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In pictures: Eurovision 2021's most unique contestants

Published 5:01 AM ET, Fri May 21, 2021
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Lithuania's The Roop were one of several contestants set to enter last year's contest, before the pandemic scuppered those plans. This year they're back with "Discoteque," a dance anthem that some have pegged as a dark horse for victory. Paulius Zaborskis/Eurovision
Last year, Azerbaijan's Efendi entered with "Cleopatra," a suggestive song told from the perspective of the historic femme fatale. But the pandemic forced her to find new inspiration, so this year she's going with "Mati Hari," a suggestive song told from the perspective of a different historic femme fatale. Embodying the role of the suspected World War I spy with careful deliberation, she sings: "I'm a godless spy, I'm a spy, I uncover all of your secrets, I want them." Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
San Marino's Senhit appears at rehearsals with an elaborate golden headdress adorned with pictures of American rapper Flo Rida. Together, the pair form one of the unlikeliest partnerships in Eurovision history. "We worked together for this song, and we have a lot of discussion about the lyrics, the verbs and everything," she told CNN. "You will see a beautiful surprise." Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
Malta has never won Eurovision, but Destiny is hoping to change that with an entry that has been atop most bookmakers' list of favorites. "It would be special, because we've been waiting for this moment," she told CNN. "What matters is that I'm enjoying my time here. Whatever happens happens." Andres Putting/EBU/Eurovision
The competition's bad boys Blind Channel have been playing down their hopes, but their brand of pop metal often does surprisingly well at Eurovision. "We hope Europe will like it but if they don't that's fine too," they told CNN. "We're going to come here and do exactly our own thing, no compromises." Andres Putting/EBU/Eurovision
A dancer dressed as a hand appears during Germany's number, tactfully described by the delegation as a two-finger peace sign. But when the dancer plays their trumpet, the sign becomes somewhat less inoffensive. "You can wiggle with that middle finger, it'll never wiggle back to you," Jendrik sings, during the camp and regretfully catchy tune. Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
Ireland are the most successful country in Eurovision history, with seven wins. "It really did grow up watching this and loving the show," Lesley Roy told CNN. "It only helps coming to something so big like this to have such legends behind me." Her song "Maps" was a fan favorite, but missed out on qualification for the final. Andres Putting/EBU/Eurovision
Montaigne had to perform from thousands of miles away; Australia's travel restrictions mean she was the only of the artists not in Rotterdam. The singer dropped out in the first semi-final, marking the first time since Australia joined the competition in 2015 that they haven't made the final stage. Jess Gleeson/Eurovision
North Macedonia's Vasil shows off his sparkly vest during rehearsals. He failed to qualify from the first semi-final. Andres Putting/EBU/Eurovision
No, Spandau Ballet aren't re-uniting this weekend; but Denmark's 80s-inspired duo Fyr & Flamme are hoping to claim the country's fourth title. Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
Daði & Gagnamagnið are arguably the biggest stars at the competition, thanks to the success of their would-be entry last year. Their six foot ten lead singer Daði told CNN he's frequently stopped by fans in Iceland -- "I'm pretty hard to miss" -- but a positive Covid-19 test meant they missed out on several days of preparation. Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
"El Diablo," Elena Tsagrinou's entry for Cyprus, was condemned by the country's Orthodox Church for "advocating our surrender to the devil." But the tune is one of the frontrunners this year, and would mark the country's first win. Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
Songwriter James Newman has penned hits for other artists, but he's going it alone at Eurovision. "We've got to show Europe that we care about it as much as they do, and we're putting in a really big effort," he told CNN. The UK's entry came dead last in 2019, and Britain has made several appearances near the bottom of the leaderboard in recent years. Thomas Hanses/EBU/Eurovision
The contest is taking place at the Rotterdam Ahoy, an events venue in the Netherlands' second-largest city. 3,500 fans will be in attendance, and social distancing is not required inside the venue. Avrotros Nathan Reinds/NOS/NPO/Eurovision