Brief thoughts on the ESC250 results for 2021

There are, apparently, a few constants in the Eurovision world: Ukraine will always qualify for the final, Greece and Cyprus will always exchange douze points in the jury count, while juries in Armenia and Azerbaijan will always exchange nul points. And another that is becoming clearer by the year: Loreen’s “Euphoria” will win the ESC250 countdown. For ten years, since it was eligible, “Euphoria” has seen off all challengers — from winners like “Amar Pelos Dois” in 2017 and “Arcade” in 2019 to fan-favourites like “Fuego” in 2018 (and again in 2020). All were ultimately beaten convincingly by the 2012 winner. This year, there were whispers that Maneskin’s “Zitti e buoni” might finally have taken the crown, just like they’d finally brought the Eurovision trophy to Italy after many close calls. Early on in the voting, the two songs were neck-and-neck. But now that we’ve seen the final numbers, it was all an anti-climax: “Euphoria” came out comfortably ahead, holding off “Zitti e buoni” by 2,464 points. “Arcade” and “Fuego” (in 2018) came closer to taking out the top spot.

8,594 sets of votes were cast — a big jump from last year’s countdown, but “Euphoria” grew with it, from 331 to 647 sets of 12 points. If you break it down even further, not only did “Euphoria” receive the most 12 points from the voters, it also received the most 10 points, and topped all of the others except for 7 points (“Shum”), 3 points (“Arcade”) and 1 point (“Zitti e buoni”). So until we have a song at the contest which receives widespread support across the board, I imagine Queen Loreen will have the last laugh on New Year’s Eve.

There is, of course, another way to get a song a higher placing — and that is to run a campaign focused on giving its 12 points, which is a bit “all or nothing”. This year’s obvious example of that was “Kruna” by Neveza Božović, the Serbian entry for 2019. An impressive 315 sets of 12 points (third behind “Euphoria” and “Zitti e buoni”) meant that the song jumped from 70th on the 2020 list to 11th in 2021. The problem for “Kruna” is that it has almost no support beyond the 315 — in each other category, it could only rely upon 10-18 sets of votes. Unless it is able to substantially increase its support across the board, it will need to find at least another 1,000 people to give it 12 points before it can challenge “Euphoria”.

As for my votes: I can’t complain …

12 points – “Euphoria” by Loreen (Sweden 2012) — #1
10 points – “Spirit in the Sky” by KEiiNO (Norway 2019) — #7
8 points – “Occidentali’s Karma” by Francesco Gabbani (Italy 2017) — #51
7 points – “Love Shine a Light” by Katrina & The Waves (United Kingdom 1997) — #64
6 points – “Sound of Silence” by Dami Im (Australia 2016) — #39
5 points – “Hold Me Now” by Johnny Logan (Ireland 1987) — #113
4 points – “Think About Things” by Daði & Gagnamagnið (Iceland 2020) — #33
3 points – “Shum” by Go_A (Ukraine 2021) — #3
2 points – “Alcohol Is Free” by Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis (Greece 2013) — #278
1 point – “Run Away” by Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira (Moldova 2010) — #423

Looking forward to this year’s countdown already!