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ITALY: SANREMO 2021 FULL OF EUROVISION VETERANS

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SLOVENIA: ANA SOKLIC BRINGS GOSPEL TO EUROVISION 2021 WITH AMEN

Ana Soklič, who won the national final for Eurovision 2020 in Slovenia was internally selected for this year's contest and tonight she has unveiled the internally chosen song. Originally it was planned a mini national final with two songs to choose from like in Spain but in the end they just delivered the song, Amen . This year due to pandemic it is allowed to use recorded backing vocals and taking advantage of that they go all gospel in the choir. Why I have the feeling Slovenians have went fishing in the same pool where Tamara Todevska found her jury pleasing Proud ?

IRELAND: LESLEY ROY RELEASES MAPS FOR EUROVISION 2021

Ireland stuck to Lesley Roy who was internally chosen for Eurovision 2020 also for 2021 edition and her internally chosen Maps was released today. First hearing leaves a rather hysterical and hurried impression with nothing to hold on..... But that's only me.  

GERMANY: JENDRIK RELEASES I DON'T FEEL HATE FOR EUROVISION 2021

Jendrik Sigwart - who replaced Ben Dolic as the internally chosen one for Eurovision 2020 - has released his song and video that represents Germany at the Eurovision song contest 2021. And a jolly little number it is! If Finland gives an angry middle finger to the pandemic year Germany does it with a more joyful way. This said Jendrik's social media videos in the past weeks have been a very useful way to introduce his bubbly funny character and prepare us for the song to come so it wasn't such a chock. Hands up who doesn't feel a bit better after these few minutes of his crazy positivity? Now the big question is: How to bring this alive on stage so people won't take this as another joke entry?

CYPRUS: ELENA TSAGRINOU RELEASES EL DIABLO FOR EUROVISION

Cyprus released its banger for Eurovision 2021 and the fandom went gaga. No wonder, El Diablo borrows a lot from Lady Gaga's Bad romance and Alejandro. Maybe not in the notes but that song starts playing indirectly in my mind the moment I heard El Diablo. What do I know?

SPAIN: BLAS CANTÓ WILL PERFORM VOY A QUEDARME IN EUROVISION 2021

Also Spain has its mini national final last night when voters online and at home in front of their televisions decided between two songs Blas Cantó had prepared for Eurovision 2021. He was chosen internally last year by the Spanish broadcaster with Universo , and got another chance this year. The show was build around his career with guest performances of his biggest hits so far. In the end Voy a quedarme was the winner. No surprise. Sadly the live backing vocals pretty much ruin the song making it messy and shouty compared to the studio version . But that can be fixed with better mixing. 1. Voy a quedarme  58% 2. Memoria  42%

NORWAY: TIX'S FALLEN ANGEL BEATS KEIINO'S MONUMENT IN NORWAY

Just like in Finland, also in Norway the pre-contest favorites topped the national final for Eurovision, Melodi Grand Prix MGP2021 results when it was TIX vs KEiiNO in the last and third round. TIX won with 57,5% of votes in that round over Eurovision veterans, fan favorites and 2019 televote winners KEiiNO. TIX aka Andreas Haukeland (27) has become very popular in Norway the past couple of years with a string of hits since his #1 hit Jeg vil ikke leve (I don't want to live) in 2019. Wikipedia infors: He is diagnosed with tourettes syndrome, thereby the reason for his stage name, TIX ("ticks"). Keeping a high-profile on Snapchat and social media often with controversial materials. Besides his music career, Andreas is a mental health openness advocate, and has shared his experiences with suffering from Tourette syndrome, loneliness and suicidal thoughts. 1. TIX - Fallen angel  380.033 2. KEiiNO - Monument  281.043 3.-4. Blåsemafian feat. Hazel - Let loose 3.-4. Jorn - Fai

FINLAND: BLIND CHANNEL WINS UMK21 WITH DARK SIDE BY A LANDSLIDE

Finland really, really turned into dark side again when Blind Channel took a very clear win with their violent pop  Dark side in the UMK21 final. That was no wonder as the signs were clear in the social medias all throughout the day and evening, but the amount of televotes was: 479 vs. Telfon Brothers feat. Pandora's 150. over 54% of the total. Still not as much as The Roop got in Lithuania though. This said, YLE did a great job. Each staging had an idea and was well done. Teflon Brothers feat. Pandora was a bit over the top (and vocally clearly the weakest) and one could not think the Darude example when Look away was wonderfully staged in UMK and won, and then it was literally down scaled and watered down for ESC.... All the others gave their best and worked, including Danny with his funeral symbolism and minimalism and Ilta's beautiful staging and touching performance. Oskr and Aksel clearly ate each others votes and if only one of them was in running he would have ended

FINLAND: UMK 2021 FINAL TONIGHT - CAN AKSEL WIN AGAIN?

