Eurovision Song Contest 2016

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Well, it’s that time of year where all the ‘eurogays’ and pop fanatics across Europe (and in this year’s case Australia too) come together and have the biggest annual party on the planet, and America look across and think “wtf is going on over there?”. Yes. Eurovision. Undoubtedly, my favourite time of year. This year, it will be in Stockholm, Sweden, following their win last year with Måns Zelmerlöw and his song ‘Heroes’. This is the 6th time Sweden have won putting them second for the country with the most wins, with Ireland still being the first with 7 wins.

So, this year, the game has changed as the voting process is now a little different following scenarios in the past years where it was obvious halfway through the voting process as to who had actually won. This year, the voting is in a different order with an extra addition to the process, which means no one will actually know who has won until the voting has finished. Not only that, but Australia is competing again this year following the success it has over there, which is nice.

There are 43 countries competing this year. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine are all returning after last years silence, whereas Portugal have withdrawn.

Here are the countries and their entries, a little bit about them, what I think about them and how well I think they’ll do.


Albania

Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale
Eneda Tarifa is a multi-talented artist who has gained fame in her home country Albania and neighbouring Kosovo as an actress, TV host, songwriter, director, and of course as a singer. In December 2015 she won Festivali i Këngës, the most prestigious music festival in Albania, gaining the right to represent her country in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Do I think it will qualify for the finals? No. It’s nothing amazing. It’s actually very mediocre. There have, of course, been worse entries in Eurovision history, but what with modern society and a new generation of music and people, it takes a lot more to win people over these days. Sorry Albania, 2016 isn’t your year.

Performing in: The first semi-finals
Rate /10: 4

Armenia

Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave
Iveta Mukuchyan was one of the first artists chosen for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest – the internal decision by the Public Television Company of Armenia was announced in October last year. After that an open call for submissions was launched to find the best possible song for Stockholm, and in the end, LoveWave was chosen.

Interesting. It’s quite typically, a classic Eurovision song. A lot of ‘ooh’s’. I can also see her performing with a big long dress, because you know, what wouldn’t be more Eurovision than that? Kind of reminds me of an Armenian solo female TwentyOnePilots. It’s actually quite good. Will it qualify for the finals? I think so!

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 6

Australia

Dami Im – Sound Of Silence
Australia participates in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time ever and with their first female participant. Dami Im was born in South Korea and moved to Australia at the age 9. A classically trained pianist, she won the X Factor in 2013 and the hearts of the Australian public, building a successful career thanks to her remarkable voice.

Australia never let anyone down. After Guy Sebastian slayed last year, and then the announcement of them returning, I did question whether it was a good decision for Eurovision, after they did so well the ‘one time’, and I’m glad they did. This is a great song. It’s very Sia/Adele. A great rhythm, great lyrics, and it’s very catchy in terms of repetition. By the last chorus, it has you singing a long. I actually think this has perfect potential of being in the top 5,  maybe even just scratching top 3 of the finals. It wouldn’t surprise me even if it won, but I think it’s too early days to judge that as of yet. Do I think it will qualify for the finals? Well, duh.

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 8

Austria

ZOË – Loin d’ici
The young singer took part in the Austrian pre-selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 for the second time – and on 12 February, she was chosen to represent her country out of ten acts with her song ‘Loin d’ici’ by a combined jury and televoting procedure.

I don’t know what to make of this. Actually, yes I do. It’s going to be one of those songs that will qualify for the final and be one of the most boring compared to the rest of the finalists. Not saying it’s a rubbish song, just saying Austria could have done better. #longliveConchitaWurst. Will it qualify for the finals? Yeeeee.

Performing in: The first semi-finals
Rate /10: 4

Azerbaijan

Samra – Miracle
The participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was always Samra’s dream. In 2012 the 16-year-old singer took part in the Azerbaijani national selection. This year Samra’s dream came true; the singer will represent her country in Sweden with her song Miracle.

Without a doubt, Azerbaijan’s best Eurovision entry. It’s modern, it’s edgy, and it’s exactly what the new sound of Eurovision is. It’s a perfect Eurovision song. I strongly believe it will land somewhere in the top 3. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me if it wins.

