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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #5 Written by on April 19, 2021 | 9 Comments

Into the back half of Juke Box Jury this week with the firth regular show. 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.

For those of you running a JBJ Bingo Card, this is going to be a good week for cover versions and Kate Bush references. For everyone else, here are another five songs heading to Rotterdam this year.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5
with John Lucas and Samantha Ross

Israel: Set Me Free, by Eden Alene,
North Macedonia: Here I Stand, by Vasil.
Ukraine: Shum, by Go_A.
Iceland: Ten Years, by Daði og Gagnamagnið.
Germany: I Don’t Feel Hate, by Jendrik.

As we get closer towards the Semi Finals and Grand Final of this year’s Song Contest, you can stay up to date with all the Eurovision news and reviews by 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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9 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury 2021 #5”

  1. No, I say, it’s a no from me, I’m probably just too old, to set in my ways. But as much as I live for Juke Box Jury it often baffles me to the point of questioning whether we’re all on the same planet. I am, of course, referring to the car crash that, typically, is Ukraine. What is wrong with you people? Or what is wrong with me? This clearly should be my bathroom break, but this year just have too many bathroom breaks and by then I’ll probably asking myself if I’m pissing my life away. This year’s contest in general, and y’all’s love for that hideous Ukraine – song? – in particular forces me to, once again, question what I’m doing here. Oh vey, as we New Yorkers say. Vow shreklekh rash?

  2. Trina says:

    “Go_ay”, not “Go_ah”. You can confirm this in any Ukrainian-language coverage (including their Ukrainian-language wikipedia page). For some reason, English-language coverage seems to have difficulty with this one. 🙂

  3. Shai says:

    It’s a bit of let down, this song. It could have been much more. It’s a bit of a meh song and Eden deserves much more. It is memorable but not enough to make it standout. I have marked the original version as a certain non-qualifier. This version is marked as a borderline qualifier. Qualifications depends on so many factors-Can Eden sell the song?Can she reach this high note?(which was added to make it memorable, but it also taking a big risk)How the staging and live vocals will be? – (a very big )MAYBE

    North Macedonia-
    I am a sucker for a good musical ballad. Sometimes, it can sound soapy, but when done right it’s just grab me and I just surrender to it, which is the case here. This is totally by numbers musical ballad and he has the voice for this kind of song. Hopefully he can sing this live. The use of the backing vocals is done just right to keep it interesting, without overshadowing him. Do I think it has a chance at the contest, probably not. Will I be happy if this qualify-Yes. HIT(for me) but a MISS(for the contest)

    Obviously, someone has been thinking about things quite a lot and decided to come with something similar. Why not, if it has worked for you last year. The problem is that this year’s song isn’t as accessible as the 2020’s song was. Even people who aren’t into Eurovision, knew that song. Even though the 2021’s song has the same ingredients his predecessor had, it lacks the charm that made the 2020 song endearing and likeable. He is lucky he is in semi final 2, because he would have hard time qualifying from semi final 1 – MISS(although I think the contest will be more forgiving toward this song)

    Artistically speaking, it’s good to have such song in the contest. Unfortunately this song get on my nerves very quickly. When I hear the panel lovingly speaking about the song, it reminds me the JBJ of the 2019 Portuguese entry, which got 3 hits because it’s artistic merit. Eventually, the Portugees song failed even to qualified. If we are speaking on the 2019, the Ukrainian song for 2021 reminds me the Polish entry of that year, which was not accessible as a song. I am sure there is a crowd for this kind of songs, I am just not one of them. I would be happy if this will be Ukraine 1st non-qualifier, but the chances for this to happen are close to zero, especially from their position in the running order of this semi -MISS

    You either love it or ..hate it, you just can’t stay indifference to this song. And with such a song title, you have an option to create a lot of meme’s, though I have no idea if the song generates any. I am not sure how this can be staged that can show how wacky this song is. I feel it’s a bit childish in its approach and I think Jendrik takes himself quite seriously, while a more tong in cheek approach might be better. To my ears the song is quite annoying, which stop me from enjoying the song or making me smile – MISS(and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends last in the final)

  4. mark dowd says:

    Israel: a maybe. Definitely gonna come 9th to 12th in SF1. Singer is better than the song.

