Hello & welcome to a celebration of the finest pan--European annual musical jamboree known to man, the Eurovision Song Contest. Now you may find the whole idea of the Eurosong a touch passé, a bit old fashioned, uncool perhaps, or maybe a tad too much for your sensibilities. You'd be utterly wrong of course because in these unheralded times, even a Balkan ballard could never be as damaging as what we are faced with in the real world. I think that a low-rent mildly nostalgic mince through the continent provides a welcome opportunity to offer up a much needed guffaw. And who knows, if freedom of movement contnues to be restricted come May, then the contest will have the added threat of a captive audience, which may well speed up the rehabilitation of millions thus reducing the burden on the healthcare system. Another reason to rejoice in the contest's majesty.

All the acts have been chosen (again), and Rotterdam is well prepared (again). Last year's late cancellation allowed both the hosts to put a range of alternative plans and provide time for the "talent" that wanted to return to (mostly) improve on their 2020 songs. What we do know is that there will be a competition, be it to a live audience, no audience, or in the off-chance of armageddon a broadcast of previously recorded performances.

We've seen a trio of countries bow out this year for reasons of poor cash-flow, the unfortunate after effects of war, and a rule-breaking nationalistic dirge which probably should have been banded for reasons of taste instead (quite how "I love Belarus" got through the same committee suggests a certain inconsistency). It's a funny year, not least as many of the acts have had 12 months to prepare an answer to which song they prefer, the 39 songs on offer in total, a solid 25 will likely set your teeth itching, and you'll be a brave one indeed to sit through the second semi final.

But notwithstanding the usual variety in quality, it does feel like a certain renewed sense of anticipation this year. Sure there's not a lot of origniality, sure there's nothing particularly bonkers, but then again the contest sort of reflects the general mood of the continent & what its been facing into for the last year. The favourites are a lumpy attitood riddled teenager from the ver-hoping Malta, a mop haired Swiss tenor falsetto, and a never welcome Chanteuse. The damp fan is not ruling out a couple of rock efforts and last year's aborted favourites in Dadi and The Roop return replete with cheese.

The final this year is on Saturday the 22nd May, with the semi finals on the preceding Tuesday & Thursday (I belive that BBC4 are planning on putting a health warning on for a good 30 minutes prior to Thursday's show). Regardless of all that expect a true marathon of an evening on Saturday spilling over with 3 presenters saying "for sure" in the accent of Steve McLaren. This year will be covered off in all its weakly researched, low-rent opinion by clicking here (or indeed by clicking on the 2021 logo above).

Also in an attempt not to let my paltry labours of the last 16 years go to waste, below are over a decade of mildly derogatory musings that have no place in a progressive society.

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