10 April 2021
With so many returning artists for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, one of the most interesting questions is whether they returned with better songs. Many of the 26 were selected very early so it’s given them plenty of time to formulate their songs. Even the two artists that returned via their national finals were given guaranteed spots early on, with Estonia’s Uku Suviste assured a semi final spot while Lithuania’s The Roop got a wildcard spot direct to the final.
To decide the result, I use the familiar battle process, where each nation has a mini battle between their respective songs and the scoring is done like a round in boxing. Ten points to the winner and 9 or less to the loser depending on superiority of the winner. The scores are added to decide the winning year. For curiosity and extra confirmation, I also added a broader comparison using rankings from the respective Fab Five post for each year. The raw rank is then added to get a total.
Here are the results!
It’s a comprehensive victory for 2021. It won the battle by 13 points, including 15 individual rounds to 9. If it were an actual boxing match, you would have stopped it at Greece. That dominance is confirmed with the total rank for each year. In a scenario where the lower score wins, it’s a 25 point margin.
Note that 2020 had 41 songs compared to 39 in 2020, so the 2020 rank has been adjusted to deal with Armenia and Belarus withdrawing. Everyone below Armenia’s 20th position improved by one place and those below Belarus in 32nd improved by two places. Ukraine, last in 2020, therefore improves from 41 to 39. This adjustment reduced the margin by 21 points.
The only songs I struggled to decide a winner where for Azerbaijan, Estonia and North Macedonia. Azerbaijan is the only country with identical ranks (32) for each year, and with both songs so similar, that explains the difficulty. North Macedonia had radically different songs, neither of which I like, so it’s really about the one I could listen to the longest before going insane. Estonia is the most interesting given I picked 2021 for the win despite their rank of 6 in 2020 compared to 12 in 2021. That actually shows the strength of Rotterdam 2021. There’s just so many better songs and if I had to place What Love Is in 2021, it would be no higher than 14th.