Semi-Final Two of the 2021 #Eurovision Song Contest

The results from Thursday night were a bit tidier than Tuesday. As there were 17 entries competing for 10 spots in the Grand Final, each Semi-Final Two entry had a 59 per cent chance of qualification—so it was, at least in numeric terms, a bit more competitive too.

With 20 delegations voting—France, Spain and the United Kingdom joined the 17 competing delegations—there were slightly more points on offer compared to Tuesday’s 16 entry semi-final. Thus the maximum score any entry could receive was 456 points, or 228 from the televote and 228 from the juries.

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

Love is, love is (Source: YouTube/Festival da Cançao)

Qualifiers

Among the ten qualifiers, the top five managed to hoover up most of the points on offer: 56 per cent of the points, in fact. It turns out the jury top 10 ended up being the list of qualifiers—just not in the same order.

CountryArtistSongLanguage(s)RankPoints
  SwitzerlandGjon’s TearsTout l’UniversFrench1291
 IcelandDaði og Gagnamagnið10 YearsEnglish2288
 BulgariaVictoriaGrowing Up Is Getting OldEnglish3250
 PortugalThe Black MambaLove Is on My SideEnglish4239
 FinlandBlind ChannelDark SideEnglish5234
 GreeceStefaniaLast DanceEnglish6184
 MoldovaNatalia GordienkoSugarEnglish7179
 SerbiaHurricaneLoco LocoSerbian8124
 San MarinoSenhit feat. Flo RidaAdrenalinaEnglish9118
 AlbaniaAnxhela PeristeriKarmaAlbanian10112
 DenmarkFyr & FlammeØve os på hinandenDanish1189
 AustriaVincent BuenoAmenEnglish1266
 EstoniaUku SuvisteThe Lucky OneEnglish1358
 PolandRafałThe RideEnglish1435
 Czech RepublicBenny CristoOmagaEnglish[k]1523
 GeorgiaTornike KipianiYouEnglish1616
 LatviaSamanta TīnaThe Moon Is RisingEnglish1714
2021 Semi-Final Two Scoreboard (Source: en.wikipedia)

As we can also see, Gjon’s Tears only just pipped Daði og Gagnamagnið at the post by 3 points. While Switzerland lent more on the juries (156) than televoters (135), Iceland was equally beloved by both (140 and 148 points, respectively).

Il s’etende sur l’asphalte (Source: YouTube/Gjon’s Tears)

Bulgaria’s Victoria was a bit further back, as were Portugal’s The Black Mamba and Finland’s Blind Channel.  In fact, Portugal and Bulgaria were the only entries to score points from every other delegation’s jury: Bulgaria, Iceland, Finland, Portugal and Switzerland all scored televote points from every delegation. So well done to both Bulgaria and Portugal, whose entries clearly had broad and deep appeal. Finland was first only in the Bulgarian and Polish televotes, but was in the top three of 12 delegations’ televotes and scored televote points from everyone.

In qualitative terms, everyone liked Growing Up is Getting Old and Love is On My Side, but the love for Tout l’univers and 10 Years supplant likeability.

No middle fingers injured during this performance (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Finland’s televote score (150) was a bit shy of twice their jury points (84). But in a year were 90 total points were enough to qualify, Finland was always going to get through.  

Sixth ranked Greece were 50 points behind Finland—a massive gap. At the other end of the qualifier list, San Marino finished 9th with 118 total points, while Albania’s Anxhela Peristeri was 10th on 112 points.

For the first time since winning the Eurovision in 1988, Switzerland topped a Eurovision scoring component—156 points from the juries—and also won the semi-final. On Saturday Tout l’univers would repeat the jury feat, but lose televote support. Finland’s victory in the televote is only their third ever, after Lordi’s victories (both the sole Semi-Final and Grand Final) in 2006. In 2006 Finland’s scores were both 292 points – largely because every delegation voted in both (the two semi-final system débuted in 2008). In fact 16 of 37 delegations gave Lordi identical scores. The greatest swing came from both Norway and Greece: each awarded Hard Rock Hallelujah 8 points midweek but bumped them up to douze points on the weekend.  

Sweet Skew

Moldova’s televote score is rather remarkable: Sugar’s 123 points were kind of random (and not in a statistical sense).

Almost 100 of Natalia Gordienko’s points (96, to be precise) came from receiving douze points from eight delegations: Czechia, France, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, San Marino, and Serbia. Conversely, six other delegations—Georgia, Albania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Denmark and the United Kingdom—all blanked Sugar.

I prefer fruit (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

In other words over half of Natalia Gordienko’s points came from topping eight televotes, while just over one third of the delegation televotes blanked Moldova entirely. Sugar’s semi-final score validates that it is better to be Marmite than Margarine.

Entries that polarize tend to do better than those that are tepid. Almost always.

Non-Qualifiers

There wasn’t a near-miss of qualification in this semi-final: 11th place Denmark were well back on 89 points. Televoters had Øve os på hinanden ranked 7th, but juries buried Fyr & Flamme in 15th place. In fact, Denmark were the only televote top 10 to be deprived of a Grand Final slot.

Like many viewers I thought Austria might have done well enough to squeak into the Grand Final on jury support. However, Vincent Bueno’s 53 jury points only ranked Amen’s 11th (three points behind both Serbia and Albania) and a mere 13 televote points (15th) sealed his fate.

Tough year for songs of praise (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Finally our thoughts and prayer go to Latvia, Czechia, and Georgia. Latvia’s Samanta Tina managed four jury points from Moldova, and televote points from Georgia (5), the UK (4), and Estonia (1), meaning The Moon is Rising finished last (17th). Czechia were 15th (null points in the televote) and Georgia 16th  (null from juries). Ouch.

Trends

There were four songs in languages other than English and three of these qualified (only Denmark missed out). Two of these—Switzerland and Iceland—finished in the top four in the Grand Final. This can but inspire delegations that might otherwise have assumed that to do well at the Eurovision you need to sing in English. On the other hand, Portugal sent its first-ever wholly in English entry—and just missed the Grand Final top 10.

Seven of the qualifiers from Thursday were 2020 artists given the 2021 slot by their delegations. So too were the three lowest ranked semi-finalists from Thursday. The songs that needed to win a national selection finished 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, and 13th. Poland’s Rafał was the only entry to have been a wholly new internal selection: The Ride limped home in 14th place.

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