Performing in: The first semi-finals
Rate /10: 8

Belarus

IVAN – Help You Fly
IVAN’s real name is Alexander Ivanov. The musician took this stage name before participating in this year’s Belarusian national final. The lyrics for IVAN’s entry Help You Fly has been written by Victor Drobysh, a Russian composer and producer, who has also written the lyrics for Party For Everybody, sang by Buranovskiye Babushki in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

I don’t know. I just don’t know. The thing is, with this song, I can see it qualifying for the finals, and at the same time I just can’t. I’m useless with this one. I think I’m swaying towards it not qualifying, just because Belarus’ entries have been and done better in the final that what I can see this one doing, so I’m going to say that this isn’t qualifying. It kind of reminds of ‘Let It Rock’ by Kevin Rudolph and Lil Wayne. It’s very dance-techno-rock, but again, doesn’t really add anything to Eurovision.

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 4

Belgium

Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure
Laura Tesoro is a 19 year old multi-talented performer from Belgium: singer, dancer, actress, presenter… When you listen to the pop, funk and soul vibes of her Eurovision Song Contest entry, What’s The Pressure, you won’t be surprised that some her favourite artists are Bruno Mars or Michael Jackson.

Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. My god that’s a good song. It’s a very groovy, funky, catchy, ‘eargasming’ masterpiece. Definitely stands out from the rest which of course benefits Belgium. Do I think it will qualify for the finals? Hell yeah.

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 7

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala – Ljubav Je
Dalal, Deen, Ana & Jala are internationally respected artists with more than 150 regional and international awards. They will represent Bosnia & Herzegovina in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Ljubav Je (Love is).

Slightly lost on what genre I was in for a second. It’s like a ballad, with a violin, with a rock beat, and then some rapping in between. Slightly confused, and I think that may rub off with the voting public and the audience. I’m not sure if it will qualify or not. I can see it qualifying, as similar songs have done in the past, but I can also see it not qualifying, because again, similar songs haven’t.

Performing in: The first-semi finals
Rate /10: 5

Bulgaria

Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime
Poli Genova is an artist and lead singer with many talents. She performs equally well on TV and on the music and theatre stage. She is no stranger to the Eurovision Family of Events: In 2011, she represented Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf with her song ‘Na Inat’, and in 2015 she hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Again, another modern song. It’s actually a very good dance song, and it’s not your everyday Eurovision song. Bulgaria have certainly delivered. Do I think it’s winner worthy? I can’t say I do. However I do think it will thrash the semi-finals.

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 7

Croatia

Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse
Her voice and her unique interpretation of songs have made Nina Kraljić the most successful shining star of the Croatian music scene. After winning the talent show The Voice, public broadcaster HRT nominated her to represent Croatia in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Boring. Nothing special whatsoever. It’s actually pretty basic, and I don’t think this has any chance of doing well whatsoever. It seems that other countries are really stepping up the game this year, whereas Croatia aren’t really bothered. Quite sad really. Will it qualify for the finals? I don’t think so.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 3

Cyprus

Minus One – Alter Ego
The band Minus One was chosen internally by the Cypriot broadcaster CyBC to represent the island in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Alter Ego.

So, to be completely honest, it could be worse. Again, the whole dance-rock thing is being done, and this one isn’t too bad however, in comparison to the rest, it seems too safe. It will probably qualify for the final but I don’t think it stands out compared to the others, so I can’t see it doing well at all.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 5

Czech Republic

Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand
Gabriela Gunčíková was internally selected by a jury of experts to represent the Czech Republic in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest among a field of more than 40 entries. She is a singer who has great experience from abroad behind her and who, above all, possesses an amazing vocal range.

Too predictable. It’s been done over and over and over again. The whole ballad situation. No doubt she will also be wearing a massive dress, making weird facial gestures, staring into the lens and reaching her arms out at the camera as it pans past her ever so dramatically. Yawn. It will most probably qualify for the final, but it won’t do very well. I’m picturing near the bottom of the left hand side of the leader board.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 5

Denmark

Lighthouse X – Soldiers Of Love
Lighthouse X consists of three artists who have come together in a strong fellowship. They believe it is possible to create a band that thinks differently. A band that takes social responsibility through music in a new and innovative way. The goal is to harvest the power of music to make us all talk through our hearts, to make sure we share our thoughts and to create space and respect for each other.

