Eurovision 2021 reviews: First semi final, second half

Mata Hari ready for another day of zoom meetings at the home office. Pic by  İCTIMAI TELEVISION (İTV)

The second half of the first semi final is a smorgasbord of fan favourites and our very own national treasure Keiino, ups, sorry TIX!  

Norway: TIX – “Fallen Angel”

The backstory of this year’s Norwegian entry is worthy a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Like a H.C. Andersen fairytale about the ugly duckling turning into a swan the perfect ending would be TIX winning the whole shebang in Rotterdam, and not one eye would be dry. The MGP final earlier this year was so chuck full of drama we nearly fainted, and that was not only because of the amounts of chardonnay we had chugged down. The country collectively gasped along with all the fan boys across Europe and beyond when TIX defeated our favourite Eurovision darlings in Keiino. In hindsight, knowing how Norwegians are almost religiously obsessed with the underdog it should not come as a surprise, TIX had it in the bag the moment he signed up. But will his massive momentum translate onto the big stage in Eurovision? Will the narrative and TIX’ backstory reach the living rooms from Baku to Dublin? Right now, we have it as a borderline qualifier. Let’s see how it evolves in the running up to the final week. We all know that a fairytale ending implies a few bumps in the road along the way.

Croatia: Albina – «Tick-Tock»

Croatia has been kind enough to provide us with what we imagine will become our theme song next year as we strut into Euroclub in nude body suits and rhinestone glasses, ready to slam down a couple of vodka shots before we bulldoze over a handful of gays on our way to the front of the stage. By the look of it, Albina has both sass and attitude to pull off a slick, classy performance in Rotterdam and we assume this is going to be a heavily choreographed number. Fingers crossed her vocals are up to scratch or else this can become a painful watch. Disclaimer: this review was written without any mention of the video-sharing social networking service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. We are still trying to figure out what this is, give us a break, will you!

Belgium: Hooverphonic – “The Wrong Place”

Never has a song title been more fitting as the Eurovision universe seem to be the ultimately wrong place for this moody, sinister, and arty-farty ensemble. We cry just by thinking about how many embarrassing, awkward and completely ridiculous moments we are missing out on by not being able to attend press conferences in Ahoy Arena where all the Wiwi-bloggers ask their pretentious and meaningless questions to Alex Callier. There would probably not have been enough popcorn in the whole of BeNeLux to keep the supplies up. Since last year the band kicked out their teenage vocalist since their former vocalist Geike Arnaert decided to return from retirement, which is kinda refreshing since it’s usually the other way around. And we suppose it’s easier when everyone in the band is in the same risk group. Why Hooverphonic is taking part in this competition is beyond us, they’re like the Grumpy Cat of Eurovision, “we’re here, and we hate it”.  

Israel: Eden Alene – “Set Me Free”

Yet another participant in a sequined studded body suit, the loungewear and sweatpants trend has not hit the Eurovision stage just yet and clearly not everyone suffers the consequences of working from home for the past 14 months. Eden Alene is one of the many returning artists from 2020 and as opposed to last year when she took part with a mishmash of around 14 different songs, she has now settled for one. We’re usually not big fans of frugality, but in this case it’s not a bad choice. Set Me Free is a fun, bouncy stomper and it sticks to your brain like glue after one listen. Qualities that bode well for Israel in a semi-final with fierce competition.

Romania: ROXEN – “Amnesia”

ROXEN is according to her publicist ‘a labyrinth of an artist, with a dreamy sound and mesmerising voice that creates an entirely new universe with every release’. We dunno, but what we see is a teenager with blue hair being too heavy on the eyeliner, so forgive us for being so simple. Not surprisingly this emo kid is tres depressed and thinks everything in this world is a struggle. Well, welcome to the club, honey! Unfortunately, we have zero patience with gloom this year, and we’re not planning on wearing beige linen and rehearsing a lyrical dance routine for next year’s Euroclub extravaganza. Next please!

Azerbaijan: Efendi – “Mata Hari”

Holy Cleopatra and all the Queens and Goddesses, this is the reason we LOVE Eurovision! We almost cried when we realized that we would never get to see Efendi’s 2020 entry performed live on the big stage in Ahoy Arena, and almost started to cry again when we found out that the mighty Eurovision wizards of Azerbaijan had found a way to make it happen anyway! Mata Hari is basically the same song as Cleopatra, and we suppose they could go on forever with the same formula. Besides, history is populated with so many kick-ass, bossy ladies they’d never run dry for song titles. Ma ma ma ma, let’s go!

Ukraine: Go_A – “SHUM”

Nothing screams Eurovision more than 3 minutes straight of eh, well, screaming in Ukrainian. Sometimes we wonder why we willingly subject ourselves to listening multiple times to what perfectly normal people would label as ear rape. But what normal people fail to understand then is that Ukraine in Eurovision is the gift that keeps on giving. And watching singer Kateryna Pavlenko blasting through the woods in the outskirts of Chernobyl singing about spring is mind-blowing, batshit crazy and we are loving it. We’re still a little upset over what happened in 2019, but warmly welcome Ukraine back into the fold and hope for one thing in 2022: Justice for Maruv!

Malta: Destiny: “Je Me Casse”

Oh Malta, we so genuinely, wholeheartedly wish for you to finally win Eurovision, and for the first time in years it looks like you have a good chance of actually making it. This tiny rock in the middle of the Mediterranean, so tiny we wondered how the plane would manage to land when we arrived there a few years ago on one of our annual pilgrimages to the sacred Eurovision places around Europe. It’s a place where everyone loves Eurovision, and knows someone, are related to someone, or have participated themselves in the national selection at some point. Kinda like Iceland, only a lot warmer, and cheaper, so what’s not to like? Destiny is a fabulous singer and performer and she’s been equipped with the clap-back banger Je Me Casse. Currently being on top with the bookies and the fans it seems like nothing can go wrong. Or can it? We hear whispers about this being a Melodifestivalen reject and maybe, just maybe it will flop. It also looks like someone has opened their wallet and splashed out insane amounts of money on promotion and an extremely flashy preview video and whatnot, which perhaps can pay off in terms of actual votes. Or not. Time will tell.


  1. Is it just me or Ukraine sounds like a cross between a chainsaw and fingernails on chalkboard. It’s my least Ukrainian entry ever!

    Bring back my Maruv!

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