Hello again. Welcome back to this, my complete(ly irrelevant) guide to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. This is part three of five, so if you’ve missed the first 20 songs, you can catch up on them here and here.
Ten more entries for you now. Odds accurate as of 23rd April.
Il Volo – Grand amore
As one of the ‘Big 5’ Italy go straight to the Grand Final on the 23rd May. Since the country returned to the contest in 2011 after a 13 year absence Italy have done pretty well, finishing second in 2011, their only disappointment being last year’s 21st place.
The song chosen to represent them this year is actually 12 years old! It was written in 2003 and was considered for Italy’s biggest song contest Sanremo Music Festival way back in 2005 but was rejected for being ‘too old’. The track was shelved until this year when eventually operatic pop trio Il Volo took the song on, and with some modification, so the song fit the youthful age of the group, won this year’s 65th edition of the competition, which was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. As winners they were eligible to represent Italy in Vienna, an invitation they accepted.
‘Grande amore’, if you’re a fan of that genre of music is a great song, performed incredibly considering the oldest member of the band is just 21, and it’s no surprise to see them as high as second favourites with most bookmakers. Il Volo already have a top 10 album to their name in the US, and that was way back in 2010, so they travel to Austria with an impressive fanbase already, and they’re bound to add to that significantly, and perhaps the trophy too, at Eurovision.
Best Bet: 7/2 (Sportingbet, SkyBet, Paddy Power, William Hill, Betway)
Aminata – Love Injected
Another former winner who in recent years have really disappointed. 2002 winners Latvia have failed to qualify from the semi-finals six years running, three of those coming completely rock bottom. Can they at least make it to the final this year?
I wouldn’t like to say at this point in time. The song is very modern and personally I’m quite a fan of the electronic sound of this track, though I can quite easily see this dividing opinions. I also question how this will work on the night, in terms of both sound and stage production. Fingers crossed for Aminata, who won her national final Supernova comfortably, that it’s lucky number seven for Latvia.
Best Bet: 100/1 (Stan James, Coral)
Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila – This Time
Lithuania’s best finish at the Eurovision Song Contest was sixth, back in 2006 with the somewhat ironically titled ‘We Are The Winners’, and since they’ve pretty much made up the numbers in the competition. After last year’s semi-final exit, Lithuania hope this uplifting number will indeed lift them higher up the final rankings.
Described as ‘The Common Linnets with a lot of prosac’ Monika and Vaidas sing a song perfect for Eurovision. Praised for their vocals and chemistry the track has received some good reviews already, and for Monika especially, I hope this does well – she’s tried and failed to represent her country at Eurovision in each of the last five years! Sixth time’s a charm, eh?
Best Odds (currently): 125/1 (Coral)
Daniel Kajmakosi – Autumn Leaves
Another nation here who don’t do that well usually. Macedonia’s best ever placing was 12th, back in 2006, and they’ve only made it to the Grand Final once since 2007. They’ve turned to X Factor Adria (which covers Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Macedonia) winner Daniel Kajmakosi to change their Eurovision tides.
‘Autumn Leaves’ won Macedonia’s national selection process in its Macedonian version ‘Lisja esenski’ late last year and not only did that seal Kajmakosi’s ticket to Vienna, but a tasty €20,000 too. It’s one of the country’s better entries of recent years, that’s for sure and should, at the very least make it to the Grand Final this time round.
Best Bet: 125/1 (888sports, Unibet, 32Red (No E/W market)), 100/1 (Stan James, Coral, William Hill)
Amber – Warrior
The final contender in the not at all highly anticipated ‘Battle of the Warrior’ here. This is the second track in the competition this year with the title after Georgia’s entry in part two of the review. Malta’s will be trying to break the trend of disappointing turn outs since the country matched it’s best ever result of 2nd in 2006 with the amazing ‘Angel’, the exception being lovely Gianluca a couple of years ago.
Gianluca tried out for this year in a band with members of his family but lost out and eventually Amber was chosen. The song has a very strong and memorable chorus which I’m sure will serve it well in Vienna. It should make the final at least, but in terms of the mini battle with Georgia, for me it loses out.
Best Bet: 100/1 (Coral, Stan James)
Eduard Romanyuta – I Want Your Love
Ukraine, producers of the best Eurovision song of all time, won’t be involved in this year’s contest, having withdrawn due to the challenges the country is facing at the moment, but they will be represented in some way thanks to Moldova’s entrant Eduard Romanyuta. Romanyuta, who is Ukranian, will represent Moldova this year having failed to represent his home nation three times previously. Having made the song with intentions to again try to represent Ukraine in the competition, their withdrawal forced his hand so he entered the running for Moldova instead, this time being successful.
