Eurovision 2021 Songs Review – Part #1 (Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Russia, Ukraine)

Welcome to our new series of posts!
The moment of truth has come, and all of the 39 competing songs of Eurovision 2021 have been revealed.
Therefore, we are ready for an extended review of them and of course ranking the songs.
Each post in the series will focus on 5-6 songs.
The first post in the series will be focusing on 6 countries that will participate in the first semi-final:
Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Russia, and Ukraine.

ArtistSamira Efendi (or just Efendi)

Samira is a 29 yeard old singer. She competed in several music competitions in Azerbaijan and outside the country. She competed in “Yeni ulduz”, (The New Star),  “Böyük Səhnə” (Big Stage), “Silk Way Star” and “The Voice of Azerbaijan”. In the latter three, she finished in 3rd place.
In 2019, she successfully represented Azerbaijan at the Voice of Nur-Sultan, in Kazakhstan.
In 2020, it was the 5th attempt of Efendi to be selected as Azerbaijan’s representative for Eurovision. The singer was finally selected, but Eurovision 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandenic. She was meant to perform the song “Cleopatra
In 2021, the singer was internally chosen by the broadcaster to represent the country.

Selection Process:  While Efendi was chosen in advance (due to Eurovision 2020 cancellation)תthe song was chosen internally.
A total of 229 songs were submitted this year. The chosen song is “Mata Hari“.
Toward the end, 6 songs remained in the race:

  • Mata Hari (uptempo)
  • Ratata (uptempo)
  • When I’m gone (ballad)
  • Manifesto (uptempo)
  • Breathing You (ballad)
  • Owe You Pretty (uptempo)

The song was chosen by a national committee. Several songs were written by non-Azeri writers.
An international group of music experts, music producers, lyricists, composers, TV industry representatives, and journalists voted and selected the act for Eurovision 2021.

Allocation in Semi-Final: Azerbaijan will perform in the second half of Semi-Final 1.
Efendi will be the 14th to perform, after Romania and before Ukraine.

Musical Review: It’s an ethnic pop song. The song starts with an ethnic singing with traditional Azerbaijan’s musical instruments while Efendi and backing vocalists sing “Mata Hari”.
Her singing in the first chorus is powerful, she is accompanied by a percussion beat, alongside oriental strings and a kind of “water effect”. On the bridge, she mentions “Cleopatra” (The name of Azerbaijan‘s song for Eurovision 2020). The bridge ends with a sentence in the Azeri language.
The chorus only includes the words “Mata Hari,” with processed male backing vocals.
The melody is ethnic, and in some parts, I find it influenced by Iranian – Egyptian – Indian music.
However, I found the chorus slightly lazy, following the decision to build it only around 2 words.
I’m sure that the song would have stayed catchy with a variety of words in the chorus.
The second verse has a similar structure to the first one. It seems like the planned dance for the live performance has already been hinted at in the official video. After the second chorus, we have an instrumental break with the same ethnic motives as in the chorus.
The song ends with an electric guitar solo that afterward is being played while repeating the phrase “Mata Hari”.
The song is catchy, it has many ethnic motives, and can even be considered as a women empowerment song. Nevertheless, sometimes it feels like a forced version of “Cleopatra” which is a better song.


Maata Hari Lyrics

I’m a godless spy
I’m a spy, I uncover
All of your secrets, I want them
There’s no stopping me now
I’m a liar
Playing the game of desire
Ain’t gonna leave no survivors
Would you fall for me now?

Just like Cleopatra (Aah-aah)
The army of lovers
I start a fire
Yalan da mən yanan da mən yaman da mən

Ma-Ma-Ma-Mata Hari
Mata Hari
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
(Ma-ma-ma-ma) Ma-Ma-Ma-Mata Hari
Mata Hari
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
Mata Hari

Undercover
I am a dangerous lover
Drinking my poisonous water
And you’re under my spell
Mesmerizing
Moving my hips, you are trying
You can’t resist, try to fight it
Got a story to tell

Just like Cleopatra (Aah-aah)
The army of lovers
I start a fire
Yalan da mən yanan da mən yaman da mən

Ma-Ma-Ma-Mata Hari
Mata Hari
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
(Ma-ma-ma-ma) Ma-Ma-Ma-Mata Hari
Mata Hari
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
(Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma)
Mata Hari

Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma
Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma
Just like Cleopatra
Let’s start a fire (Shh)
Let’s go

Ma-ma-ma-ma, Mata Hari
Ma-ma-ma-ma, ma-ma-ma-ma, Mata Hari
Mata Hari

Poetry Analysis:
About Mata Hari – “She was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I. Despite her having admitted under interrogation to taking money to work as a German spy, many people still believe she was innocent because the French Army needed a scapegoat. She was executed by firing squad in France” (Wikipedia)
The song presents a specific woman with unlimited abilities. She is godless, which means there are no rules in the game. She also says she is a spy, just like the historic character Mata Hari.
To play the game of desire, she is ready to lie. In this game, only one winner is possible – she herself:
“I’m a liar/ Playing the game of desire/ Ain’t gonna leave no survivors/ Would you fall for me now?
In the name of love, she will burn unnecessary elements or even her competitors:
Just like Cleopatra (Aah-aah)/ The army of lovers/ I start a fire” .
The bridge ends with a line in Azeri: “Yalan da mən yanan da mən yaman da mən which means: I’m lying, I’m burning, I’m evil.
Her lover considers her attractive and desirable: Moving my hips, you are trying /You can’t resist, try to fight it“. However, she is a danger to him: “I am a dangerous lover/ Drinking my poisonous water/ And you’re under my spell”


