Jury Rehearsal: Vocal Assessment of all songs in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2021

France Barbara Pravi Eurovision 2021
Barbara Pravi, France, First Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 13 May 2021 — EBU / THOMAS HANSES

Tomorrow it’s time for the grand final of Eurovision 2021. 26 countries will compete for the trophy in the long awaiting final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. But 50% of the results will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the professional jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

For more information on how to read this blog, check out our Jury Jargon Explanation. For updates on the show elements of the grand final, you can read blog our liveblog from the first rehearsal during the afternoon.

Please keep refreshing this blog to receive the latest updates. Timeslots are indicated in CET. Newest update always appears on top.

23:31 – Thank you for following us

We at ESCDaily spend a lot of time analyzing and studying jury results, and we do this for you guys. If there would not be so many of you following & reading our liveblogs, it would not nearly be as much fun. Thanks for joining us again! And feel free to read back our in-depth descriptions later tonight or tomorrow.

23:23 – Blas & Jendrik at the bottom of the pack

Not everyone was at the top of their game tonight. We call low jury results for Israel, Moldova, Germany, Spain, with Serbia and United Kingdom not far ahead of them. Moldova and Spain, too, had their weakest moments exposed in the recap.

23:18 – Will Italy be far behind?

Maneskin gave a superb performance tonight. We put them in the second category along with Greece and Bulgaria. Therefore, the big question remains: how far will Italy be behind after the jury vote? Is it something they can still make up for with a big televote?

23:14 – Three potential winners

Switzerland, Malta and France received the highest score in our juryblog tonight. One of those three will likely have won the jury vote. It must be noted that the Swiss delegation chose exactly that one weaker moment for its recap – however, we have never been able to prove whether recaps influence juries or not. Without that one note I would be confident to predict Switzerland the winner of the jury vote – and they still might be.

23:01 – San Marino – Senhit & Flo Rida – Adrenalina

Senhit displaying solid vocals again, as she has done all week. She is making a much more professional impression than many people including myself will have thought before the contest. A shame that she is shouting into the audience after the first verse – we know this to be a red flag for juries. Other potential red flags lie within the props and the headpiece. As for the genre: juries have not been in love with ethnopop, and this song has some reggaetón influences as well, which is a genre less with few precedent at Eurovision.

Flo Rida is a stage presence, a seasoned and experienced performer. He brings a touch of quality to the act, and on top of that, you can see he has a great chemistry with Senhit. The question is whether juries will reward his professionalism, given the divisive nature of the rap genre.

22:57 – Sweden – Tusse – Voices

Tusse in a better shape than Monday. The At Ease status is not in play here, as jurors will remain on the edge of their seat all throughout the performance, only to find out that Tusse does not miss any big notes. Solid performance from the Swedish singer. He deliberately cut out the shouting into the audience part, removing a potential red flag.

Tusse won Swedish Idol in 2019. “A Million Voices” is the classic type of jury song: middle-of-the-road, easy listening, inoffensive and accessible to all. The WOKE-message only adds to this even more.

22:53 – Italy – Maneskin – Zitti e Buoni

Many doubts have been placed at Italy’s ability to gather jury votes. And yes, the composition could prove to be a slight hiccup if it is slightly more love/hate than you would have liked for a jury friendly song. However, the competence is there and then some. Vocals on point from start to finish. Lead singer looks and walks around like he owns the stage, with the confidence of a potential winner. There is not enough precedent to give a confident projection on the composition. This is not the same as Softengine, AWS or Hatari. Can you compare it to MaNga? If so, the jury vote may not be as low as some people currently expect. After all, let’s not forget that Maneskin reached fame in Italy through talent show X-factor.

22:49 – The Netherlands – Jeangu Macrooy – Birth of a new age

Jeangu’s performance has “competent” written all over it. He combines a solid choreography with strong vocals and some well-timed ad-libs for bonus points. The reason this song is at the bottom of bookmakers lists is its lack of urgency, the absence of a call to action. However, for juries, that could be more of an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Completely inoffensive, credible. And with a jury friendly WOKE-message. There is simply no reason to vote this down on purpose. Classic jury performance, jury suitable song, strong vocals. Green flags all the way.

