PREVIEW/PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest final starring Blas Cantó & James Newman

WHEN?: 8pm (UK time) Saturday 22 May 2021

WHERE?: Rotterdam Ahoy


Covid-19 caused the cancellation of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest for the 1st time in its 65-year history but it looks set to return in 2021 with many of the artists who missed out.

  • Read on for reasons including our predictions for how the 6 pre-qualified finalists will do

Our favourite of the 6 pre-qualified songs for the 2021 is:

UK: James Newman Embers (James Newman, Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings, Samuel Brennan) PREDICTION: 6-10th

Last year we predicted a similar finish for Newman’s Last Breath although its title was unfortunate given the global pandemic that was to follow its unveiling. Embers is once again co-written by Newman, brother of pop star John Newman, but with a different writing team and benefits from being upbeat and sounding modern enough to sit happily in the Radio 1 schedules. We’d hope live performance would be a strength and, although not a contender for the win in our ears, we’re hopeful for a finish on the left-hand side of the scoreboard.

ITALY: Måneskin Zitti e buoni (Shut up and good) (Damiano David, Ethan Torchio, Thomas Raggi, Victoria De Angelis) PREDICTION: 11 to 15th

A curve ball from Italy in the form of a band with a male lead singer sporting blue lipstick, a White Stripes-ish bassline and a lead guitar swagger reminiscent of a young Rolling Stones. Finland’s Blind Channel is its big competition in rock terms and Italy’s finest will be hoping for a running order position well away from them in the final. We’re enjoying their look and attitude more than Blind Channel’s although not to our tastes especially and so we could be downplaying its chances considerably.

SPAIN: Blas Cantó Voy a quedarme (I will stay) (Blas Cantó, Dan Hammond, Leroy Sanchez, Dangelo Ortega) PREDICTION: 11 to 15th

A song of the week for us in February, this is so much better than 2020’s Universo. We speak Spanish and have written previously about our love of all things Spanish and so may be more enthusiastic than those without such a predisposition but this is performed well and with passion and we’re moved by it. It does break the golden rule of singing a ballad reflective of the times in which we’re living however.

FRANCE Barbara Pravi Voilà (Barbara Pravi, Igit, Lil Poe) PREDICTION: 16 to 20th

A quality entry with a singer pleading for attention. It’s quirky and reminds these ears of the great Patricia Kaas who finished 8th in Moscow in 2009 with Et s’il fallait le faire (And if you had to do it). At the time of writing, it is 2nd favourite with the bookmakers and, while we can see juries going for it, we’re less convinced voters at home will be swayed by it.

NETHERLANDS: Jeangu Macrooy Birth Of A New Age (Jeangu Macrooy, Pieter Perquin) PREDICTION: 21 to 26th

The last time the host country had a top 10 finish was in Sweden in 2016 when Frans was 5th with If I Were Sorry. Generally hosts seem more preoccupied with the overall show rather than focusing on their entry and Macrooy reminds these ears of a Jools Holland act: both quality and worthy. Birth Of A New Age is braver lyrically than Sweden’s entry Voices and, we imagine, shares a similar pro-change sentiment.

GERMANY: Jendrik I Don’t Feel Hate (Jendrik Sigwart, Christoph Oswald) PREDICTION: 21 to 26th

Novelty can be brilliant at Eurovision – we’re thinking Verka Serduchka – but, given the weight of the jury vote, rarely succeeds as spectacularly as in Eurovision’s golden past. I Don’t Feel Hate has an admirable sentiment, is catchy and will be remembered but we fear the abiding recollection might just be how twee it is.

We’ll update our final predictions in Eurovision week as the finalists in both semis are selected.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Blas Cantó. Tickets
  • Read our Semi 1 preview. Read our Semi 2 preview.
  • Enjoyed this preview? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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