Hello and welcome back to this guide/preview/review of all 40 of the entrants for the Eurovision Song Contest held in Vienna in less than a month’s time.
You may well have missed the first ten efforts in yesterday’s introductory part (which you can check out here), to what I’d like to think is the best and easiest way for you all to listen to all the songs, find out a fact or two, create your own opinions to add to mine and also know where best to place your cash if you’re the betting type, without waiting until it all kicks off in four weeks time!
I’m just going to crack on with this. Here are the next ten nations, in alphabetical order. Enjoy!
(Remember odds are up to date as of 23rd April (Yesterday))
Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday
2012 Estonian Pop Idol runner up Elina Born represents her country this year at Eurovision with singer-songwriter Stig Rästa. This track clocked up 79% of the vote in the national selection process and will aim to better last year when Estonia failed to reach the Grand Final.
Since winning the competition in 2001 the nation has struggled to reach anywhere near those heights, often failing to qualify from the semi-finals. They could well do this year though, with the bookmakers currently considering them one of the favourites. Personally I think there are a fair few better than this, but it’s certainly not a bad entry at all.
Best Bet: 10/1 (Betfred (No E/W market)), 9/1 (Betway)
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – Aina mun pitää
Finland have produced two of my favourite entries the last couple of years with cute boyband Softengine last year and the slightly controversial but massively brilliant ‘Marry Me’ by Krista Siegfrids in 2013. But this is… different.
First listen I think I managed six seconds before bursting into a fit of laughter. It rendered me speechless. This song will divide Europe. It’ll either finish wil nil point or run away with it. It reminds me very much of Lordi, who won for Finland back in 2006 and once you know the backstory you might agree with me that it’s a stroke of genius on their part.
PKN are a punk rock band made up of members who are all learning disabled, living with autism and down syndrome, and are quite well known in their homeland after a documentary about them ‘The Punk Syndrome’ premiered in Finland back in 2012. The English translation to ‘Aina mun pitää’ is ‘I always have to’ and the song is about having to engage in daily chores such as washing up, and the band have entered in the hope of raising more awareness for people with Down Syndrome.
The song has already broken records being the first punk rock entry in Eurovision history and it’s also the shortest song ever at just 85 seconds long. It’ll be very interesting to see how well they fare. The bookies have them down as one of the front runners.
I don’t know how to describe this entry without sounding incredibly harsh or incredibly patronising, so I’m just going to do both: The song itself is just noise quite frankly, though the ‘Aina mun pitää’ hook is one that catches on. If you’d heard the song without knowing who they are or what they looked like (as I did originally) you’d think it was some kind of joke. It’s still not the worst of the lot in my opinion, but I imagine the jury side of voting will be very low indeed. However, I can’t help but admire them, and I really want them to do well. I have a lot of time for anyone who stands up to discrimination and stereotypes of any kind and the message they’re putting out is a fantastic one, whilst having a hell of a lot of fun by the looks of things too. I can’t wait to see them perform in Vienna and I wish them all the best.
Best Bet: 25/1 (Betfred (No E/W market), 22/1 (Betway)
Lisa Angell – N’oubliez pas
France haven’t won this competition in almost 40 years, and are one of the founding members if you like, having only missed two editions in the competition’s history. As one of the ‘Big 5’ they qualify automatically into the Grand Final, but in recent years they’ve performed pretty awfully. Last year they had the honour of finishing last after Twin Twin got them two measly points with ‘Moustache’, a song I quite liked actually (which probably suggests you shouldn’t trust my opinion at all!).
Once again I can’t see France doing much better. Their song is in French, as they always have been, at least partially, and I don’t think that does them many favours. A success for them on current form would be Top 20 and with this song I’m not even sure if they’ll manage that. Considering they are one of the big five, it is a shame that they don’t put more effort into their selection process, this year picked by the broadcaster.
Best Bet: 125/1 (Coral)
Nina Sublatti – Warrior
‘Battle of the Warrior’’s first contender. Malta are sending a song with the same name which could cause some confusion! This is Georgia’s entry, performed by former Idol winner Nina Sublatti, who looks a bit like Jessie J at times in her video. Warrior is about Georgian women who strive to be ‘good women, good mothers, good teachers’ and apparently it was written in just three hours in the middle of the night.
For three hours work this is pretty damn good. A very strong entry for me, with a powerful chorus, fitting with the song’s title. Georgia had literally the worst song of them all last year, finishing last in their semi-final, so literally anything is an improvement, but I would expect a solid middle of the pack finish in Vienna.
Best Bet: 200/1 (Bwin (No E/W market)), 100/1 (Bet365, Coral, Stan James, William Hill)
Ann Sophie – Black Smoke
Another one of the ‘Big 5’ Germany qualify automatically, and they’ve sent a song every year since Eurovision started. Success came as recently as 2010 with Lena’s ‘Satellite’ but since they’ve struggled, finishing as low as 21st in 2013 when Cascada represented them,with a song worthy of so much more in ‘Glorious’.
This year’s attempt is by Ann Sophie, who was actually born in London, but moved to Germany as a child with her German parents. The UK influence doesn’t end there. Upon hearing this song I thought it sounded very Paloma Faith/Ella Eyre, and it turns out the latter co-wrote ‘Black Smoke’.