Finland is among those few countries where it is business as usual for Eurovision song contest 2021 or in short: last year's entrant has no free ticket to the contest in 2021 but the national final goes on as usual. But with a twist, last year's winner Aksel is there, apparently chosen through the open call for songs but as the songs this year are seven instead of six, one can put one plus one together and get Aksel as result. Right? Why not be open about it? Last year UMK provided a mega hit that wasn't the winner but the runner up Cicciolina by Erika Vikman and she's back performing the opening number with the host Antti Tuisku, Finland's number one pop star. On top of that supermegapopular pop rock band Haloo Helsinki makes a comeback after their break of a couple of years to relaunch their career.. As for hits the 2021 edition has already given us three hits as Teflon Brothers feat. Pandora (#2), Blind Channel (#5) and Ilta (#5) are all in Top-13 in the for th

NORWAY: MGP FINAL TONIGHT - CAN KEiiNO WIN AGAIN?

Norway is one of those countries that decided not to send last year's winner Ulrikke to the Eurovision 2021 and go with  business as usual attitude and have their annual Melodi Grand Prix instead. Ulrikke, who had a very strong chance to do really well in Eurovision last year with her Attention decided not to take part despite invitation. Instead KEiiNO are back, the 2019 European wide televoting winners along with a very strong line up that beats neighboring Melodifestivalen line up by miles.  KEiiNo is of course the big fan favorite, but TiX is the one ruling streaming services and previous MGP fan favorites Raylee and Rein Alexander also have a lot of support. This is going to be interesting! Below is my star ranking and their performance videos from the semi-finals. Enjoy! Atle Pettersen - World on fire **** Pop perfection with a performance that borrows a bit from Lena Philipsson's legendary microphone stand acrobatics. Catchy with nice no gimmick arrangement that doesn

CZECH REPUBLIC: OMG, BENNY CRISTO BRINGS OMAGA TO EUROVISION 2021

Benny Cristo got the ticket to Eurovision last year by winning the national final with Kemama . The Czech television decided early that he's the one also for 2021 and today his internally selected entry was revealed. Omaga stands for Oh my God and omg the video leaves one kinda breathless as it keeps going on like a long distance train..... I think I like this more than 2020 one? Here's song number seven out of 41 for Eurovision 2021:

CROATIA: ALBINA WINS DORA'21 AND GOES TO EUROVISION

Croatian national final Dora'21 took place tonight. Among the artists two Eurovision veterans, Nina Kraljić ( 23rd in 2016 ) and Tony Cetinski ( 16th in 1994 ). The voting was 50-50 televote-jury.  2. Alkonost of Balkan (Nina Kraljić) - Rijeka  (Jury 68 + televote 77 )  145 10. Eric Vidović - Reci mi  (29 + 16) 45 9. Ella Orešković - Come this way  (26 + 26) 52 7. Bernarda Brunović - Colors  (77 + 22) 99 14. Sandi Cenov - Kriv  (5 + 7) 12 6. ToMa - Ocean of love  (64 + 39) 103 5. Filip Ruda - Blind  (65 + 53) 118 12. Beta Sudar - Ma zamisli  (8 + 8) 16  4. Cambi - Zaljubljen  (47 + 71) 118 11. Ashley Colburn and Bojan Jambrošić - Share the love  (9 + 34) 43 13. Brigita Vuco - Noći pijane  (7 + 8) 15 3. Mia Negovetić - She's like a dream  (67 + 52) 119 1. Albina Grčić - Tick-tock  (78 + 120) 198 8. Tony Cetinski and Kiki Rahimovski - Zapjevaj, sloboda je!  (30 + 47) 77

SPAIN: BLAS CANTÓ PRESENTS HIS SONGS FOR EUROVISION 2021

Spain chose internally Blas Cantó last year for Eurovision song contest with Universo . This year he's again the chosen one but this time the public can vote between two songs, Memoria and Voy a quedarme . Vote HERE for Voy a quedarme. 

