Hello Europe, this is Rotterdam calling!
It won’t be long before the 2021 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest gets underway. At this early stage, six countries and acts have been confirmed, and before we reach the Grand Final, the remaining 33 acts will be whittled down to 20 via the two semi-finals. If you’re looking at the Eurovision odds from Betfair, you’ll find Malta are the favourites for success. Could we see Valletta hosting next year?
But alongside hosts, the Netherlands, who receive a free pass to the final, after winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, who are the big five and who will be representing them this year?
France will be entering their 63rd Eurovision Song Contest this year, having first participated in 1956, when they were one of seven countries in the inaugural edition. Over the years, they have won on five occasions, memorably in 1969, when there was a four-way tie for the winner.
This year’s entry is Barbara Pravi, who will be singing ‘Voila’, and was chosen through France’s national selection process, Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez! The singer-songwriter has previous Eurovision experience, having wrote the song for last year’s Junior ESC winner, Valentina.
Best result: Winners (1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977)
2019 result: 16th (105 points)
Germany were also one of the founding countries in ESC history, and will be making their 63rd appearance this year. They may have finished second from bottom in the 2019 edition of the contest, receiving nul points from the televote, but have previously won Eurovision twice.
They’ll be hoping for a better performance from Jendrik, who was selected in February by a multi-stage internal selection, with two independent jury panels deciding the German entry. His song is entitled ‘I Don’t Feel Hate’.
Best result: Winners (1982, 2010)
2019 result: 25th (24 points)
While Italy entered the inaugural contest, they will be making their 45th appearance this year, and only received ‘Big Five’ status in 2011, as previously it was the ‘Big Four’ who were exempt from relegation (1999-2010). These days, the Big Five receive automatic entry to the contest.
Italy’s act was selected from the Sanremo Music Festival, which is vastly considered Eurovision’s predecessor in Italy, as it was established in 1951. Rock band, Måneskin will be performing ‘Zitti e buoni’. The group were former runners-up of X Factor Italia.
Best result: Winners (1964, 1990)
2019 result: 2nd (472 points)
Spain made their first Eurovision appearance in 1961, and this year will mark their 60th entry They too, were four-way winners in 1969, and have also been runners-up on four occasions.
Spanish broadcaster TVE usually organises the selection process to choose the acts for the Eurovision Song Contest, and Blas Cantó was originally chosen to represent Spain in the 2020 edition, which was later cancelled. Cantó’s song was picked through national selection on the TV show Destino Eurovisión 2021, and he will be singing ‘Voy a quedarme’.
Best result: Winners (1968, 1969)
2019 result: 22nd (54 points)
It’s hard to believe the UK have won the contest five times, given their poor run of results in recent decades – but since making their debut in 1957, the final member of the Big Five will be entering the 63rd edition of Eurovision next month. The UK also holds the record for the number of runner-up finishes, with 15.
The BBC televise the national selection process, Eurovision: You Decide. And it was decided that the 2020 entry would be James Newman – before the contest was cancelled. While Newman remains in contention this year, he has changed the song he will be performing, and ‘Embers’ was released last month – only reaching 43 in the download chart.
Best result: Winners (1967, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1997)
2019 result: 26th (11 points)