Ann Sophie didn’t actually win her national selection though, in fact she finished second by quite a distance. Andreas Kümmert took almost 80% of the final votes in Unser Song für Österreich with the song ‘Heart of Stone’, but instead of celebrating his win upon announcement, he took to the stage and said he couldn’t accept, citing that he felt Sophie was ‘much more qualified and suited’. Debatable as I think he could have done quite well. And with Sophie not even being the preferred choice in her own country I worry for her chances with the whole of Europe (and Australia) voting.
Best Bet: 125/1 (Boylesports (E/W only three places))
Maria-Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath
Shock, another reality show contestant represents a country this year as the first ever The Voice of Greece winner got the nod to represent them in Vienna next month. Having won that, Maria-Elena Kyriakou then won the Greek national selection competition too, though she’s actually from Cyprus, and comes from a successful family – Her brother is a Cyprus international footballer.
‘One Last Breath’ will look to keep up Greece’s record of having always made the Grand Final when they’ve entered. It’s ten years since they won the competition for the only time but I don’t think the song, a nice, but forgettable balad, will be among the challengers for the trophy this year. An improvement on last year’s 20th will be expected however.
Best Bet: 100/1 Coral
Boggie – Wars For Nothing
Hungary achieved it’s best result last year since the first time they entered the Grand Final, coming 5th with András Kállay-Saunders’ effort ‘Running’. Boggie would no doubt be pleased with a similar result this time round.
There’s a rule in Eurovision where you can’t have songs that reference any political goings on, though Boggie’s entry does sound as though it’s that way inclined, perhaps towards the conflict in Israel? The beautiful lyrics in ‘Wars For Nothing’ are quite generic though so she won’t get into any trouble with this. I must admit that like with Greece this is probably a little bit too slow for Eurovision for me. There’s a risk of it being forgotten about quite quickly after it’s performed.
Best Bet: 100/1 (Coral, William Hill)
Maria Olafs – Unbroken
To be quite honest with you, I’m still fuming this absolute banger back in 2010 by Hera Bjork didn’t win. Five years on I’ll be just as angry if Iceland aren’t right up there this time round. After the colourful Pollapönk finished in the bottom half in Copenhagen last year Maria Olafs is tasked with improving that. Iceland have never won Eurovision, twice runners up, and ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ aside, this is the most deserving of going one better. I’d be really happy if this won.
“One step at a time/I’ll pick up the pieces/Try and put them back together/’Til I’m unbroken” Most of us can relate to these lyrics in some capacity. The song, whilst tugging on the heartstrings and getting all up in your feelings, is catchy, memorable and sung beautifully too. Be assured you will be caught out singing it in the car or belting it out in the shower at some point. It won the Icelandic national selection competition as ‘Litil Skref (Little Steps)’ in its original language before being translated to the version you will hear in Vienna in May.
Though that’s been in a bit of doubt of late, as a legal strike is ongoing over there as notaries who usually oversee and verify the voting process of Iceland’s professional Eurovision jury are in a dispute over wages. I know I won’t be the only one absolutely seething if they do have to pull out, so for the sake of us all, pick up the pieces and put them back together, fast.
Best Bet: 50/1 (Boylesports & Ladbrokes (E/W market only three places)), 40/1 (Bet365, William Hill)
Molly Sterling – Playing With Numbers
For a country who is the most successful in Eurovision history with seven victories, Ireland have been on a bad run of late. Their last win was way back in 1996 and it speaks volumes that Jedward (the first time) were their most successful entry in the last 15 years. Last year Ireland didn’t even qualify for the final and the year before that they did, but finished last.
This won’t make it eight for Ireland but it should outdo the last few years at least. Molly Sterling just about won her national selection with this lovely piano number, standard for Eurovision for me. Not brilliant and not awful. The bookies don’t have it qualifying from the semi finals but I reckon it will.
Best Bet: 125/1 (Stan James, Coral)
Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy
AND BEFORE I LEAVE LET ME SHOW YOU TEL AVIV!
This is brilliant. You have to give it time because it starts quite slowly, but it is vintage Eurovision once it gets going. The chorus is one of the strongest in the competition this year for me and this is one of my favourites.
Israel have been terrible of late. They’ve failed to make it out of the semi-finals in the last four years (though Dana International’s ‘Ding Dong’ in 2011 really should have), and the nation, whose last win came courtesy of Dana right here in Birmingham in 1998, are this year putting their hopes on a 16 year-old lad.
Nadav Guedj will be one of the youngest competitors in Vienna after winning his national heats. He was then given this song which is the first in Israel’s Eurovision history to be sung completely in English. The bookmakers aren’t convinced but I’d like this to do well.
Best Bet: 125/1 (888Sport, Unibet, 32Red (No E/W market)), 100/1 (SkyBet, Sportingbet, Bet Victor, Stan James, Coral)
That’s your lot for today and this marks the halfway point of The Complete(ly Irrelevant) Guide to Eurovision 2015. A reminder, if you’re yet to see the first ten entries reviewed you can do so right here. Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve heard so far, so comment or send me a tweet or two, unless it’s criticism of Iceland for which I will not tolerate in the slightest. See you tomorrow for the next ten!