Let’s set the scene: it’s a Sunday in March… all is quiet in the Twitter-verse, and the end of national final season is fast approaching. After Senhit’s commitment to the contest over the past 12 months with her #FreakyTripToRotterdam, fans were readily waiting her 2021 offer. However, two weeks prior to this, Senhit had delayed the release of her entry for San Marino. Initially, this was met with eye rolls, as song releases were already heavily weighted towards the end of March, and many assumed she merely didn’t want her entry to be forgotten about by the time the deadline had passed.
How wrong we were…
It’s lunchtime on this Sunday in March, and, as is common during national final season, rumours of a leak are beginning to come out, and this time it’s San Marino. Over the course of an afternoon, Twitter is set alight, as it becomes apparent that Senhit is likely not to be the only name attached to Sammarinese entry. Whispers slowly turn into shouts as the rumour builds more credence: Flo Rida will be featuring on the track. Within the next 24 hours, the song has been released to instant approval, with the phrases ‘banger’, ‘instant qualifier’, and ‘one to watch’ all being thrown about. The song rocketed to the top of the ‘My Eurovision Scoreboard’ app, and we started questioning whether Eurovision 2022 might end up being held in Valentina’s back garden.
Roll on 22nd May, and with San Marino set to close the show, we were all awaiting a huge televoting score and their best placing to date, but it wasn’t to be. San Marino placed 22nd; receiving 50 points; of which only 13 came from the televote. This begs the question, where did it all go wrong?
The running order?
San Marino seemed to have a great slot lined up for them, closing the show after Tusse’s ‘Voices’, which many had deemed one of Sweden’s weakest entries in recent years. However, discounting Tusse, Senhit had some strong competition in the latter half of the show. Including Barbara Pravi, Efendi, hometown hero Jeangu Macrooy, and eventual winners Måneskin. Within this run ‘Adrenalina’ and ‘Mata Hari’ could be considered the closest to mainstream pop songs. Therefore, is it a coincidence that ‘Mata Hari’ finished 20th and ‘Adrenalina’ 22nd? I’m not so sure.
Is this even allowed?
While Eurovision fans were aware of Flo Rida’s involvement in the contest from March 2021, many locals only learnt of his involvement after mainstream news coverage once the contest had begun. As my love of Eurovision is known by many in my life, once the week of the contest arrives, I often find that many people will ask me who I think they should place their betting money on. However, this year, there was a new question I was faced with: what is Flo Rida doing at Eurovision, and is this even allowed? Is he not too internationally renowned? Obviously, in this instance, I was able to inform them that yes, this is allowed. However, will the casual viewer necessarily know this? Probably not.
While having the opportunity to open the second semi-final, and close the final might have seemed like a dream come true for San Marino when both running orders were announced, did it actually lure them into a false sense of security? Despite being widely regarded as one of the strongest entries in semi-final 2, they only placed 9th on the night. Perhaps opening the show meant that they weren’t fresh in the viewers’ minds when it came to placing their votes?
However, when it came to the final they had no such excuse, or did they? With Flo Rida attached to the entry, I saw a few tweets online of people claiming that the Sammarinese entry was actually the start of the interval, as in recent years Eurovision have included mainstream pop acts within the interval. Perhaps, after a few too many beverages, locals stopped paying attention to the recaps, and therefore didn’t notice that ‘Adrenalina’ was a competing song.
Following this year’s contest, there has been a lot of online talk about authenticity. All songs in the top five were written by the artists that performed the tracks; many fans interpreted this to mean that these artists were taking songs that represented them and their musical style. This seems to be considered a big part of what led to their success in the contest. While I take issue with this theory to some extent, I truly think that what you cannot ignore is the individuality that the top five this year had.
Over the last 10 years (not an intentional Daði Freyr reference there!), the contest had become more and more saturated with pop tracks. While winners such as Jamala, and Salvador Sobral won by standing out from the crowd, winners such as Netta, and Måns Zelmerlöw seemed to be more indicative of the direction the contest was heading in. There is no doubt which group ‘Adrenalina’ fits into, and perhaps Europe was ready for something different?
Or something more sinister?
Whilst Eurovision is known for its inclusivity, not all of Europe shares the same views. Historically, black performers have underperformed in the competition in comparison to their white counterparts.
2021 was no different.
‘Adrenalina’ was not the only fan favourite song by a black performer to score significantly less than expected in the tele vote. Malta’s entry, ‘Je Me Casse,’ received 255 points, of which only 47 came from the public; meaning that they finished in 7th place overall, despite being one of the favourites to win from the songs release. In fact, other than Sweden’s entrant, Tusse, every black performer received more points from the jury than the tele vote.
Do you think ‘Adrenalina’ was robbed, or was it overrated from the beginning? Let us know in the comments.