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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #1 Written by on March 22, 2021 | 7 Comments

There are traditionally eight steps to the Eurovision Song Contest here at ESC Insight… the eight steps of reviewing all the songs looking to win the glass microphone. Shall we get started? You can listen to Juke Box Jury and the ESC Insight podcast online, add the RSS Feed to your favourite podcast application, or click here to follow us in iTunes and never miss an episode.

It’s been a year since our last trip to the bench, but with the songs for Rotterdam 2021 submitted to the EBU, it’s time to get started on our annual exploration of all the three minutes that will take to the Eurovision Song Contest stage in May. Welcome back, Juke Box Jury.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1
with Samantha Ross and Fin Ross Russell

Albania: ‘Karma’, by Anxhela Peristeri.
Greece: ‘Last Dance’, by Stefania.
Serbia: ‘Loco Loco’, by Hurricane.
Romania: ‘Amnesia’, by Roxen.
Sweden: ‘Voices’, by Tusse.

As we get closer towards May and the Song Contest, you can stay up to date with all the Eurovision news and reviewsby listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunesGoogle Podcasts, and SpotifyA direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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7 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #1”

  1. Eurojock says:

    Welcome back JBJ. Can I start by saying that 2021 is shaping up to be a vintage year. There are a handful of excellent songs plus 20 – 25 pretty good ones. There is more strength in depth than any year I can remember.

    Albania – The revamp has given it a chance of qualifying, but Anxhela will need to connect through the camera better than she did at FIK.

    Greece – It doesn’t have the 80’s authenticity of Denmark or Poland and thank God for that.

    Serbia – Ewan says he likes risk in a song. The only risk taken here was in resubmitting last year’s entry.

    Romania – Lots of Youtube hits and a high like to dislike ratio. I can’t imagine these are all from Roxen fans domiciled in Romania. There is also jury appeal. Top ten here we come.

    Sweden – A song with lyrics so generic that Malcolm X and Donald Trump could both get behind them. But as an overall package it is probably Sweden’s strongest since Mans in 2015. Could it do and Elle and Nikki and prevail against better but more divisive songs?

  2. Egan says:

    Welcome back! All the feels! Pegasus isn’t a horse–his mother was not a horse (Medea).

  3. Rob Wiggins says:

    Great to see JBJ is back! Always a feature of the build up to the contest for me.

    Not a huge fan of anything in this heat (although Albania’s might be grower). I’m similarly betwixt and between on Sweden. From the styling to the choreography, it looks like a winner – but it certainly doesn’t sound like one. Looking at the lineup in semi one, I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to lose a couple of good songs. Voices might well be one of them. It’s possible, like in 2010, that what Swedes connected with is not going to connect with Europe in May. Having said that, I think there is potential upshot if people do connect with Tusse and the song and it comes Top 10. We’ll just have to see.

    I’m of course hoping that Finland and Italy are in the same JBJ!

  4. Shai says:

    JBJ is back! Eurovision is back to some kind of normality.

    Before I start 2 comments:
    1. Comparing this year’s bunch of songs to last year’s bunch of songs, is inevitable. Especially when you thing of the many returning artists.
    2. The question mark of live vocals is always hanging there as we have a lot of songs we never heard live.

    I think the structure of the song is just wrong. It starts very strong en draw you in but than they decided to take a small break and go a bit quite, which threw me out of the song completely. Later they take a gear and build it up to a sort of crescendo. Unfortunately, the build up is very one note. There is no variation in the song. There are some elements of the song which I like but I don’t like the the song as a whole – MISS

    It really is quite generic. Could have been sung by anyon.This kind of music require a voice which will give the the song a different colour(think about Tears For Fears or Eurythmics singing this song and you will understand what I mean). Unfortunately, her voice simply blend in the back ground music-MISS
    P.s. – According to Wikipedia, Pegasus is a winged horse.

    The first word that comes to my mind when hearing the song and watching the video is TRASHY. That’s the feeling I am getting from this song. I have the same problem I had with their last year’s contribution. It lacks some energy to make it a song I want to vote for.That said, there is market for this kind of song – MAYBE

    Romania –
    Last year’s song was one of my favourites. The combination of a smart word play and a haunting music, just grabbed me. This year it’s a more direct approach for the song. It’s quite a straight forward song. No smart word play and the music is less complex. It has very strong chorus and not so strong verse. I have to say that I can’t understand half of what she is singing. She is swallowing her words, sort off, and I had to read the text on, while she was singing, in order to understand what she was singing about. I also have a feeling that the song, in some parts, is not suitable for her voice. Something we will know more when we hear it live -MAYBE(with a very slight chance for a HIT)

    Those who follow this site long, know what I think about the Swedish songs for the last decade.I find them to be a soulless product. This is no exception. I think it’s supposed to be an anthemic song, but something is missing there. It fails to inspire or touch me in a way a song should do. I suspect a repeat of the last 2 years, loved by the juries, ignored by the televoters – MISS

  5. Ben Pitchers says:

    I’m so happy to have Juke Box Jury back and some sense of normality, especially as we know we’re getting a contest no matter what this year.