Initial Personal Ranking:  19 overall, 9 in the semi-final

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1:  5 countries that tend to vote for Azerbaijan, will vote in the first semi-final: Russia, Ukraine, Malta, Romania, Cyprus.

Odds Table: The song was released on the 15th of March 2021. The day before, the country was in 13th place on the table. After releasing the song, the song decreased to 14th place and then 16th place. Since the 19th of March 2021, the song has been stable in 17th place.

Early Prediction: Azerbaijan will qualify for the grand final. Azerbaijan will end in 8-13 places (wide range, will be more accurate after rehearsals)

ArtistElena Tsagrinou

Elena Tsagrinou is a 26-year-old Greek singer, actress and TV presenter. She rose to fame as the lead singer of the band OtherView. She began her solo career in 2018. In 2016-2017, she was the backstage presenter of “The Voice of Greece“.

Selection Process: The singer was internally selected by the Cyprian broadcaster CyBC.
The broadcaster collaborated with Panik Records, where Elena was assigned.
After Elena was chosen, the song was presented to the broadcaster.

Songwriters/Producers:

Laurell Barker

Laurell Barker | Discography | Discogs

Laurell is one of the best known song writers at Eurovision Song Contest song. In 2019 she co-wrote Luca Hanni’s “She Got Me” for Switzerland, which ended 4th place at the ESC. Laurell is also the only female songwriter to have 3 songs compete in a Eurovision final with 3 respective countries in one year.

Oxa

Oxa || Lady Gaga - Born This Way || The Voice 2019 SingOffs (Germany) -  YouTube

Brazilian born songwriter, singer, dancer, and artist Oxa started her career in 2012 as a dancer for Jennifer Lopez’ Vegas show “Q’viva the chosen Live” and has since been doing musicals such as The Lion King (Brazil), Tarzan (Germany), and Kinky Boots (Broadway). She also took part in “The Voice of Germany” in 2019.

Jimmy “Joker” Thornfeldt

Jimmy Joker is a Swedish multiple Grammy Award Winner music producer and songwriter. He has had several numbers 1 on the charts worldwide and has written and produced songs for artists like Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee and many more.

Thomas Stengaard

Thomas Stengaard (@thomasstengaard) | Twitter

Thomas Stengaard is a Danish multi-platinum-selling songwriter and producer. He won Eurovision in 2013 as a writer for Denmark with “Only Teardrops” by Emmelie DeForest, and in 2018 he came in 4th place having co-written/produced the German entry “You Let Me Walk Alone” by Michael Schulte.  Apart from Eurovision, he has written/produced artists such as Nico Santos, Adel Tawil, Alvaro Soler, Carpark North, and many more.

The selected song is “El Diablo” – the title is in Spanish (can be translated as “The Devil”), while the majority of the lyrics are in English with a few Spanish words.

Allocation in Semi-Final: Cyprus will perform in the first half of Semi-Final 1.
Elana will be the 8th to perform, after Ireland and before Norway.

Musical review: It’s a modern dance-pop song. The song starts with an upbeat chorus. instead of the regular structure of songs. The aim is obvious, to emphasize the subject of the song: Being in a bad love as being in love with the devil. Elena sings the first chorus at a slow rate, she pronounces the words clearly, while there is almost any melody, but backing vocals in the style of a church choir.
The first verse is much faster, the melody is based on an electronic constant beat. The lyrics include some Spanish words (if you ask me, sometimes it’s just too random). On the bridge, we encounter again a change in the melody: the electronic beat disappears and fast breathes with whispering enter instead. This effect creates an atmosphere of tension and pressure. The chorus arrives again, this time it is even more powerful. Afterward, there is another verse and bridge. After the third chorus, there is a short pre-chorus which includes childish backing vocals saying “I love el diablo”.
Once again we have the effect of fast breathing and the chorus to end the song with.
The song can sometimes be considered as a connection of 2 different songs, which means there is something unnatural in the transition between the chorus and the verses. The chorus is much stronger than the verses. At a specific point, the verse seems to me like it was forced.
However, my main criticism here will be about the similarity of the song to many other songs, for example: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, “Anywhere” by Rita Ora and etc.

“El Diablo” Lyrics

I fell in love, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo
I gave it up, I gave it up
Because he tells me I’m his angel, I’m his angel

Tonight we’re gonna burn in a party
We wild as fire that’s on the loose
Hotter than sriracha on our bodies
T-taco – tamale – yeah, that’s my mood
All this spicy melts my icy edges, baby, it’s true
Tonight we gonna burn in a party
It’s heaven in hell with you

Mama-mamacita, tell me what to do
Lo-la-lo-la-loca, I’m brеaking the rules

I fell in lovе, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo
I gave it up, I gave it up
Because he tells me I’m his angel, I’m his angel

El diablo, el diablo
I fell in love, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo

Tonight we’re gonna dance in the moonlight
Dripping my lashes on the floor
Hair flip-flip, made you look twice
Touch me, touch me, mi amor
All this spice, it melts my icy edges, baby, it’s true
Tonight we’re gonna dance in the moonlight
And then we’re gonna do it some more

Mama-mamacita, tell me what to do
Lo-la-lo-la-loca, I’m breaking the rules

I fell in lovе, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo
I gave it up, I gave it up
Because he tells me I’m his angel, I’m his angel

El diablo, el diablo
I fell in love, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo

I love el diablo
I love el diablo
I love el diablo

I fell in lovе, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo
I gave it up, I gave it up
Because he tells me I’m his angel, I’m his angel

El diablo, el diablo
I fell in love, I fell in love
I gave my heart to el diablo, el diablo

I love el diablo
El Diablo

Poetry Analysis: The song tells the story of a bad relationship, from the point of view of a woman.
From the start, we can already infer that she regrets being part of this love: “I fell in love / I gave my heart to el diablo. She even tells us how she was treated by him – I gave it up /Because he tells me I’m his angel. In the chorus, she describes their love as a wild party. With his charm, the man can melt her and make her fall in love with him – “Tonight we’re gonna burn in a party/ We wild as fire that’s on the loose“. However, she finds consolation in his arms – “Tonight we’re gonna burn in a party/ It’s heaven in hell with you“. Thereafter, she asks for a solution – “Mama-mamacita, tell me what to do/ Lo-la-lo-la-loca, I’m breaking the rules


Initial Personal Ranking: 15th overall, 8th in the semi-final

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1 –  3  countries that tend to vote for Cyprus will vote in the first semi-final: Malta, Russia, Croatia


Odds Table: The song was released on the 24th of February 2021. However, it was uploaded to YouTube only on the 27th of February 2021. From the date of release until the 2nd of March 2021, the song was in place 13-14. On the 3rd of March, it went up to 12th place and then immediately up to 8th place. It is stable in 9th place since the 12th of March 2021.

Early Prediction: Cyprus will qualify for the final. It looks like Cyprus is planning an impressive staging with dancers. I predict they will finish in 11-15 places in the final.

ArtistEden Alene

Eden Alena is 20 years old (soon she will be 21-years-old) singer.
Eden was born in Jerusalem. When she was two years old her parents divorced. Since then, she hasn’t been in contact with her father. She studied in religious schools, and then attended Hebrew University High School.
She rose to fame in 2017, when she participated in “X-Factor Israel” and managed to win the contest.
In 2020, she participated in “Hecochav Haba La’Eurovision 2020” and won. Therefore, she was meant to be Israel’s representative at Eurovision 2020. However, Eurovision 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Selection Process: The singer was internally selected by the Israeli broadcaster KAN after she should have represented the country in Eurovision 2020 (which was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
220 songs were submitted by various writers and composers for this year’s national selection.
In the first round, 9 songs have been suggested for voting:

La La Love
Flying
Coming Out
Can’t Stop a Hurricane
Rise Up Today
Set Me Free
Ue La La
Shoulders
Spilling Magic



The Israeli public voted for their top 2 songs, while the jury panel gave a wild-card to another song. Eventually, the 3 final songs were: La La LoveUe La LaSet Me Free.
They have been revamped and recorded by Eden. The public got an opportunity to vote for their favorite song among them. On a televised show that was held on the 25th of January 2021, the results were revealed:

Set Me Free” written by Amit Mordechai, Ido Netzer, Noam Zaltin, Ron Carmi is the song for Eurovision 2021

Allocation in Semi-Final: Israel will perform in the second half of Semi-Final 1.
Eden will be the 12th to perform, after Belgium and before Romania.


Musical review: It’s a modern pop R&B song. The song starts with a short instrumental section that is composed of electronic keyboards. Eden begins singing alongside the melody, which directly continues the instrumental introduction. The rate is slow and it helps to create a suitable vibe and atmosphere later on. After the first verse, there is half of the chorus that’s being performed softly and emotionally. Violin play is attached to the melody and gives it a motive of middle east music.
That’s the point where the beat and arrangement of the song completely change.
An electro-dance beat controls the melody, and the song becomes more danceable. The revamped version isn’t a ballad anymore, but a potential club hit, or bop if you want. In the second verse, there is a use of backing vocals while Eden is being guided by the beat of the song. However, the last verse of the song is being performed without the rhythm before. This part of the song completely deals with the first part of the song. Eden aims to reach our hearts with her exciting voice and the rhythm is back towards the end. While we can hear the backing vocalists, Eden brings a unique whistle shouting (this is the professional term for the high notes that are done with extremely thin voice).
I am very happy with the new version of the song. It made the whole package more attractive, modern, unique, and memorable. The only risk here is the whistle shouting which can be a little bit off if Eden is under pressure.

