29 March 2014

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 - Preview - #JoinUs

This year, following Emmelie De Forest's emphatic win with 'Only Teardrops', this year's contest takes place in Copenhagen in a shipyard.

Here's my thoughts on each of the contenders.

Semi Final One - Tuesday 6 May 2014


Continuing the tradition set last year, the producers set the running order (with the exception of their own country). But making the bookies favourite go first is unnecessarily cruel in a contest where going at the beginning is suicidal. Maybe Armenia will not experience such a downside, as this semi final only has 16 participants, compared to the usual 17-19. The song, "Not Alone", by Aram MP3, is dull, really, and I think it would be an awful winner. Prediction: Qualifying


Get Mary Berry on the phone, for she would take one look at these lyrics and probably faint:

I've got a cake to bake;
I've got no clue at all.
I've got a cake to bake;
I haven't done that before.
Don't be proud, mate, please don't bother,
So come on and ask your mother
How to bake,
How to bake,
Bake that cake. 

See you in the semis, Latvia. Better luck next year. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Aarzemnieki - "Cake To Bake"


This song is actually amazing. No, really, it's called "Amazing". And it is amazing. Because "Amazing"'s amazing-ness comes from the fact it sounds very much like Euphoria, and through in some ice dancing on dry land, and we'll see you in the final. Prediction: Qualifying

Tanja - "Amazing"


One of the other favourites. But I wish I could "Undo" Melodifestivalen, I don't like it. Two words: power ballad. Sweden won the contest 40 years ago with ABBA and "Waterloo" - it would be a nice anniversary present, I suppose... It'll do very well. Prediction: Qualifying

Sanna Nielsen - "Undo"


When the song was translated into English, its chances were killed off. The English lyrics don't quite fit the tune as well as the original. Yes, it's called "No Prejudice", but it is slightly hypocritical of them to turn up as the Power Rangers... Prediction: Qualifying

Pollaponk - "No Prejudice"


Sadly, "One Night's Anger" is not being performed on a Friday. So Albania won't be having a one night stand this year. Anger on Tuesday doesn't quite have a ring to it, to be honest. Another song ruined by the change of language into English. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Hersi - "One Night's Anger"


Second year in a row Russia are going down the ballad route, and I really haven't got anything to say about this. It's bland. But this is Russia. Prediction: Qualifying

Tolmachevy Sisters - "Shine"


Another ballad, but this one is so moving and emotional that it compels you to like it. "Start A Fire" is very nice but I can't see it winning, I'm afraid. Why? Because for the simple reason that I can't imagine it being sung in a reprise. Sorry, Azerbaijan, but at least I'll see you in the final. Prediction: Qualifying

Dilara Kazimova - "Start A Fire"


The best Ukrainian entry in years, even though if they have changed the lyrics a little. "Tick Tock" is fantastic and is definitely a top five contender. Kiss me, kiss me, 'til I drop! Prediction: Qualifying

Maria Yaremchuk - "Tick Tock"


Described by someone I know as 'the GoCompare man', this really could go either way. The dreadful lyrics are rescued by the powerful singing, which would easily drown out this year's Formula One cars. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Axel Hirsoux - "Mother"


A rock ballad but quite tense. Moldova do like to send trash, but this year is acceptable trash. I don't like it, but I'm sure many people love "Wild Soul". Prediction: Qualifying

Cristina Scarlat - "Wild Soul"


Third time lucky for - yes, you guessed it - Valentina Monetta? In 2012, she sent "The Social Network Song". Last year, she sent "Crisalide (Vola)", and this year, "Maybe" she'll qualify. Well, erm, "Maybe". A huge improvement on the Facebook tribute but not as good as "Crisalide (Vola)". I don't know which way this one is going. Prediction: Qualifying

Valentina Monetta - "Maybe"


As much as I absolutely love this song, I'm afraid that public opinion is against me on this one. I absolutely love this stereotypical Portuguese song, no one else does, sadly. And I can't vote in the semi final, as I'm from the United Kingdom. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Suzy - "Quero Ser Tua"


Do try not to fall asleep when you hear this. It's so, so, SO DULL. And I really hate this. Prediction: Not Qualifying

The Common Linnets - "Calm Before The Storm"


Another ballad, but with lots of other ex-Yugoslav countries not entering, this song won't get through. I don't think it would have done had the other Yugoslavs been in the contest, to be honest, because the one good entry they've sent missed out in 2009 (just). Prediction: Not Qualifying

Sergej Cetkovic - "Moj Svijet"


Hungary have finally got their act together. Although I did say that in 2011 and then Katy Wolf decided to sing in any key she liked. But if that couldn't stop her from qualifying, Hungary will ace the semi final, as it's another favourite. Prediction: Qualifying

Kállay-Saunders - "Running"

Semi Final Two - Thursday 8 May 2014


Ruined by the shoddy rearrangement of the song. A song about battered war veterans "Coming Home" is touching, but I'm afraid Malta's decent run will not continue. Prediction: Not Qualifying


