It’s an annual tradition now for me to create this page where I summarise all the details of various national selections for the coming Eurovision Song Contest. It all proved in vain of course with the curse of Covid-19, but I am pleased to say, that whatever is the situation pandemic-wise in May 2021, the contest WILL be taking place in some form or another.
Therefore I will be keeping this page up-to-date as we progress through season, safe in knowledge this won’t be a fruitless exercise this time! It will be a bit of a different sort of season in that we already have the names of about half of the artists even before the season starts, with many of 2020’s artists being given the opportunity to go to an (uncancelled) contest. That said, there will be some song choice selection shows rather than national finals, and there will still be a fair few national finals still taking place (albeit potentially without much or any audiences!)
As before, do bookmark this page and keep checking back until mid-March when we will know all the artists and songs for Rotterdam 2021.
Albania’s song festival, Festivali i Kenges, marked the beginning of the national final season, taking place in December around the Christmas period. The winner will represent Albania at Eurovision 2021. The final Eurovision version of the song was released on 1 March. The semi-finals were broadcast on 21 and 22 December and the final on 23 December.
You can take a look at my reaction to the Albanian national final result.
Originally there were plans to have a national final again (Eurovision – Australia Decides) but with the cancellation on Eurovision 2020, the Australian broadcaster announced that the 2020 national final winner, Montaigne, would be representing Australia in 2021. The song was released on 5 March.
Austria were quick to announce in March 2020 that their internally selected artist for 2020 would their entry for 2021. The song was publicly released on 10 March.
Internally selected for 2020, it was confirmed in March 2020 that Efendi would be back in 2021. The song has been internally selected and was released on 15 March.
Belarus – DISQUALIFIED
Belarus had a national final with a public vote last year. Much has happened in Belarus in the meantime, and last year’s winners were ruled out for 2021 – like many other artists, they have been deemed as being against the government in the ongoing anti-government demos and movement following the presidential elections. The artist and song were revealed on 9 March though the EBU subsequently ruled that the song contravenes the politics rule and is ineligible. Belarus were given an opportunity to submit another song – which they duly did – but that proved even more propaganda/political and the EBU disqualified Belarus from the 2021 contest.
Selected artist: Galasy ZMesta
Song: ineligible songs
Belgium are sticking to their internal selection from 2020 though with the departure of the female lead singer (they have got through a lot in their time), the band will have a different make up for 2021 with a new female singer. The song was revealed on 4 March.
At the time of cancellation, Bulgaria had reached top of the betting odds to win 2020, and it’s no surprise they have stuck with internally-selected Victoria for 2021. The song was internally selected but Victoria following “market testing” of six potential songs. The selected song was revealed on 10 March.
Having decided not to select the winner of last year’s national final, Croatia will again have a national final, Dora 2021, which will take place on 13 February. Last year’s artist, Damir Kedžo said he was not entering a song in 2021. The line up was revealed on 15 December and included former Eurovision finalist Nina Kraljić (2016), Mia Negovetić, runner up in Dora 2021 (losing only by a tie break), and a song co-written by Boris Milanov (writer of several recent successful Eurovision songs). In the end, the winner was none of these!
There was a lot of speculation on who would be Cyprus’s internally-selected artist for 2021 given the broadcaster has said they were looking for a more “well-known” artist. Towards end of November, it was announced Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou would represent Cypus and the songwriting team would include the experienced (and ubiquitous) Laurell Barker and also Thomas Stengaard whose writing credits include Germany’s 4th place achieving song from 2018 “You Let Me Walk Alone” and the 2013 winner from Denmark, “Only Teardrops”. Artistic director Marvin Dietmann will be in charge of the staging – he previously was artistic director for Austrian in 2014 (Conchita Wurst and Rise Like a Phoenix), 2016 and 2018.