“Set Me Free” Lyrics

Take a look at what we’ve become
It’s been so long getting you out of my life
I feel so strong

Set me free
Feel my beating heart in perfect harmony
Don’t let me down

I’ma, I’ma, ah
I’ma, I’ma, ah
Ah

Feeling like I’m in prison
Looking for a reason
I don’t wanna say goodbye
Feels like no tomorrow
Everywhere that I go
Babe, I’m gonna lose my mind
Just another story
Tell me not to worry
And everything will be just fine
Used to be your treasure now I’m gone forever
Think I’m going back in time

Set me free
Feel my beating heart in perfect harmony
Don’t let me down
I’ma, I’ma, ah, I’ma make it on my own
I’ma, I’ma, ah, חלאס עם השיגעון
I’ma, I’ma, ah, I’ma make it on my own
I’ma, I’ma, ah

Life has been so easy
Used to call us cheesy
It was paradise in my bed, so lonely
You’re the one and only
Hello, I know I paid the price
The clock is ticking tik-tak
Everything is chik-chak
And I don’t know what to do
People tell me, honey
Yalla Balaganim
One day, dreams will come true

Set me free
Feel my beating heart in perfect harmony
Don’t let me down
Oh, set me free
Feel my beating heart in perfect harmony
Don’t let me down
I’ma, I’ma, ah, I’ma make it on my own
I’ma, I’ma, ah, חלאס עם השיגעון
I’ma, I’ma, ah, I’ma make it on my own
I’ma, I’ma, ah
Ah

I’m so awesome, come and get some
What are we living for? (Oh)
I’m your reason, spicy season
Like we did before
Come let me take you high and set the place on fire
Twenty -Twenty-one degrees
Feel my beating heart and
Set me free

Set me free
I’ma, I’ma, ah (set me free), I’ma make it on my own
(Set me free, set me free)
I’ma, I’ma, ah (set me free), חלאס עם השיגעון
I’ma, I’ma, ah, I’ma make it on my own
I’ma, I’ma, ah
Harmony
Don’t let me down
Just set me free

Poetry Analysis: The spokesperson describes a situation in her life. She asked us/ someone else to take a look and see what has happened so far. A long time has passed and she has overcome a difficulty in her life, probably getting out of a bad relationship. Now she is stronger –
Take a look at what we’ve become/ It’s been so long getting you out of my life/ I feel so strong“. Although she feels strong, there is still something that pushed her back to the past. There she asks to be released. That will be the thing that will make her feel complete and cheered up –
Set me free/ Feel my beating heart in perfect harmony/ Don’t let me down“.
The verse takes us back in time. When they were together, she felt like being in a prison – she was limited and couldn’t express her feelings. She didn’t want to break it up, but at a specific point, she had no other choice. The future seemed uncertain. Even her lover would have promised her that everything would be OK, but she wasn’t convinced –
Feeling like I’m in prison/ Looking for a reason/I don’t wanna say goodbye/
Feels like no tomorrow/ Everywhere that I go/ Babe, I’m gonna lose my mind/
Just another story/ Tell me not to worry/ And everything will be just fine/
Used to be your treasure now I’m gone forever/ Think I’m going back in time
“.
At the beginning of the relationship, everything seemed perfect, life was easy. Their relationship could even be described as a cheesy one. After their breakup, she was left alone in bed. Her environment tries to encourage her, telling her to cheer up. The phrase “Yalla Balagamim” means “Let’s have a mess” (in a sense of having a party).
Life has been so easy/ Used to call us cheesy/ It was paradise in my bed, so lonely/
You’re the one and only/ Hello, I know I paid the price …
And I don’t know what to do/ People tell me, honey,/ Yalla Balaganim/ One day, dreams will come true
“.
The last verse is quite optimistic. She feels great and the description of the atmosphere is like a successful party:
I’m so awesome, come and get some/ What are we living for? (Oh)
I’m your reason, spicy season/ Like we did before/
Come let me take you high and set the place on fire/
Twenty-Twenty-one degrees/ Feel my beating heart and/ Set me free
“.

Initial Personal Ranking: 11th overall, 6th in the semi-final

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1 –  4 countries that tend to vote for Israel will vote in the first semi-final: Azerbaijan, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany.

Odds Table: “Set Me Free” was announced as the song for Eurovision 2021 on the 25th of January 2021. Then, the song was in place 34-35 for a couple of days. Later on, it reached the 40th place on the table. Afterward, the song went up to 28-33 places (most of the time in 30-31 places).
From the 17th of March 2021, the song has started to increase its chances: on that date, it was in 27th place. Then it went up to 25,24,23 places and now it’s in 21st place for 2 consecutive days.

Early Prediction: It’s really hard for me to predict Israel’s fate this year. The revamped version has really improved the chances of Israel. Finally, Eden can show her excellent vocal abilities. The song is much catchier and more modern. However, Israel is in a tough semi-final with several certain qualifiers alongside countries with an impressive record of achievements in the history of the Eurovision song contest. I would say at the moment that Israel is a border-line qualifier.
If Israel qualifies this year, Eden will finish in 13-18 places.

