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Can the 2021 Eurovision winner reach the popularity of songs from years gone by?

Acts from all over Europe will be putting the finishing touches on their performances for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in Rotterdam on the 22nd of May. There’s a big question to ask after the contest is finished, though. Will that winning song go onto become an anthem that is listened to by different generations, or will it have one moment in the sun and then have very few listens outside of Eurovision fans?

Who’s in the running to win Eurovision in 2021?

There are a few countries that have been highlighted as potential favorites to win in 2021. The Eurovision 2021 betting odds puts Malta as strong favorites to win and the second and third favorites to win are France and Switzerland, respectively.

The United Kingdom, who will be represented by James Newman in Rotterdam, are seen by many experts and Eurovision fans as extremely unlikely to win. The singer-songwriter has already had some success in the industry – he’s had two singles in the UK Downloads Charts top 50 – and an appearance at Eurovision will provide a boost to his profile, regardless of whether he wins or not.

Some of the most popular Eurovision songs

Will the winning song go onto reach the iconic status of some previous winners? ABBA’s winning entry in 1974 was Waterloo and it’s not contentious to say that the popularity of this song has never decreased. It has been streamed around 112 million times on Spotify. The video below shows one of their performances from 1974 and it has been watched over three million times since it was uploaded in 2014.

Amazingly, Waterloo isn’t the most streamed Eurovision song on Spotify. This accolade now goes to ‘Arcade’ by Duncan Alexander. The 2019 Eurovision winning song has been streamed over 170 million times.

Scooch represented the United Kingdom in 2007 with the song ‘Flying the Flag.’ Despite finishing 22nd out of the 24 entries that entered that year, the song itself has remained memorable.  They certainly put on a more than memorable show that year and they have since developed something of a cult following. The band themselves have discussed how their track went on to become something of a gay anthem in an interview with Attitude last year.

Changing nature of Eurovision and the music industry as a whole

The 2021 winner will ultimately go on to work in a music industry that is quite different to the one that a group like ABBA entered in the 1970s. Social media has obviously developed over the last decade and performers across the entertainment industry have had to respond.

Coverage on social media platforms such as Twitter is now important. Putting on a show in Rotterdam that gets people talking is now the key – making sure your song will go viral, much like Daði og Gagnamagnið’s Think about Things, is perhaps more important than your single charting.

An article from NME in 2015 looked at some of the craziest Eurovision performances from years gone by. Not all these acts went on to win but the fact that many are still being spoken about afterwards speaks volumes and potentially means they will always have a following of dedicated fans. Who remembers Lordi in 2006 and the iconic ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah?’ A video of the performance, first uploaded to YouTube in 2011, has been watched over 40 million times. So, it’s not all album sales or even song quality. It’s about getting eyeballs on your act’s brand – we’re sure 2021’s edition won’t disappoint.

Photo by Tnarik Innael (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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