The Czech Republic had been planning to move to a televised national final in 2020 but in they stuck with the online format in the end – and the televised final will wait yet at least another year, as the winning artist has been given the chance to represent Czech Republic in 2021. Benny Cristo has been working on songs, and an internal jury selected the entry from a choice of three he submitted. The song, “Omaga”, was released on 16 February.
Denmark has had one of the longest running national finals, and they are proceeding with a national final once again. 2020’s winning artists entered a song but were not given a place in the final (to much criticism of the broadcaster). The final of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix took place on 6 March.
The well-established national final, Eesti Laul, returns for 2021 and included last year’s winner, Uku Suviste, who was given a pass to the semi-finals (but nothing further). He was one of several previous Eurovision entrants who are in the line up: Ivo Linna (1996), Koit Toome (1998 & 2017), Tanja (2014) and Juri Pootsman (2016). The semi-finals took place on 18 and 20 February and the final on 6 March. Uku Suviste won once again.
Like most of the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, Finland did not give Aksel, 2020’s national final winner, a pass to the contest in 2021 and held a national final once again. Aksel was not expected to enter this year but his surprise participation in 2021’s selection was announced along with 6 other artists. Uuden Musiikin Kilpailun 2021 took place on 20 February.
After internally selecting in 2020, France returned to a national final in 2021. “Eurovision France, c’est vous qui décidez!” took place on 30 January with 12 competing acts.
The winner of Georgian Idol was again used in 2020 to select Georgia’s artist. Shortly after the cancellation, the artist was selected to represent Georgia in 2021 and the song released on 15 March.
Germany went through quite a detailed internal selection process in 2020 but their selected artist for the cancelled contest will not be returning for Germany in 2021. Instead, ukulele-playing singer-songwriter Jendrik Sigwart was announced as Germany’s artist in early February. The song will be released on 25 February.
Internally selected for 2020, Stefania was re-selected by the Greek broadcaster and 5 songs were written as potential entries. The title of the selected song was revealed in January, and has the same songwriting team as the 2020 entry. The song will be revealed on 10 March.
The biggest breakout and viral hit from Eurovision 2020 was “Think About Things”. It seemed though that would be it as the Icelandic broadcaster had indicated they would be running their usual national final but in October, it was announced that Daði would be representing Iceland in 2021. The song was released on March 13.
The rumours that Lesley Roy, the internally-selected 2020 artist, would be coming back for 2021 proved to be true when she was confirmed as Ireland’s representative in December 2020. The song was revealed on 26 February.
Poor Eden went twice through the emotional wringer on live Israeli TV – firstly when told Eurovision was cancelled, and then a few weeks later when the broadcaster told her she would be the 2021 representative. There was to have been a live national final with Eden performing the three shortlisted songs on 25 January. However with the ongoing pandemic, that has been scaled back and had no live performances, and will instead saw the music videos of the three shortlisted songs presented. Online voting determined the winner which was announced at live at the end of the show. The song underwent a revamp with the final version revealed in the second half of March.
The winner of the Festival di Sanremo is given first refusal to compete at Eurovision 2021. The week long event wash pushed back to a slightly later date in 2021 due to the pandemic, and the final took place on 6 March. Last year’s winner, Diodato, confirmed he would not be entering in 2021. The full list of 26 acts included former Eurovision entries Ermal Meta (2018) and Francesca Michielin (2016), former Sanremo winner Arisa (who won in 2014 but Sanremo was not used as the Eurovision selection method that year), and Mahmood (2019) is credited as a songwriter on two of entries, including Francesca Michielin’s song.
After 7 attempts to get to the contest, and being a delight during the first lockdown, it seemed especially unfair to think Samanta would not get the chance for 2021 – and that was the expectation given that most of the other Baltic and Scandinavian countries seemed to be sticking to their national final format. The Latvian broadcaster though took the decision to re-select Samanta – something they told her live on air to her great delight. This is the first time Latvia have internally selected. The song was chosen by Samanta, following a song writing camp that produced 11 potential songs, and was revealed on 12 March.
