With thirty-nine competing songs, diving into the Eurovision entrants of the year can be a prospect that is both intimidating and exciting. We’ve trimmed the fat and narrowed these entries down to an essential ten (plus a few other notable tracks) that should be on your radar before the contest begins on the 18th of May. Whilst this is not a prediction as to who will win, these are our highlights that we recommend you familiarise yourself with.
Lithuania -“Discoteque” – The Roop
One of the most hyped acts from last year, The Roop, take us to the Discotheque in 2021. “Let’s discoteque right at my home, It is okay to dance alone, Dance alone, dance alone (alone)…” the Lithuanian avant-garde pop act sing as they re-cap the challenges of the past year and a half. It’s quirky, catchy and sure to be impeccably performed.
Cyprus – “El Diablo” – Elena Tsagrinou
Taking the mantle from 2020’s Sandro, Elena Tsagrinou summons a dark power on El Diablo. This is a real slick pop banger with an instantly earworming sing-a-long chorus. Interestingly the track opens with the chorus ensuring it stays with us, whilst the track progresses Elena unveils sultry breathy vocals against soaring electronic-flavoured Mediterranean production. This is a glossy polished delight that continues to showcase that Cyprus takes Eurovision very seriously.
Azerbaijan – “Mata Hari” – Efendi
A firm favourite of ours of the 2021 entries was Efendi’s banger Cleopatra featuring musings on the Egyptian ruler’s sexuality, demonic chanting, and a banging dance beat. Thankfully Efendi returns for the 2021 contest and this time takes on another influential female role model for her musical inspiration – Mata Hari. In the lyrics of Mata Hari, Efendi namechecks her previous anthem “Just like Cleopatra (Aah-aah), The army of lovers, I start a fire, Yalan da mən…” whilst providing an infectious chorus of “Ma-Ma-Ma-Mata Hari.” The track is produced by Luuk van Beers and Tony Cornelissen and has many of the stylistic flavours of Cleopatra from Efendi’s powerhouse vocals to the unique chanting effects.
Malta – “Je me casse” – Destiny
The feel good anthem which translates to English as I Break is composed by Malin Christin, Amanuel Dermont, Nicklas Eklund and Pete Barringer. With jazzy Gatsby-inspired undertones, a bucketload of sass, and a huge clap a-long chorus, Destiny sings “So baby, it’s not a maybe, Yeah, I’m too good to be true, But there’s nothing in it for you, So if I show some skin, Doesn’t mean I’m giving in, Not your baby, Je me casse…” Whilst not as immediate as All Of My Love, Destiny has brought a sonically interesting anthem that incorporates some of the best assets of her previous entry.
San Marino – “Adrenalina” – Senhit (Ft. Flo Rida)
Senhit was one of Eurovision 2011’s cast with her track Stand By which sadly did not progress past its semi-final. The singer is expected to surpass that result with Adrenalina, one of the bookies’ favourite tracks for 2021. The slick Latin-flavoured electronic pop anthem crafted by a powerhouse Swedish production team of Jimmy Joker, Joy Deb and Thomas Stengaard sees Senhit recruit Flo Rida for the party.
Estonia – “The Lucky One” – Uku Suviste
Bringing a slice of dramatic male-pop to the fold is returning Estonian star Uku Suviste. The hunky singer was due to represent in 2020 with What Love Is and had to jump through the hoops of national selection Eesti Laul to once again secure his position. The Lucky One is a brooding, grandiose mid-tempo that could end up being a dark horse, despite not registering too much in the odds at the moment.
Czech Republic – “Omaga” – Benny Cristo
File this one under surprisingly brilliant. We pleasantly enjoyed Benny Cristo’s entry for Eurovision 2020 Kemama, but we think he has surpassed it with his 2021 submission Omaga. The upbeat track is produced by Filip Vlček and written by Benny and sees the Czech singer croon “Honеstly don’t care, I’m happy you’re herе, I’m tryna make you smile for a while now, I’m like, “Oh my God, you’re so beautiful”, Why don’t you come over and have it?, Why don’t you let me have it all?” against electronic production with a real optimistic flavour.
Greece – “Last Dance” – Stefania
Eighties pop is on the menu for Stefania’s Last Dance which blows her 2020 entry Supergirl out of the water. Backed with powerful vocals, slinky electronic production, and a Eurovision friendly sense of drama, Last Dance is a gem that is sure to serve with some epic staging on the night.
Moldova – “Sugar” – Natalia Gordienko
Undoubtedly one of the most fun entries of 2021 is Natalia Gordienko’s Moldovan entry Sugar. A tonally and musically different outing to her 2020 entry Prison , Sugar is a high-camp dance anthem that is bound to pop with colourful staging and choreography. If the staging manages to capture 10% of the madness of the music video then Sugar could be going to down in history as a Eurovision classic.
Iceland – “10 Years” – Daði og Gagnamagnið
Facing the challenge of following up a viral hit after the huge success and cultural impact of 2020’s Think About Things, Daði og Gagnamagnið brings quirky synths, deadpan vocals and a slinky style to the fold with 10 Years. Mellow disco flavours and delightfully silly dance routines are likely to make Daði og Gagnamagnið’s entry one of the most memorable of 2021.
The Big Five
Automatic qualifiers, The Big Five, won’t be competing in the semi-finals as per usual due to being the main financial contributors to the contest. France are currently riding high as the bookies favourites with Barbara Pravi’s incredibly classic Voila. Italy are also notably high-up in the odds thanks to punky alt-rock outfit Måneskin and their track Zitti E Buoni. The Spanish entry marks the return of hunky Blas Cantó with mid-tempo ballad Voy a quedarme which seems unlikely to make too much of an impact. The United Kingdom have brought a bop with returning artist James Newman and his brass-filled dance anthem Embers which could potentially see a slight improvement in the country’s leaderboard performance. Splitting opinion immensely is Germany’s I Don’t Feel Hate, a quirky ukulele driven piece delivered by Jendrik – we see this either doing incredibly well or incredibly poorly, it’s hard to imagine this falling in the middle ground.
Whilst these tracks are not Culture Fix favourites, it may be worth being aware of them due to their high places in the odds. Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears returns to the 2021 contest with new song Tout l’univers another track riding high in the bookmaker’s predictions, despite not registering hugely with us. Sweden’s Tusse beat a number of high profile Swedish artists to claim victory in Melodifestivalen with his track Voices which could also potentially do well in the contest due to its prescient message. Finland’s Blind Channel could potentially pull a Lordi with Dark Side, an attitude filled rock track. Norway’s TIX may connect with viewers seeking a bit of novelty staging on his track Fallen Angel.