Melbourne, AUSTRALIA – Tonight (or tomorrow morning if you’re here in Australia) sees the first semi-final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
After last year’s contest was canceled due to the pandemic, it’s a great relief for many around the world that this year’s is going ahead.
Tonight will see performers from 16 countries competing in the first semi-final, for the chance to qualify to the Grand Final on Saturday night/Sunday morning (depending on where in the world you live).
Only 10 countries from tonight’s semi-final will progress to the Grand Final, so expect some shock qualifiers and tears to flow.
Many of the artists that you will see tonight and in the second semi-final were due to represent their countries last year, but couldn’t due to the cancelation, so their countries’ broadcasters gave them a second chance and sent them again this year.
The way that tonight’s show will work is that all the contestants will perform their songs, and then fans get to vote.
After the votes are tallied, they will announce the songs that qualified for the Grand Final, which is made up of the top 10 highest scoring countries. Unfortunately for those of you who don’t live in the competing countries or one of the prequalified countries that get to vote in tonight’s semi – The Netherlands, Germany or Italy – you can’t vote, but if you do, you can vote and make your voice heard.
Tonight we will see people from the following countries perform: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine.
You can check out all the songs on Eurovision’s official Youtube channel.
Here are some of the countries that fans should look out for tonight.
This year Australia is being represented by indie artist Montaigne (real name Jessica Cerro), who is returning after missing out on the opportunity to represent Australia last year due to the cancelation of the contest. Australia has a strong record of qualifying for the Grand Final, having a qualification record of 100%. Although Australia’s song ‘Technicolour’ is quite a polarizing song – you either love it or hate it – I still think this will qualify and be one of the most unique performances of the night.
This year’s Ireland’s representative is Lesley Roy, who like many other artists in this year’s contest is returning after missing out on the opportunity to represent their country last year due to the cancelation of the contest. Americans will be interested to know that although she is Irish, she lives in New York these days with her wife.
Ireland hasn’t had a great qualification record in the past 10 or so years, but this is the most excitement I’ve ever seen about an Irish entry, and I reckon Roy can return Ireland to the Grand Final. It’s a great song. It’s strong and the staging is being directed by the same person that directed the winning performance in 2015, so I have high hopes for Ireland this year.
Lithuania’s representatives are once again the band The Roop, who were one of the favorites heading into last year’s contest.
The Roop are once again very popular this year, and after an inconsistent qualification record in the past few years I think Lithuania are heading right back to the Grand Final. It’s a fun and catchy song — just what many of us need after last year.
This year the Swedish representative is the teenager Tusse with the song “Voices.”
Although it’s a similar genre to the country’s previous two entries, Sweden is the powerhouse of Eurovision and people love the songs they send, so Sweden will have no trouble once again qualifying for the Grand Final.
Ukraine is once again being represented by the band GO_A.
Much like Australia, Ukraine has a 100% record of qualifying for the Grand Final. Also much like Australia this year, Ukraine’s song “Shum” is quite a polarizing song, but I still think this will qualify and be one of the most unique performances of the night.
Alyce Collett is a Correspondent with Youth Journalism International.