Semi-Final One of the 2021 #Eurovision Song Contest

Thanks to political insurrection and subsequent rather lame-arsed hegemon trolling, Belarus was removed from this year’s Eurovision after having been allocated to the first semi-final.

As a result, there were only 16 entries competing for 10 spots in the Grand Final. A 63 per cent chance of qualification is excellent, if you qualify. If you do not, it stings a bit more.

Let’s take a look at the fortunes of the entries from Semi-Final One 2021.

Qualifiers

Quite simply, Malta crushed the competition in this semi-final. Je me casse earned 325 total points, including 174 jury and 151 televote points.

Je me casse ou je massacre? (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Every jury awarded Malta points: juries from Australia, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Norway, Romania, Russia and Sweden all gave Destiny douze points. That’s 80 per cent of the maximum 216 potential jury points. Every televote also gave Malta points, including douze points from Belgium and the Netherlands. Overall, Destiny netted 75% of her potential maximum total score.

Runners-up Ukraine topped the televote on Tuesday night. Go_A’s 164 points represented 76 per cent of the maximum score and included douze points from Australia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Russia. Ukraine’s lowest televote score was 4 points from Malta; in fact, every country’s viewing public on Tuesday night awarded Shum points.

We should have seen this coming (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

In terms of jury support, Go_A’s 103 points included points from every jury except Cyprus and Italy, with the Lithuanian jury having awarded Shum’s douze points. Fully three-quarters of the televote, (nearly) half the jury vote and 62 per cent of the total maximum potential score is a great achievement for any entry—but especially for a runner-up.

Russia and Israel are noteworthy for the consistency in their points across the two score components. Russian Woman’s 225 points included 108 from the televote and 117 from juries. Every televote gave Manizha some points: every jury except for Lithuania and Ukraine did too.

дааааааааааааааааа (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Eden Alene’s Set Me Free scored 192 points, of which 93 came from the public and 99 from juries. Only Slovenia failed to award Israel any televote points on Tuesday night, whereas the Irish, Romanian and Maltese juries all blanked Israel on Monday (during the Jury Rehearsal). Regardless, the consistency of the Russian and Israel scores across both components indicates broad appeal. An entry might not need broad appeal to qualify from a semi-final, but broad appeal is needed to compete for victory.

The lowest component score of any qualifier was Norway’s jury score: 38 points (ranked 12th). This was offset by a televote score of 77, allowing Tix to pip Croatia’s Albina for the last qualification slot.

Non-Qualifiers

Doubtless Wednesday morning was painful for the Croatian, Romanian, Slovenian, Australian, North Macedonian and Irish delegations. Croatia’s Albina narrowly missed this year’s Grand Final, having finished 11th on 110 points. Romania were quite a bit farther back on 85 points: the rest of the entries attracted handfuls of votes here and there.

Having three members of the Yugosphere bloc did not help very much in 2021. Croatia did top both the Slovenian and Macedonian televotes, and also garnered 8 from the Macedonian and 7 from the Slovenian juries: those 39 points represented about 1/3 of Tick Tock’s total score. In ordinal terms Tick Tock was 9th with the public and 10th with the juries…but the current voting system is about total points: in total points 110 points was 11th overall.

Vintage vocals (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

All eight televote points for Slovenian were from their neighbours; nine of Macedonia’s 11 televote points came from the bloc (2 also came from Romania). Slovenia managed a decent amount of jury points (36), but it was still only 13th with jurors. Vasil’s 12 jury points (last place) included four from Slovenian: the Croatian jury game them nothing.

One thing that both the Croatian, Slovenian and Macedonian entries had in common was their reliance on pre-recorded backing vocals (which were allowed because of COVID19). All are strong vocalists, but the impression of one person singing and many more voices being heard perhaps gives viewers the impression that the artist is using the recorded vocals to mask deficiencies. Something need not be accurate for it to be perceived as true.

In contrast, Roxen’s Amnesia earned Romania a decent level of jury support: 58 points, which was 9th in the jury rankings. However, with only 27 televote points (10 Italy; 5 each Azerbaijan and Cyprus; 3 each Ireland and Malta; 1 from Belgium), even being ranked 12th in the televote was not helpful.

Finally, Ireland finished last in their our semi-final for the second Contest in a row. While Maps did better with juries—having earned points from eight other delegations—these only added up to 16 points. A mere 4 additional televote points (2 Australia; 1 each Lithuania and Malta) sealed Ireland’s fate. In other words, the issue with a camera during the semi-final broadcast might have depressed Ireland’s score, but their jury total indicates a better performance would not have transformed Roy’s fortunes.

Drilling down into their rankings among countries that gave Ireland no points (in either or both components):

  • Azerbaijan: Ireland 14th in televote
  • Belgium: 12th in televote
  • Croatia: 15th with jury, 14th in televote
  • Germany: 12th with jury, 13th in televote
  • Israel: 11th jury, 13th televote
  • Italy: 13th televote
  • North Macedonia: 14th with both jury and televoters
  • Norway: 13th in televote
  • Romania: 11th with jury, 13th in televote
  • Russia: 12th with jury, 13th in televote
  • Slovenia: 15th with jury, 14th in televote
  • Sweden: 11th in televote
  • Netherlands: 13th with jury, 11th in televote
  • Ukraine: 14th with jury, 13th in televote

When 9/18 delegations award you zero points, you have done poorly. Lesley Roy’s result is the second worst ever for Ireland in a semi-final: only Sarah McTernan’s 16 points in 2019 were lower.  

Trends

The Russosphere continues to be the most efficient bloc in terms of qualifications. From this semi-final, Ukraine, Russia, and Azerbaijan all qualified. From the Scandi bloc, Norway and Sweden qualified, while quasi-bloc member Australia failed to qualify for the first time—and got zero points from its purported bloc peers.

In terms of song type, most of the qualifiers were bangers or uptempo. Five solo female artists, three groups and two male soloists made the cut. Two of the qualifiers were mostly or entirely in a language other than English: the only other entry with a verse in another language—Croatia’s Tick Tock—just missed qualification in 11th place.

Expect a plethora of female bangers again in 2022, and perhaps a few more great songs in languages other than English.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *