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 2 on Thursday, May 16. 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).
PeR - Here We Go
TS: PeR are Latvians rapping in English. Onstage they wear the most glittery pants AND military jackets ever created and sometimes one of them even beat-boxes. There’s also a keytar player. The mind boggles. 1 point, 150-1 to win.
MD: Those sparkly suits are a statement that says “Do not take us seriously!” which is fair enough; this is Eurovision after all. There is nothing serious here, and I’m certain these guys would be an awesome booking for a wedding. The ‘fun factor’ will probably earn them points and I can see PeR making the final, but there’s nothing substantial enough about the song to take it all the way, I fear. 4 points (out of a maximum 12), 66-1 to win. , 80-1 to win.
Valentina Monetta – Crisalide
MJ: OK, so this song starts sad, à la Céline Dion before finishing with a dancier (but still quite melancholic) flourish. A funny combination but this has got its share of good points to seduce some of the judges and certain members of the public. But perhaps not entirely. It’s perhaps the kind of song that will do well but not win. A fourth-place finish maybe. 8 points, 33-1 to win.
MD: Here you get two minutes of piano and string-backed ballad, to which the Italian language lends itself very well, and then a minute of Eurodance (which very few languages lend themselves to). That (presumably deliberately) reflects the lyrics of the song, which is about ‘emerging from your chrysalis and becoming a butterfly’. So there’s some thought behind this, which is one of the plus points Marie was talking about. And there are others, such as the video (again, it is coherent and has a point) and Valentina Monetta’s voice. Unfortunately for San Marino, the tiny little microstate doesn’t have a very large diaspora so will miss out on the general public’s points but the fact that the song ‘tells a story’ might go down well with the ‘professional’ judges. 8 points, 40-1 to win.
Esma and Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni
MD: Two songs in one. The first is a West End musical done in Balkan style sing by Lozano. Then the formidable-looking Esma comes in and steals his limelight with a dancy Gitane number, while an unimpressed Lozano ignores her presence with him on stage. Not really sure the two different parts work that well together but this song could get a lot of votes from the Balkans. 4 points, 40-1 to win.
MJ: Agreed, it’s a little strange this song, which is cut into two parts. The stage set-up is also slightly curious, with Lozano singing on one side then switching to the other after dropping his mic (deliberately or not, it’s not clear) while Esma sings her first part. Then the two meet in the middle for a sad-sounding duo. Odd. 2 points, 80-1 to win.
Farid Mammadov – Hold Me
MJ: A pretty boy singing a sad song, trying his best to look sad: the furrowed brow, the clenched fists, a voice that is trying so hard to contain the pain, with a metallophone giving off the sound of sadness behind him. Sad, sad, sad. And all you can do is to try not to cry with boredom.
MD: “If love was a mountain I’d climb up to the highest of them all, I’d swim across the ocean if you’d call, I’m lost in your smile. Freefalling for miles”. Farid Mammadov gives 110% in an attempt to break the record for clichés in a verse. Drivel. Nul points, 150-1 to win.
Krista Siegfrids – Marry me
MJ: Pure pop-juice: large-breasted and perfectly manicured blonde caked in make-up, wearing studded leather and perched on high heels, declaring her love for a guy. But in a post-feminist oh-so-modern way. Except for the white wedding dress and the knight in shining armour. Nul points, 150-1 to win.
MD: Finland is a beautiful country full of adorable people. I have never had anything bad to say about Finland. Now, thanks to this song, I do. Nul points, 150-1 to win.