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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #2 Written by on March 29, 2021 | 6 Comments

Juke Box Jury continues as we take our second step along the path of reviewing the songs for Rotterdam 2021. 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.

Another trip to the musical court beckons as we welcome back two more judges and five more songs into a room full of hits, misses, and maybes.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #2
with Donna Sluggett and Matthew Ker

Slovenia: Amen, by Ana Soklič
Estonia: The Lucky One, by Uku Suviste
Bulgaria: Growing Up Is Getting Old, by Victoria
Azerbaijan: Mata Hari, by Efendi
Norway: Fallen Angel, by Tix

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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6 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #2”

  1. mark dowd says:

    Slovenia: a miss. Bloodbath of a semi. Many have said this could be North Macedonia 2019 again. Don’t see it. Waste of a good vocalist.

    Estonia: Miss. How could you “maybe” such forgettable mediocrity?? Banal. Bland. Betrayal of Estoniasy ESC heritage.

    Bulgaria. maybe. fails “reprise clip test.” Victoria ignored all advice to choose “Imaginary Friend” and ended up with a rather woeful number. Feels funereal.

    Azerbaijan. hit. Exotic. Catchy. Will be polished on stage. 5th to 10th.

    Norway. suffers Sweden syndrome. Personal singer back story stronger than song. this is dated.maybe/miss.

  2. Eurojock says:

    Slovenia – Half – decent song, brilliantly sung, if a bit gospel by the numbers. Will struggle to qualify from second spot in a very competitive semi.

    Estonia – Competent, but in the context of a competition, forgettable

    Bulgaria – Quality song (best of this year in my book), talented artist, great staging potential and an emotional pull that many of us who are growing up or who have already grown up, will relate to. It has jury and televote potential and if everything aligns it could win. However, from memory, Tears Getting Sober didn’t fare too well in the Eurojury poll last year. My fear is that too many voters (jury and televote) will find Growing Up its Getting Old too ‘technical’, ‘Disneyesque,’ ‘John Lewis Ad’ or whatever for it to score really highly.

    Azerbaijan – Having spent the previous five minutes pondering on which of the many representations of ‘Mata Hari’ this song recalls, Ewan cautions us not to over-analyse and ‘just enjoy it’. I would, Ewan, if it was any good. The only Mata-Hari that this put me in mind of was the monstrosity of a Norwegian entry that came last in 1976.

    Norway – Warning: The cheesy but memorable melody and OTT angel-wings staging may have a big Saturday night televote appeal.

  3. Jake says:

    SLOVENIA: This seems like a complete miss at first blush, but if N Macedonia’s Proud taught us anything is that a voice can carry enough juri votes to make up for lack of televotes…granted that #2 in running order works vastly against it, but the bigger challenge might be North Macedonia four songs later competing for that loud ballad vocalist vote…MISS

    ESTONIA: This has an inside strike of eking out a qualification by sheer value of being an innocuous pop track with a good looking male singing and Estonia has a precedence with Victor Crone’s qualification…this could also be Lithuania’s Running with Lions falling just shy and staying in the semi…but #2 on the running order makes this a MISS

    BULGARIA: Last week, I admitted not knowing the difference between a Victoria and a Roxen…I stand by that…this song does nothing for me, but can recognize its appeal…it’ll come down to her being able to connect to the audience and staging…I feel Switzerland will compete with this for emotional softer ballad votes…MAYBE

    AZERBAIJAN: I just can’t with this song having only a couple of bars of lyrics and then being all instrumental and Mata Hari on repeat…I think its ethno-beat will help set it apart from the other bops…Azerbaijan will bring killer staging I’m sure…but this feels like a cheaper and less lyrical version of Artsvik’s Fly with Me which did little other than qualify…MAYBE

    NORWAY: You can’t help but look at this staging and see it as a joke entry…he comes across as someone not taking the contest seriously (and I know he is a very seasoned professional who is taking this extremely seriously)…didn’t Croatia already try and had it’s wings clipped the last go with a much better vocalist…the most generous compliment I can give is that at times, it reminds me of Poland’s Michal Szpak Color of Your Life with that very hooky hook in a very dated mid tempo ballad sung by a peculiar fella that juries rule out but televoters embrace in a shocking development…MISS

  4. Ben Pitchers says:

    Slovenia: MAYBE. Ana is the best thing about it. The whole song is on her shoulders but Ana Soklič has shown herself in EMA 2020 to be capable of delivering live. Once it all comes together at the end, especially when the choir fully kicks in it’s very effective but there’s nobody for Ana to interact with on stage. The death slot could hurt it. However, if it is well staged then there’s a chance that a big jury vote like 2019’s Proud could propel it into qualification. Apart from that it’s not an obvious qualifier.