22:44 – Norway – Tix – Fallen Angel

Tix is solid tonight, perhaps not convincing, but without mistakes. For the second time during a jury show, he gives away a solid vocal performance – however will this be good enough in the current final field? Never really off-key, or giving jurors a reason to put it at the bottom of their list. In the bridge, he takes off his glasses to show his real tics, which is a nice and genuine touch in an otherwise gimmicky performance.

This is yet another one where the coin could drop in two directions. The FOP-effect could really be in place here if jury’s do not immediately get the message of Tix’ song. If not, this song is classic jury food, being the keyboard electronical ballad that jury’s tend to love.

22:40 – Azerbaijan – Efendi – Mata Hari

I mentioned this on Wednesday: Efendi is a classically schooled singer. She received extensive vocal training since a young age, and this song is a piece of cake for her. You could even argue that she would have better picked a more difficult song – jury’s might rate her lower this time around because “Mata Hari” is rather flat. Ethnopop is not a genre made for jury’s, however this song is inoffensive. Especially in a larger field of songs, where the level is considerably higher too, Azerbaijan may struggle a little bit more with juries than during its semi final. Still a very competent performance. Efendi has a long, long list of talent show experience, most notably finishing third in The Voice of Azerbaijan in 2016.

22:36 – France – Barbara Pravi – Voila

Barbara gives something extra tonight, holding on longer to certain big notes in an effort to impress juries. That effort, according to me, will have succeeded. After all, this is a comfortable on-key performance without mistakes, and without difficult moments. Except for one moment at the final chorus when Barbara bends out of style in one note “Voila”. The staging makes this extremely credible, jurors will feel like this is something they are supposed to vote for. There is precedent for the genre, too, in jury darling Patricia Kaas. The slightly dated, though classic, French chanson is something juries can and will pick up on.

22:32 – Ukraine – Go_A – Shum

Katerina on point today. As I’ve mentioned on Monday: The traditional whitevoice style in which she sings, is technically extremely difficult. Yet I am not sure juries are going to pick up on this – even though I personally think that they should. After all, the song is still a textbook example of jury poison, being both extremely ethnic, innovative, divisive and has a few pace changes, too. All huge red flags. Juries have a very troubled history with extreme ethnic songs and with pace changes, too.

22:28 – Lithuania – The Roop – Discoteque

The parlando start is slightly insecure though not off-key. First verse, vocals are solid. The lead singer admitted to being nervous on Monday, tonight he looks more confident. The dances moves are very slick and on point at every moment, making this a solid and convincing appearance. Will this be a green flag for jurors, or will some consider the crazy dance to be a gimmick? The composition, while not classic jury food, is accessible enough not to be voted down by jury’s. The happy feeling this conveys, will help make it even more inoffensive. In a field with a lot of divisive entries, I am leaning towards the positive side for this one.

22:24 – Bulgaria – Victoria – Growing up is getting old

Victoria was not happy with her performances on Wednesday and Thursday. She stated this very clearly in her press conference after qualifying for the Grand Final.

Tonight she starts off well. In the first verse, she’s not only on-key but hitting her notes right in the middle. High notes in the first chorus are solid too. Victoria finds her rhythm and makes her jurors much more At Ease than on Wednesday. One small let-up in the final chorus (the first verse “if”) will not take anything away from her amazing performance tonight.

The originality of the song and the strong emotional connection may be more important to televoters than to jurors. So let’s take this out of the equation and see if there is enough left. Victoria placed 6th in the X-Factor Bulgaria in 2015. However, this is not the only reason she is a potential jury darling. She looks, sounds and moves like a potential teenage star.