ArtistDestiny Chukunyere

Destiny Chukunyere MQR is 18 years old Maltese R&B, Pop, and Gospel singer. She was born in the city Birkirkara.
Destiny became well known in 2015, when she represented the country in Junior Eurovision 2015 and was announced as the winner with the song “Not My Soul“. In 2020, she won the 2nd season of “X-Factor Malta” and therefore was chosen as the artist for Eurovision 2020.

Selection Process: The singer was internally selected by the Maltese broadcaster PBS and the Maltese channel TVM after she should have represented the country in Eurovision 2020 (which was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic). In 2020, she was the winner of “X-Factor Malta” season 2 and therefore was selected to represent her country. In 2020, her song was “All of My Love“, while in 2021 she will perform the woman empowerment song “Je Me Casse“. The song was chosen internally, among plenty of songs. The writers of the songs are: Malin Christin, Amanuel Dermont, Nicklas Eklund, and Pete Barringer.

Allocation in Semi-Final: Malta will perform in the second half of Semi-Final 1.
Destiny will be the last to perform in the 16th slot, after Ukraine.

Musical review: It’s a pop song with the flavor of Electro Swing, Charleston, R&B.
The song starts with an instrumental section of keyboards playing. There is a cyclic rhythm that wraps the melody. Destiny uses her impressive voice in the first verse. The pre-chorus includes backing vocals and it is much shorter and faster than the other parts of the song. When Destiny joins again as a solo vocalist, she is accompanied by a clapping effect. The chorus itself is a piece of R&B, being lead by Destiny’s wonderful voice, and ends in an instrumental section of wind instruments in the Charleston genre (which was very popular around 100 years ago). The second verse is more rhythmic and sassy. This time the trumpet solo is a little bit longer. Thereafter, Destiny sings almost acapella in the style of the big r&b – soul divas of the music industry. For some listeners, that part may be a little bit unconnected to the rest of the song, but personally, I think that’s an interesting break.
In fact, it isn’t a secret that an unpredictable change can create a special moment in a song.
The backing vocalists return this time by speaking – singing section that proceeds to the last occurrence of the chorus.
To sum up, the song is unique. In my opinion, Destiny is one of the best vocalists this year. The song doesn’t give her a chance to show us all of her abilities, but it’s catchy and will stand out.
I’m not concerned about her live singing. The key to success here will be decent staging (maybe bringing some concepts from the official video clip) and seeing Destiny with suitable sassiness and self-confidence on the stage.

Je Me Casse” Lyrics

Babe, are you hiding? Are you alright?
You look like an angel, that fell from the sky
And boy you keep talkin’, massaging my ego
With your unoriginal pickup line

Hell no, I’m not your honey
Hell no, I don’t want your money
Got it wrong, I ain’t into dummies
No-o-o-o

So, baby, it’s not a maybe
Yeah, I’m too good to be true, but there’s nothing in it for you
So if I show some skin, doesn’t mean I’m giving in
Not your baby

Je me casse, je me casse
If you don’t get it (Je me casse)
Je me casse, je me casse
I’m not your baby

Boy, are you pouring that drink in my hand?
Thinking if I’m drunk then, I’ll give you a chance
Boy, you keep buying and complaining so stop trying
Not gonna give it up and change my plans

Hell no, I’m not your honey
Hell no, I don’t want your money
Got it wrong, I ain’t into dummies
No-o-o-o

So, baby, it’s not a maybe
Yeah, I’m too good to be true, but there’s nothing in it for you
So if I show some skin, doesn’t mean I’m giving in
Not your baby

Je me casse, je me casse
If you don’t get it (Je me casse)
Je me casse (Je-je-je me casse)
If you don’t…

Ladies, if you feel like flaunting tonight, it’s alright, it’s alright
Ladies (Ladies), listen to me!
Listen and go right ahead, show you’re shining

If you don’t get it, if you if you don’t get it (Je me casse)
If you don’t get it, if you if you don’t get it
Excuse my French

Baby, it’s not a maybe
Yeah, I’m too good to be true, but there’s nothing in it for you
So, If I show some skin, doesn’t mean I’m giving in
Not your baby