Let’s be honest. Eurovision would not be what it is without a bit of cringe would it? So here it is. Lighthouse X bring CringeTV this year. They sound great together, and in all fairness, the song actually isn’t half bad. However, it does make you cringe a bit, you know, the whole cliche ‘Soldiers of Love’. Like, ew. Not only that, their stage arrangement is a bit of a mess, and is actually also very cringy to watch, but still, this is Eurovision! What else do you expect? It most definitely will qualify for the final, I reckon. I think it will do fairly well in the final too.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 7

Estonia

Jüri Pootsmann – Play
The last twelve months have been a magical whirlwind for 21-year old Jüri Pootsmann. After singing solo for only three years, Jüri won the Estonia edition of Idol in 2015 which landed him a record deal with Universal Music. His status as Estonia’s new brilliant superstar was then cemented by being voted Best Male Act at the 2015 Estonian Music Awards.

If George Ezra had an Estonian brother, than this is the guy. The guy is literally a more suited and booted version of George Ezra. Not complaining though. The song however, I may complain about. It’s actually pretty bad. It lacks so much. It’s actually pretty boring. See, logically, I thought countries would enter with songs they think would win, and it doesn’t seem to be that they’ve done that this year. Well, in all fairness, judging by their past entries, they don’t seem to have done that at all. Sorry Estonia. Will it qualify for the finals? Ah, I don’t think so.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 2

F.Y.R. Macedonia

Kaliopi – Dona
This year, F.Y.R. Macedonia will be represented by one of the nation’s biggest pop and rock stars, Kaliopi. The singer is also one of the most popular artists in the Balkans, known for her wonderful singing voice, with a rich timbre, and for her original interpretation. As an author of huge hits, Kaliopi set high standards and left a lasting stamp on F.Y.R. Macedonian and Balkan music.

I automatically feel sorry for anyone with the name ‘Donna’. When you listen, you will understand. Besides the point, I actually, shamefully, kind of like this. Why? I actually have no clue, but I just do. It’s not something I’d put on at a party, or request the DJ to play at a club, but using my Eurovision mind set, it’s alright, considering it’s a rock song. Do I think they’ll qualify for the final? I think they have a good chance, yes.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 6

Finland

Sandhja – Sing It Away
Sandhja is a Finn with roots in India. She is a singer and songwriter of urban pop. In 2014 her debut album ‘Gold’ was praised by critics and included the Top 20 radio hits ‘Hold Me’ and ‘Gold’.

If Finland had their own singing Natalie Cassidy, then here she is! So, by my understanding, the new sound that everyone is exploring this year is like, a disco/funk. Cool. It works, and brings a new level of entertainment and music across Europe. Something we need, and this song is just that. It’s an uptempo bop, which makes you want to get down and do some real cheesy 70′s dance moves. I can’t see this not qualifying for the final.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 7

France

Amir –  J’ai cherché
Amir was internally chosen by France 2 to participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The singer has a multicultural background: A Tunisian father, Moroccan-Spanish mother, born in France and lived in Israel. His warm and generous Mediterranean voice carries emotions from those different cultures.

I really, really like this one. It’s actually a very beautiful, uplifting song and the video really delivers the same message. Partially sang in French and English, the message gets delivered all across Europe. I love how the video to the song isn’t gender appropriated either. France have really delivered this year, and I cannot wait to see where they end up on the leader board. If they don’t land somewhere in the top 5, I can’t imagine Europe being happy. Another potential winner I believe.
Fortunately, France automatically qualify for the final!

Performing in: The final
Rate /10: 8

Georgia

Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz are bringing their very own special and creative style to the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The band was internally chosen to represent Georgia in Stockholm. The song Midnight Gold was selected in a televised show out of five proposed entries by a joint decision of an international expert jury and televoting.

Very Muse. Very Arctic Monkeys. Slightly on the weird side, but again, reiterating that this is Eurovision. I think Georgia have had better entries, and in terms of qualifying this year through to the finals, I just can’t see it. You don’t really see rock entries do so well anymore. Not since Lordi, when rock music was rife.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 5

Germany

Jamie-Lee – Ghost
Jamie-Lee, a schoolgirl from Hanover, cast a spell over a million viewers when she won the season’s final of The Voice of Germany last December. Just two months later she went on to win the German national selection for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Unser Lied für Stockholm, with the very same song, Ghost.

Kind of disappointed with Germany this year. Normally I’m interested to see what they’ll put out there, but it seems this year they’ve let their guard down. Nothing about their entry says ‘yes hello, I’m going to win again because we’re really passionate.’ Instead it’s more ‘we’ve sent a schoolgirl to do it because she has an OK song and that will do for us.’ Unfortunately. Anyhow, at least she’ll be performing in the finals as Germany automatically qualify, but how well the song will do, I guess only time will tell.

