Monday saw the start of my countdown of this year’s pick of the bunch. It was an eclectic mix from Portugal, Czechia, the UK, Malta and France. As for the start of my top ten, I’ve always loved the incongruity of rock at Eurovision and this year we are very much spoiled for choice. As you’re about to see…

10. Slovenia 🇸🇮

Joker Out – Carpe Diem

As someone who’s formative teenage years were exclusively within the first decade of the century, Carpe Diem feels almost purposed made for me. Fellow 00s kids may find echoes of artists such as Hard Fi in this indie number.

The surprise is, perhaps, that it’s coming from Slovenia. And it’s the Slovenian that elevates this to the next level. There is an English lanaguage version but it just does not sound right. I’ve every faith in these lads taking the Slovenian language as high up the scoreboard as it may ever have gone.

The Joker Out fellas, lead singer Bojan in particular, exude charisma form every pore. We are guaranteed a truly electric performance from these boys. If they can garner anything close to the adoration they have in Slovenia they’re on for a very good result indeed.

9. Latvia 🇱🇻

Sudden Lights – Aijā

At number nine we have yet another indie enthused entry courtesy of Latvia’s Sudden Lights. Whereas Slovenia maybe bringing the higher energy side of the genre Latvia are taking a more introspective approach. As a result, it’s the best entry they’ve sent in many a year.

Not since 2017’s Line from Triana Park has the country sent something so complex and high quality, one can only hope this one is a little more appreciated this time. The contrasts of loud and quiet, of the heavier guitar with the electronic sounds…the moment you think you’ve got this song sussed it changes gear.

Latvia haven’t have much luck at Eurovision lately, one can only hope it’s time for Sudden Lights to give them a well deserved place in the final.

8. Germany 🇩🇪

The Lord of the Lost – Blood and Glitter

Blood and glitter, sweet and bitter, we’re so happy we could die. As an opening line I don’t think there’s one finer in this year’s Song Contest. Germany are finally embracing their metal sensibilities at Eurovision in the most glorious manner.

It’s felt, in recent years, that Germany have got lost in radio friendly entries which have largely failed to hit the mark. Then when they’ve tried something different and it didn’t work they went back to radio friendly again. Finally, it feels like they’re full committing to doing something different, yet oddly familar, at Eurovision.

Blood and Glitter is everything I’d hope for when it comes to German metal. There’s a generous mix of vulnerability and full on snarling from Chris Harms on lead vocal. The stage show is there, the pyro is there…it’s even got the royal seal of approval!

7. Croatia 🇭🇷

Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!

Sometimes balls to the wall (almost literally) batshittery of the highest order is exactly what’s needed at the Eurovision Song Contest. This year Croatia have delivered that and whole lot more in this anti-war, tractor filled riotous three-minute extravaganza.

Even just the briefest of glances of their Wikipedia page (go on, you won’t regret) will give you an idea of just how anarchic this mob are. Given how strict the rules are surrounding Eurovision and uniformity of performances this is the one act I am most excited to see live.

As for the song? With lyrics talking of armageddon and little vicious psychopaths, it doesn’t take the biggest of mental leaps to figure out who this may be aimed at. Whilst the meaning may fly over the heads non-Croatian speakers, you certainly aren’t going to forget it in a hurry!

6. Norway 🇳🇴

Alessandra – Queen of Kings

By virtue of being chosen so early Norway felt like a front-runner for so long it has recently lost some of it’s allure. Perhaps I’ve overplayed this since it’s release back in January but it definitely feel like this would’ve been higher a month ago.

So I’ve had to think about those first few times I heard it and saw it performed. It is a total BANGER. A proper thumping anthem performed with the full energy required from Alessandra. This is more than worthy as a show opener for the whole Contest in that first semi final.

Half Italian, half Norwegian Alessandra is a live performer you simply cannot ignore. She’s an absolute firecracker and if she brings the same energy as she did at Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix then this will be very popular.

And a damn sight more exciting than the actual Italian entry.

And that leaves us with just five more to go, come back on Friday when I reveal my pre-show top 5.

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