22:16 – Finland – Blind Channel – Dark Side

The guys from Blind Channel manage to peek at the right time. They were very strong on Wednesday and today again they are on point. Both in the lower ranks of the verses, the higher ranks of the choruses, and the grunting parts toward the end.

Jury’s do not necessarily dislike rock music (see Softengine in 2014 and MaNga in 2010). However, this song has a very divisive nature, and is clearly targeted at a younger audience, making it less accessible to jurors. At the end of the performance, the guys put up their middle fingers, despite the fact that EBU rules do not allow this – and jurors may not appreciate it either.

22:12 – Germany – Jendrik – I don’t feel hate

Flat and technically easy as this is, Jendrik easily gets through the first minute without being off-key. Jendrik toned down the running during his performance and this is a very smart move. We saw and heard him being out of breath several times during rehearsal week, however we did not notice much of that tonight. Vocally this was okayish.

With all the tempo changes, however, this is one of the least jury friendly songs in a Eurovision Grand Final ever. The performance only adds more red flags to the equation, with the middlefinger gimmick, the tap break and the parlando parts being absolute jury poison. And sure – there may be jurors who find this funny or charming, however, there will also be plenty who put it in the last (few) place(s).

22:08 – Moldova – Natalia Gordienko – Sugar

Natalia has a severely panting voice in the first verse. She is constantly on the edge for the lower notes, and she misses one big one (on the low side) in the prechorus. During the choruses, prerecorded backing vocals carry the song. The dance routine looks slick and for a minute, however, in a field like this, that is simply not enough to carry the performance for juries.

Natalia struggles with the lower ranks once again in the second verse, missing two notes. Definitely keeping a juror on the edge of their seat, afraid Natalia could fall off any moment. Natalia also added a shout out to the audience during the second chorus, which is another red flag. Just like on Wednesday, the bridge sounds more confident, including the difficult high note all the way at the end.

Much has been said about the sexual nature of the song “Sugar”. Generally speaking, this is a big red flag for juries. Moldova has tried to keep the performance modest, in an attempt not to scare off female jurors. That has succeeded, however, Natalia’s panting voice could highlight the lyrics once again.

22:04 – Spain – Blas Canto – Voy a quedarme

Blas misses two notes in the second part of the a-capella part. After that, he sounds solid up until the pre-chorus, where he displays an unwanted tremble in his voice. At “la primera” in the chorus, he is completely out of tune for the first time. Then comes the beat in the second verse… Still inexplicable and a possible red flag for jurors who tend to heavily punish chaotic compositions. Blas tones down the vocal mistakes in the second minute of the song, without actually sounding confident. The big high note at the bridge is not that bad tonight – which could help him scramble together some points tonight.

22:00 – Iceland – Daði og Gagnamagnið – 10 years

Because Iceland is using a rehearsal tape which is exactly the same as previous jury show, I see no other option than to use the same commentary, too.

Daði sounds flawless in the first verse, then slightly weak in the low notes of the first pre-chorus. Second verse and chorus are solid again, with the harmonies being a nice touch. juries like harmonies and the fact that they are partly performed live, could help their cause. “10 years” is a song that is very jury friendly. Not only because it is middle-of-the-road, but also because of the electronical keyboard pop sounds. The biggest question mark, however, is how juries will react to the performance. With the outfits, the “silly” dances and the keyboard circle are all potential gimmicks, and could create the so-called FOP-effect. If juries feel like they supposed to be “above” this, none of the green flags above may matter all that much, making this a difficult act to predict.

21:56 – Switzerland – Gjon’s Tears –  Tout l’univers

Gjon does not feel like missing. Juries will highly relate to this vocal masterclass, as Gjon sounds very comfortable in the falsetto, though he struggles at the big note at the start of the final chorus. It is the one mistake in an otherwise flawless performance. He is in total control of his vocals once again tonight. Perhaps not always At Ease, however, the extreme level of difficulty will gain him plenty of bonus points.

