28 March 2021
With the reduced number of national finals in 2021 due to the return of so many 2020 artists following the cancellation of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, there was a reduced number of chances to find national final injustices too. Of course, there’ll always be something that will get our knickers in a knot, so let’s go.
Norway – Keiino – Monument
For those outside Norway, the biggest injustice was Tix beating Keiino at Melodi Grand Prix. Keiino built up a large international fanbase after their successful Eurovision entry, Spirit In The Sky, in 2019. They would win the televote in Tel Aviv and it was expected Monument would romp away with MGP in 2021. What fans didn’t realise is Tix had an even bigger fanbase in Norway, and their heart was for him. That’s an important reminder about national finals. Eurovision is often a secondary thought to the local audience. The primary thought is selecting their personal favourite and the one they most wish to represent their country. Keiino had their shot at Eurovision, so why not send someone new. You just never know the outcome anyway.
Norway – Raylee – Hero
The big injustice for me was some songs not even making the super final, or the Gold Final as it is known in Norway. That was the case with Raylee and her epic Flashdance-inspired ode to the 1980s, Hero. The Gold Final is the top 4 out of 12 finalists, and while you could understand Tix, Keiino and Blåsemafian in the Gold Final, that cheap Jorn would be the fourth option was insane. Raylee had a long, tight ponytail and was dressed in white for the final. While it was fine and certainly made a stronger contrast against the dark set, I preferred the semi final version with the 80s perm and blue outfit.
Finland – Teflon Brothers x Pandora – I Love You
A double dose from Finland too. The seven songs in Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2021 were all high quality, and the show itself was my highest rated national final ever. It’s a shame there could only be one winner, as I’d easily fit the remaining six entries into this year’s Eurovision Song Contest at the expense of six others. I still watch I Love You by Teflon Brothers x Pandora with slight puzzlement, and I’m sort of leaning towards appreciating the presentation the more I see it. In the back of mind I still feel they tried too hard, went too complex. A dance song needs dancing, and it was just too static. Instead of Pandora strapped to a small platform, better to design a spaceship with a large platform so she can move about. When some dancers appeared, it was all too late. A shame because it’s such an infectious song and I find myself listening to it much more than Blind Channel’s winner, Dark Side.
Finland – Ilta – Kelle Mä Soitan
You know the feeling when you meet someone you like, you go to bed uncertain how it will work out, and then wake up in the morning feeling all satisfied? That’s how I feel about Ilta’s performance of Kelle Mä Soitan at UMK 2021. Thank you Ilta, you were wonderful.
Estonia – Koit Toome – We Could Have Been Beautiful
Probably the best song in this year’s Eesti Laul, and beautifully sung by Koit Toome, the inveterate international jury did a number on We Could Have Been Beautiful and it just missed the super final. The Estonian people had to save their favourite, Uku Suviste, after an even bigger hit-job by the jury, which made it impossible to save Koit as well.
Sweden – Clara Klingenström – Behöver Inte Dig Idag
Clara is someone that simply deserves some extra spotlight. She’s also someone that highlights the other benefit of national finals: presenting new artists to the nation. This was her biggest stage by far and Clara took her chance and finished a respectable fifth. She would prove to be my favourite of this year’s Melodifestivalen after just pipping Dotter’s Little Tot.
Denmark – Emma Nicoline – Står Lige Her
I had Raylee’s Hero pegged as my favourite song of the national final season until this lovely lady came along. A unique voice and talent, and presenting a classy song with a contemporary electronic vibe, I was already taken with Står Lige Her when listening to the entries the night prior to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, and became smitten upon seeing Emma Nicoline on stage the next day. She reminds me a lot of Margaret Berger in style and substance, and there’s even a similarity to their voices. She’s so sexy too. I think I’m in love. It’s hard to believe DMGP was Emma’s first live performance ever and Står Lige Her her debut single. She was so good. While Fyr & Flamme were also good and deserved winners, Emma should have least been in the super final. Come on!