FINLAND: UMK21 ENTRIES HIT THE CHARTS LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Something that has never happened before in the official Finnish charts history happened last week (and this week, too) when in the Top-6 we had three UMK entries. This week Teflon Brothers feat. Pandora keeps its n.o 2 slot where it debuted two weeks ago while Blind Channel drops to n.o 10 from last week's n.o 5 while Ilta rises to n.o 5 from last week's  n.o 6 debut. No sight of the other entries in the Top-20. All the entries have made the Radio Play charts though. Two weeks ago Teflon Brothers feat. Pandora entered at 41 but  dropped out of Top-100 last week only to re-enter this week at 69. Debuts of two weeks ago Danny (70) and Laura (96) did not. Last week we witnessed the debut of Ilta at 47 but this weeks she drops to 82, Oskr debuted at 72 and Aksel at 100 last week but are now out.  Surprisingly Blind Channel is the only one having already three consecutive weeks, going up to 58 from their 67 debut week and bettering it to 57 this week. I didn't think that one so

SWEDEN: LENA PHILIPSSON RELEASES LÄRÄ SÅ LÄNGE MAN LEVER VIDEO

She did it again last night when hosting Melodifestivalen 2021 first heat. This woman has enormous self irony and comic side to her repertoire and lately she has been putting it into her one woman show videos for her latest singles, too. The latest Lärä så länge man lever is no exception as she once again plays all the characters in the funny script in an intentionally cheap looking setting. Indeed, it feels like she did it all herself in the corner of her living room. And who knows maybe she did? While at it let's re-enjoy some previous fun clips:

LITHUANIA: THE ROOP MADE IT TO EUROVISION 2021 - WITH A TOUCH OF FINLAND

  Well, that ended as planned and right. Imagine the riot if the jury would have overruled the televotes were The Roop scored 86,5% of the televotes?! They thus become the 24th act of 2020 artists who get to do it again in 2021. And rightly so. Interesting fact is that the song is co-written by Finns Kalle Lindroth and Ilkka Wirtanen. Kalle Lindroth is also behind Aksel's Hurt in UMK2021 while Wirtanen is nominated for the Finnish Grammy or Emma for the Best producer. Let's see how this Finnish-Lithuanian combination will work in Finland - both countries are not really known for Eurovision successes, are they? What else is there worth a mention? Martyna's dancers got rid of those horrible dresses, Gebrasy broke into tears during the post-performance interview by Vaidas Baumila and he and the presenters had a invisible wall between them as a reminder of the times we live in. And in the end the results table is pretty much perfect, my top-3 is the top-3 and in the right order

GERMANY: JENDRIK SIGWART FOR EUROVISION 2021

Germany is one of those countries who selected internally last year (Ben Dolic) but didn't want to send him in 2021, too, which is kind of... well, awkward. Now their new choice out there: it's 26-year-old Jendrik Sigwart with his very first self produced song. The ukulele playing guy seems very likable and full of laughter as you can see from his presentation video below. It's good to have a real Eurovision fan taking part who doesn't take it all to seriously. I like him already! You can check out just how excited he is about Eurovision on his Tik Tok here

LITHUANIA: PADANDOM IS NAUJO 2021 FINAL TONIGHT

Pabandom iš Naujo 2021, the Lithuanian national final for Eurovision song contest takes place tonight. Lithuania is one of those countries who decided to go on with the national final this year, too, but granted last year's winners The Roop a wild card straight to the final, while the other six have gone through two heats and a semi-final. Despite that The Roop is the super favorite to win tonight as their video has already gone viral breaking all sort of national records of views on Youtube and so on. Voldemars Petersons won the first heat, Gebrasy the second and the semi-final where Voldemars placed only 4th. Martyna was only third in the first heat but already runner up in the semi-final. Evita was third both in her heat and the semi-final while second heat's runner up Gabrielius Vagelis didn't even survive the semi-final.... Evita Cololo - Be paslapčių ** Nice atmospheric jazzy ballad, that will appeal to experts in the jury but televoters won't care for I suppose..

ITALY: MAHMOOD RELEASES INUYASHA VIDEO

Mahmood keeps delivering and announces an album to be released later this year. Meanwhile here's the latest single and video Inuyasha , that obviously refers to the Japanese cartoon.  Inuyasha is already fifth post- Soldi non album single following Barrio (#4), Rapide (#5), Moonlight popolare (#3) and Dorado (#19) besides #1 Calipso collaboration. 

