It gives me great pleasure that we introduce my personal top 10 for Eurovision 2021 with the most successful country in Eurovision history and a lovely artist for 2021 – Ireland with Lesley Roy. Ireland have tended to internally select in recent years, and that was the case in 2020, when Lesley was announced as the Irish act and with an internally chosen song, “Story of My Life“. She was reselected for 2021 by the Irish broadcaster, and once again, the entry, “Maps”, has been internally chosen.
Lesley’s “Story of My Life” was a real feel-good, uptempo song embracing inclusivity and positivity with a distinct feel of a Katy Perry track from a few years ago. This was no bad thing, though it wasn’t in truth the most up-to-date of songs. With “Maps”, Lesley has kept the uptempo and positive vibe, but with a much more modern song (and much less Katy Perry like). I really enjoy this song – it particularly grew on me while listening to it on Spotify while going for a brisk walk or driving in the car.
Lesley seems a lovely person – and also must be quite hardy/patient/uncomplaining judging from her music video which while it showcases the Irish countryside, also showcases the Irish weather! She does look like she’s doing an orienteering competition in the middle of a wet winter’s day! She splits her time between her native Ireland and Manhattan (her wife is American). She’s been forming great bonds with other Eurovision contestants – in particular it seems with the UK’s James Newman, doing Instagram lives with him and generally being mutually very appreciative of each other.
Now, I think as may prove the case with several of my personal top 10, qualification chances do look a little tough. It’s somewhat an unfortunate irony that while Lesley is back with (in my view) a stronger song, her qualification chances may be worse this year. She’s in a super tough semi-final and there is no UK voting in that semi-final (that would guarantee some points). One hopes that some great or innovative staging plus Lesley’s own performance can do it for her – it would be lovely to see her in the grand final.
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1965
Appearances (excluding 2020 and this year): 53
Best result: Winner 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
2019’s result: 18th and last in semi-final (did not qualify)