Eurovision kicks off tomorrow. Here are my preliminary thoughts but, as we know from previous years, the live performance can change everything (my picks are at the very end).
Australia | Montaigne | Technicolour – I like it more than her 2020 effort, but I really, really didn’t like the 2020 effort. Won’t be holding out any hope for AUS this year.
Austria | Vincent Bueno | Amen – musically, a marginally more interesting take on the religious theme than Slovenia’s ‘Amen’.
Azerbaijan | Efendi | Mata Hari – I don’t know… I just get tired of hair extensions and popping bodies (see also: Croatia, Israel, Greece, Latvia).
Belgium | Hooverphonic | The Wrong Place – it’s very late-nineties-early-2000s, isn’t it?
Bulgaria | Victoria | Growing Up Is Getting Old – the biggest nod to COVID (apart from Romania’s trackies). I like it.
Croatia | Albina | Tick-Tock – I reckon there’s a version of this song every year.
Cyprus | Elena | Tsagrinou | El Diablo – this song sounds sooooo familiar (did I dance to this in the nineties at Silvers?). Will be a contender.
Czech Republic | Benny Cristo | Omaga – boy version of Azerbaijan/ Croatia / Israel
Denmark | Fyr & Flamme | Øve os på hinanden – Minister for Arts, Denmark, “I’m sorry, we have no budget for Eurovision this year.”
Estonia | Uku Suviste | The Lucky One – good grief. Read the Eurovision room Uku – we don’t do ‘sexy’ like that.
France | Barbara Pravi | Voilà – it’s fine but I always get this feeling that France doesn’t try very hard because they think Eurovision is a bit dumb.
Georgia | Tornike Kipiani | You – I didn’t expect that! Won’t win but will be a refreshing change of pace on the night.
Germany | Jendrik| I Don’t Feel Hate – be prepared to be annoyed, and then accept that you’ll be singing along by the end of the song. Anyone rocking a trombone as hard as this outfit deserves to win, and if you’re still not convinced, the ‘tap break’ should clinch it.
Greece | Stefania | Last Dance – the Eurovision version of ‘…and I woke up, and it was all a dream….’. Ugh. If there’s a flying horse and a flood on stage, it will be in the running. otherwise file it with Azerbaijan et al.
Iceland | Daði og Gagnamagnið | 10 Years – last year’s song is a very, very hard act to follow. Let’s be frank, COVID robbed Iceland of a Eurovision win. 10 Years is a terrific, catchy song with a lovely message. Has to be a strong contender.
Ireland | Lesley Roy | Maps – hope this song doesn’t get overlooked. Cross fingers for some brilliant staging to give it a lift (and pray that it’s not sand art).
Israel | Eden Alene | Set Me Free – brilliant styling but a forgettable song.
Italy | Måneskin | Zitti e buoni – Hmmm… eclectic or plain confused?
Latvia | Samanta Tīna | The Moon Is Rising – hot mess.
Lithuania | The Roop | Discoteque – well I love that shade of yellow… and the clever lighting… but not much else about this performance.
Netherlands | Jeangu Macrooy | Birth of a New Age – home ground advantage will see lots of support for this song (which sounds more soccer anthem than Eurovision power ballad).
North Macedonia | Vasil | Here I Stand – way too Disney-movie for me.
Norway | Tix | Fallen Angel – the gangster-cupid thing is so terrible. Everyone will love it.
Poland | Rafał | The Ride – they know their way around neon but otherwise, forgettable.
Portugal | The Black Mamba | Love Is on My Side – I totally LOVE this song, although probably is more Smooth FM than Eurovision-kooky.
Romania | Roxen | Amnesia – I like the COVID costuming (trackies for everyone!) but not sure there’s enough light and shade to really lift it into the winner’s circle.
Russia | Manizha | Russian Woman – sassy but lacking polish.
San Marino Senhit[g] | Adrenalina – every year, San Marino for the random.
Serbia | Hurricane | Loco Loco – the Serbian Macarena??
Slovenia | Ana Soklič | Amen – Ana must have been spewing when she discovered that there were two songs called ‘Amen’ in this year’s line-up. Both are full of cliches.
Spain | Blas Cantó | Voy a quedarme – is it a lovely story or is it creepy? I don’t know, but there’s opportunity for show-off vocals.
Sweden | Tusse | Voices – there’s nothing particularly fresh here but Sweden know what the judges want (key changes, power chords). Not enough to win but will be up there.
Switzerland Gjon’s Tears | Tout l’Univers – all sorts of existential shit going on here. Question is, can he bring it to the Eurovision stage? (Also, I’m getting an Arcade vibe from this one, which is fine because Arcade was obviously an exceptionally good song).
Ukraine | Go_A | Shum (Шум) – steampunk meets Helen Macdonald? Sure! And let’s add a tin whistle. And put something across our face. Bananas.
United Kingdom | James Newman | Embers – reliably ordinary.
My favourites (in no order) are Iceland, Germany, Portugal, Cyprus, Switzerland, and Ireland.
The current odds are suggesting Italy, France, Malta, Iceland and Cyprus are the front-runners.
The fact that my 2021 Eurovision merch hasn’t arrived (yet) will not dampen my enthusiasm. Yes, I will be up at 5am three mornings this week.