This started as an old Facebook tradition some years ago, it’s only right I keep it going. Here’s my handy cut out and keep guide to this year’s runners and riders.
UKRAINE 🇺🇦 – Melovin – Under The Ladder
What better opening to the Eurovision Song Contest than this gothic anthem. Just in case you weren’t sure Eurovision was back you have a sex vampire goth rise from his piano crypt. Yeah, we’re back again! Now, we’ve had a piano on fire before but we’ve not had piano stairs on fire before…
SPAIN 🇪🇸 – Alfred & Amaia – Tu Cancion
If you’re not the sort of person who enjoys young people being all lovey dovey with one another then there’s nothing here for you. This is an irritatingly saccharin love song between a couple where clearly one is more in love with the other. I’ll leave you to guess which one is which.
SLOVENIA 🇸🇮 – Lea Sirk – Hvala Ne
The mistake is intentional! When the sound cuts please do bear in mind that it’s meant to happen, it’s not an actual ‘blooper’. It’s just a really cheap trick that lets down the Contest. The powers that be shouldn’t have allowed it to cheapen the show. Song now irrelevant.
LITHUANIA 🇱🇹 – Ieva Zaismasukaite – When We’re Old
This song makes my cry. If you don’t cry you have a heart of stone. Such a heartbreaking stage show ends with Ieva’s actual husband joining her on stage. I can guarantee I’ll be crying after this.
AUSTRIA 🇦🇹 – Cesar Sampson – Nobody But You
A perfectly proficient well sang entry that will no doubt pick up plenty of televotes and jury points. However, I would say after Lithuania most people will be too busy wiping away their tears to focus.
ESTONIA 🇪🇪 – Elina Nechayeva – La Forza
People who know about opera tell me this is not good opera. I know absolutely nothing about the genre and therefore I absolutely love it. The ridiculously over the top projection dress is an absolute delight. All glassware has been removed from the Altice Arena to prevent shattering hazards.
NORWAY 🇳🇴 – Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write a Song
I’ve pretty much written everything I’m going to write about this song elsewhere. It’s a daft three minutes kids’ tune that former Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak sells to within an inch of it’s life. Only due to his immense performance skills has this entry been considered highly as a favourite. I can’t judge where it’s finishing.
PORTUGAL 🇵🇹 – Claudia Pascoal – O Jardim
Another song that leaves me emotionally wrecked. The writer of the song who joins the vocal half way through penned this song in tribute to her deceased Grandmother. Claudia then manages to convey the real heartbreaking pain and sorrow through her beautiful vocal. Second teary moment of the night. See Lithuania GIF.
UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧 – SuRie – Storm
Here’s our girl! Having seen SuRie belt this out live in Brighton I know how well she can belt out Storm and win over a voting public. Regardless of the result tonight Surie has been as amazing ambassador and we’re all incredibly proud of her. AUN YERSEL LASSIE!
SERBIA 🇷🇸 – Sanja Ilic & Balkanika – Nova deca
Nope. I don’t get how this qualified either.
GERMANY 🇩🇪 – Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone
Looks like Carrot Top, attempts to sing like Ed Sheeran. The song is about Michael’s deceased father, hence the schumltzy pictures & graphics of families to hammer home the point. For some this song tugs all the right heart strings, for me it just leaves me cold. Also watch out for pointless trippy graphics two minutes in. Motion sickness ahoy!
ALBANIA 🇦🇱 – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
Looking a little bit like a recently divorced father rediscovering his young rocker self Eugent delivers a strong vocal performance every time. Crucially he adds plenty of blue steel smouldering looks down the lens. One aimed more at juries than the public.
FRANCE 🇫🇷 – Madame Monsieur – Mercy
So this is song about a baby called Mercy who was born to Nigerian refugees whilst on a boat travelling to European during the migrant crisis. A song that is then performed immaculately and stirs deep emotion within me. Watch out for the hand gesture at the end, one Continent joined together by a message of hope. Perfection.
Worry ye not. Ballad-vision is over. Now commences… BANGER-VISION!