Judging by this song it’s not too difficult to understand why he wasn’t chosen to represent Ukraine previously. It’s only OK, but the verses remind me of Liberty X’s ‘Just A Little‘ which is by no means a bad thing. ‘I Want Your Love’ is under pressure to maintain Moldova’s form of only missing the Grand Final twice since their first appearance in 2005, though one of those occasions was last year where they finished bottom in their semi-final. I think this one will miss out again if I’m honest.
Best Bet: 200/1 (Stan James)
Knez – Adio
Last year was a great success for Montenegro, reaching the Grand Final for the first time in six attempts as an independent country, and finishing 19th overall. I’m not sure on their chances of improvement in Vienna however.
Knez, full name Nenad Knežević, is one of the oldest representatives at Eurovision at 47 and he’s been in the business for over 20 years now where he’s based in Serbia. He was chosen to represent Montenegro way back in October of last year in an internal selection process. His song ‘Adio’ is in Montenegrin so naturally I don’t understand a word, and I can’t see it doing well at all. The forty-odd second instrumental at the start won’t do it any favours whatsoever.
Best Bet: 125/1 (SkyBet, Coral)
Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk Along
This is the best song this year and you’re so wrong if you think anything different, including the bookmakers who have this down the bottom of the pack. It’s brilliant. First listen (which is vitally important given the nature of the contest) it had me hooked, and everything about it is amazing quite frankly.
Trijnte Oosterhuis has has great success in her native Holland for 20 years now, including two number one albums 14 years apart, and a duet with Lionel Richie to her name and she was selected by Dutch broadcasters to represent her country with ‘Walk Along’ A song we can all relate to I’m sure. It’s about being friendzoned basically, and hoping your friend will finally notice you in the different light that you see them in. Been there. But despite the emotional tone of the song it’s uplifting from the off and whilst perhaps a tad repetitive the chorus is brilliant. You’ll hear this and be singing ‘Why-ay-ay-ay’ quite a lot if I’m anything to go by.
Critics are worried those of us who do listen to the track in advance will eventually find it annoying but I know I haven’t yet, and for the majority who do hear it on the night, it’ll be one of the few that will stick out in people’s minds. Obviously the Dutch have found their form in the last two years and go to Vienna having just lost out to Conchita last year, so the pressure will be on Trijntje for a similar performance. That said she’s a wonderful character with great stage presence, not to mention all those years of experience on her side.
In my heart of hearts I concede that this probably won’t win. It should do in my opinion, and I’ll be voting should she make the Grand Final (she bloody better had make the final). It has great potential and I think the odds on her currently are far too harsh. I won’t be happy if this finishes any lower than top 10. But this is Eurovision, where the crazy and unexpected always happens.
Best Bet: 100/1 (Stan James, Coral)
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me
‘A Monster Like Me’ won Norway’s national selection competition Melodi Grand Prix by just 3,500 votes, but it’s a song with great potential going into the contest in Vienna next month, and the bookmakers have already considered it as one of the front runners.
This is a beautiful ballad, with plenty of emotion. Performed by Mørland, member of the British-Norweigian band Absent Elk (who by the way supported Girls Aloud on tour once upon a time) and Debrah Scarlett, who like many others who’ll be present in Austria is a former reality TV star. As with all ballads there’s a great risk of it killing the party atmosphere that Eurovision is known for, but I get the feeling the stage production for this will be great, so another Fairytale could be on the cards.
Best Bet: 25/1 Coral
Monika Kuszyńska – In The Name Of Love
Poland don’t tend to do that well at Eurovision. After two years away they returned last year and finished a respectable 14th with the quite catchy ‘My Słowianie’, though I reckon a fair bit of shameless voting went on there…
Unfortunately for the heterosexual male minority of Eurovision fans, this year’s representative won’t be relying on her breasts for votes, but her voice. Monika Kuszyńska, formerly a member of pop-rock band Varius Manx was selected internally to represent her country. In 2006 she and her bandmates were involved in a serious car accident and as a result she is paralysed from the waist down.
The song is good while you’re listening to it but you forget it almost instantly. It probably won’t make it past the semis.
Best Bet: 125/1 (Bet365, SkyBet, Coral)
So we’re three quarters of the way through now. Just ten more songs left for me to inform you of and criticise. I say this as one of those is the United Kingdom’s entry, an in-depth review of that to be published in Part Five on Monday. But before that, you’re welcome back tomorrow for the other nine.
Bye for now.