Eurovision 2021 viewing guide: Flo Rida, quirky jumpers and 'violent pop'

Here are some of the finalists to watch tonight — who might just win over the Irish vote
Eurovision 2021 viewing guide: Flo Rida, quirky jumpers and 'violent pop'

Europe is gearing up for the Eurovision Song Contest's grand final of 2021.

Tonight sees the 20 successful nations from the week’s two semi-finals — as well as the so-called big five of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — battle it out for viewer’s votes from 8pm.

Host nation the Netherlands is also competing in the showpiece event, with the Dutch government allowing a maximum of 3,500 people to watch the grand final in person in Rotterdam.

With Ireland’s entry, Lesley Roy’s Maps, eliminated in the first semi-final, here are some of tonight's finalists to watch who might just win over the Irish vote.

1. San Marino's Flo Rida feature

San Marino qualified for the final on Thursday night after its act, singer Senhit, was joined on stage by US rapper Flo Rida.

Senhit will now close tonight’s show with her song "Adrenalina" — and judging by his social media, Flo Rida looks set to join her once more.

The singer is a self-described "club queen" who combines her African roots with "Italian style and a European electro-pop attitude", and has travelled all over Europe performing in the most popular clubs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtVBxZXGJNg

2. Iceland's quirky jumpers

A favourite this year is Iceland, who qualified despite its entry, Daði og Gagnamagnið, being forced to pull out of performing in the live shows after a positive Covid-19 test.

Singer Daði Freyr announced he would no longer perform live at the semi-final after a bandmate tested positive for Covid-19.

However, the quirky dance-pop band’s song "10 Years" remains in the competition after their rehearsal performance was shown during the semi-final — and it’s really worth a watch for yourself.

3. Cyprus' 'satanic' entry

Meanwhile, Cyprus’ entry has proved popular among audiences in Europe but caused some consternation back at home.

Elena Tsagrinou will perform the dance mix track "El Diablo" in the opening slot of tonight’s show, after it was branded “satanic” and scandalised the faithful in Cyprus for paying homage to the devil.

Tsagrinou is one of the most recognisable pop stars across Greece and Cyprus, and was propelled to fame by her success in Greece Got Talent.

4. Malta's Lizzo-inspired anthem

Meanwhile, Malta's 18-year-old singer Destiny, who won Junior Eurovision in 2015, has been tipped to win the main competition this year with her empowering song "Je Me Casse" — a French phrase meaning "I'm out of here".

To give you a feel for the song, Destiny says her five biggest musical idols are Lizzo, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

The team behind the song say they were on a mission to deliver a "dance floor filler with an instant feel good factor" — and the audience seem to think they've succeeded.

5. Italy's rock band

A favourite to win from the rock and roll side of the competition is Italy’s band Måneskin with their song “Zitti E Buoni”.

The members of the critically-acclaimed group have known each other since childhood, but didn’t establish the band until 2015 when they brought together their musical influences, from rock and rap, to reggae, funk and pop.

The group has already had a chart-topping studio album and sold out 66 gigs across Europe — with a new Italian tour for their second album scheduled for spring 2022.

6. Finland's 'violent pop'

Audiences have also embraced Finland’s rap metal song “Dark Side” from Blind Channel.

The "post-hardcore" band from Oulu, Finland define their musical style as "violent pop".

They enjoy “pyrotechnics, loud vocals and flicking the middle finger” and honed their craft on the Finnish underground scene.

Asked not to flip their middle fingers during the family-friendly competition, the group have instead opted to paint them red for their performance.

7. Moldova's europop

Moldova has meanwhile provided popular europop number “Sugar” from Natalia Gordienko.

The song was composed by pop powerhouses Dimitris Kontopoulos and Philipp Kirkorov, with lyrics by Mikhail Gutseriev and Sharon Vaughn (who has written for a number of Eurovision acts including Jedward).

Gordienko is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest, after representing her nation in 2006 alongside Arsenie Todiraș with the track "Loca".

Finishing in 20th place that year, the singer will be hoping for a different result in 2021.

8. Ukraine's 'white voice'

Another favourite this year is Ukraine's Go_A, whose song "Shum" features an ancient folklore technique known as "white voice".

The electro-folklore outfit met in 2021 and specialise in the modern retelling of traditional Ukrainian stories that have already passed through many generations by word of mouth.

Singer Kateryna Pavlenko uses the ancient folklore technique of “white voice” (based on an open throat and free volume with a bright colour) and has a command of extreme vocals.

9. Norway's fallen angel

"El Diablo" is not the only entry to the contest with a nod to satan.

Norway has the song "Fallen Angel" by the performer TIX, in chains and wearing white wings.

Andreas Haukeland, better known as his persona TIX, took on the nickname after his experience of growing up with Tourette's syndrome — a condition which can lead to different types of involuntary tics.

He is one of Norway's most popular artists and made a name for himself co-writing Ava Max’s "Sweet but Psycho", which became the most played song of 2018.

The Netherlands is hosting the 65th edition of the event, known for its kitsch pop songs and flamboyant costumes, after a win in 2019.

The contest was not held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Die-hard fans had to make do instead with the Netflix hit: "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" featuring a bumbling duo of soulmates, a giant hamster wheel, cult favourite song "Jaja Ding Dong" and murdering elves.

The competition draws a television audience of about 200 million each year.

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