It always shame that Albania are the top of each year's page, as their bread & butter sincerity tends to take fun out of proceedings, making it tough to wring much mirth out of the damp Eurosong rag. Anxhela is very much all of her 35 years, & in true Albanian style she's highly likely to put it all out there for a whiff at a Final spot. The song (making no reference to Karma whatsoever) starts so bombastically you think you're being shouted at by the Albanian military Sergeant, but then fades into a typically moribund Balkan wail. Always nice to see a dollop of traditional Albanian cleavage & pretentious visuals such as kids in tutus .


Poor Montaigne. No, I'm not going to list of load of lazy Pom stereotyping. No, what I referring to is that after waiting a whole two years for this opportunity, she can no longer travel to the Ahoy arena. So Jessica Alyssa Cerro (25) will be the only act not present. As for song it's clear to see how the creative process panned out "How can we keep the interest up in us from all the way over here?".."I know, you write paragraphs of wailing, I'll gyrate over a hellish Rhythmn Nation backing track whilst banging a bin lid & we'll call it performance art!". "Bonzer, Montaigne".."No worries Bruce"etc..It's truly terrifyingly abject.


35 year old Vincent Mendoza Bueno had an opportunity to be mid table in 2020, but has decided not unlike the penguin to undertake a touch of evolutionary regression by serving up a miasma of a power ballad. Asked on the official site what's his favourtie cheese, his answer is "Cheddar because my wife is from the US, and she prefer it (sic)"... Utter heathen... I still have it going through which tells you everything you need to know about the 2nd semi-fina and in summary with "Amen" I find myself dipping into my younger (kinder if you will) school days for inspiration..."forgive us our tresspasses, but deliver us from evil" etc etc


Try not to be "Efendi"ed, it's just low rent pop, after all. A veritable old timer at 29 years of age, Samira Azer gizi Efendiyeva has a name with more substance than the entirety of her song, an irksome dirge on the subject of a dubiously celebrated Leeuwarden-native spy cum stripper.
Apparently Efendi "is interest in sports, Pilates, dancing, and strip plastics". She also cares for two parrots that are "completely untrainable and swear a lot". I know the feeling listening to this, as likely will the Armenians who are sitting it out this year out due to war wounds. A rare qualification failure is predicted, even with Russian support.


Regaled as being better sounding than a Dyson, these oldest of ESC timers certainly have a consistent sound. It's a kind of dad-pop with a natural home in Raadio2 in Ghent. One of their hits is "Vinegar & Salt" which is characteristic of a general vibe of being too cool for the teacher's common room and they've failed to endear themselves to the damp fan to date. The song is notable for sophisticated middle aged conversation, wine, & decapitation. One of those efforts which shows enough quality to ease gently to the bottom of the leaderboard, so they'll probably find out they're in the wrong place.


I'm properly struggling on this one. I've completely forgotten my reaction the first time I watched it, I vaguely recall having a sense of mild offense the second time around (a reaction akin to a 5 year old brat bursting into dinner at a Warner Leisure hotel) but that passed. I distinctly remember my reaction the 3rd time as being there won't be a 4th time. Apparently this is about "of a journey to self improvement by revisting your roots and the places you feel safe"... Victoria Georgieva (23) was a frontrunner last year, and has resurfaced with similarly twee, vexing, cod philosophical claptrap, which is sadly probably very much "on trend".

22 year old Albina will be hoping she doesn't have an inauspicious Split from the Semi final. At least she's confident "...I think we have the whole package, the song, the dancers, the team". Another melange where they believe two songs are better than one, it could go either way. It's certainly replete with trademark Balkan vacuous attitude we've come to..bear, but the question is will it be enough. With a name like that she's going to get some votes from Ankara at least. I have her Pula(ing) a fast one and sneaking through Semi 1, but it's not on my Zadar for winning...


A small nation that is increasingly peeking out from behind the broader shoulders of their big step-brother, you get the impression Cyprus thinks it's found a winning formula and by gosh they're sticking with it. TV presenter Elena Tsagrinou (26) could well be another vixen thumper, fuelled by baby olive oil and hairspray, & weighed down by expectation & a frock. She's got a lo-rent Gaga vibe, suitable it appears for pelvic floor exercises, and she may succeed in squeezing every ounce of OTT camp out of this by-the-numbers pop. Hence my lofty prediction in the tricky semi final. Fun fact: she's got a dog called Poo, but not a Shitsu sadly.