Performing in: The final
Rate /10: 5

Greece

Argo – Utopian Land
Greek band Argo comprises Vladimiros Sofianides, Christina Lachana, Konstantinos Topouzis, Alekos Papadopoulos, Maria Elbrus and Elias Kesides.
They were selected internally by public broadcaster ERT to represent Greece.

There’s always something about Greece that captivates me, but I have to say, this year they have basically asked not to be put in for the final. What a mess. Nothing about this years Greek entry makes sense. The violin just whines straight through you, and the lyrics just don’t seem to have a point. I normally show a lot of love for Greece but this year they have disappointed rather a lot.
Do I think they’ll qualify? I honestly wouldn’t see the point if they did.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 3

Hungary

Freddie – Pioneer
Freddie became famous in his home country Hungary in 2014 after participating in the talent show Rising Star. In February this year, he won the Hungarian national final ‘A Dalwith’ his song ‘Pioneer’, with top marks from both the public and the professional jury. Despite his recent successes, he still is the same modest and humble man who only cares about singing his heart out to the audience. After the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Freddie is going to work on his first album.

Merh. It’s OK. I wouldn’t say it was fantastic. Although, he is a beautful specimen of masculinity, he has the voice of a rockstar, which is kind of odd considering his appearance just doesn’t match. Other than that, the song is OK, mediocre, average, good. It’s definitely final-worthy, and I think, again, it will do OK on the leader boards. An OK entry for Hungary this year.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 6

Iceland

Greta Salóme – Hear Them Calling
Greta Salóme is a violinist/singer-songwriter. She is representing Iceland in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Hear Them Calling. This is the second time that she will participate in the event; she reached the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012.

It seems Iceland are a little desperate to win. The performance is a complete copy of Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ back in 2012, and last years ‘Heroes’, which of course, are both Swedish entries. Hm… The song isn’t actually bad, it’s quite a good production in terms of lyrics and the song as a whole. Just a shame the choreography couldn’t bring some originality along with it. It probably still has a very good chance of doing well, but if I’ve noticed the similarities, then so will the rest of Europe, especially Sweden, which is a bit awkward seeming as they’re hosting this year. Will it qualify for the final? Yes.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 7

Ireland

Nicky Byrne – Sunlight
Former Westlife member Nicky Byrne was selected by RTÉ to represent the country in Stockholm with the song Sunlight. It is the first time that the most successful country in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest has opted for an internal selection.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Nicky Byrne, but my god was that cringe. I just feel that Ireland are maybe trying too hard to win again, and it’s actually not doing them very well. The whole arrangement of that song was nothing but reaching for something that isn’t there, which unfortunately, is a good song. It’s actually quite bad. I feel if Ireland stuck to what they were doing about 20 years ago, then maybe they’d win again. I love Ireland, but after last year, and this year, whoever is making these decisions for their country needs to be replaced. It’s unknown if they’ll make it into the final. I think if they do, it’ll be by the skin of their teeth, otherwise no.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 4

Israel

Hovi Star – Made Of Stars
Hovi Star has been performing professionally since 2009, rising to prominence in Israel after taking part in the music reality TV show A Star is Born. He will represent Israel in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Made Of Stars.

Cue Israeli ballad. After maybe naming himself after the song, or the song after himself (maybe), Hovi Star may actually hold the most successful Israeli entry to be entered for quite a while now. His voice is actually really impressive and the song is ‘low key’ very very good. I can see this qualifying for the final, and it also doing exceedingly well with the public. Will it win? I don’t think so, but it will certainly beat other entries admitted by Israel the last few years.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 7

Italy

Francesca Michielin – No Degree Of Seperation
The young and successful Italian artist Francesca Michielin came second at this year’s Festival di Sanremo which granted her the participation in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.

This is actually a pleasure to listen to. One of my favourites so far. It’s different, in so many ways. Again, going with the modern society, and sticking to a dance effort, this one also shows a lot more pop compared to the other dance entries. This one’s also another one partially sang in a home language, in this case Italian, and part English. The video’s actually very cool too and she’s very beautiful herself, as well as having a great distinctive voice. Amazing entry Italy. Fortunately, Italy are too one of the 6 countries to be automatically qualified for the final.

