It’s a universally accepted truth that not everyone’s favourite act can win Eurovision. Through the bloodbath of the voting and a strong battlefield of contenders, only one will emerge victorious (and that’s usually not the UK, so don’t get your hopes up!). Favourites are ever dividing in the world of Eurovision, so I’ve headed back through the past 11 years of competition (2010-2021) to find four acts who definitely should have lifted that trophy (as decided by me).
This year’s competition by far held the highest degree of talent seen in years. And as much as I love “Zitti E Buoni” – and the fact a rock song won ESC, there were many others that caught my attention. One thing I adored about 2021 was the higher number of entries singing in their native languages, many of which dominated the scoring! This is Eurovision at its finest. Welcome back, Eurovision. Glad to have you.
From Ireland’s Lesley Roy with “Maps” and its uplifting tune which stole my heart, to Ukraine’s “Go_a” with amazing visuals in the live performances (landed it in the Top Five), to “The Roop” from Lithuania, the first song sung in the semis, every side of Eurovision shone brightly. I loved it all. If any of these had been entries in a different year, they might have won. It just goes to show just how far everyone cranked it up after a year away from the stage. But picking just one? I’m quite happy with 2021’s winner – I’d just change the rankings around a little!
It’s safe to say that if the ESC had gone ahead last year, we’d be looking at “Think About Things” as its winner. I think everyone agrees with that? Excellent. If anything Iceland is seriously overdue for a win; this year they achieved their highest ranking with “Daði og Gagnamagnið” (and I prefer this entry to 2021’s “Ten Years” – although it’s a close call). Can you imagine them playing “Ja Ja Ding Dong” from The Story of Fire Saga during the Grand Final’ if Iceland got to host?
Honourable mention goes to Little Big from Russia and “Uno”. Just a song with wacky, bright colours and a catchy beat that also provided a great snapshot of the Final we never got to see.
2018: Denmark, Ireland, Bulgaria, Italy.
Like 2021, the competition this year was strong. At one point I had nearly half of the final on my favourites list. So while I wasn’t disappointed with Netta Barzilai’s win (“Toy,” such an earworm) and its commercial success afterwards as it flooded the radio, it’s not my favourite. Bulgaria with “Bones”, Rasmussen and Denmark searching for “Higher Ground”, or even Moldova’s DoReDos and “My Lucky Day” which had the best staging in the live performances.
You can see the problem in trying to pick a winner from a cornucopia of Europe’s finest. However, it is to Finland I would give the crown. I mean – Saara Aalto sang a version of it in 34 different languages. If that’s not talent!!
Oh come on- who didn’t want the Russian Grannies to win!? Second place was amazing and the eight ladies who make up Buranovskiye Babushki (literally “Buranovo Grannies”) baked cookies on stage. They just wanted to raise money to restore a local church. Cyprus also put up a great entry with “La La Love”, and its 16th place finish was lower than it deserves, but… nothing can beat the Russian grannies. (Well I suppose that Loreen did… but the grannies won the hearts of millions around the world). Sometimes it’s not just about the talent, but having a good time too.