Review: The Showstoppers Alternative Eurovision

For the second year running, The Showstoppers bring their particular brand of Eurovision charm to your screen at home. You can read my review of last year’s contest here.

Free to view on YouTube, this edition of Alternative Eurovision for 2021, a week in advance of the main event, proves to be a dramatic sequel to last year’s shenanigans, but with stronger production values. This time there is no need for everyone to be on Zoom and there’s an even more tongue-in-cheek approach.

We’ve recently had another venture into the land of alternate Eurovision with the revival of Eurobeat, which also utlised familiar faces to play the Eurovision entrants, with songs poking fun at each nation. You can read my review of that show here.

Cast - Left to right, top to bottom: Australia - AD/BC (Dylan Emery, Philip Pellew), Austria - Marti and Marta (Lucy Trodd, Jonathan Ainscough), Cyprus - Melody (Grace Mouat), Czech Republic - Yana Novakovakova (Jordan Gray), Germany - Hemlick Maneuver (Matthew Cavendish), Greece - Hercules Vigoros (Joshua Jackson), Iceland - Tødd Ogren (Mike McShane), Ireland - Aoifee O’Sullivan (Susan Harrison), Italy - Marla (Julie Clare), Latvia - Hej! And Kristina Jansons (Justin Brett, Ali James), Montenegro - Marco Falatio (Adam Meggido), Russia - Arkhangel (Sean McCann), Sweden - Kristian Älska (Francesca Forristal), Turkey - Hakkan (Dylan Emery),  Germany (2020 winner) -  Rama Stein (Heather Urquhart)
Cast – Left to right, top to bottom: Australia – AD/BC (Dylan Emery, Philip Pellew), Austria – Marti and Marta (Lucy Trodd, Jonathan Ainscough), Cyprus – Melody (Grace Mouat), Czech Republic – Yana Novakovakova (Jordan Gray), Germany – Hemlick Maneuver (Matthew Cavendish), Greece – Hercules Vigoros (Joshua Jackson), Iceland – Tødd Ogren (Mike McShane), Ireland – Aoifee O’Sullivan (Susan Harrison), Italy – Marla (Julie Clare), Latvia – Hej! And Kristina Jansons (Justin Brett, Ali James), Montenegro – Marco Falatio (Adam Meggido), Russia – Arkhangel (Sean McCann), Sweden – Kristian Älska (Francesca Forristal), Turkey – Hakkan (Dylan Emery),  Germany (2020 winner) –  Rama Stein (Heather Urquhart)

With a mix of Showstopper stalwarts and new guests, this show takes affectionate aim at its targets. You’ll spot references to environmentalism, vlogger prank videos and the Irish, and enjoy the quirky names of Eurovision performers (Hemlick Maneuver, Marco Falatio, Hercules Vigoros).

Add in special guest judges (Les Dennis, London Hughes) and commentators (Marcus Brigstoke, Rachel Parris), plus the return of expert statistician Tony Cordial (aka Philip Pellew) this evening bounces along. You also have a chance to vote in real-time for the eventual winner.

Behind the virtual green room door, the saga of Hej and Kristina’s love affair continues, while tensions rise as the contestants score each other with the ‘nul’ and ‘douze’ points. Penguins make another appearance, and Aussie entrants AC/BC may or may not bear a close resemblance to the Antipodean rockers of a similar name. There are digs at the pursuit of fame, and national stereotypes, which get funnier as the evening progresses.

Italy, Ireland, and Sweden entries in The Showstoppers Alternative Eurovision (Marla/Julie Clare, Aoifee O’Sullivan (Susan Harrison), Kristian Älska (Francesca Forristal)
Italy, Austria, and Sweden entries in The Showstoppers Alternative Eurovision (Marla/Julie Clare), Marti and Marta (Lucy Trodd, Jonathan Ainscough), Kristian Älska (Francesca Forristal)

This year’s show benefits from a bit more freedom and variety in the filming, and it is nicely hosted by Andrew and Pippa, regular Showstoppers and unflappable links between the madness.

Supporting the Care Workers Charity again, highlights of the Showstoppers Alternative Eurovision include Marco’s wordplay show for Montenegro, the yo-yo-yodelling of Marti and Marti for Austria, Yana’s dark lament for Czech Republic, and, of course, on the food side, Hej and Kristina’s fish and chips for Latvia and Marla’s pasta for Italy. Sweden’s entry was very atmospheric, and Germany’s quite startling. A night, indeed, for everyone to enjoy.

You can view the Showstoppers Alternative Eurovision 2021 on YouTube.