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 are the final six of the 17 songs that will be performed in Semi-Final 2 on Thursday, May 16: songs from Hungary, Norway, Albania, Georgia, Switzerland and Romania. Come back tomorrow for reviews of ‘The Big Six’.
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).
ByeAlex – Kedvesem
MD: Cute animated video showing the lyrics in Hungarian so you can sing along. Or try to anyway. Interesting to see how this translates to a live performance. Song sounds something like Badly Drawn Boy and while it may not be dynamic enough to win, it’s a nice little tune. 10 points (out of a maximum 12), 66-1 to win. MJ: A nice little indie song, with a jumpy rhythm backed by gentle hand-clapping. This kind of rhythm and voice remind me of one my favourite bands, the Papas Fritas, but without the nice female voice. But here the (male) singer’s slightly veiled voice is nice enough to work without a girlie backup. That’s my 12 points but I predict a 200-1 to win.
Margaret Berger – I feed you my love
MJ: A beautiful, dreamy blonde, some reverb on top of a gimmicky boom-boom-fizz-fizz dance track and the odd lyrical explosion to get the crowd going. Will Norway do it this year? It just might… 10 points, 20-1 to win. MD: This song would not be out of place as the theme tune to a James Bond film; the singer has a voice reminiscent of Shirley Manson of Garbage (The World is not Enough). It’s a little bit different to the other entries this year, it’s slightly darker and as such it stands out. I think Norway have a good chance of winning with this effort. 12 points, 10-1 to win.
Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
MJ: This is riff-rock from the Balkans backed by strings. There are some ‘hard-rock’ guitar solos and some good old heavy-metal hairdos. It’s what you might expect if you put college rock and hard rock in a mixer for a few seconds. No chance of winning though – Lordi this is not. 6 points, 100-1 to win. MD: The first few bars sound like a Balkan U2 and then gradually it gets a little harder and heavier until it ends up with what AC/DC might sound like if they weren’t quite as good as they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, this Albanian song is decent, it’s just that we’ve all heard something like it somewhere before. 4 points, 150-1 to win.
Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall
MD: Two singers who actually complement each other quite well, singing a song that could make it onto a low-budget Disney soundtrack. It’s just a tad generic and I can’t imagine anyone remembering this song once Nodi and Sophie have fulfilled their part of the bargain by singing it very nicely indeed and cracking into the champagne backstage. 2 points, 66-1 to win. MJ: A typical commercial song. Two strong commercial voices, a boy and a girl. Very Disney-like indeed and just as forgettable. 2 points for singing so accurately and 80-1 to win.
Takasa – You and Me
MD: You start out by thinking this song is going nowhere, then it goes there. And that’s despite the road-trip video making you think that maybe, just maybe, the song will take you somewhere. On stage, without the video, this might struggle to make the final. 1 point, 150-1 to win. MJ: You do think they’re driving to Malmö in the video because of a guide with Malmö written on it (uh, so obvious). You start thinking ‘oh they’re so happy (there are enough forced smiles and laughs to make you believe so) to go to Eurovision they made a video out of it’. But then (beware, 1st class spoiler), no. At the end of the video, they do go nowhere as Mark said. Literally in the middle of nowhere. So what about the song then? Well not much better than the video. Just an average pop-rock song, not disagreeable, sticky and repetitive enough to spoil your day but not enough to mark music history. 4 points, 200-1 to win.
Cesar - It's My Life
TS: Of course, it would be very easy to laugh off Cesar’s song, with his insanely high-pitched countertenor voice, the 90s dancey loop, interrupted only by a totally out-of-place dubstep break. But the vocal performance is no joke. A mix so mind-blowing it might very well win.
6 points, 16-1 to win. MD: Good grief, Cesar certainly has one helluva voice! He could do Phantom of the Opera all by himself, singing all the parts. Musicals for the austerity era. Like Thomas, I have no idea who thought the little dubstep cameo would be a good idea. What is it with the 15-second dubstep sequences this year? That aside, this is Cesar’s show. The man was born to be on stage and this is a potential winner even if it is very weird indeed, and a little scary. 10 points, 8-1 to win.