Eurovision 2021

#Year in Review: The Ups and Downs of Eurovision 2021

Well,Christmas Day has come and gone, Now that we are winding down towards the end of yet another year full of twists and turns, we at Eurovision Ireland felt this would be a good time to cast our minds back to May 2021 and have a look back at the Eurovision Year of 2021 . It seems a long time ago now since we saw Måneskin from Italy being crowned Eurovision 2021 winners at the Ahoy stadium in Rotterdam , The Netherlands and given the Covid restrictions that were in place, we got a great show.

However at the start of the year, with Covid still ravaging the world , it still wasn’t certain what kind of show we would get. The EBU together with the host broadcaster came up with four different scenarios and any one of them could have been chosen , depending on how things were with the virus.

We have Eurovision 2021 ….

With the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines and the strict lockdown measures taken throughout the Winter months , by the time Spring arrived , the host broadcast announced that all seemed well enough to go with Option B, which was probably the nearest we would get to how the show usually looks like. The success of the 2020 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Warsaw showed that with the back up tape recordings of the live performances,along with the show going on as planned in the host city,that it was still possible to produce an enjoyable show and this indeed, proved invaluable to countries like Australia , who could not travel because of the still strict travel bans in their country and also to those acts such as the Icelandic delegation, who were forced to pull out of performing at the live shows but were still able to show their back up tape to enable them to take part in the contest.

With this in mind and to take a look back at the Eurovision year of 2021, Sarah , one of our Eurovision Ireland team members, asked her colleagues , James, Bogdan, John and Richard 5 questions on how they felt about the contest this year, with Sarah also giving her own answers. So here is what we said:

Did you ever think we would have a Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, with the pandemic still ongoing ?

Richard: “After the success of JESC 2020 ,using pre-recorded performances , I always knew we would have a Eurovision song contest in some form”

John : “I think we were always going to have a contest . The JESC in 2020 had proved the will to get back to some sense of normality and that it could be done, even if it was in a slightly different form.

Bogdan: ” Seeing JESC in November 2020 gave me hope that we will have a ESC 2021 held remotely or not.Only Eurovision fans can understand how much that contest meant for us. It was the light of hope that we all needed”.

James :“Oh, there were moments when I really wasn’t sure , especially during those tough Winter months! Losing the contest in 2020 felt surreal and I don’t think it really sank in until that evening in May when we should have been watching the contest that it really hit home that ESC 2020 wasn’t happening. Admittedly , I was nervous right up until the rehearsals started in 2021 and I don’t think it was until the hosts announced “Eurovision is back” at the beginning of the first semi final that I finally relaxed and said “ok, it’s happening”.

Sarah : ” Like James , it felt to me very touch and go during the first months of the year with Covid still causing havoc around the world and especially in Europe and I was slightly surprised but pleased that they went for option B . Even though there were the obvious problems that occurred for some delegations, particularly Australia, who couldn’t travel and those such as Iceland, who couldn’t participate in the live shows because of a covid positive test and a very limited audience compared to the one we normally see , on the whole, we got three very enjoyable shows.”

2) Which Acts were, in your opinion, the highlights of the 2021 contest and do you think we got the right winner?

Richard: ” I have one act that was a true highlight from the 2021 contest . Go-A simply were fantastic. I enjoyed the ethnic vibes of the song , some I enjoy as it’s traditional to the country performing . Both the official video and staging at the contest reminded me of my visit to Chernobyl too. Whilst I don’t think we had the right winner, that is purely down to personal choice. The winner has to appeal to national juries and televoters, not just me”.

John: “The contest always gets the right winner, even if many may disagree with the result. After all, it would be a dull old world if we all liked the same things. Måneskin were a breath of fresh air and proves anyone can win. But Go-A’s showstopping performance still leaves me breathless to this day .Destiny could have done better as the song is a belter but there was something missing from the staging.I still can’t put my finger on what it is! Dadi & Co gave us a great show, even if it was a pre-recorded live video we saw.”