CZECH REPUBLIC 🇨🇿 – Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
Now. There is a lot you need to know about our performer here. In rehearsals Mikolas injured his back attempting to back flip. He was in three separate hospitals during the first week and it looked like he wouldn’t take the stage. He has, however, made it and goes through the pain to deliver his very modern track to a high standard. From where he was 10 days him just being here is impressive enough.
DENMARK 🇩🇰 – Rasmussen – Higher Ground
Brooding vikings prowl the stage looking to spread their message of peace. This is a really powerful song and the staging matches. The snow at the end adds that little extra drama. And yes, I know he looks like the guy in Game of Thrones. We all made that joke months ago.
AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺 – Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love
If you like a perfect slice of pop fun then boy you are going to get on board with this in a major way. Jessica has had her fair share of critics in the last two weeks but when it counts her talent and charisma shine through. You can’t help but want to join her and party when she performs. Bonza!
FINLAND 🇫🇮 – Saara Aalto – Monsters
If you look incredibly closely at Saara’s performance you can actually see the kitchen sink. Except the kitchen sink has been covered in glitter and has fire shooting out of it. This is a gloriously camp, over the top performance and the delightful singer really knows how to sell it. It’s also nice to see the Crystal Dome on the Eurovision stage.
BULGARIA 🇧🇬 – Equinox – Bones
Five hipsters have joined together to sing you a lovely song and overcharge you for old furniture. This is a dark brooding number which I’ve never been able to get on board with. It has it’s fans though so I’ll leave this one up to you.
MOLDOVA 🇲🇩 – DoReDos – My Lucky Number
The song is fun up tempo banger. A entry worthy of a good result in it’s own right. However, when you add the finest comedic staging I’ve ever seen on the Eurovision stage (or any other stage for that matter) it raises it to levels previously unknown. Don’t blink, you’ll inevitably miss one of the many big laughs.
SWEDEN 🇸🇪 – Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
The Swedish pop machine continues to produce utterly bland soulless pop that is fine but nothing more. Believe me, this is not a music video. There is an actual audience, you just don’t see them. Will likely be everyone’s fourth favourite and end up taking a victory of averages. Back to Sweden again.
HUNGARY 🇭🇺 – AWS – Viszlat Nyar
ISRAEL 🇮🇱 – Netta – Toy
Netta stands centre stage flanked by two walls of Chinese waving cats. Given her song references Pikachu perhaps walls of waving Pikachus may have been more appropriate. The song is an amazing party tune all about a very serious cause. A very hard thing to do you’d think? Not for Netta, she combines the two perfectly. Definitely could still win.
NETHERLANDS 🇳🇱 – Waylon – Outlaw in ‘Em
Great overblown daft country song utterly ruined by staging that is problematic and a singer who is an utter cock-end of a man. No matter how much you like the song please consider the historical implications of what you can see on the stage.
IRELAND 🇮🇪 – Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together
Ireland have risen to third with the bookies to win Eurovision and frankly I’m baffled. It’s perfectly competent but nothing more. Some have been comparing it to the heartbreaking Lithuanian song. It’s nowhere bloody close.
CYPRUS 🇨🇾 – Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Fuego literally translates as fire. Eleni has proved herself to be the queen of the meme since she’s been out here in Lisbon. Her stoney faced response to a journalist asking her to translate the song’s chorus is nothing shy of genius. Crucially she has also turned up with a killer song and staging to match. Proper mid 00s ESC pop banger, could end up winning at a canter.
ITALY 🇮🇹 – Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente
What happens when you want people to understand some of your song but not all of it. That’s right, you stick a load of words all over it in every language. Everyone gets one line and you just have to work out the rest. I do have a lot of love for this song but the constant scrolling lyrics do somewhat cheapen it. Still a great, defiant ending to the show.
Then last year’s winner Salvador will return for the interval, there will be some not funny sketches. All the jury points will be delivered by 43 national spokespersons. The public votes will be revealed and then we know where I’m going on holiday next year. We’re nearly there. Thousands became 43. 43 became 26. 26 will become 1.