UKRAINE: GO_A WILL PERFORM SHUM (ШУМ) IN EUROVISION 2021

  Ukraine has revealed their choice for Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. Go_A who won the national final last year were internally selected this time for another shot at it. Among the songs they proposed three were in the running until today a jury has chosen Shum (ШУМ) . The song was released already last week with a note it was not meant for Eurovision but due to positive feedback here it is. The song will be shortened to meet the three minutes rule and gets a revamp before Rotterdam. 

SAN MARINO: ALCOHOL IS FREE ON SENHIT'S #FREAKYTRIPTOROTTERDAM

Yet another month, yet another new Eurovision cover by San Marino's own Senhit in her #freakytriptoRotterdam with Luca Tommassini. This time it's Alcohol is free by Koza Mostra featuring late Agathon Iakovidis, the Greek entry in 2013. And guess what? The video is down by copyright claim by Ilias Kozas! So, instead let's have a look at Guesch Patti's Etienne , an inspiration and hommage to this video that Senhit's is, or was if we never see it again. Senhit's entry for the Eurovision song contest 2021 for San Marino will be released on February 23 Update 9.2.21. All is settled and the video is back online:

FRANCE: VOILÁ, IT'S BARBARA PRAVI FOR EUROVISION 2021

No surprise last night, pre-contest favorite Barbara Pravi convinced both televoters and the expert panel and took an easy win in the Eurovision France, c'est vous qui décidez!   After first round where televoters chose seven entries and the expert panel a wildcard the votes were zeroed and the share was 50-50. Just like I anticipated Juliette Moraine finished second and the fan favorites Andriamad and Philippine didn't even make the second round. Life in the bubble anyone? Casanova and Amui surprised in televoting, maybe thanks to Corsican and Tahitian diaspora? (Or maybe not) Barbara Pravi is no stranger to Eurovision. Apparently she was already asked last year internally but declined the offer as she didn't feel ready. In the Junior Eurovision she's been the co-authjor of the past two French entries Bim bam toi (5th) and J'imagine , that won the contest last year in Poland.  1. Barbara Pravi - Voilà (jury 100 + televote 100) 204 2. Juliette Moraine - Pourvu qu&

FRANCE: EUROVISION, C'EST VOUS QUI DÉCIDEZ! FINAL TONIGHT

France television sacked Tom Leeb, their internally selected Eurovision 2020 artist in mutual agreement and goes for a national final tonight. Twelve songs first become eight, seven voted by the televoters and one extra wildcard by the panel (Eurovision winners Marie Myriam and Duncan Laurence, Eurovision veterans Amir, Natasha St-Pier, legendary Eurovision spokesperson Élodie Gossuin, fashion icon and Eurovision fan Jean-Paul Gaultier and singer Chimène Badi, comedian Michèle Bernier, singer-comedian Agustin Galiana and singer/talent judge André Manoukian). In the second round the eight will be judged by televoters and the panel again but this time 50-50%. The pre-contest favorite seems to be Barbara Pravi with her very French song, that could be Indila's .... Besides French the songs include some Tahitian (Maeva), Corsican (Casanova) and English (Andriamad, LMK and Poney X) 21 Juin Le Duo - Peux-tu me dire? *** Fun catchy feel good song but not memorable or special enough to stan

ISRAEL: EDEN ALENE WILL SING SET ME FREE IN EUROVISION 2021

While the fandom seemed to be all for Ue la la and La la love my favourite from the start was Set me free, and guess what? it won! Let the fandom melt down.... The downscaled selection show took place tonight without audience or live performances and people voting out the winner by an app.

FINLAND: LISTEN TO ILTA - KELLE MÄ SOITAN (UMK2021/EUROVISION)

You could be in the middle of a crowd and still feel incredibly alone. It’s one of the most difficult feelings any person can have, as we're meant to connect with others. I hope that my song can provide everyone with a bit of hope and comfort, no matter if they feel lonely or not. Even though it doesn’t include an explicit message of survival, I hope that it can make people feel that they aren’t alone in their feelings , Ilta concludes. Her touching ballad Kelle mä soitan (“Who Will I Call”) is a concrete depiction of what it is like to live with loneliness. Ilta's effort is beautiful as is her voice, the arrangement is nice but maybe just a little bit over produced lacking the simply clean sound of Behm and early Chisu. Another goodie that probably works best live 3/5... Ed. Let me correct myself after a couple repeated listenings: 4/5