Headline image: NPO/NOS/AVROTROS / NATHAN REINDS
Now that I’ve seen all the entries of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 rehearsed at least once, it’s time for a verdict.
Some songs that I found good in advance disappointed, and some songs that I didn’t like at all, or didn’t really pay much attention to, went for a staging that made their entries really shine and stand out.
So let me look at my biggest shocks and epiphanies.
A good song staged badly…
I enjoyed the song for a few weeks, and I probably still do. Rafał was never going to be the right person to perform this kind of song. There’s an engaging group of dancers around him with really cool-looking lights, but as much as this is a lot of fun to watch, the problem remains Rafał and a very dark stage.
One thing less to fear…
I always thought this could be really dangerous. I never liked the song, but since last year’s national final performance, Samanta always had that aura of a fierce “queen” around her – something that is some people’s taste, even if it isn’t mine. I expected a staging full of shock moments, flashing lights, the focus on Samanta, a moon (“moon” is in the title?), more darkness (“night” is in the key line?), and some striking moments. What we get instead: A harmless, friendly princess in green, engaging in a boring dance routine.
I already wrote in my song review that the music video makes her appear lost and stressed. Well, congratulations Ireland – you achieved exactly that effect with the staging, too. Lesley has so much to deal with, and on top of all that she also has to sing, so of course we see her – more or less silently – panicking for three minutes. Not worth all the hassle.
Simple, effective. Towards the end, the camera is following the “stomping movements”, which really fits to the dynamic of the music at the end of the song. That’s probably the most outstanding moment for France. A deliberately shaky camera, as an artistic expression – that was probably never used in Eurovision before.
Acknowledging a song I dislike…
I am not a fan of this messy, exhausting music. The video suggested a horror on stage to await me. But I will always say it when something has been executed very well. They won’t make me a fan of the song, but Serbia achieved an incredibly powerful, stormy staging. Slick and clean, and the latter part is a surprise.
My goosebumps moment…
I’ve liked it since my first listen, helped it to finish in the top 10 of our ChatVote, and yet I was speechless while watching its first rehearsal. Vincent radiated a vulnerability that I didn’t expect. The staging around him is so beautifully simple, eliminates the rather crude stage, and makes Vincent, his voice, and the song shine. Would deserve a qualification so, so much.
My winner vibes…
I don’t find the white structure distracting. I find it an interesting eye catcher, but not too unsuitable either. The whole look and feel of Switzerland, including Gjon’s outfit and moves, have something incredibly magical and captivating. The song is so deep and dramatic, and I think this feeling gets transported well with the placement of Gjon on the prop. Masterpiece.