In recent years, Israel has found their groove at Eurovision with a string of strong results, including a win in 2018. After hosting the contest in 2019, the nation returned in 2020 with Eden Alene, who was selected to return in 2021 after the cancellation of last year’s contest. This year, she will be singing Set Me Free, but will it continue the streak of final qualifications?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
The Israeli song selection this year offered up some strong songs, and with Eden’s charm and incredibly strong vocals, no matter which song, the nation was in with a strong chance at qualifying at Eurovision. At the time, I saw Set Me Free as perhaps the weaker of the three songs, with La La Love my personal favourite. After grieving the loss of my favourite tune of the national final, I started to get on board with Set Me Free, and with the revamp, it’s turning out to be one of my favourite songs this year.
The first version of the song featured a lot of redeeming features, but the revamp has really refined a lot of minor details to create more of a cohesive song. The production is tighter, and the key change is officially gone. Key changes are good in the right context, but in this song, it made the song feel a bit more dated. Removing it was the right choice, and instead of the key change, we get to hear Eden’s impressive whistle notes. If she pulls that off, that will be an impressive moment. Overall, this version of the song gives Eden more chance to really show off those pipes, and we know she is a very confident singer and performer.
I much prefer Set Me Free over Feker Libi, but what I do miss is that strong cultural identity in the song. I still listen to the national final entry from last year, Roots, and wish that we could have seen something similar to that. Israel has been really great at integrating traditional beats and languages in unique, contemporary songs, but Set Me Free doesn’t quite tick that box.
Performance and Act
This song suits strong choreography, and I have no doubt that we will get that in the live performance. I hope that the team doesn’t do anything too cheesy, as this performance will shine simply with some good choreography and good styling. There were some killer outfits in the revamped music video, and I hope we get to see some of that unique style filter into the live performance. I have high hopes for this performance.
I’m baffled by the low placement of Israel in the odds, and while I know they aren’t the best indicator, I really think Israel will cruise to the final. Eden is an incredibly strong performer, and Set Me Free is a strong song. With a strong visual performance, I can’t see why this would remain in the semi-final.
Song and Vocals
Israel’s pop banger ‘Set me free’ has received a revamp late March and I think it has made the song stronger and a bit more contemporary. Still, the song is a bit dated and there are better songs in this genre in the class of 2021. Eden Alene is a performer that knows how to work the camera, so she has everything in the book needed to do well in May. The high screams and shouting at the end of the song can be a welcome addition, but can also be the conclusion of a terrible live performance. So far I have faith in her qualities, so I hope she does deliver.
Performance and Act
Eden Alene works the stage and camera like a professional artist. Usually this is something that a jury always picks up and rewards, so I think Israel should be in the top-10 of their list, if she gives a solid vocal performance as well. Her fresh combination of singing and dancing, whilst interacting with other dancers, was fun to watch and this is something she will surely include in the 2021-performance again.
Israel has a decent entry for the contest of 2021, performed by a more than decent singer. However, in this genre, there is tough competition. Just in this semi final alone, with Lithuania, Cyprus, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Malta – to name a few – there are a lot of artists fishing in the same pool for the necessary votes. And not all uptempo pop songs will make it through. Of the list I just shared, Israel is the nation that gives me the most question marks.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 7.2/10