Always nice to highlight the worst song of the show, as it's always such a hotly contested ticket. Well this year it goes to Ben da Silva Cristóvão (33), a deeply cocksure Kid Creole type who has undoubtedly fared the worst from the 2020 cancellation, as his chances have plummeted due to the abomination of this effort. I'll admit there is a hint of originality, in that someone believed a single note up tempo nasal drawl is a vote winner. I've heard it 3 times now & its made me mildly nauseous every time, which at least is a reaction...


Italo-disco duo of Jesper Groth & Laurits Emanuel are a pair of New Romantic throwbacks. Whilst holding a somewhat warped fascination of the 80's isn't in itself unusual right now (although having been scarred by it at the time I am of the opinion much of the decade should be buried time-capsule deep), they've focussed specifically on Scandi Europop & the Dansk MGP. The act &song ("Let's practice on each other", no less) undubitably has the authentic cheesy fondue whiff of the era, but they don't appear to have answered the key question which is WHY? You'll half expect Roger Moore to climb out of a Lotus Esprit holding a fish.

Oh for the return of a Serhat or a Guildo. It's probably me but I do believe the males of the ESC are increasingly a bunch simpering warblers with as much brawn as Stu Francis, whilst the laydeys are the ones who can't pass a camera without thrusting their groins in its direction. Still 38 year old Uku is still agile enough to have been named Estonia's Sexiest Man by "Kroonika" magazine no less, and that's with his gardening trousers on. This isn't completely without hope but is probably going to be an unlucky one, and there I just about run out of any further interest in this I'm afraid..

As the little man from another place once said "Let's Rock". With two rock acts in 2021, the EBU are truly spoiling us, & this Finnish mob are the rocikest, angriest, dirtiest, darkest worry to their parents on the show. They apparently provide "violent pop", & not in the heavily shaken can of Quatro sense, and also "turn it up to 11" in an entirely unironic manner. It's basically frat boy low level annoyance which has seen some positive damp fan noise & will add an element of rapidly forgettable variety to the Final. They'll be getting excited in Tampere at the 25/1 odds on offer, an example why Europe is such a varied & interesting place.


As the theme of 2021 appears to be everyone having at least two different names, Barbara Piévic(25) is aka Barbara Pravi. She is however undoubtedly French, beret and all. She very ably carries that immediately recognisable innate arrogance us Northern neighbours so shy from. Her grandparents are almost like a World Cup group stage (Serbia, Iran, Poland, & North Africa), & she chanteuses me into morbidity. Bafflingly favourite, it drips in pretension so whilst the floor audience will lap it up, the viewing public should see straight thru it. Fun fact: she wrote a song 4 Yannick Noah (now a singer), providing him another type of volley.

Re-named the Republic of North Macedonia in 2019 (can't be bovvered to change the page template), the country managed to retain both the best flag in Europe & an unwieldy title at the same time. I can only hope the Dutch have janitorial items to work alongside mountains of PPE, because they'll need a mop or three for 36 year old Vasil Garvanliev. So damp he drips, delicate Vasil courted controversy early doors with an apparent Bulgarian flag in his video (& we all know the current macro political unrest between the two countries...) So in summary this may mean something in the Balkan region but is utterly inconsequential to me.

Squarely in the "Lorrain in the rain" camp of so bad it's really bad entrants comes professional architect Tornike (33). In 2020 he put forward an extremely angry rant which was in equal measure both nonplussing and I can only imagine lost him professional architectural contracts. So in "You" he returns with a stunningly feeble effort, the aural equivalent of eating rice cakes or folding washing. I will gladly sponsor you a tenner to a charity challenge of listening to this back to back 10 times. Unbelievably I didn't even have it last in the woeful semi-final. And this review ends as damply as the song..

Of course one of many reasons I embrace the Eurosong is due to the cultural differences of the participating nations, and one aspect which always tends to give me an enjoyable boost to my self esteem is watching one of our Teuton cousins trying to be funny. 26 year old Jendrik Sigwart, his ukelele, and his student pals (you get the idea) produced a 5:41 video for a 3 minute song, and not one iota of humour was produced. Which isn't necessarily bad. Like me you may get a disconcerting sense of bewilderment followed by a warming reminder of cultural differences. Sung in English & still utterly Schittgablerstraße.


