• Miles Glaspole

Eurovision 2021 entries by numbers



With 39 confirmed songs for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, it’s about time we make like a grizzled detective and interrogate this year’s songs with the scorching desklamp of history.


Some of these stats may not necessarily mean altogether much in the context of the contest except to superstitious types, while others paint an intriguing portrait of the shape and diversity of the modern-day contest.


Total entries



This year features 39 entries, the lowest since 2014's 37 and well down on the 43 countries that competed in 2018 – incidentally, the same year we last saw Bulgaria and Ukraine.


41 countries were due to compete however Armenia withdrew due to time, production and other factors and Belarus were disqualified due to the political nature of their entry.



Artists





Across gender and act size, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is wonderfully representative with:


  • 17 solo female acts (44%)

  • 13 solo male acts (33%)

  • 9 groups or duos (23%)


This is eerily similar to last year, which featured 15 solo men, 17 solo women, and 9 groups or duos.


This can, of course, be explained in part by the fact we have many returning artists from last year.


The last two years has seen a return to more solo females after males lead the way in 2019.


However, female solo numbers are still a fair bit off the recent high of 22 acts in 2016.


When this year’s groups and their lead singers are taken into account, this year’s acts are almost perfectly balanced: 20 female-led acts, compared with 19 male-led acts.



The English quotient


This year’s Contest continues the steady trend towards performing in English which has been occurring since 2019. After Salvador Sobral’s Portuguese triumph in 2017, there was a sharp lift from 16% to 30% of songs being perfomed in native or non-English languages.





Since then, however, the Contest has since pivoted away from this, with this year seeing only nine songs wholly performed in a language other than English (two in French, and one in each of Spanish, Russian, Danish, Ukrainian, Italian, Serbian and Albanian).


This year’s Contest will also feature the first song to have more than one line in Czech since 2007, the first song in Russian since 2009, and given Go_A’s inability to perform last year, the first fully Ukrainian song to take to the Eurovision stage. This year will will also feature the full-length return of the Danish language after 24 years, with Fyr og Flamme's 'Øve os på hinanden' the first Danish song since Kølig Kaj's 'Stemmen i mit liv' in 1997.


The alphabet game


A well publicised statistic in Eurovision circles revolves around the first letters of the titles of song entries, and how they can prove foreboding for some acts. The stat goes like this: no Eurovision Song Contest winning song has ever had a title beginning with the letters C, G, K, Q, X, Y, or Z.


Some beloved songs have come close to breaking this curse, such as Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations” (UK 1968) and the Netherlands’ 2014 entry, 'Calm After the Storm', but they only managed second place.


If we were to rely solely on this this statistic, we would unfortunately have to rule a line through 'Growing Up Is Getting Old' (Bulgaria), 'Karma' (Albania), 'You' (Georgia), and 'Zitti e buoni' (Italy). Better luck next year, folks.


Song Titles





As the famous interval act of 2016 'Love, love, peace, peace' says, "the song is essential. Let it be about something everyone can connect to. Love works!"


The English word "Love" appearing in the song titles of Eurovision song is inevitable, but this year we only have one entry, 'Love is on My Side' by Black Mamba for Portugal.


The last winner to use the English version of the song was 'Fly on the Wings of Love' back in 2000 while the last non-English wording was 'Amar pelos dois' ('To Love for the Both of Us') in 2017.



As ever, Eurovision remains the diverse and thrilling spectacle we Australians know and love with a uniquely insomniac passion.


A technicolour spectacle of race, gender, language and lyrics that brings a totally different suite of experiences and statistical talking points every year, deadly microbes permitting.


May it long continue to prosper, entertain the world, and give us stats nerds something to fill our spreadsheets.