The Roop, winners of the Lithuanian national final in 2020, were one of the hot favourites to win Eurovision before cancellation occurred. There was no internal re-selection though and The Roop had to win the national final again to go to Rotterdam. This they duly did in the final on 6 February.
Destiny was winner of last year’s Malta X Factor which determined Malta’s Eurovision representative (and internally selected song). As a former winner of Junior Eurovision, Malta have re-selected Destiny for 2021. The song was released on 15 March.
A national final has tended to be Moldova’s method of selection but for 2021 they have selected the winner of 2020’s national final (who was also a member of the 2006 Moldovan Eurovision entry). The song was released on 4 March.
The host country internally selected for 2020 and have carried that selection forward to 2021. The song was released on 4 March.
Until mid-January, we had heard little about the selection for North Macedonia, but it has now been announced that 2020’s artist, Vasil, will be returning for 2021. The song was released on 11 March.
As with the majority of Nordic countries, Norway held its long-running national final in 2021. Last year’s entry was offered a pass to the selection final but declined. The selection began on 16 January and the grand final of Melodi Grand Prix 2021 took place on 20 February.
Poland will be at Eurovision 2021 with an internal selection. Song and artist were revealed on 12 March.
Selected artist: Rafał
Song: The Ride
Portugal’s national final Festival da Canção returned for its 54th edition. The rules state that the previous year’s winner may not enter the national selection the following year. The semi-finals took place on the 20th and 27th February with the final on 6 March.
Roxen was internally selected in 2020 and the entry chosen in a national final consisting of 5 songs. She was confirmed as the 2021 entry shortly after cancellation. A jury chose the song from a short selection and was revealed on 4 March.
One of the last to reveal their 2020 entry, there has been some late news regarding Russia’s national selection. A one hour show took place place on 8 March to select the song. Last year’s entry, Little Big, decided not to take part, though did perform their 2020 entry on the show.
Returning artist Senhit (Eurovision 2011) was internally selected for 2020 and confirmed for 2021 back in May. The song was released officially on 7 March after a teaser and song title was revealed on the official Eurovision channel on the same day. The song includes a contribution of well known American rapper Flo Rida, though it is yet uncertain if he will be in Rotterdam.
Last year’s winners of the national final, Hurricane, will be representing Serbia in 2021. Former Eurovision entrant Sanja Vučić (Eurovision 2016) is a member of the band. The song has been internally selected and was revealed on 5 March.
Slovenia’s 2020 artist was selected by winning the national final and the broadcaster has re-selected her for the 2021 contest. The song was internally selected and presented on a programme (EMA 2021) on 27 February.
Internally-selected for 2020, Blas Cantó has been selected for the 2021 contest. There was a live show on 20 February where Blas performed two potential Eurovision songs that were voted on by viewers.
With the biggest national selection series of them all, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen returned for its 61st edition and the usual format of 4 semi-finals (beginning on 6 February), one “second chance” show and then the grand final on 13 March. All shows took place in Stockholm rather than at different venues around the country – yet another example of the pandemic’s impact. This year’s participants were revealed in early December and included many familiar names, including past Eurovision artists, a Eurovision winner, and last year’s winners, The Mamas.
Switzerland have stuck with their internally-selected 2020 artist for 2021. The song selection has been done internally but involved doing market analysis across several European countries to enable them to pick the best song. The song was released on 10 March.
After 2019’s fiasco, Ukraine pulled off a drama-free national final in 2020. The 2020 winners will represent Ukraine in 2021. An internal jury has selected the song (from a shortlist of six). A revamped version of the song was released on 9 March.
The BBC keeps things close to its chest when it comes to making the selection, but it was revealed in mid-February that last year’s internally selected artist, James Newman, was returning for 2021. The song, titled “Embers” was first broadcast on 11 March.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Eurovision (season)…