    Estonia: MISS. Although better than his 2020 entry, this suffers more than Slovenia from being second to perform because the song is forgettable and Uku isn’t memorable enough. I do find him to lack charisma and he needs to connect better down the camera and sell the emotion of the song. If Slovenia’s entry can be classified as a vehicle, then this song was just about creating a certain 80s sound and a mood without much to back it up.

    Bulgaria: HIT. Every time I listen to it I like it more. The song feels very personal to her and relatable to a wider audience. Fits in with current chart ballads like Drivers Licence and it’s been well produced. Like Romania, this feels like a big investment from the broadcaster and their sponsor into a new and very promising singer/artist. Whether she can win will depend on whether the audience and juries are wanting to party after more than a year of pandemic and lockdowns or be more introspective. I imagine it will be staged well – my only unknown is how Victoria performs live and her stage presence.

    Azerbaijan: MAYBE. This is the most obvious case of a country having a popular song from last year and choosing an almost carbon copy. The Cleopatra namecheck strikes me as desperate but I do enjoy the way she pronounces it. The opening does grab you. It’s a featherlight song but it does feel enjoyable when it’s playing even if less so than Cleopatra. What does annoy me is that it’s the first time we’ve heard an Azeri entry with Azerbaijani in the lyrics but only in a way that feels tacked on in order to recreate the chant from Cleopatra. I’m not sure how good a singer Efendi is, but there’s not much heavy lifting for her to do. If it gets to the final there’s lots of other very similar songs vying for the same points, especially if Moldova is there too.

    Norway: MAYBE. This is another case of an NF winner where the artist might have won and not necessarily the song. However, it’s an earworm and easy to remember after the first listen. The staging and styling are hard to forget too. I’m assuming there’ll be a break between Cyprus and this or it’ll be back to back devils and angels and I wonder if Norway will suffer in comparison. I think it’ll be on the cusp of qualification but it’d hard to rule it out completely.

  5. Shai says:

    Great voice, not so great song. For a song that is aimed to be inspirational, it’s just not doing it. And Matthew has just pointed out how bad the decision was for allowing recording backing vocals. It just serve for laziness and uninspiring music choices – MISS

    It’s just a lackluster of a song. Not giving you any reason to like it or to vote for it. I am trying to think why this was chosen nd I can only think that the voters in Estonia had pity for him and wanted to give him a 2nd chance after last year cancellation. There are going to regret this very much – MISS

    A very strange composition. Some of the sentences seemed to be stretched up a bit to fit the musical sentence.Reading the text(once more, I can’t understand what she is singing)it seemed like random lines which were put together with no logic. I do ask myself if she actually understand what she is singing about. Musically it’s quite a good song, however it’s not a song that catch your attention in an instant way. More a song creeping up and take a hold of you. I just wish I could understand the logic behind the text.
    It’s also quite a depressing song and the question is if the audience will go for that after the year we have all gone through. If the audience will go for that type of song, than it will be a HIT but for me it’s more a MAYBE(and only because the text doesn’t make any sense for me)

    Azerbaijan 2020 version 2.0. There is nothing wrong in trying to copy a song that worked for you in the past and Azerbaijan is just does that. Is it a good song, no. Is it a fun song, sort off, because you just hear they were trying too much to make it a bit of fun product. Musically it’s quite repetitive and based more or less on one musical sentence. I suspect that Azerbaijan is going to throw everything including the kitchen sink to the staging and make a total mess of the performance. Personally it’s a MISS(for me) but I think it’s more a HIT(for the contest)

    It’s a bit of a dated song although well constructed. I understand he is a big star in Norway, but less known outside Norway and his personal story will be mostly unknown to any casual viewer. I am not sure if the audience will be able to connect with him, wearing sun glasses while performing might alienated the viewer.
    The performance during the national final, was designed to have symmetry between the 2 sides of the stage and by that enhancing the message of the song. For Eurovision, they will either get rid of 1 black angel(to comply the 6 performers rule on Eurovision stage) or even 2 (if they want to keep the symmetry on stage). At the end it might cause reducing the message of the song.
    I neither like or dislike the song, just not keen on it – MAYBE

  6. Dave Cargill says:

    I always appreciate Matthew Kerr’s technical critique: I’m now listening to Mata Hari with a very different listening filter!

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