Je me casse
Je-je-je me casse
I’m not your baby

Poetry Analysis: It’s a women’s empowerment song. The spokesperson ironically started her statements, she compliments the intended guy – “Babe, are you hiding? Are you alright?/ You look like an angel, that fell from the sky“. However, those 2 lines can be understood as the things the guy said to her for starting a conversation. After that, she shows us that she is aware of this guy’s intentions- And boy you keep talkin’, massaging my ego / With your unoriginal pickup line“.
But it looks like she already knows what she is looking for and it isn’t that guy –
Hell no, I’m not your honey/ Hell no, I don’t want your money/ Got it wrong, I ain’t into dummies“. In the chorus, she states she is good enough and even too good for him-
So baby, it’s not a maybe/ Yeah, I’m too good to be true, but there’s nothing in it for you“.
She hints that she is an independent woman and the only one to control her body, this is even reminiscent of the “Me Too Movement“. Women (and herself) are allowed to wear whatever they want without being considered a sexual object – “So, If I show some skin, doesn’t mean I’m giving in“.
There is a repeat of the phrase “Je Me Casse” which can be translated as I’m breaking (while the actual meaning is “I’m going from here”). A powerful woman knows exactly what she wants and what her conditions are. If the conditions aren’t committed, she will turn in another direction.
In the next verse, she tells us that there isn’t any external factor (for example alcohol) that can change her mind. The spokesperson doesn’t want the guy to make any great effort –
Boy, are you pouring that drink in my hand?/ Thinking if I’m drunk then, I’ll give you a chance/
Boy, you keep buying and complaining so stop trying/ I’m not gonna give it up and change my plans
“.
Towards the end, she has the following statement which is devoted to any woman:
Ladies, if you feel like flaunting tonight, it’s alright, it’s alright/ Ladies (Ladies), listen to me!/
Listen and go right ahead, show you’re shining

Initial Personal Ranking:  9th overall, 5th in the semi-final

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1 –  6 that tend to vote for Malta will vote in the first semi-final:  Azerbaijan, Italy, Croatia, North Macedonia, Ireland, and Australia

Odds Table: The song was released together with its video clip on the 15th of March 2021. But before that, it was in 8-12 places on the table. Just after the release of the song, it rose straight to 2nd place on the table. From the 21st of March 2021, Malta is the predicted winner in the odds.

Early Prediction: Malta will definitely qualify for the final. My prediction is top 7 in the grand final. This will be Malta‘s best result since 2013 or even 2002.

Artist: Manizha Dalerovna Sangin 

Manizha is a 29 yers old Russian-Tajik singer-songwriter, author, music video director, public figure in the field of combating domestic violence and ambassador of the “Gift of Life” charity foundation.
Manizha‘s father refused to accept her music career, saying it was not a suitable career choice for a Muslim woman. Her great-grandmother was one of the first women in Tajikistan to remove her veil and begin a career of her own. Manizha changed her surname from Khamrayeva to Sangin in order to honor her grandmother.

Selection Process: Surprisingly, Russia decided to hold a national selection this year. The last time it happened was in 2012. 3 artists competed in the national selection this year: Manizha, 2Mashi, and Therr Maitz. The results were determined only by the public vote:

Therefore, Manizha will sing ”Russkaya Zhenschina” (Eng: Russian Woman) for Russia at Eurovision 2021. The song was written by the singer herself (Manizha) alongside 2 writers from Israel: Ori Avni and Ori Kaplan.


Allocation in Semi-Final: Russia will perform in the first half of semi-final 1.
Manizha will perform 3rd, after Slovenia, and before Sweden.

Musical review: It’s a mixture of rap, hip-hop, and folk-pop. The song starts with an instrumental part that is composed of wind instruments (trumpets) and an urban beat. The first verse is being performed by speaking. The backing vocals sing in a kind of shouting choir. Thereafter, the trumpet playing gets louder and her singing becomes more theatrical. The instrumental section continues, while the backing vocals sing again. Manizha turned into singing rap in English. The trumpets are being muted and she speeds her singing while 2 of the backing vocalists support her.
Dramatic keyboard playing is being attached to the melody and then the song becomes an anthem.
The danceable trumpet playing comes back, while the singer sings in a lower voice. The song ends with a “shout” of Manizha and the backing vocalists.
Sometimes it seems like she is limited with her vocal ability. But my main criticism here is that the song is a mess. I respect the message (and support it with of my heart), but musically it’s just too complex to handle. Rap-singing is sometimes irritating, the decision of transferring from one language to another is sometimes random. The backing vocals were just too loud for me and out of the song’s context.

Translated Lyrics (The original version is bilingual: Russian and English with most of the words in the Russian language). The translated lyrics were taken from the “LyricsTranslate” website.

Russkaya Zhenschina”/ “Russian Woman

Field, field, field, I’m small after all
Field, field, field, so small
How to cross a field of fire?
How to cross the field when you’re alone?
(A-a-ah), should I wait for someone’s little handie-hand?
(A-a-ah), so who will give me a little hand, gals?
Since the beginning of time from night till morning, from the night, night
We are waiting for a ship, waiting for a ship, really-really
From the night till morning, waiting for a ship, waiting for a ship.
But why wait? You get up and you go!

(Ha, ha!) (Hey, hey!)
(Ha, ha!) (Hey, hey!)
Every Russian woman needs to know (Ha, ha!):
You’re strong enough, you’re gonna break the wall (Hey, hey!)
Every Russian woman needs to know (Ha, ha!):
You’re strong enough, you’re gonna break the wall (Hey, hey!)

“Why are you being cocky? Aw, beauty!
Waiting for your swain? Aw, beauty!
You are already in your 30s, hallo, where are your children yet?
You’re overall pretty, if only you’d lost some weight…
Put on something longer! Put on something shorter!
You grew up without a father, do what you don’t want to
You surely don’t want to? (You don’t, yEt yoU oUghTa)”
Oh, listen up, really, you and me are not a herd
You crows! Shoo-shoooo! Please, push oooff!