Bogdan: “The whole contest was a highlight itself, but if I have to choose some of the best moments, then I must include: 1) Hearing “Good evening Europe” from the main stage. 2) Everyone dancing to “Discoteque” 3) Ukraine ; everything about Go-A ‘S performance. 4) The same pre-recorded performance from Iceland 5) The high energy performance from Hurricane and that wind -machine effect we all love at Eurovision, 6) The whole performance from Jeangu Macrooy, still can’t believe he never got much support ( I voted for him twice !) 7) The microphone “drop” from Moldova. Last but not least , Italy winning ! “

James: “Each contest has a few highlights but the real standouts for me in 2021 were Ukraine and San Marino. “Shum” was spectacular and the moment we saw it in rehearsals , we knew Go-A had done something special-everything about it worked beautifully ! Kateryna’s vocals and trademark icy stare, the music, the dancing , the visuals…there was even a moment we just looked at each other and said “Kyiv 2022” ? ! I was thrilled when they came so high up on the scoreboard, especially as many people had sneered that Ukraine wouldn’t even qualify-2nd in the televote says otherwise.San Marino are always known for providing a little Eurovision Madness and this year , for “Adrenalina” they threw everything including the kitchen sink at it ! Before rehearsals even started , I couldn’t wait to see what they would do on stage and I was not disappointed! It’s a real bop to begin with but Senhit’s whacky energy, those dancers,the icon headress, the rotating platform and Flo-rida?? It’s just Eurovision gold and I thought they did brilliantly-such a shame it wasn’t reflected in the scoreboard. Italy were not my personal winner but you can’t fault Måneskin for that dynamic belter of a show they gave! Every time a new winner is crowned, there’s always this discussion of whether they can pull off an Abba or Celine Dion….lasting success outside the contest. I think given their rise and continued success after Rotterdam, they have what it takes to go the distance!”

Sarah : ” Highlights for me were hearing the words ” Eurovision is back !” at the start of semi final 1 and then bopping along to opening song “Discoteque” by The Roop . Gave me the feeling that Eurovision was well and truly back! Go -A were amazing on stage , a very memorable performance. And who could forget Manizha from Russia and that start of her performance where she was hidden in an oversized traditional Russian dress ? Very Eurovision ! For me Italy were not the right winners, there have been years where I felt they had better songs which they should have won with, but you have to hand it to them for a stunning performance and I think for many people in a year where live concerts had been a no-no due to Covid, this represented what many people had been missing ,so I can see why Måneskin won”.

Do you think there were countries which should have got a better result than they got?

Richard: “UK, Germany , Netherlands. The best UK entry in years , while Germany and The Netherlands deserved a lot better, even though we may have mocked Germany in the lead up to the contest “

John: “It was disappointing that 4 countries got no points from the televoters. That shouldn’t have happened . Even if there were better songs , the ones at the bottom still had some merit.Let’s hope that it is just a one -off occurrence. I was particularly surprised The Netherlands didn’t do better . Jeangu’s song had a decent message and he didn’t put a foot wrong.As regards the semi-finals, I had hoped for Croatia and Austria . Albina was probably crowded out by a number of similar songs in her semi final, but Vincent had one of the best voices of 2021 so him not qualifying is a mystery to me “.

Bogdan: ” I would have loved to see Denmark and Romania qualifying. As for the final , I would have liked Serbia to be in the top 10″

James: “Ufff….there will always be people who bemoan that their faves didn’t do well and why that was , which ultimately comes down to personal tastes. I loved Estonia’s ” The lucky one” and although Uku did a stellar job I was also realistic about its chances ,going on so early in the running order and surrounded by other, stronger entries. I must say I was surprised that Austria’s “Amen” didn’t sail into the final, for me that had Jury Top 3 written all over it !so 12th seemed sobering to say the least . On the other hand Portugal’s “Love is on my Side”, I thought would sink without a trace since it was so gentle and melodic, so I am delighted that they proved me wrong”.

Sarah : ” As others have said, I was disappointed to see 0 points for four countries from the televote, they weren’t bad songs and it is always sad to see any country get 0 , no matter how bad the performance might be. Shocked that Austria didn’t make it out of the semi finals, Vincent’s voice, staging and performance was awesome !Sad that Denmark didn’t make it through and also Estonia, who I felt may have made it through had they not been landed with that cursed second slot in the running order. Disappointed that Switzerland didn’t win, although a trip there next year may have been on the expensive side !Also disappointed not to see Malta do better , but for me the staging probably didn’t do Destiny any justice as there’s no faulting her vocals!”