Another JESC alumni (we can expect these to start flowing through the Eurosong effluent pipe from now on), gamine 18 year old Stefania Liberakakis returns for another go in '21. It's a slight step down from her previous aborted effort, but should ease through Semi final 2 & subsequently celebrate the Cypriot douze on the way to mid table obscurity. Despite her tender age she already has a discography to her name, of which my particular favourite is "I'm Sorry (Whoops!)", a story of a polite waitress who dropped a Tiropita down Vangelis' pristine plum velour suit.


We'll never know if Iceland would have won the thing in '20 (for the first time), but Dadi and his utterly unprounceable student backing group were a pointless but nevertheless hot favourite. They aren't able to follow up with the same buzz this year, but the follow up is still a charming little synth pop nothing, and they have produced another sweet promo video & a deeply considered stage show. Eurosong history hasn't been kind to the innocent amateur student contingent & it probably hasn't got enough to get on the podium, but there may be an element of the sentimental vote which could spring a surprise. Don't knock it.


Lesley (34) refresingly doesn't have a different stage name. A touch of vocoder aside, there's not much to appal here. I can see the song being a tricky 3 minutes to pull off as it's a relentlessly predictable pop number which hits it's top gear early on. But if she cant maintain the tempo she's got no-one to blame but herself as she wrote the thing. It has a little momentum in the build up and I reckon it ticks a few boxes so I have it squeaking in against popular opinion. Everyone loves to see a true fan get their moment in the sun & I hope she finds her way to the final.


Diminutive 20 year old Eden has done her national service, won the X Factor, Rising Star (whatever that is), and is now gyrating to some Ethiopian/Jewish beats in a Rotterdam stadium. She's got decent chords, but the song is a couple of pop tripes welded together badly and it's been lumped into the tricky first Semi, so the likelihood of progression will be down to the Israeli choreography, which always tends towards the bonkers. Well, they just don't care, do they as the couple of weeks prior to the contest has very clearly illustrated.


Måneskin ("moonshine" in Danish no less), are a young rock outfit who unusually triumphed at San Remo. The result allows a new music genre to accompany the melifluous Italian language. The conclusion is that It's perfectly reasonable rock number, and is a decent example of it's type if you like that type of thing. Can't say I do, but then again I attempt to be slightly off centre whenever possible so don't take my word for it. In terms of words per minute it definitely wins hands down, in every other quantifiable category "Shut up and be quiet" shouldn't. Rock hasn't won Eurosong, ever, but Italy just might make it work.


32 year old Samanta (separated at birth from "H" of Steps) is one of those ESC acts who is likely to crop up again in years to come. Samanta Polakova is into all this nonsense more than most (she wrote a diploma paper on the Latvian ESC selection process..) and her song is so annoyingly awful she may hold some stufepying longevity against all sane laws of man (think Matt Allwright for reference). The song is notable for the use of what sounds very much like a groan tube. I think the likelihood is thatthis will be seen for what it is, but I do have a niggling doubt there's a chance it could re-assert the Leave vote validity.


These vegan longed limbed lascivious Auskas's are one of the more notable returnees in 2021. The fan's favourites in '20 which caused me mild befuddlement, & in "Discoteque" (sic) they have a fairly moribund genre number which nonetheless will undoubtedly be cement for the Eurosong wall of noise for many years. Undoubtedly the crazeeyy dance moves and disjointed digits take centre stage, and in skin tight clothed nervous tic ridden Vaidotas they have a street performer of the future "my body is my tool". You can't miss the "double Spock" the jury's out if it deserves specific highlighting. It's music Jim, but not as we know it.


Another minnow with momentum in the beige shade of Malta with Destiny Chukunyere trying to become the first act to win the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (yes, there is such a thing Brits & yes it is indeed a travesty) and then follow up with the grown up one. For an 18 year old she's clearly led a full life to date, & tries to blast out a high tempo pop number like she's been there & done it all. The sax bridge quickly grates, but she belts it out to cover over the cracks, & is enough of a mini maxi diva that I'm just about willing to give her 3 minutes of my time. Was bookies favourite but I think it may come up slightly short.


