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Iceland withdraw from live Eurovision shows, PRS announces 2020’s most played UK entries

By | Published on Thursday 20 May 2021

Daði og Gagnamagnið

Last year’s presumed Eurovision winners Daði og Gagnamagnið from Iceland have been ruled out of performing live at this year’s competition, after a member of the band tested positive for COVID-19.

The band had already been quarantined after a member of their team tested positive, but had been given the all clear on Tuesday to join Wednesday’s rehearsal and today’s semi-final. However, yesterday vocalist Daði Freyr tweeted: “A member of Gagnamagnið got a positive test result this morning. Unfortunately this probably means that we will not take part in the rehearsal today or live show tomorrow and a recording from our second rehearsal will be used instead”.

Confirming that this development did indeed rule the band out of the rehearsals and live shows, Eurovision organisers later said in a statement: “In close collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union and the host broadcaster, Daði og Gagnamagnið have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from performing in this year’s live Eurovision song contest shows. They only want to perform together as a group. Their song will remain in the competition and we will broadcast their rehearsal performance, recorded on the stage on 13 May”.

Earlier this year, it was announced that plans for a live Eurovision 2021 show would go ahead, but with various contingencies in place just in case some or all of the performers were not be able to take part live. This mainly involved pre-recording performances that could be used in the semi-finals and grand final in place of a live performance on the night.

Until now, the only act who has had to use a pre-recorded performance was Australia’s Montaigne with her song ‘Technicolour’. In her case, that was because she had been unable to travel to host city Rotterdam due to pandemic travel restrictions, perhaps unsurprisingly, her being a Eurovision contender from a somewhat un-European country.

Australia was one of six contenders to be eliminated in the first semi-final, with Montaigne saying later that she had been at a “severe disadvantage” due to having to use a pre-record. It is the first time the country has not qualified since it began taking part in 2015.

“I sang live, in a pre-recorded video, with less than a month of rehearsal and three months less preparation to practice than everyone else, in a much smaller space without the access to resources like a massive LED screen and pyrotechnics”, she explained on Twitter.

For Daði og Gagnamagnið, at least their performance will be more recent and also on the actual Eurovision stage, which puts them closer to a level playing field with the other acts. There is also a lot of goodwill towards them, thanks to the popularity of their song ‘Think About Things’, which they would have performed at Eurovision 2020 had it not been cancelled.

This year’s song ‘Ten Years’ is also popular, and will perhaps gain a sympathy vote boost, given that the band came so close to actually taking part in the live shows. In another tweet, Freyr added: “We have all been extremely careful the whole trip so this [positive COVID test] comes as a huge surprise. We are very happy with the performance and super excited for you all to see it!”

Is that enough Eurovision news now?

No, of course not! There’s a chart to be had. Who doesn’t love a chart? After BBC Radio 2 revealed the UK’s (supposed) favourite Eurovision songs earlier this week, collecting society PRS For Music has now revealed the former British entries that enjoyed the most airplay in the UK last year.

And the number one might not be what you expect. Unless you’re expecting it to be Gina G’s ‘Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit’. Because that’s what it is. Apparently it received the equivalent of five and a half days of continuous TV and radio airplay last year. Who’d have thought it possible? Amazingly, that means that the UK’s 2020 entry – ‘My Last Breath’ by James Newman – which you might have guessed was the only Eurovision song to get significant airplay list year, is down at number two.

Here’s the full top 20 with the year that each song was performed at Eurovision…

1. Gina G – Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit (1996)

2. James Newman – My Last Breath (2020)

3. Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up (1981)

4. Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me (1976)

5. Katrina And The Waves – Love Shine A Light (1997)

6. The New Seekers – Beg, Steal Or Borrow (1972)

7. Cliff Richard – Congratulations (1968)

8. Love City Groove – Love City Groove (1995)

9. Sandie Shaw Puppet On A String (1967)

10 Lulu – Boom Bang-a-Bang (1969)

11. Cliff Richard – Power To All Our Friends (1973)

12. Bardo – One Step Further (1982)

13. Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran – Rock Bottom (1977)

14. Scooch – Flying The Flag (For You) (2007)

15. Precious – Say It Again (1999)

16. The Allisons – Are You Sure? (1961)

17. Michael Rice – Bigger than Us (2019)

18. Mary Hopkin – Knock, Knock Who’s There? (1970)

19. Imaani – Where Are You? (1998)

20. SuRie – Storm (2018)