Welcome back gentle reader, and thanks for sticking with me on this review of all this year’s entries to the Eurovision Song Contest from sunny Copenhagen. We’re now left with the six remaining songs that are definitely through to the Saturday night, presented to you in alphabetical order. Once more, I’m also giving you the betting odds, courtesy of oddschecker.com (taking all the bookmakers who will give you the first four places each way, as at 25th April) and also giving each song a star rating out of 5. Let’s dive in!
Denmark – Basim – Cliché Love Song
The host nation returns with the third major dollop of Marmite in this year’s contest. Some people are raving about this, saying Denmark’s going to win the show two years in a row, hands down. To those people I say, are you out of your mind? How on earth did it take four people to put those lyrics together – did they just draw random words out of a hat? I admit, it’s an obscenely catchy tune (accurately described as Bruno Mars’ version of “You to me are Everything”) but destroyed for me by its (sadly successful) linguistic search for the lowest common denominator. Fortunately they’re now singing “another cliché baby” instead of the original words – google it if you don’t believe me. Surely no self-respecting jury would give this the time of day. However, it has a brilliant draw (23rd) and so will probably do very well. 8/1 to 9/1 *
France – Twin Twin – Moustache
And yet more Marmite; in fact this is a very yeast extract, 100% vegetarian year. When Moustache first hit our youtube screens a couple of months ago I thought it was a disastrous mess – and the live performance was frankly shoddy. However, I really enjoy the promo video, and in the studio version this is full of fun, with a singalong chorus that anyone can join in, even if the nearest they’ve been to la belle France is un Brie et grape sandwich. Strictly speaking, Twin Twin should be in capitals, but I didn’t want to shout at you. The lyrics, hard to catch because they get pelted at you faster than “terms and conditions may apply” on a radio advert, are a clever satire on today’s “I Want, Must Have” culture. Most people whose opinion I have sought on this one hate it. I suspect it will bomb. But I love it. 66/1 to 150/1 *****
Germany – Elaiza – Is it Right
This year Germany has gone for an all-girl group – nothing wrong with that – with traces of Ukrainian folk style in their music – nothing wrong with that either – and a self-penned song about a relationship break-up – which can be the source of great creativity. Sadly “Is it Right” is an extremely drab, cumbersome song that turns me off by the time I reach the third word. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my “right”s to have fewer than nine syllables (and my “undo”‘s to have less than five, while we’re at it). They seem to be having such a fun time in their promotional photographs – they must have been singing something else during the shoot. File this under “worthy”. 33/1 to 100/1 *
Italy – Emma – La mia Citta
Hooray, it’s rock-chick time again. Ziggy Stardust’s Italian sister Emma came to prominence by winning a TV talent show four years ago and since then she’s had three Number One albums and four Number one singles so she’s obviously doing something right. She’s also a whizz on the guitar as well as a vocalist. On the scary scale she comes somewhere between Mei Finegold and Tijana. Great verse, but then the chorus lets it down a bit. I predict the sales of strawberry hair extensions to rocket. 40/1 to 66/1 ***
Spain – Ruth Lorenzo – Dancing in the Rain
Ruth seems to divide opinions – mainly with those people who thought Brequette should have won the Spanish final. A common criticism is that she is a bit screechy, but we saw her at the London Party and I can tell you she was ace; no one will sleep through her Nessun Dorma. This isn’t the kind of song I would normally go for, but the ex-X-Factor girl makes it an occasion. If you’re in north-eastern France amuse your friends at your Eurovision party by singing “Dancing in Lorraine”. They’ll always remember you for it. Perhaps Spain’s best result in decades? An excellent each-way bet. 33/1 to 66/1 *****
UK – Molly – Children of the Universe
Last but not least it’s our Molly. She’s dropped the Smitten-Downes surname for the purposes of Eurovision which I’m sure will help the caption-writers. The rhythm and orchestration of the song have immediate impact, it’s quirky and the chorus has a memorable hook. On the down side, I think Molly needs to learn how to present an act better – she’s fine with an audience completely on her side but in competition I’m not sure how dynamic she’ll come across. She always reminds me of a San Francisco flower power girl circa 1968. Mrs Chrisparkle has a particular problem with Molly’s diction – she can’t work out a word she’s saying. Hard to call – could come anywhere between 1st and 25th. 10/1 to 14/1 ***
For the third year on the row, here is my little analysis of the songs that have received the most hits on the eurovision.tv youtube channel, as at the moment of writing. Last year Montenegro had received the most (did not qualify), followed by Ukraine in second place (came 3rd) and Denmark in third (came 1st) – so maybe there are a few hints to be gained from this exercise. As it stands at the moment here are the scores on the doors:
10th – Ukraine (450,195)
9th – Poland (494,763)
8th – Israel (541,993)
7th – Azerbaijan (576,248)
6th – United Kingdom (605,776)
5th – Italy (648,615)
4th – Spain (690,635)
3rd – Montenegro (837,945)
2nd – Austria (1,793,510)
1st – Armenia (2,196,541)
So maybe it really is Armenia’s to lose this year.
My top ten favourites this year?
In at number 10, it’s the not too scary Tijana with To The Sky for FYR Macedonia
At 9, it’s the much scarier Mei Finegold and Same Heart for Israel
My number 8 is Sebalter from Switzerland whistling his way through a posh hotel
7th place goes to the Slovenian flautist Tinkara with Round and Round
6 is the reflective Balkan charm of Sergej Cetkovic from Montenegro
At Number 5 that dubious material song from Hungary, Running
My 4th choice is for that earworm from Estonia, Tanja and Amazing
Top 3 – At 3 it’s the Greek Pet Shop Boys, Freaky Fortune plus young RiskyKidd and Rise Up
Runner-up those never satisfied French guys seeking a moustache
And my favourite song this year is the hopelessly doomed, Mary Berry-inspired Latvians with their Cake to Bake.
As to the winner? Choose from any of these ten:
This is an impossibly hard year to call!
Meet you back here the Wednesday after Semi Final one for a chinwag about the results? It’s a deal.