Any Eurovision fan will know that Eurovision isn’t just one week in May, but instead the months prior to the contest. The multitude of national finals present us with hundreds of fresh songs for our playlists and new artists that are quick to become favourites – regardless of whether or not they are successful in their bid to represent their country. Whilst 2021 has not had the same volume of these selections due to a vast number of returning artists from the ‘Year That Never Was’ 2020, nations such as France, Sweden, Estonia, Norway, Denmark and others still pressed on with hunts to find their entry for 2021.
Due to the immense amount of talent on display at these national finals, we thought a celebration of some of the best entries of 2021 that will sadly not be making it to the stage of Rotterdam’s Ahoy in three weeks time was in order.
KEiiNO – “Monument” – Norway
Fans of Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix will have seen that the final came down to a battle between winning artist TIX and Eurovision 2019 stars KEiiNO. The Norwegian supergroup delivered Monument, a dramatic europop anthem that brought Eurovision-friendly schlager power and the group’s charismatic and unfaltering stage presence.
Atle Pettersen – “World On Fire” – Norway
The incredibly aesthetically pleasing Atle Pettersen showcased his impressive showmanship with World On Fire, an energetic pop anthem that gained an automatic place in the final. The Norwegian musical talent delivered impeccable staging thanks to a swanky bending mic stand and bucketloads of charisma on the rousing pop anthem.
Raylee – “Hero” – Norway
An anthem of female empowerment that paid homage to classic eighties pop in its sound and aesthetics, Raylee’s Hero was a pure standout of the Melodi Grand Prix contest. Channelling Flashdance in its memorable water-pour moment, Raylee’s truly energised staging and a belting chorus ensured that MGP 2021 was chock full of talent in what is undoubtedly the selection’s strongest year quality wise.
Suured Tüdrukud – “Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight” – Estonia
Estonia’s Eesti Laul also embarked on an incredibly strong year, although it was to be 2020 victor Uku Suviste who sailed to success. However, there were plenty of musical highlights including Suured Tüdrukud’s joyous disco-flavoured pop anthem Heaven’s Not That Far Tonight. The camp anthem delivered by two-sparkling dress clad queens was an elegant slice of joy which we would like injected directly into our veins.
Teflon Brothers X Pandora – “I Love You” – Finland
There was only one choice for us in Finland’s Uuden Musiikin Kilpailuun 2021, the legendary eurodance queen Pandora and nostalgia loving rappers Teflon Brothers who collaborated on the Finnish-English eighties-influenced gem I Love You. Packed with inspiration from classic video games and featuring an enthralling electronic beat thundering through out, I Love You was a jolt of energy in UMK.
Patrik Jean – “Tears Run Dry” – Sweden
Patrik had huge success as a writer on The Mamas’ Melodifestivalen winning hit Move and 2021 saw him enter the contest with his own track, Tears Run Dry. Filled with emotional conviction, lush sweeping musical production, and poignant staging, Patrik made his Melfest debut with a bang and should most certainly be back at the contest in the near future.
Charlotte Perrelli – “Still Young” – Sweden
Eurovision winner and two times entrant, Charlotte Perrelli returned to Melodifestivalen for the fifth time with Still Young – a euphoric schlager anthem that powered direct to final thanks to its enthusiastic message and La Perrelli’s seamless performance.
Eric Saade – “Every Minute” – Sweden
Slick, progressive and massively sexy, Eric Saade’s Every Minute was our expected winner of Melodifestivalen yet the Swedish public and international juries decided differently. The singer showcased tremendous artistic growth from his Eurovision debut and his subsequent Melodifestivalen entries, highlighting a skilled performer with a unique musical story to tell.
Anton Ewald – “New Religion” – Sweden
The thumping percussion and dark-pop sounds of Anton Ewald’s New Religion welcomed him back to Melodifestivalen with a triumphant bang. The handsome pop talent went direct to final with the impressively choreographed number which proved the Swedish public still had a firm place in their hearts for Anton, six years after his last stint at Melo.
Dotter – “Little Tot” – Sweden
Continuing to showcase the multitude of unparalleled talent that Melodifestivalen 2021 brought was Dotter’s Little Tot. The third, and strongest entry, from Dotter brought Christine and the Queens style art-pop vibes paired with eighties-flavoured dramatics for the soaring Little Tot.
The Mamas – “In the Middle” – Sweden
They had us from the dramatic costume reveal, The Mamas served pure inspirational positivity on their majestic anthem In the Middle. Delivering 100% serotonin to the soul, the track was a staggering follow-up to Move that highlighted the trio’s status as full-blown Melodifestivalen icons.
Tess Merkel – “Good Life” – Sweden
We often find ourselves saying “Do you wanna live your life? Put your hands up to the sky. Love, live and dance.” since hearing Alcazar Queen Tess Merkel’s stellar dancepop anthem Good Life. The singer filled her track with 100% positive vibes, performed her heart out and impressed with memorable futuristic staging and choreo – delivering an undeniably impressive solo Melfest debut.
Jessica Andersson – “Horizon” – Sweden
Jessica Andersson’s Horizon floored us by not qualifying in the first semi-final of Melodifestivalen. It is a track that we have consistently gone back to, singing in showers, cars and anywhere with mildly-acceptable acoustics. This big belting pop anthem was a different sound from Jessica’s previous recent entry Party Voice but it shined as a mature, elegant musical gem that deserved better.
Terence James – “Je t’emmènerai danser” – France
Handsome Scotsman Terence James took to the Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez stage with Je t’emmènerai danser and combined his Scottish and French identity for the swaggering, feel-good hit complete with shirtless kilt clad gents, circus skills and pyrotechnics.
Casanova – “Tutti” – France
Corsican flair was brought to Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez by Casanova and his entry Tutti, a baroque flavoured pop gem that shimmered in warming Mediterranean summer vibes and welcomed the performer’s laid back cool to the fold. Whilst Casanova isn’t hitting the Eurovision stage this year, he is bringing the feel-good charm with his next single Danse avec moi.
Ali – “Paris Me Dit” – France
Paris Me Dit, another up-tempo treat saw soaring backing vocals join Ali’s smooth delivery for this impeccable underrated gem. Middle Eastern hints in its backing instrumentation paired with synth-flavoured electronic production created an empowering, undeniably French dance track that gave us a hint of Ali’s unique artistic identity and story.
Aiello – “Ora” – Italy
Whilst not officially a national final, Italy’s San Remo predominantly decides the nation’s Eurovision entrant and one candidate vying for that selection with blisteringly cool Italian pop star Aiello. The musical talent fresh from dropping his album Meridionale entered with Ora, a hugely emotive alternative-pop ballad which saw the him pour his soul into a fiery performance.
Mirud – “Nëse vdes” – Albania
Backed with dramatic vocal delivery from Mirud and ethnic Albanian strings paired with electronic beats, Nëse vdes from Mirud could have been one of the country’s most progressive entries in some time. We have no doubt that we will be seeing Mirud at Festivali i Këngës again.