Performing in: The final
Rate /10: 8

Latvia

Justs – Heartbeat
Justs won the right to sing for Latvia in Stockholm after winning the Latvian national selection, ‘Supernova’, in February. The young and aspiring 21 year old singer will be representing his home country at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Heartbeat, written by last year’s Latvian Eurovision representative Aminata.

So, I had a dream once that Latvia was going to win this year, but after listening to this entry, I can honestly say to myself not to take notice of what my dreams tell me. It has a dance grungy vibe to it, with a few house chords creeping in every 6 seconds or so. The song itself is just under average. I personally can’t see this qualifying for the finals but whether it will or not, only time will tell.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 4

Lithuania

Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night
Donny Montell, real name Donatas Montvydas, is a Lithuanian singer and songwriter from Vilnius. He represented Lithuania at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan. After being part of the Europe’s favourite TV show, the Lithuanian pop artist promised himself to return to the contest one more time.

If you don’t know who Donny Montell is, I do suggest just doing a little Google search on him, as he is extremely beautiful. The only odd thing about hm is that his voice doesn’t match what he looks like whatsoever. He sounds like a 15 year old YouTuber, which is nothing wrong with that, but when you look at photos of him, it’s not something you expect. Anyway, the song’s alright. Definitely not winning material, but I can see the fans in the arena go cray for this one. It’s a fairly good entry. I think this will fly through to the final, no problem.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 6

Malta

Ira Losco – Walk On Water
Ira Losco won the 2016 Maltese national selection and earned the right to represent the island nation at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Since winning the competition in January she has worked with PBS to decide which song would go forward to the contest, and the result of these discussions was that Walk On Water would be the song she will perform.

This could be Malta’s biggest entry yet. It’s a great pop song, with amazing production, perfect harmonies, well written lyrics, and an incredible singer to top it all off. Everything about it has really big potential, and I think if it’s performed in the right way and comes across in the right way, I think it could be up there with the upmost. Definitely will qualify through to the final. It has to.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 8

Moldova

Lidia Isac – Falling Stars
Lidia Isac will represent Moldova in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The singer has already tried her luck as a solo artist and as a part of the duo Glam Girls in national selections in previous years.

Cue yet another typical, mediocre, Eurovision dance song. That’s all that really needs to be said. It’s not bad, it’s not excellent, it’s OK. I can see this qualifying but I can’t see it doing well, whatsoever.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 5

Montenegro 

Highway – The Real Thing
Highway is a Montenegrin pop-rock band from Podgorica. They became famous after the success in the regional TV show X Factor Adria. Their performances in the show received significant support from the jury and audience, bringing them popularity in the region.

Montenegro tend to have this thing where they put really bad entries in, and it’s starting to make me wonder whether they actually listen to anything good in their country. This year’s entry is listenable for about 1 minute before it starts getting very predictable and boring. I don’t think they’ll qualify for the final this year.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 4

Norway

Agnete – Icebreaker
Despite being just 21, Agnete Johnsen has already accumulated almost a decade of experience in the music business. Agnete was the youngest ever winner of the Norwegian edition of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. Agnete’s entry for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest is called Icebreaker, and was written by Agnete herself together with Gabriel Alares and Ian Curnow.

I’m not sure about this one. It seems to trick you into believing it’s a dance song and then once it hits the chorus it delves into a ballad and I must admit, it doesn’t go well at all. I think it will maybe qualify because of the minority of votes, but I see this one being near bottom of the right hand side of the leader board at the finals.

Performing in: The second semi-finals
Rate /10: 5

Poland

Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life
Michał Szpak is Poland’s choice for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. In this year’s national final in Warsaw, the young singer defeated one of the hot favourites, Edyta Górniak, the former Polish representative in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.

Conchita? Is that you? Poland seem to have their own Conchita Wurst, and he’s actually pretty good. The song’s quite soft, and it seems like it’s a sad song, but all the same, still very good. Compared to a number of entries by Poland, this one seems more mature and a lot more serious, and quite rightly too! No doubt they will qualify for the finals.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 6

Romania

Ovidiu Anton – Moment Of Silence
Ovidiu’s passion is rock music; writing it, singing it, and now it is in his blood. In 1998, he started his first band, Carpe Diem, but that journey was not very long, since there were not many open doors for new rock acts in the music industry in Romania at that time. He grew up loving rock bands of the 70’s and the 80’s.

