If you’re a keen fan of pop music, you’ll surely have been awaiting this week in anticipation because it is the week of Eurovision! The first semi-final for this year’s contest kicks off tonight, followed by another semi-final on Thursday, all gearing up to Saturday’s big event. This year the contest is being held in Malmö, Sweden, after Loreen won the competition with her dance track ‘Euphoria’ last year, which went on to reach number 3 in the UK charts.
Eurovision is great because it’s horrifically cheesy, it’s like a full on stilton level of cheese, which is an incredible watch; from the forever unfunny presenters to the strange clips that are played between songs. There are always countries you’ve never heard of, and most of the acts will generally baffle you, but it’s TV gold. Unfortunately, last year is a tough act to follow with the unforgettable dancing grannies from Russia, and the strange song about Facebook from San Marino. This year it’s quite tame with a load of placid ballads, but with 39 acts competing, of course there are some odd ones!
Germany – Queen of dance tracks Cascada is performing for Germany with a stonker of a track; ‘Glorious’. It sounds quite familiar actually… oh, IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME AS LAST YEAR’S WINNER. There is no denying the similarities between the songs but who doesn’t want to see the blonde bombshell strutting across the stage in a corset and a mini skirt? Oh yeah, me. It is catchy though, and I suppose, if it won last year, why can’t it win again this year? If it ain’t broke etc.
Italy – The best sideburns of the night award goes to Marco Mengoni who will have you weak at the knees as he serenades you with ‘L’Essenziale’ which is a calm rock ballad with a token violin for Eurovision’s sake. If his smouldering expression, piano playing skills and sexy italian accent doesn’t seduce you, his facial hair SURELY will.
Finland – You know a song is brilliant if the chorus includes the lines “Oh oh, oh oh oh ding dong, oh oh, oh oh oh ding dong” complete with wedding bells. Gone are the days when Finland enters any mask-wearing, orc-lookalike, metal-wannabe acts into Eurovision, as this year Krista Siegfrids AKA their very own Ke$ha/Katy Perry hybrid enters the contest. It’s the most basic of catchy pop – in the worst way possible – which I hate for getting stuck in my head. If she sings in tune on the night it will be a bloody miracle, but at least it provides some welcome relief from the hundreds of ballads we will be hearing in the contest.
Ukraine – The chances of Ukraine scoring highly are quite strong with the beautiful Zlata Ognevich and her track ‘Gravity’. Singing about butterflies (fitting in with the contest’s logo this year), there are plenty of big notes to belt out and her voice does this easily. It’s not particularly ground-breaking but it’s sure to be a favourite amongst the traditional Eurovision voters.
Denmark – This is the favourite to win, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a traditional sounding ballad, like a european Taylor Swift. It’s catchy, it’s singable, and the singer looks a bit like a young Shakira. Complete with a backdrop of raining fire, if this doesn’t win, I don’t know what will (mainly because there’s so much beige in the competition this year). It’s no ‘Euphoria’ but it is PERFECT Eurovision. Why don’t we have Bonnie Tyler singing this tune?
Malta – This entry is sickeningly happy and has frequently been compared to those match.com adverts where a ‘normal’ boy playing a ukelele meets a ‘normal’ girl and they find love. In this case, they sing about “Jeremy, working in IT” who meets a “curious delight,” whose encounter they narrate with the same passion as a Glee season finale. I’m begrudgingly accepting that this will probably do quite well but it is horrifically happy and ridiculously absurd, and so must be considered one of the worst in this year’s contest.
Belarus – This is an entry which is guaranteed to give you a headache for the remainder of your evening as she screeches with her out of tune voice – “SOLAYOHHHHH”. Dressed in an outfit which makes her look like she’s had a menstrural accident this track is just a massive train-wreck. Sadly the key change can’t even savour this. Nil points.
Bulgaria – Eurovision was never going to be complete without a man playing an instrument which sounds like bagpipes but looks like a sheep’s internal organ. Hands down, this is the worst track in the contest this year. The cool drum kits are unable to make up for the awfully flat, Bollywood-wannabe vocals. What even IS this Bulgaria?! You hot mess, you.
Montenegro – These two guys sporting yellow raincoats rap monotonously for 3 minutes and expect people to vote for them? To make things even more dire they are accompanied by some screechy vocals from a lapdancer, all drenched in noisy dubstep. I’m not sure where Montenegro is, but this isn’t making me keen to find out. An electronic dance track won last year but this is just a step too far…
UK – I’m all for being patriotic, but what on earth is this? Not having much faith in herself, UK’s entry Bonnie Tyler recently described herself as being a “Welsh lamb to the slaughter” and it’s pretty easy to see why. YES it’s Bonnie Tyler, and YES she sang ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ which is one of everyone’s all time favourite Singstar songs, but did Englebert not teach us last year that Eurovision doesn’t like old people? It’s not a particularly bad song, but next year let’s just get Tinie Tempah on there and be done with it. Soz Bonnie if you thought anyone was actually going to ‘Believe in Me’.
You can catch the semi-finals on BBC3 at 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday, with the final being broadcast live on BBC1 on Saturday from 8pm.