If you've got a sweet tooth & blocked ears this is for you. Ms Goridenko (33) had just about the worst song last year so the cancellation may have been a relief, giving her as it did a chance to go "all-in" with this cheesecake effort, far more befitting of the Moldovan ouvre. The sparse lyrics betray a potential chink in the vocal armour, but it's utter kitsch nonsense and as such I reckon a guilty treat. Not only that it's notable for chin cake & suggestive facial caramel sauce. I had calculated it as a top-10, but inexplicably they dampened down the stage show. "Hey lover, give me some sugar..I'm about to climb the walls".. Nice


This 27 year old Surinamese native successfully ticks another country off the list. I'll be surprised if you've come across the Sranon Tongo dialect before, and Mr Macrooy (no relation to Fletcher's prison officer) offers a soulful rendition of an unusual ESC cultural entrant, filled with colour and incredible hats. Now there aren't many within the damp fan community who share this opinion, but I liked his 2020 effort and I think this is also has growing Brocolli like power so maybe niavely I've put him into the top 10 on the basis of not only his voice but also a prediction of bright bouncy performance and a well honed home presentation.


28 year old Andreas Haukeland has Tourettes which accounts for his stage name. An element of the unexpected will be sadly removed as I understand his tics are of the facial variety, rather than the John Davidson type. So instead I'll focus on the presentation of the song, which is both literal and yet unfathomable tat, a sketchy concept which always tends to travel inexplicably well. Idleness of the highest order in that we have a cheap pimp angel in handcuffs, surrounded by grown-up Oz flying monkeys. Nasty vocoder makes another unwelcome showing too. An enjoyable sighting of a rare centre parting the only upside.


Here's an interesting back story. Old gimmer 39yr Rafal Brzozowski hasn't gone down too well pre-contest, linked as he is to the ruling political power of Poland, a force not necessarily natural bedfellows with your average ESC damp fan. In fact I get the distinct impression there's a fair number of Poles who wouldn't touch him with one. The song is a mild noughties throwback which fails to appal, and I also fail to see the hatred at least in musical terms. He's appeared on the Polish TV series "The Name of the Tune" but not in a cowl (or the other Cowell either).."You see Adso, the step between ecstatic vision and sinful frenzy is all too brief".


In my 2 minutes of research on this I referred to wikipedia which provided me with the following invaluable insight..."The Black Mamba are a Portuguese band. They will represent Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam with the song "Love Is on My Side". Can't argue with that... To add a soupcon of flavour & opinion I would add the singer is like David Feherty on helium, the song is unusually in English & everyone concerned will need all the love humanly possible to be on their side as apart from Tatanka's dapper wide brimmed hat they haven't got much else going for them. Equally inoffensive & unremarkable.

Larisa Roxana Giurgiu is 21 & is the holder of the Danubian Limbo artist of the year title, & looks like she may be bottling up some anger. Whatever you do don't ask if she can put on a red light. I'm not sure why she's so seemingly miffed as "she scored her second Airplay 100 chart-topper with Spune-Mi", which is ironic as she is more than capable of spooning either way with her rubberised spine. ROXEN (capitals) has a nice enough lilt and with this hot mess of a song should see the high bar of the first semi as no problem at all. One of the entrants you feared for their mental health over the last unpredictable year.

Refreshing yet grating, not unlike a herbal enema (probably). Eskewing the Great Russian Bear(tm) norm of the corporately funded, institutionally approved moppet, we see 29 year old Tajikistan born Manizha Dalerovna Sangin with a "My Stilettos" number of unadulterated tripe including a shout out to Jim Bowen up top. Her "style of art-pop mixes banging beats with social commentary and an unshakeable DIY ethos" shines through in this empowerment hooey which includes lyrics such as "You’re over 30 already! Hello? Where are your kids?" So all told I need to embrace it's message of tolerance & overlook the fact that it's pretty stinky.

Senhit Zadik Zadik (41), is known professionally as simply Senhit, and was formerly written as Senit, but you can call her whatever you want. Fun fact: Seine8 has more hair dye than Peter Wright and a tighter perm than Vera Duckworth.She's a returnee & this time has enlisted help of Flo Rida who I belive is somewhat a name. Fair to say the serene republic hasn't seen this level of hype since joining the UN in '92. As I type this bubble gum banger of a song is rocketing in popularity & I'm pretty sure Senate is going to secure this minnow a record high. Much will depend on whether the rapper attends. Regardless, Monetta is quietly seething.