Now nick it down:
I don’t blame you, yet I love myself as hell

Fighting, fighting,
Everybody’s going round and round fighting, but won’t pray!
A son with no father, a daughter with no father
But a broken family ain’t gonna break me down! Aahw!

(Ha, ha!)
(Hey, hey!)
You’re gonna… you’re gonna break the wall, rrra! (Whaaa)
Every Russian woman needs to know, know (Ha, ha!):
You’re strong enough, you’re gonna break the wall (Hey, hey!)
Every Russian woman needs to know (Ha, ha!):
You’re strong enough, you’re gonna break the wall (Hey, hey!)

Heey, Russian woman! (Ha, ha!) Hehe
Don’t be afraid, girl! (Hey, hey!)
You’re strong enough (Ha, ha!), you’re strong enough (Whoooaaa!)
Don’t be afraid! (Don’t be afraid!)
Don’t be afraid! (Don’t be afraid!)
Don’t be afraid! (Don’t be afraid!)
Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid!

Fighting, fighting,
Everybody’s going round and round fighting, but won’t pray!
A son with no father, a daughter with no father…
But a broken family ain’t gonna break me down! Aahw!

Ahw! Ah!
Hey! Hah!
(Ha, Ha!)
Whoooaah!

Poetry Analysis: It’s a women’s empowerment song that presents us with the history of Russian women. The story is being told from the point of view of a specific woman.
In the beginning, she draws herself as weak and lost in the big world which is described by the metaphor of field: “Field, field, field, I’m small after all … / How to cross a field of fire?/
How to cross the field when you’re alone
?”. This world is a dangerous one, as a battlefield.
It hints that women should fight for their place in the world. For example, women in Russia started to vote in the elections only in the year 1907. She says that maybe a man’s hand can save her from the danger zone: ” Should I wait for someone’s little hand in-hand?/ (A-a-ah), so who will give me a little hand, gals? She says that everyone waits for a solution or even salvation, but there is no need since the solution begins in taking a step by ourselves: “From the night till morning, waiting for a ship/ But why wait? You get up and you go!“.
In the next verse, she gives examples of how society reacts to women and what’s the main irrelevant criticism: Losing weight, Having children at a specific age, being obedient, cooking, and more:
Why are you being cocky? Aw, beauty!/ Waiting for your swain? Aw, beauty!/
You are already in your 30s, hallo, where are your children yet?/
You’re overall pretty, if only you’d lost some weight…/
Put on something longer! Put on something shorter!/
You grew up without a father, do what you don’t want to/
You surely don’t want to? (You don’t, yEt yoU oUghTa)”/
Oh, listen up, really, you and me are not a herd/
You crows! Shoo-shoooo! Please, push oooff!

She doesn’t blame the environment but says that she won’t change for anyone:
Now nick it down:/ I don’t blame you, yet I love myself as hell“.
She also tells the story of a broken family and hints that even if her family is of this kind (and it is, since her parents are divorced),she won’t change herself:
Everybody’s going round and round fighting, but won’t pray!
A son with no father, a daughter with no father…/
But a broken family ain’t gonna break me down

In the song there is a repeat of the sentence: Every Russian woman needs to know (Ha, ha!):
You’re strong enough, you’re gonna break the wal
l
” and that means that every woman has inner strengths in order to deal with society and norms.

Initial Personal Ranking: 39th overall, 16th in the semi-final. I appreciate the bravery of Manizha, but the song itself, the combination of rap and the backing vocals together made me put it as my dead-last place.

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1:  5 countries that tend to vote for Russia will vote in the first semi-final: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Israel, Lithuania, and Cyprus.

Odds Table: The national final was held on the 8th of March 2021. On that date, Russia was 9th on the table. However, on a later day, Russia dropped to 14th place. The last few days, have been spent in places 13-15. As of the moment. Russia is in 13th place.

Early Prediction: I only see Russia as a border-line qualifier this year.
First of all, if we discuss it statistically, Russia lost some support considering the fact that Belarus doesn’t participate this year.
Secondly, the non-direct support of Russia in Armenia may affect the Azerbaijani vote.
The song is a little bit risky, it isn’t the regular western-plastic pop that we used to get from Russia in the last few years. The song has local Russian characters that may not be understood by other countries voting in that semi-final: Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, and more.
In addition, I can see the jury members preferring a lot of other songs in the running rather than the Russian entry. If we examine it historically, Rap/ Hip-hop songs usually don’t succeed in the contest.
Therefore, Russia will have to get huge public vote support this year in order to advance to the final. I don’t think that there are any chances for Russia, but I believe that if Russia qualifies, it will be from places 7-10 in the semi-final. If not, it will be ending in places 11-12 in the semi-final.