    Albania: MAYBE. The music and opening are dramatic and Anxhela has a powerful voice. I agree that it’s been successfully revamped for Eurovision. I think it’ll stand out in SF2 as it doesn’t sound like anything else yet is still accessible. Albania have had some success in the last couple of years with qualifying with similar entries so I think it stands a chance but is going to be one of several songs on the cusp of qualifying.

    Greece: HIT. This is much stronger than Supergirl from last year. I think it captures that 80s sound nicely and the lyrics are quite timely considering what’s happened in the past year. The chorus got stuck in my head quite easily. It’s one of the Dream Team’s best entries for a long time. My only concern is that I don’t know how easy it will be to pull off live. If Stefania can sell it well, I think Greece should easily qualify and maybe it will be enough to get them their first top half placement since 2013 and start Greece on a more successful path this decade. I wonder how big the temptation will be to make this the closer of the final if it was drawn in the 2nd half.

    Serbia: MISS. I was so happy to see Sanja Vučić back at the contest for Serbia, especially because I think she deserved to come much higher than 18th in 2016. However, I just don’t get the hype everyone else seems to have for Hurricane. Their entry last year was better but still just fluffy piece of pop that you don’t really remember after you’ve heard it. The three women are very talented and I feel like it’s all being wasted with styling and attitude without a killer song to back up the confidence. I think the juries will be unimpressed and it might not impact audiences outside the Balkans when they are outshined by other pop bangers this year.

    Romania: HIT. This is a very strong song that fits in very well with current chart music. It looks like TVR has really invested in who they see as a young, talented artist at the beginning of her career. The song stands out in SF1 and benefits from being in the second half. I think it will qualify easily and should have potential to be top 10.

    Sweden: MAYBE. As we so often find, a talented artist with a song they are so much better than. Voices is a pleasant, radio-friendly and typical Melodifestivalen song that is slick and well-produced but doesn’t take any risks. Tusse really sells it, my only criticism is that he’s too static when he performs. What sets him out from some of Sweden’s last few solo male artists is that I don’t think that every performance from him would be a carbon copy. Tusse puts a lot of feeling into his performances. I think it will qualify but may have another result where the jury rates it highly and the response from the televoters is more lukewarm. Sweden did so well and was so successful last decade but I think many other countries have followed suit and the competition is getting much stiffer and Sweden needs to evolve again if it wants to win. I agree with Sam and would add that every winner since Heroes in 2015 had more of a connection to the artist and didn’t follow any kind of formula.

  6. Jake says:

    ALBANIA: Stands out as the only true ethnic song in it’s semi that will find favor with those who want Eurovision to celebrate cultural diversity, honor a country’s identity and not turn into a barrage of anglo-fied Spotify tracks…only a repeat of that messy FdK can keep it down, but ultimately think it’s a HIT

    GREECE: History has shown us that Greece typically does best when it’s Greekness comes through in its songs (even when sung in English)…this modern 80s throwback is a would-be filler track on the latest Dua Lipa album, but could’ve come from anywhere…it’ll need solid staging to stand out from the other female bops in Semi 2’s first half…I still reckon that it’s unlikely that Greece, Moldova, San Marino and Hurricane can all skate through so it’s a MAYBE until the first rehearsal

    SERBIA: Trashy in the most complimentary way, that will appeal to Eastern European music tastes, Southern European sexual appetites and Eurovision cynics who hate-watch and will see it as the best messy euro-trash joke entry…I stand by what I said above and not rule out one of the bops to falter and this one seems most vulnerable to juries’ downgrade so a big MAYBE

    ROMANIA: Two cycles and I still don’t know the difference between a Roxen and a Victoria…the title is ripe for ‘forgettable’ jokes…last year’s track at least would’ve benefitted from all the drunk televoters bemusement at it’s track title…Romania’s status as a sure-qualifier are long gone after 2 years of failures and I don’t know what makes this better than ’19’s On a Sunday for it not to be a MISS in a very female-heavy semi

    SWEDEN: Still waiting for the moment the juries lose their penchant for Swedish entries like televoters have, but don’t think it’ll be this year…the irony of Sweden to send a Love Love, Peace Peace entry…but the awareness to lose the natural ‘million’ from its title as to not remind of the ’15 Russian entry…this is your typical Melo-reject with basic lyrics that finds itself shopped on a closeout sale for other countries to pick over in February…the biggest crime here is that whatever nods to Tusse’s backstory or BLM that the song harkens to, it’s cold clinical approach sucks out any of its cultural relevance for a more passable neutered entry aiming to un-offend Europe’s varied tastes…it’s a MAYBE (and I seriously don’t want a shock elimination hanging over the talented Tusse’s head for years to come)

  7. Dave Cargill says:

    A very interesting discussion on the minimum age of a performer, specifically 18, that impacts Greece and Malta.

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