    N Macedonia: same comment applies. Great track for Lion King first half end song showstopper but no sign this kind of music has a ESC pedigree. Could have squeezed 10th in SF2, but in SF1, zero chance. miss.

    Iceland: will still come across as zany and wacky, but song lacks the hook from 2020 and meme. Will qualify and end up mid table. Hit, but going nowhere as far as top 5 is concerned.

    Ukraine: admire ethnic distinctiveness but loathe the cheese grating vocals. Annoying. miss.

    Germany: will attract crumbs from televote table and avoid humiliation of last, but still long way down table.juries will crucify this , but witty staging may give it some steam. Miss.

  5. Simon says:

    I agree with Hans and Shai that Ukraine is a total mess of noise this year- no artistic merit whatsoever.

  6. Eurojock says:

    Israel – When they do a revamp of the revamp you know a song’s in trouble.

    North Macedonia – With such a deep well of personal experience and heartache to draw upon, in his ‘white hot heat of writing’ why oh why could Vasil only manage this cheesy West End ballad that regurgitates every musical theatre cliché known to mankind?

    Ukraine – The original version of Shum was in my top 10 songs this year. Unfortunately, in the necessary cut from 4 minutes to 3 and the change of lyrics, they have lost something. The steady build with the quickening lyrics interspersed with musical interludes is now not quite there. And something of the pagan rite of Spring feel has been lost too. I can’t see many votes West of the Danube for this. If the staging is too static they may fail to qualify.

    Iceland – People may be writing this off too quickly. The song should appeal to juries and televote alike and, as Ewan said, Dadi has recognition beyond the Eurovision bubble.

    Germany – He doesn’t feel hate, but he should feel embarrassed.

  7. Dave Cargill says:

    It’s rare that I have the ‘5 song order’ a complete reverse to the Escinsight jury; but that just happened!

    I found shelf shaking my head …ha!!

    Another very entertaining show! Thanks Samantha, John Paul and of course Ewan!

  8. Simon Alcaraz says:

    Don’t understand whatsoever the appeal of Ukraine this year. Likewise Russia and Australia. I know there’s a trend this year for ‘hyper pop/wall of sounds’ type songs but give me traditional pop with verses and a catchy chorus

  9. Ben Pitchers says:

    Israel: MAYBE. I agree with everything about Eden being let down by this ordinary song. Unfortunately, her 2020 effort and both the other songs from the 2020 NF were so much better. I wish there was more to it; the chorus especially is very sparse. I also find it strange that they took over 2 months to give the song what amounts to a slight remix and a slicker music video. She did say in a video she feels the newer version suits her better. Due to Eden’s talent there is a case to be made for this to just squeeze over the line and make the final, where it probably will be easily overlooked.

    North Macedonia: MISS. For me this is better than his 2020 entry and the other positive is how strong his voice sounds in the recorded version. Unfortunately there’s no hook so it’s hard to remember after it ends. In some sections the choir pulls the focus from him. Slovenia is also putting its choir to better use so the USP is gone. I think this won’t qualify from this competitive semi-final.

    Ukraine: HIT. From the opening notes to that final one, this is such a striking and original entry and in my opinion one of Ukraine’s best so far (and all in Ukrainian!). It will really stand out and has a memorable structure and build. Go_A are such a confident band who know who they are and hopefully a strong staging should guarantee this a place in the final. This is a risky entry but hopefully that will translate to a positive showing. I’d love for this to be top 10 in the final.

    Iceland: HIT. Iceland is the country most likely to have a comparison drawn with 2020’s entry because of how it went viral and how much it was known outside of the cancelled contest. This song isn’t as immediate or memorable but it still very charming and enjoyable. Iceland should be able to get to the final easily but I don’t think they’ll be in the running for a win. A top 10 could be possible though.

    Germany: MAYBE. I remember being pleasantly surprised when I first heard it. Jendrik is engaging and the song is fun and quirky and has something to say. I’m glad it has the breakdown parts because it would all be quite samey without it. There’s not a huge development of the song over the three minutes. This is a really divisive entry: I can see it not doing well with jurors but could catch on with the televoters if Jendrik comes across as winsome. If he comes across as too manic and unfocused this could easily lose points and end up last.

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