Artist: Go_A band

Selection Process: In 2020, Ukraine held its traditional national selection “Vidbir“.
Out of the 16 competitors, Go_A won the national selection. They should have performed the song “Solovey” at Eurovision 2020 that was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC intenally selected the band to represent the country at Eurovision 2021. The band members were asked to submit at least 3 different songs to the broadcaster.

The 5 members at the jury panel were:

Jamala
 (the winner of Eurovision 2016, Ukraine)
Ruslan Kvinta (music producer)
Evgeny Filatov (member of Maneken band)
Dmytro Khorkin (member of UA:PBC)
Yaroslav Lodygin (member of UA:PBC)

The 3 submitted songs were:
#1. Шум (Shum)
#2. Рано (Rano)
#3. Церковка (Tserkovka)

The chosen song was Шум (Eng: Noise)


Allocation in Semi-Final: Ukraine will perform in the second half of semi-final 1.
Go_A will perform 15th, after Azerbaijan, and before Malta.

Musical review: It’s an electro-techno folk song. The song started with pre-recorded backing vocals that sing “Hoo hoo”. The backing vocals continue, as the lead singer Kateryna Pavlenko begins singing. Kateryna sings with her unique voice which can be classified as “White Singing“.
The chorus comes after the first verse. It includes an electronic beat (that wasn’t included in the first verse). The singer’s singing becomes stronger and more powerful. After the second verse, there is a solo of traditional flute playing. The sound of the flute reminds a sound that you can hear in nature, or even in the forest. It comes in order to represent the birds singing to celebrate the coming of spring.
The second verse can be described as folk- rock. Traditional characters wrap up the song and make it sound more special. The second half of the song is more festive, and it isn’t a coincidence that we see people dancing in the clip. The main motive in the production is the electronic sound – an electo beat alongside bass playing. After the chorus, there is again the beautiful flute solo which now also creates a piece of drama. The beat of the song becomes much faster, as well as the singing.
The song ends with a short shout by the lead singer.
The song has a traditional sound, but it is contemporary. I appreciate the choice to sing in Ukrainian.
I’m impressed by the combination of different genres that didn’t make a mess, but harmony. I must confess, I preferred the original version a little bit more. However, this version is good enough. Sometimes, it was difficult to observe if we heard the chorus or another verse. This shows that the song has a united structure. In fact, the main changes were made considering the beat change that comes after each chorus.


Translated Lyrics (The original version is in the Ukrainian language).

Shum / Шум / Noise

Oh Spring song, Spring song, where have you spent your Winter?
In the garden, sitting on a maple tree, you’ve been spinning a shirt
There on the edge of a forest an owl is blowing into the water
I’ll sing a song – let her hear it

Shum, get twined with periwinkle
I’m singing the spring song to you
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing hemp plants
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing green ones

Come Spring, come, don’t wait around
We’ll go outside to love each other
Oh Spring, our miss, look in our window
We had sang our song and the sun shined on

Come on, come on, let’s twine the Shum
Twinе the Shum, dance it around
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing hemp plants
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing green onеs

Shum, get twined, get twined!
Shum, get spread with periwinkle
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing hemp plants
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing green ones

Oh Spring song, Spring song, where have you spent your Winter?
In the garden, sitting on a maple tree, you’ve been spinning a shirt
There on the edge of a forest an owl is blowing into the water
I’ll sing a song – let her hear it

Shum, get twined with periwinkle
I’m singing the spring song to you
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing hemp plants
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing green ones

Come on, come on, we’ve made some noise
Made some noise and awoke the Spring
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing hemp plants
Sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing green one

Poetry Analysis: The song celebrates the coming of the spring, after the hard winter.
The spokesperson and all nature have been waiting for it so much now they are singing this song.

Initial Personal Ranking: 12th overall, 7th in the semi-final

The impact of the allocation in semi-final 1: 3  countries that tend to vote for Ukraine will vote in the first semi-final:  Azerbaijan, Italy, and Russia.

Odds Table: The song choice was published on the 4th of February. However, the song was revamped and the new version was released on the 9th of March 2021.
On the 4th of February, the song was in 29th place. 2 days later, it went up to 26th place.
Afterward, it stayed on the 22nd for 2 days. From the 15th of February 2021, it is in the 18-20 places in the table. Ukraine is in 18th place on the table for the last few days.

Early Prediction: Ukraine is one of the only countries that has never failed to qualify for the final.
Will it change this year for the first time? It’s hard to tell. On one hand, it seems that Ukraine gives us a bop- the song is uplifting and memorable. I don’t think that the foreign language will be a barrier.
On the other hand, except for a few cases, Ukraine played on the safe side with the choices over the years. The choice of song and artist may be a little bit controversial: The singer has a unique and dominant voice that not everyone will necessarily like.
If I were persuaded to give a prediction, I would say that Ukraine will qualify for the final.
If Go_A manages to qualify, it will end in 15-20 places.

In the next chapter, we will discuss an additional 5 countries from semi-final 1, stay tuned!

You can find all the relevant information on our Eurovision 2021 homepage:

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Doron Lahav is 28 years old guy who lives in Israel. Doron watches Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and also shows interest in singing and writing.

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