His awkward dance moves are less of an issue with jury’s than with televoters. Okay – he will probably not get the Mans-factor for this performance, but the visual aspect is still credible enough for jurors not to drop out on him. Gjon’s Tears has a long history in talent shows, too. He finished third in Albanians Got Talent, reached the semi-final of Die grössten Schweizer Talente in 2012 and reached semis of The Voice in 2019.

“Tout l’univers” an accessible and jury friendly ballad (mainly because of the movie theme song vibes).

21:52 – Greece – Stefania Liberakakis – Last dance

Stefania misses the last note of the first verse low. After that, she belts out a few big higher notes in the pre-chorus and chorus, which has always been her strongsuit within this song. Here the choreography also comes into play, and she looks very comfortable there. I will again gladly call “Mans-factor” for this one, Stefania shows a lot professionalism. The notes she sings while lying backwards are technically difficult and juries will certainly appreciate this. Vocally the second verse is strong and the chorus comes naturally again. Bridge comes out better than on Wednesday, Stefania finishes off with a very strong last high note. Great performance, peeking at the right moment.

Stefania did not only participate in Junior Eurovision, she was also eliminated in the battle round of the Voice Kids Netherlands in 2013. Combine this with her young age, and we have got a potential jury darling on stage. This is one of those entries that could see a huge split between juries and televoters. The latter may not feel particularly related to the act, which does not tell a clear story. For juries, however, it is the rational and technical side that matters most. Running order (after James Newman) could also play a part here.

21:48 – United Kingdom – James Newman – Embers

James fades away immediately at the last note of the first sentence. He misses 3 more notes in the first verse. At the chorus, backing vocal support is strong enough to keep James on his feet, however, the second verse comes along soon enough and we see two more missed notes. All seem to come at the end of sentences in the verse. At the second time “Nothing can stop us now” James misses another big note. Without flying completely out of bend, James simply makes too many small mistakes. In the bridge, he is clearly out of breath and gasping for air – a known red flag for jurors. The one thing that can save James is the upbeat and inoffensive nature of the song, which might cause juries not to put it all the way at the bottom.

21:41 – Serbia – Hurricane – Loco Loco

Solid vocals in the first verse. First chorus okay, too. Jurors would not normally think a song in this genre would have such experienced performers. The performance is vocally solid and without any big mistakes. The biggest red flag may be the little bit of shouting into the audience before the bridge. Final 30 seconds of the song are slightly weaker than before.

Juries have not generally been fans of this genre and will quickly tag along to even the slightest mistake the women make. This composition is not jury friendly, with the heavy percussion and the club vibes. Especially when you combine it with the performance, which certain (female) jurors could perceive as sexist, this is the kind of entry jurors could purposely vote down.

21:37 – Portugal – The Black Mamba – Love is on my side

Not as much of a vocal masterclass tonight as it was on Wednesday, though the lead singer from The Black Mamba is still on-key. Simply not as comfortable, not as At Ease as during the previous jury rehearsal. The ad-libs are still a nice touch, particularly the falsetto part at the final chorus (“love is, love is, love is”).

The song is slightly dated, however as I mentioned before this does not create a problem with juries. Another issue is the technical level of difficulty of this song, especially when executed well. Small question mark: the sound of the lead singer’s voice is very niche – could this turn off a few jurors enough to vote it down? The staging, with the black and white at the start, the calm camera work and the music solo at the end (even if it is playback), makes it very tempting for juries to vote this up.

21:33 – Malta – Destiny – Je me casse

After a very small tremble in the first two sentences, Destiny picks up where she left off on Monday. Two flawless performances back then, another strong one tonight. The bridge part, where Destiny wants to impress the most, contains one mistake at one of the higher notes. The other big notes come out strong though, and this is still a contender for jury victory. Destiny is the prototype of a jury friendly performer, with her big voice, her strong vocal control, and her long list of talent shows. Among others, she reached the semi finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017 and she won X-factor Malta in 2020. Let’s not focus on vocals alone: Destiny looks like a professional on stage, too. The dance routines and the playing with the camera, it all comes out not just slick, but convincingly as well. I am still willing to call “Mans-factor”.