I would cheaply describe this as a overripe punch bowl, filled with a Cheeky Girls soggy banana, a mushed up kiwi Macarena vibe, cheap Bargain Booze rosé allowing gyrations in the manner of Cyprus '19, Frizzle sizzle abrikoos, and a chipped B&M plastic ladle to serve. If you will. I'm surprised Hurricane (also known as Hurricane Girls by the way just to continue the trend) haven't had a call from LosDel Rio's lawyers. If you're the type which can't wait to get to Linekers follwoing lockdown this is the one for you, & it'll be on repeat play when you're there sticking to the floor. I've got it going out which tends not to happen to Serbia..

Cigar loving Ana Soklic (37) is another example of that fine Italo/Balkan jawline we have come to visually appreciate. THe trouble tends to be with the sound. Although alarmingly from the odd angle evoking a young Katie Hopkins, I'm willing to overlook this in Ms Soklic. What is more difficult to ignore is that as the second Amen of the year, I would have found myself quickly reaching for the rosary beads in the face of this power ballard. Add this to another call for a worldwide secular society. It's got the number 2 slot in the tough semi which doesn't bode well, and her sonorous vocals can't get this through the pearly gates.

Blas Cantó Moreno (29) has been there and done it (he not blasé, you see...sorry, ed). The song "I'm going to stay" is atypical low key ballard fodder which surprisingly received thumbs up from my 8 year daughter, hence a boost in my overall prediction as the pre-teen vote. There's a somewhat uncomfortable dichotomy between the lyrics & the video... Taking the visuals you would naturally presume the song reveals a heartfelt story of a devoted son who sells his carpet to fund mother's hip replacement, whereas the lyrics include lines such as "I’m going to kiss you very slowly like the first time"....maybe it's a Murcian thing...


The always welcome Congolese-Swedish combo arrives in the form of 19 year old Idol winner Tousin Michael Chiza, who managed to prevail in the quaint behemoth that is the Melodifestivalen, a contest as benign and toothless as their monarchy, but enjoyable nonetheless. African vocals meet melody driven MOR in a deeply ineffectual piece of fluff. It's so fluffy he'll need a Remington fuzzaway for that smoking jacket (suit). Also notable for a Bet Lynch level of necklace grandiosity, which on a male teenager is nothing less than weird. Close your eyes and it could be karaoke night at the Rovers Return. A rare Swedish fail.


Well there's a first time for everything. In what has undubitably been a difficult year all round, the choice on which colours to nail to my personal Eurosong mast has never been more difficult. Looking back over the last few decades, it is a first for me with the Swiss, and in 22 year old Gjon Muharremaj we have soul glo fro with added falsetto. Sure it screams of a Laurence follow-up even with the unusual urban performance, yes I'm a tad swayed by the slick promo video, but in a highly contestable year it's about time I gave the gun-toting neutrals a vote. Gjon has a "weakness for antiques", as do I because I love the Eurosong...


Our boy continues the well travelled route to the slaughterhouse of thoroughly decent Brits, force-fed by the BBC a diet of enriched stereotypical grain made up of what they believe could make a winner. No disrespect to 35 year old James (he's been nominated for 2 Grammy's) but originality is a long way off here & my critical ire is turning to the one consistent link over the last 2 decades, fronted by an Irishman. The song is an uptempo forced frippery with a few brass bridge farts thrown in along the way & the BMG budget blown on 2 huge horns. The song is too soggy to create a spark, I fear.


Before I introduce these visitors from the East, let's face directly into the thorny issue of the facial bull bar. The lead singer (32) is due to get a letter from me in green ink I'm afraid. Her flagrant use of this mug appendage clearly illustrates a complete disregard for the safety of small flying creatures, who frankly don't stand a chance in a mid air collision with this Lisbeth Salander lookylikey. Replete with Spring activity ideas this mouth music montrosiy's lyrics include "get twined with periwinkle" & "sowing hemp plants". A prize for spotting a note in tune, no prizes for spotting the nose flute. Even the eagle looks confused.