Romania started to get a name for themselves of having quite a diverse list of entries over the recent years, and they’ve just managed to add to the list. This entry is Meatloaf all over. Everything from the make-up to the theatrical singing and harmonies. It was literally the Romanian ‘Bat Out Of Hell.’ This will qualify, just for the pure fact that it was so different.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 6

Russia

Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
Sergey Lazarev is famous for being a singer, actor, and TV presenter. Starting his music career at an early age and becoming more and more popular, he was followed by the whole country during whilst growing-up as an artist. In 2015 he won all possible Russian music awards.

Russia are definitely one of the countries with the most of the attention, due to the whole controversy surrounding Vladimir Putin and the gay community, and so when Russia enters the Eurovision Song Contest where around 67% of the fans and viewers are of gay sexuality, it’s no wonder there’s a lot of stigma surrounding them. The last few years, Russia have definitely proven that they are worthy of the winning spot as they’ve done exceedingly well, and it’s another year whether they’ll continue that streak or whether they might actually win it! There’s still every possibility that they don’t do very well at all, or even worse, not qualify for the final. This year’s entry is a little different to the last 2 or 3 in terms of sound, and message of the song. It’s a dance song, and it’s actually pretty catchy. There’s something about it that’s off putting, and I’m still yet to figure that out myself, but there’s no doubt that Russia will be qualifying for the final and that they have an extremely good chance at winning.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 7

San Marino

Serhat – I Didn’t Know
The Sammarinese entry appears likely to be the most multinational participant of this year’s contest, with several countries involved in the project, showing the real image of Europe: different cultures, traditions and histories under the same flag for the smallest country taking part in the contest.

So, after changing the version of the song to a more disco version, it’s probably made the song better by about 2%. It’s still very creepy, and very boring and offers nothing. San Marino have only ever qualified for the final once, and I don’t think this year will be their second time.

Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 3

Serbia

Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter)
Sanja Vučić ZAA was born on August 8, 1993, in Kruševac. She has received a musical education since childhood as her parents, who are also singers taught her to sing old folk songs when she was a child.

Songs like this make me question certain countries reasons as to why they participate. It lacks everything a song would need to stand out in order to be able to do well. Yet again, nothing amazing.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 4

Slovenia

ManuElla – Blue And Red
The winner of this year’s Slovenian national selection EMA 2016 is ManuElla with her song Blue And Red. Music is MunuElla’s big passion that she lives for. The artist plays different instruments but feels more at home as a vocalist.

So this one is different in the fact that it’s very country. Coincidental that she’s blonde too. I can see someone being sued soon… I hope I made it easy for all to understand that joke. Besides the point, I don’t see this being a firm favourite among Eurovision fans as it’s rather a bland song. The only thing I got from it is that something was blue, and something was red, and that was pretty much it.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 4

Spain

Barei – Say Yay!
Barei is a singer-songwriter from Madrid. Barei has a 15 year-long career and has two released albums. She reached the limelight in the Spanish music scene when she won the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest with her song Say Yay! which has reached #1 on the iTunes Spain chart on three different occasions since its release back in January.

YAYYYY. I honestly was starting to get a little bored listening to these mediocre Eurovision songs, and then luckily Spain came with something actually decent. It’s a little under-produced to what I was expecting, as I thought the drop was going to be beaming with life, but other than that, the song is actually really great. I strongly believe this has a great chance of being in the top 5, possibly even the top 3. Fortunately, Spain is also one of the lucky countries to automatically qualify for the final.

Performing in: The final
Rate /10: 7

Sweden

Frans – If I Were Sorry

Frans, aged 17, became popular at age 7 with a song dedicated to the football player Zlatan Ibrahimovic and made an explosive comeback in this year’s Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest.

So, this song seems to follow in the footsteps of a tropical dance song, which to be fair, has received a lot of attention on the radio’s around the world. Unfortunately, there was a better song that could have probably done better than what Frans’ track will, and it’s called ‘YOUniverse,’ so Sweden have probably just lost out on another winning streak there, but what can you do? In all honesty and fairness, this track isn’t actually that bad, there was just a better option. The Swedish public clearly dig Frans and his track, so good on him. One of the advantages of winning, as well as hosting, is that Sweden get to qualify automatically for the grand final too.

Performing in: The final
Rate /10: 7

Switzerland

Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind
Rykka is a multitalented singer and songwriter who hails from Canada but now calls Switzerland home. She started as an acoustic folk artist, but it was pop music that brought her fame: With The Last Of Our Kind, Rykka won over both the audience and an expert jury in the Swiss national final in February, and therefore won the ticket to Stockholm, where she will represent Switzerland in May.

