All 39 Eurovision Song Contest entries are already available to watch online on eurovision.tv. Not patient enough to wait for the big day, we have had a sneaky preview look and passed our own judgement. We have graded each song according to both our own personal tastes and to what we think its chances are of success.
Here is the first selection: these are the first five songs that will be performed in Semi-Final 1 on Tuesday, May 14. Come back tomorrow for the next instalment!
Who the hell are we to judge?
The euronews jury is made up of three music-loving but unfortunately not music-playing journalists, who reserve the right to be honest while trying to remain respectful to the performers: Mark Davis (normally found listening to Pearl Jam, Jake Bugg, the Stone Roses), Thomas Seymat (Alt-J, Franck Ocean, Daft Punk) and Marie Jamet (Marvin Gaye, Pulp, Clinic).
Natália Kelly – Shine
MD: 19-year-old Natália has got plenty of energy and a good indie singing voice but is let down a little by the song, which is fairly pedestrian and gets a bit repetitive. I think the word ‘shine’ is used about six hundred times. Not my cup of tea but no worse than some of the stuff out there, I suppose. Staple Eurovision fare. 2 personal taste points (out of a maximum 12), I would offer odds of 40-1 to win.
TS: Yup, it’s a decently produced pop-rock song, albeit a repetitive one. Natália seems like a fun girl to be around and the song is catchy enough to play on heavy rotation on commercial radios throughout Europe during the summer. But it is definitely not quirky enough to win. 5 points, 25-1 to win.
Birgit Õigemeel - Et Uus Saaks Alguse
TS: One of the great things about Eurovision is that you hear songs in languages that otherwise seem very far away. But the lyrical sonority of Estonian, the singer’s clear eyes and dimples are not going to make up for this otherwise nondescript song. 2 points, 60-1 to win.
MD: I quite like this one. Probably because my Dad used to play a lot of Rita Coolidge and there’s a bit of Rita about Birgit. Nothing fancy, just a pretty girl in a pretty dress with a soft voice. This song actually makes me want to learn Estonian. Does Birgit teach? 10 points, 8-1 to win.
Hannah – Straight Into Love
MD: I’m fairly certain I’ve heard this song before. At a previous Eurovision Song Contest maybe. Or in hundreds of nightclubs. Which means that either Slovenia have ripped off an existing tune (unlikely) or this is just textbook Eurovision disco fodder (likely). I’m fairly sure I’ll hear this again on holiday somewhere over the summer but I can’t really see myself getting too excited about it. 3 points, 33-1 to win.
TS: Hanna Straight to Love: Yes, it is all been heard before, and better. But the dubstep element is used more appropriately than other entries (granted, that was not very hard). As a Eurodance song, it does the job. Her voice is a bit reminiscent of the House divas of the early 90s. 3 points, 45-1 to win.
Klapa s Mora - Mižerja
TS: Bold move from Croatia, which skips on the Eurovision glitter with a vocal band singing ‘klapa’, traditional Croatian music that’s on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Pretty but a bit obscure. Nul points, 500-1 to win.
MD: Thanks for the heads up, Thomas. I now know to stay away from klapa concerts. When the camera pans to the crowd in the video, there are people who seem to be paying more attention to their phones than to the band. That kind of says it all for me. Nul points, 200-1 to win.
Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops
MJ: The aptly-named « Emmelie of the Forest », walking bare foot to the sound of drums and pipes, against a backdrop of flames, and a rhythm that is so-typically Eurovision. Close your eyes and the vocal mannerisms sound remotely like the Cranberries. All that’s left to do is to cry (Only Teardrops…?) at the banality of it all. 3 points, 100-1 to win.
MD: Harsh words, Marie! She’s like a Danish Shakira’s baby pixie sister and how can you not like that? The world needs more Danish Shakira pixies and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would vote for this song – it has a tune and a chorus. You can hum to it. I’d lose the pipes though. 10 points, 16-1 to win.