Yes, it’s that time of year again. The fifty-eighth Eurovision Song Contest commences in just over two weeks, with songs from thirty-nine countries descending on Malmo, Sweden to try and win the competition. But who will follow in Loreen’s footsteps and take this years title? Here are my predictions about who could take the crown:
Every year there is one song that looks, in the weeks before the show, almost certain to win. This year’s favourite is Emmelie de Forest’s Only Teardrops, which is storming the bookies with odds of 6/5 (William Hill) to win. The track is also a hit with fans, with many citing it as the obvious winner this year. The track itself is very nice and has wide appeal, and I predict is a near certainty in the Top Three. However, as we have seen in the past, the favourites don’t always live up to the hype (most recently Safura in 2010 and Amaury Vassili in 2011 – fifth and fifteenth place respectively).
In contrast, Denmark’s neighbour Finland is a rank outsider to take the title, with current odds of 80/1 (William Hill). The track is Marry Me and is sung by Krista Siegfrids (who is a trainee teacher if Wikipedia is to be believed). The song is very much a Katy Perry-lite, but nonetheless is a very fun track and one of my favourites. I don’t think this will cause much of an upset on the night, but the large amount of MOR could illuminate this song and I predict it could sneak into the Top Ten (which would be the first time since Lordi’s winning entry in 2006).
Stepping away from Scandinavia for a moment (not for long, admittedly) and this years entry from Belarus comes courtesy of Alyona Lanskaya. A somewhat controversial entrant, Lanskaya was disqualified last year as the selection show was rigged in her favour, and this year she is rumoured to have ‘bought’ views for this track on YouTube. The song itself is called Solayoh and is this year’s ‘Eurovision-by-numbers Eastern-European banger’. This currently has odds of 33/1 (William Hill), and I think could do particularly well with the Eurovision fans given that it does sound like ten or so other songs that have done well in the past ten years (see Hadise’s Dum Tek Tek, for example).
One country that has had huge success over the last couple of years is Italy. Since their return in 2011, the country has achieved a second place with Raphael Gualazzi’s The Madness Of Love, as well as a ninth place last year with Nina Zilli’s L’amore è femmina. Hoping to repeat this success is Marco Mengoni, with his track L’essenziale. This is one of many ballads in the competition this year, but it follows the lead of the previous two entries as a smooth, contemporary song that is sure to do well with the juries. Current odds put this at 20/1, but with a good position in the running order I think this could do very well.
In stark contrast to Italy, San Marino have had a terrible time in the contest recently. They have only entered on three occasions prior to this year, and none of which have made it into the final. Back for another go is the infamous Facebook queen Valentina Monetta, with her song Crisalide (Vola). A big fan-favourite, this is a ballad that isn’t trying to be cool or cutting-edge, it is just a nice ballad that is poles apart from the legendary The Social Network Song. Odds at the moment put this at 25/1 (William Hill) but it is proving popular amongst the fans at the moment. Personally I think this will stall on the night, but I’m rooting for them just because I want them to get to the final.
In complete contrast to the last two, Germany are sending dance superstars Cascada with their song Glorious. This song is typical Cascada: an all out banger that is sure to stand out in the final. Natalie Horler has a great live voice too which could create an amazing performance on the night. However, there has been controversy surrounding the song, with many claiming it to be a rip-off of Loreen’s Euphoria. Having said that, Cascada are no stranger to these controversies (see Evacuate the Dancefloor/Just Dance and San Francisco/California Gurls) and I personally don’t think that will holld them back. The track has current odds of 20/1, but I think it could cause an upset on the night.
Here’s one that we all cross our fingers for on the evening: the United Kingdom. Taking the baton this year is 80s two-hit wonder Bonnie Tyler with the ballad Believe In Me. I initially wrote this off as awful, but in the context of all the other songs it’s actually quite a smart move from the BBC. Although not particularly famous here anymore, she has quite a following in Europe (she’s been playing to crowds the size of The O2 Arena) and could thus do quite well on the evening. Equally, this is (despite odds of 25/1) doing fairly well in fan polls, and although I’m not expecting a win from Bonnie, perhaps she could sneak into the Top Ten. Equally, her ‘I’m giving it a go and hoping for the best attitude’ is definitely a marked improvement on last years ‘why did we bother?’ aura.
The final song to keep an eye on this year is the Norwegian entry by Margaret Berger, entitled I Feed You My Love. The track is every bit as grand and experimental as the title suggests. A barn-storming piece of electro-pop, the song comes alive thanks to Berger’s captivating stage performance. The star came second in Norwegian Idol a few years ago, but this is poles apart from your Christopher Maloney’s and Gareth Gates’. Current odds put this as the third favourite to win, but I think this sounds like a winner. Oslo 2014? I very much hope so.