Italy had their worst placing ever last year with ‘La Mia Citta’ by Emma, coming 21st (completely undeserved, tbh). They’re sending some international stars this year, in the form of Il Volo. They’ve performed with Barbra Streisand, and were the only Italian artists on ‘We Are The World for Haiti’. The song is called ‘Grande Amore’, which I think roughly translates as ‘I Love Ariana Grande’. It’s a dramatic popera ballad, and although that’s not my thing, I can see that it’s good. The issue that any Big 7 entry has is that the song needs to click on one listen (as opposed to everyone else who gets the semis), and I think this has that. Potential winner.
Current odds: 7/2 (second favourite)
Despite competing in the contest 27 times, Malta have never won (they have come second twice). They’ve had some really nice entries in the last few years (particularly ‘Coming Home’). Amber is this year’s entrant, with ‘Warrior’. Amber is a Facebook addict, so it’s a real shame that Valentina Monetta isn’t performing this year. It’s another good but inoffensive ballad, and it doesn’t have much staying power (I can’t remember how it goes). The big issue though is that there are two ballads called ‘Warrior’ this year (Georgia is the other one), and this is definitely the weaker of the two. I reckon it’ll get lost in its semi-final.
Current odds: 200/1 (35th favourite)
Switzerland won the first ever contest back in 1956, thanks to Lys Assia (who I swear is at every Eurovision related thing ever). This year Mélanie René is the entrant, with her song ‘Time To Shine’. On paper this does sound like it’s going to be a ballad of X Factor proportions, but instead it borrows more from Emmilie de Forest and Molly. This is about 10% as good as those songs though. In fact, this song just isn’t very good. The melody in the verses is jarring, and overall it just feels half-baked. This has the job of following Sweden’s ‘Heroes’ in the semi-final and I think it’s going to struggle.
Current odds: 200/1 (37th favourite)
This year’s Moldovan song selection included an entry by Kitty Brucknell. That was knocked out early on, in favour of ‘I Want Your Love’ by Eduard Romanyuta. Aside from being a singer, Eduard is also writing his PhD thesis on the tax policy of Ukraine. This song harks back to the late nineties and the early days of Max Martin, but not in a cool way. In fact, it sounds super dated, which is a shame in a year where so many of the songs are forward thinking (I’ll get onto Belgium in a bit). I mean, I completely see what they’re aiming for, but it’s just not cool enough. It could scrape through mind you, just given that it’s up-tempo.
Current odds: 200/1 (33rd favourite)
This year’s German selection was a bit of a shambles. Andreas Kümmert won with his song ‘Heart of Stone’ (with 78.7% of the vote), but withdrew after being announced (Eurovision is not his world, apparently). He was replaced by Ann Sophie, and her song ‘Black Smoke’. The song is co-written by Ella Eyre, and it sounds like it may be an off-cut from her delayed debut. It has the chilled retro stylings of ‘Deeper’, and even Ann Sophie’s voice has a similar raspy quality. Much like her too, there isn’t anything particularly memorable about ‘Black Smoke’, and I can’t see it connecting on the night.
Current odds: 150/1 (29th favourite)
Spain exceeded all expectations last year, with Ruth Lorenzo’s ‘Dancing In The Rain’ being the only Big 5 song in the Top 10 (placing tenth). This time they’ve chosen Edurne, who won the Spanish version of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’. The song’s called ‘Amanecer’, which is Spanish for ‘Dawn’. The song is a ballad that gradually builds and builds before exploding in the final chorus. There are a lot of tribal drums in this one, paired with some diva vocals from Edurne. This is the best ballad in the competition this year. Any other year and this would be certain to do well, but in such a ballad heavy year, it’s hard to tell which will connect.
Current odds: 66/1 (13th favourite)
Belgium have only qualified twice in the last ten years, with Tom Dice’s ‘Me and My Guitar’ being the only real success (it won its semi back in 2010). Loïc Nottet is this year’s entry, with the song ‘The Rhythm Inside”. First and foremost, he composed this entry himself (which is pretty cool considering he’s from The Voice and look at our finalists). This song is incredible too. It’s got that icy, sparse production that Lorde favoured on her first album, and the whole thing is just really good and a complete contrast to all the ballads. I think this’ll be a shock Top 5 placer, in the same way that The Netherlands were last year.
Current odds: 66/1 (12th favourite)
After not qualifying since 2004, The Netherlands have finished in the Top 10 in the last two contests. This year, they’re sending Trijntje Oosterhuis, with her song ‘Walk Along’. The song is written by Anouk, whose entry ‘Birds’ managed to drag the country back to the Top 10. This song suffers from GCBVS, or Good Chorus Bad Verses Syndrome. The verses are a bit shit and forgettable, but the chorus has a real anthemic quality to it (it’s easy to sing innit). It’s a slight step back though: the last two entries have been quite un-Eurovision whereas this is about as Eurovision as it gets. Right-hand side of the final, probs.
Current odds: 150/1 (27th favourite)