Yesterday kicked off my top ten from this year’s batch of hopefuls. Some entries such as those from Albania, Germany, Cyprus & Romania deserve a mention for coming close However, now we’re only one day away from the start of rehearsals it’s time to turn attention to my top five.
5. 🇬🇷 GREECE
Katerine Duska – Better Love
I concluded the previous part praising the rousing nature of Australia’s Zero Gravity and it’s time to do the same about Greece’s Better Love. Duska’s unique vocal works really well with the low-key anthemic feel of the song. Katerine herself comes across as an incredibly compelling performer who, on her day, has a beguiling vocal (ignore the Eurovision in Concert performance). They’ve got the singer, they’ve the song, how this will fare will come down to the staging.
4. 🇪🇸 SPAIN
Miki – La Venda
If ever a nation’s fandom deserved an entry they can get behind it’s our Spanish friends. After Manel Navarro’s dodgy high notes in 2017 and Alfred & Amaia’s nauseatingly saccharine effort from last year Spain needed to step up. La Venda is the uptempo summer party anthem they and we can all get behind. There is an argument that the revamp has somewhat sanitised La Venda and it’s now a tad over-produced. However, if yer man Miki can replicate the live show from Operacion Triunfo it’s not going to matter a jot.
3. 🇲🇹 MALTA
Michela – Chameleon
I liked Fuego. I also liked Asanda’s Legends from last year’s You Decide. If you create a song that sounds like a mix of the two I’m always going to rank it highly. Pulling out of the pre-parties to focus on the staging is a risk. We now have hugely high expectations for their stage show in Tel Aviv. However, if they can pull it off… Valletta in May = hot & cheap. YES PLEASE!
2. 🇳🇱 NETHERLANDS
Duncan Laurence – Arcade
Little did we know at the start of the season the ’emoti-bloke’ would eclipse the ‘Fue-clones’ as this year’s recurring theme. In a saturated market Arcade stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of quality of both singer and song. Like most I was blown away on first listen to Arcade but it was the live performance on Dutch TV a few days later that cemented it’s place as a favourite for me. The moment when the instrumentation kicks in for the final chorus still gives me that tingly feeling. That could be the moment that brings Eurovision back to the Netherlands.
1. 🇳🇴 NORWAY
Keiino – Spirit in the Sky
Hilariously dodgy music video aside, this is perfection. Tom & Alexandra’s pop number is lively enough to stand up on it’s own but when Fred joins the party to joik it up we hit an all new level. Combining the etherial other worldly sound of joik with an absolute pop banger has produced this year’s out and out winner for me. They’d have to be extraordinarily good actors to fake the enthusiasm they’ve carried through the preview parties. If this joy for performance can come down the camera lens then we may well be going back to Oslo. Bank account says no, heart says yes.