Israel, one of Eurovision's strongest ever entrants, with memorable wins in 1978 and 1998 (and a slightly less memorable win in 1979), are on a downturn, having not qualified for the final since 2010 (although many Eurovision fans think that they should have qualified in all three years since then!). This year, their entry reminds me a little of Eric Saade's "Marching In The Name Of Love", except it's partially in Hebrew. It's growing on me. We don't beat with the "Same Heart", which, well, sticks two fingers up at communism, really. Prediction: Qualifying


Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. But this is Norway, who usually qualify. Prediction: Qualifying

Carl Espen - "Silent Storm"


Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. But this is Georgia, who usually qualify. Except it's so awful this year that they won't. Prediction: Not Qualifying


Yet another song ruined by the transition into English, and this is the biggest culprit. "Shake what your mamma gave ya" doesn't even fit at all! But a lot of people like it, so I'm out of favour on this one. Prediction: Qualifying

Donatan And Cleo - "My Slowianie - We Are Slavic"


A transvestite (also known as a man in drag), under the stage name of Conchita Wurst, is representing Austria. It's basically Rylan Clark in disguise with a huge power ballad, but not strong enough. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Conchita Wurst - "Rise Like A Phoenix"


An improvement on last year, and if last year qualified, then this year, they will. I don't like the song for what it's worth and it's certainly not caught my "Attention". Prediction: Qualifying

Vilija Mataciunaité - "Attention"


(Warning, the awful pun is coming again.)

This year, Finland have sent "Something Better" than some of the other countries. (I did warn you.) Softengine remind me a little of The Jam. The song is a rock number and I quite - but only quite - like it. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Softengine - "Something Better"


It's not Dustin The Turkey, but it comes quite close. With unnecessary Irish violins and Irish dancing, "Heartbeat" didn't deserve to win the national selection, and I'm surprised it did. Ireland usually qualify, so no surprises there. Prediction: Qualifying

Can Linn feat. Kasey Smith - "Heartbeat"


Another song I love but no one else does. "Cheesecake" by TEO is from Belarus, with lyrics almost to match Latvia:

I don't wanna be a turkey hamster, today. 
I'm not gonna be your boyfriend, it's too late,
I just look on all the maps trying to escape 
'Cause I'm tired of being your sweet cheesecake.

Bit strange, but I think it will depend on the live performance. Prediction: Qualifying

TEO - "Cheesecake"


Their best entry in years, even if we haven't heard Tijana sing live yet. It's called "To The Sky", and the sky's the limit for FYR Macedonia. Watch this one. Prediction: Qualifying

Tijana Dapcevic - "To The Sky"


Dull, bland, boring, and typically Swiss, I'm afraid, even if there's one moment in the music video where a bunch of cheap CG pasta is thrown. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Sebalter - "Hunter Of Stars"


Ruined by a wannabe rap part, but still very good. I really like this. And it's Greece, so it will obviously qualify (still bitter after last year, grrr). Prediction: Qualifying

Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd - "Rise Up"


I don't like this but a lot do. I'm afraid I can't see "Round And Round" qualifying, as it's yet another ballad and its position in the draw goes against them. Prediction: Not Qualifying

Tinkara Kovac - "Spet - Round And Round"


My favourite this year. It's so magical, so beautiful, it's a "Miracle"! Paula Seling and Ovi return after their 3rd place in 2010, but this isn't as good. This is in the top five for sure. Prediction: Qualifying

Paula Seling And Ovi - "Miracle"

Grand Final - 10 May 2014


A cliché love song. No, really, it is "Cliché Love Song". And it's dreadful. I can't see this doing very well at all, see you next year. Worst Danish entry since 2009, I'm afraid, there's no other way to say it. Sorry.

Basim - "Cliché Love Song"


They've sent popular (pfft) French band Twin Twin with "Moustache", with a chorus that translates as "I want this, I want that...". This year's joke entry so it will probably be France's best result in a while.

Twin Twin - "Moustache"


Oh dear. After three consecutive top tens between 2010 and 2012 (1st, 10th, 8th), and a fantastic song in 2013 (only 21st!), the status quo has resumed, with Germany back to trash. "Is It Right"? No, Elazia, it's very, very wrong.

Elaiza - "Is It Right?"


Best Italian entry since they rejoined. A rocky number without the jazz influences we saw from them in 2012, except there needs to be more emphasis on a certain chord, but nonetheless this could be top five.

Emma Marrone - "La Mia Citta"


X Factor viewers will remember Ruth Lorenzo from 2008. Well, she's representing Spain with "Dancing In The Rain" - and Spain appear to have finally got their act together. This is a top 10 entry, top five at a push.

Ruth Lorenzo - "Dancing In The Rain"


As per Spain and Italy, the BBC finally appear to have got their act together. Molly is performing "Children Of The Universe", and the polls indicate that the United Kingdom will win. So I'm going next year if it's in London, as it's where I live.

Molly - "Children Of The Universe"

SEMI FINAL ONE: TUESDAY 6 MAY 2014, 21:00 CET (20:00 BST)
SEMI FINAL TWO: THURSDAY 8 MAY 2014, 21:00 CET (20:00 BST)
GRAND FINAL: SATURDAY 10 MAY 2014, 21:00 CET (20:00 BST)

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