When Switzerland enter for Eurovision, it seems their only way of playing is to play safe, which is fine, but it doesn’t get you winning. There’s only been once where they didn’t play safe and that was back in 1988. They won the first time round in 1956, where Eurovision was on for the first time. Since their previous win, a lot more countries have debuted, so maybe now it’s time for Switzerland to step up their game. Well, not now, but maybe next year. Will it qualify for the finals? I don’t think so.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 4

The Netherlands

Douwe Bob – Slow Down
Douwe Bob, 23, was born and raised in an Amsterdam artists’ family. In 2012 he was voted best singer-songwriter in the Netherlands and has become established in the Dutch music scene with the #1 album ‘Pass It On’ and hits like ‘Sweet Sunshine’ and Hold Me Now. His music is characterised by the combination of songs rooted firmly in the 60′s and 70′s but at the same time, has an extremely contemporary sound. A love for music from that time was something he grew up with.
His beautiful looks, and his warm voice, on a nice country song. What’s not to like? The Netherlands are playing a card they haven’t played since 2012, where they rocked the country scene with The Common Linnetts’ ‘Calm After The Storm,’ remember that? The thing is, The Netherlands do it so so well, and it proves to work. This is a great song, and if it’s perceived the same way as what ‘Calm After The Storm’ did, I can see it doing just as well. Will it qualify through to the final? Of course it will.
Performing in: The first semi-final
Rate /10: 7

Ukraine

Jamala – 1944
Jamala is a Ukrainian singer, composer and actor. She performs music that includes elements of such styles as soul, jazz, funk, folk and electronic. The singer became popular after her participation at The New Wave in 2009. In 2011, she performed her cheerful song Smile in the Ukrainian selection but didn’t win the final. In this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Jamala will perform her own composition, 1944.

 

I kind of feel this is a slight dig at Russia, maybe? What with the whole situation between Ukraine and Russia in the past, the song talks about soldiers going to peoples houses and being killed or whatever, but the song does talk about war in some context. Hm… Anywho, the song is actually really bad. I normally root for Ukraine as they do normally have some great entries but this year they’ve let themselves down, and I honestly can’t see the point in them going through to the final. Do I think they will? I do, but only because of neighboring countries keeping them in, otherwise I don’t think they would be worthy at all.

Performing in: The second semi-final
Rate /10: 3

United Kingdom

Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone
Joe Woolford, 21 from Ruthin in Wales and Jake Shakeshaft, 20 from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire first met as fellow competitors on The Voice UK, where they quickly bonded over their love of music, followed by a shared love of peri-peri chicken and football.  Joe and Jake are a brand new musical duo whose debut track, You’re Not Alone, an anthemic pop song with a universal message, won the BBC national final, Eurovision: You Decide and will represent the United Kingdom at the 61st Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.

I guess it’s better than last years mess ‘Electro Velvet.’ It’s the first time in a long time the UK got to pick for their entry, and it seems they’ve made the second best decision. Similar to the same situation in Sweden, there was a better song, and the UK ended up choosing the more average, but it’s OK because it’s actually the best entry they’ve had logically since Jade Ewen. Will they win? It’s doubtful seeming as they last won in 1997, and ever since then have plummeted downwards, getting the infamous ‘nil point’ a couple times, and being at the bottom of the leader board quite a lot too. This could be a real chance for the UK to really pick themselves up, as they are the third most successful country in Eurovision, and are the country to have come second the most times in Eurovision history, as well as having the most successful Eurovision song of all time back in the 70′s with ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ by Brotherhood Of Man. The new Eurovision could mean that the UK get to redeem themselves and show what they’re really about. The UK are one of the top 5 countries that are automatically qualify for the finals. I don’t think they’ll win, but I think they’ll do a lot lot better than previous years.


Discover Eurovision

Official webpage
YouTube
Download the Eurovision App

The first semi-final will be hosted live on Tuesday, 10th May.
The second semi-final will be hosted live on Thursday, 12th May.
The grand final will be hosted live on Saturday, 14th May.

Check the Eurovision website to see where you can watch the biggest party in Europe on the night!

Please note: All reviews and predictions are all strictly down to opinion. The voting happens live during the events and any predictions that are correct is down to pure coincidence.

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