How well do you think that Rotterdam did in hosting the 2021 contest?

Richard: ” I think the Netherlands handled the whole contest very well. With the pandemic still going on , they did the sensible thing in removing things like the Eurovision Village and Euroclub. Also, the testing on-site helped to keep everyone in the bubble , nice and safe.”

John: “Rotterdam did a great job, bearing in mind the restrictions in place. The songs were of a decent standard, the hosts were professional and not in the least bit cringe-worthy. It was efficiently done and did not even get tedious, as can occasionally happen. All in all, if the Netherlands were to win again sometime soon, the whole of Europe would be confident of a good show.”

Bogdan: ” I think The Netherlands did every thing they could under these circumstances.It was a terrific show and I thoroughly enjoyed it “.

James : “Putting together the biggest TV show on the planet is no mean feat and under the circumstances of a global pandemic , I think Rotterdam and the Dutch broadcaster did an amazing job!I was actually annoyed when I saw “fans” grumbling online that because things had to be different , it was somehow a “bad contest”-I think it’s important to recognise that we now know what it feels like not to have a contest at all …and we should be grateful the contest is still able to go ahead in any adapted form!”

Sarah : ” I thought that given the circumstances that they had to work with , Rotterdam did a brilliant job ! It was a very professional show and they had obviously worked around the difficulties presented by the pandemic. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the Dutch host the modern, up to date contest ,in a non-pandemic year when I am sure that they would have pulled out all the stops to make it even more memorable.”

What are your hopes for Eurovision 2022 in Turin ?

Richard : “I hope Turin 2022 will revert back to the Eurovision Song Contest we all know and love-including the external activities like Euro club and Eurovision Village and a full Press Centre. However, I do fear the Pandemic will dictate again how the contest will work. I fear we may have another couple of months yet.”

John: ” I hope by May 2022 we should be nearer to how the world was in 2019 ,although at the time of writing this is still up in the air.The contest will still happen and even if it’s as restricted as Rotterdam was , I am pretty sure RAI has its own ideas on how to put on the show and I’ll be interested to see how it pans out. I hope that Ireland and the UK have better luck than recent contests. And I am sure we will get the right winner, whatever that is “.

Bogdan: ” I would like to see a winner from a country that hasn’t won before or in recent years. Also , I really want to see Romania back in the final “

James : ” One thing I would like to happen in Turin is for a new country to win. No offence to the countries with several wins under their belts, I know they are all hungry for more , I just think it’s a nice moment when a new country gets that taste of victory and joins the winners ‘ circle. Malta and Cyprus both strike me as likely contenders for a new winner , you can see they are trying really hard to up their game. I’d also love it if somewhere quite unexpected , like San Marino, North Macedonia or Montenegro would lift the trophy -after all , past success is no guarantee of future success and any country that enters the contest can potentially win it”.

Sarah : ” My hopes for 2022 are to see the contest back in its full form , as we knew it before the pandemic but it remains to be seen whether 2022 is the year that will happen . Either way, I hope that RAI will make it as memorable as the contest this year in Rotterdam.I would also hope that no-one will get 0 points from the televote again , as happened this year. From a personal point of view, I would like to see Denmark get to the final again and look forward to the start of 2022 as the National Final season gets truly underway and we get to see the acts who will represent their countries in Turin in May “.

So there you have it! Those are just our views of how we felt the 2021 contest went . So as we bid farewell to Rotterdam 2021 and the end of the year and look forwards to the upcoming National Final season and Eurovision 2022 itself, do you agree with our views ? What for you were the highlights of Eurovision 2021? What were your disappointments? Do drop us a line and let us know what you think in the comments box below. And please keep a look out for our site as we start our coverage of the National Finals 2022 season with our blogs and articles !

We at Eurovision Ireland would like to wish all our readers, fans and everyone a very happy and peaceful New Year and thank you for all your support this year. Here’s to 2022 and a great Eurovision year in Turin !

Author: Sarah Rudman

Source & Image source : Eurovision Ireland, Eurovision.TV , You Tube .

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