21:29 – Russia – Manizha – Russian Woman

Manizha gives a flawless vocal performance, yet the disclaimer from Monday still stands: many rap parts of the song are rather flat and therefore technically less demanding. The traditional Russian parts are more difficult, and she gets through these okay in good harmony with the backing singers. Manizha no longer shouts into the audience, as she did on Monday. This is probably a smart choice.

Manizha took part in two talent shows. The message of the song is something jury’s all over Europe support strongly. However, the genre itself is not that jury friendly. The combination of rap and traditional Russian music can be perceived as messy/chaotic. The act with the big dress at the beginning, while fitting the message of the song, is also a potential red flag if jurors consider it a gimmick. All in all, this performance has many many red flags as well as many green flags.

21:25 – Belgium – Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place

Monday, Geike was not at her best. Today, there are no signs of excessive partying after Belgium’s qualification. She’s on-key from start to finish. The song does not contain big notes or other bonus points, however, it is not a flat/easy song to sing either, making this a recommendable vocal performance.

Belgium did a great job of staging this song in a very credible way, enticing jury’s to perceive this as a high-quality entry (almost like a reversed FOP-effect). The song in itself is a rather generic ballad, which in itself could fare well with juries too. Without saying this will be on the left hand side of the scoreboard, there is plenty of reasons to expect a higher jury vote than televote for Belgium.

21:21 – Israel – Eden Alene – Set me free

Off-key at the first time “Set me free”, missing that note high, and soon after missing the note “let me down”. After this, Eden seems to settle in and avoid some of the larger mistakes she made on Monday. The final minute, however, is worse than Monday. She misses two more notes low in the second chorus, and makes one big mistake at the bridge part “set the place on fire”. There is always still the high whistle notes at the endto compensate, and Eden Alene won X-factor 2018 in Israel. The composition is also very jury friendly for an uptempo song. The lack of clothing at the end however is a potential red flag for juries.

21:17 – Albania – Anxhela Peristeri – Karma

Anxhela is on-key for almost her entire performance. However, it somehow feels as though the confidence and the volume/capacity that we have seen so often throughout the rehearsals is not quite there tonight. It takes away a little bit from the At Ease feeling she generally gives to jurors. Especially when Anxhela misses a high note at the bridge.

She looks comfortable playing with the smoke projections in the backdrop. And as mentioned before, juries appreciate former talent show candidates, and yes, Anxhela ticks that box too: She competed in Kënga Magjike in 2009, and finished third. While jury’s generally dislike overly ethnic songs, they do have a soft spot for dramatic Balkan ballads such as these – in small semi final fields, that is. In larger Grand Final fields, the genre tends to slowly fades away.

21:13 – Cyprus – Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo

Elena starts better than Monday, reaching the lower ranks in the first verse. At “breaking the rules” she leaves the high note unfinished. Another missed high note in the first chorus. Second verse and chorus okay, without mistakes. This entry has never been a vocal masterclass. The question remains, however, will jury’s notice the backing vocal support (which is largely pre-recorded)?

Elena participated in the Greek ‘Got Talent’ show Ellada Eheis Talento in 2009. The choreography is strong and Elena looks comfortable performing it, however, there are potential red flags, too: jurors could potentially interpret the act as sexist, and the “El Diablo” theme is of course a divisive one. There only needs to be one person on a jury taking offense to bomb Elena’s jury vote in that country.

21:07 – Quick start

We will go to the first song within 8 minutes. Nice and quick from the Dutch team.

20:57 – Here we go!

Team ESCDaily has studied jury results extensively over the past few years. We are confident that we know what jurors are looking for in a Eurovision performance. And tonight, we will describe each performance for you through the eyes of a juror! Stay with us, we’ll start soon!

4 Comments

    • Depends on who you mean by “we”! Juries tend to find vocals more important than the composition, televoters not so much.

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