us Billie Eilish feels in 2020 and, despite nonsense title Tears Getting Sober, we felt last year’s entry was good enough to finish 2nd. Stylistically, little has changed and while we love the opening lyric (‘Playing Tetris with my feelings, trying to keep them all inside’), the lack of progression feels just a little too self-satisfied in company which is generally much improved.
14. FINLAND Blind Channel Dark Side (Aleksi Kaunisvesi, Joonas Porko, Joel Hokka, Niko Moilanen, Olli Matela) PREDICTION: Qualifier
There’s always a rock song that does well at Eurovision and we think this is the pick of the bunch this year although it’s not to our personal taste. We much preferred the song that finished runner up in UMK in 2021.
15. LATVIA Samanta Tina The Moon Is Rising (Samanta Tina, Aminata Savadogo, Oskars Uhans) PREDICTION: non-qualifier
R’n’B horns memo received? Check. Tina had 1 of the more out there again entries in 2020 and don’t expect this to be a dull 3 minutes. We find it both grating and alienating but are expecting a dramatic and memorable rendition.
16. SWITZERLAND Gjon’s Tears Tout l’univers (All The Universe) (Gjon Muharremaj, Nina Sampermans, Wouter Hardy, Xavier Michel) PREDICTION: Qualifier
Nice that the final 2 songs in this semi are not in English. We didn’t much appreciate the love for Gjon’s Tears in 2020 and feel so again this year where he currently sits 2nd in the betting. He’s an admirable falsetto that will undoubtedly be impressively performed but in a year when we’re looking for a little fun this is worthy but not 1 we’ll be cutting a rug to in our home discoteque.
17. DENMARK Fyr & Flamme Øve os på hinanden (Practice On Each Other) (Laurits Emanuel,Rune Borup) PREDICTION: Qualifier