We finally reach the pinnacle of my top 39 countdown for Eurovision 2021, and for the second year in a row, it’s Lithuania and The Roop who are my number 1. It’s actually an identical top 2 to last year as I had Lithuania and Switzerland as my top 2, and with the same artists. For quite a period of the Eurovision season this year, I had them the other way round, with Switzerland as my number one, but in the end I’ve placed The Roop back on top.
The Roop and “On Fire”
The Roop are three piece band, made up of Vaidotas, Robertas and Mantas, and have been around since 2014. Originally known for indie pop and pop rock, their two Eurovision entries have been in the deep house and electropop genres (my favoured genres). They originally entered the Lithuanian national selection in 2018 (coming 3rd overall and second in the public vote) but came back in 2020 and swept both jury and televote (the biggest public vote to date) with “On Fire“.
“On Fire” was a great entry, one that I loved from the first time I saw it in the earlier rounds of the Lithuanian national selection. It felt such a shame when the 2020 contest was cancelled and we missed out on seeing this unique song at the contest. Catchy, different, with a very charismatic lead (Vaidotas), the dance moves were memorable, and with an intriguing/captivating live performance and great instrumental breaks. While some think last year’s winner would have been Iceland, or Bulgaria, or Italy, I really do think this had a very good chance to be Lithuania’s first ever win at Eurovision.
2021 return with “Discoteque”
Perhaps surprisingly, they were not automatically reselected for 2021 but were given a pass direct to the final of the national selection (not having to go through the semi-finals). Vaidotas took opportunity to spend a summer out in the Lithuanian forests and write some new songs, and so it was “Discoteque” was brought to the 2021 national final. I was nervous to watch the premiere of their new song a week or two before the national final but I needn’t have worried – they had managed another masterpiece
The song duly triumphed at the national final, winning the public vote by an even bigger margin and record number of votes. No surprise really, given that “Discoteque” is another fantastic track – more electropop than the deep house of “On Fire” and it’s no carbon copy of that 2020 entry, more an evolution. It’s once again unique, different, catchy, great instrumentals, used Vaidotas’ on stage charisma, another set of memorable dance moves, hand choreography and a slick and eye-catching stage performance and visuals. They even have kept the two backing dancers from last year (who were also great) (and I also like the homage they give to “On Fire” at the start of the song.
My favourite and overall chances
I think the reasons I have plumped for this as my first choice is that this comes as the complete package. It’s also I think a song I am most likely to listen to again and again on Spotify after the contest (and will no doubt be a dancefloor filler at Eurovision club nights). It would have been easy for The Roop not to have tried again this year, not made as much effort, been lazy, but they came back determined to win the national final again and get to the contest with not just a great song, but such a well thought through and polished overall package. And it’s for that reason that his pips Switzerland to the post of my number one for 2021.
When this first was released, it was seen as (yet again) a potential winner for the contest but as the national selection season went on, it slipped off the radar a little (among the fandom) and fell down the betting odds (though still remaining in top 10). While the attention of the betting odds and much of the fandom has been on Italy, France, Malta etc., I don’t think anyone should rule out The Roop completely. I think this has the potential for a big televote score (as most viewers will be seeing them for the first time in the grand final) and especially so if Lithuania rallies its diaspora vote. A decent jury score would put them firmly in contention and I’d be delighted if they pulled off a surprise first win for Lithuania.
Lithuania in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1994
Appearances (excluding 2020 and this year): 20
Best result: 6th in 2006
2019’s result: 11th in semi-final (did not qualify)