A Complete(ly Irrelevant) Guide To Eurovision 2015 (Part Four)

Euro1

So here we are. You’ve listened to and heard what I’ve had to say about 30 songs that will be performed in Vienna next month, but there are still ten more left for you to enjoy.

There’s a separate post coming your way tomorrow for the final participant in the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, the United Kingdom, but in the meantime here are the other nine.

31. Portugal

Leonor Andrade – Há um Mar que nos Separa

Portugal was another returning nation last year to the Eurovision Song Contest, but they needn’t have bothered, having failed to qualify into the Grand Final, something they’ve not managed since 2010. It’s likely to be the same again this year, as the bookies consider this the worst of the lot.

Leonor Andrade won Festival da Canção to book her place at Eurovision with this song, the title translating to ‘There’s a sea that separates us’. That’s about all I can say about this to be honest. I’m not fluent in Portuguese so I can’t understand the lyrics, though the chorus sounds alright.

Oh yeah, Andrade was on the Portuguese version of The Voice too, because that’s almost an essential requirement for Eurovision these days.

Best Bet: 250/1 (Stan James)

Rating 4/10

 

32. Romania

Voltaj – De la capăt / All Over Again

Romania have never failed to qualify from the semi-final since they were introduced so they’re already a good bet to make the the Grand Final in Vienna. Last year they finished 12th with one of my personal favourites ‘Miracle’ by Paula Seling & Ovi, who you may remember also finished 3rd in 2010 with the fantastic ‘Playing With Fire’.

Voltaj have been going for over 30 years, and they even have an MTV European Music Award to their name, which they won in 2005 (Best Romanian Act). ‘De la capăt’ is a pretty good track to be fair to them, to be performed mostly in their mother tongue, but in English in parts too, to so the song can be understood by us foreigners too. Another decent Eurovision chorus here. It won’t threaten for victory but it’s safely through. Middle of the pack I predict.

Best Bet: 100/1 (Stan James, Coral)

Rating: 6/10

33. Russia

Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices

This is really quite good. How annoying.

I’m not going to get all political but Russia have a habit of producing really good songs for Eurovision when I’d very much like for them to fail. Credit where it’s due though, this is one of the favourites to win for sure.

Polina Gagarina, a singer, songwriter, actress and model, was chosen internally by Russia’s Eurovision broadcaster and she’ll go into the competition under a lot of pressure. Russia’s never failed to qualify for the Grand Final when they’ve entered, a feat only matched by Romania and Greece, and they’re level with Sweden for the most Top 5 finishes in the 21st century doing so seven times. I’m sure she’ll thrive under said pressure though and I’d be foolish to bet against her making it eight top 5 finishes. Definitely worth an each way bet.

Rating: 8/10

Best Bet: 25/1 (Ladbrokes (E/W market only three places)) 20/1 (William Hill, Sportingbet, Betway)

34. San Marino

Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola – Chain of Lights

San Marino aren’t much cop at most things. Until last year they had the worst national football team and as far as Eurovision is concerned they’re not much better. Last year however you could consider them a success. They made it to the Grand Final for the first time in their history and they didn’t come last!

They’ve decided not to send Valentina Monetta for a fourth year running, instead trusting a duo with a combined age younger than her! Both Anita and Michele are just 16 years-old and join Israel’s ‘Golden Boy’ as the youngest participants at this year’s contest. Anita represented San Marino at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest last year as part of a girl group and Michele is the brother of one of the other members of that group.

The song is rubbish though. I just hope they won’t get picked on when they go back to school having failed to make the Grand Final.

Best Bet: 200/1 (Bet365, Coral)

Rating: 3/10

35. Serbia

Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies

This sounds very Claire from Steps, so naturally I’m a fan. Bojana Stamenov won her national final with the Serbian version of this song, though she’ll be performing the English version in the final. The song is pretty average until about halfway through and it comes alive and sounds like something you’d find me raving to in a club. You can make your own minds up whether that’s a good thing or not. The message to the song is a great one too.

Bojana finished third in the Serbia’s version of the Got Talent franchise in 2012, but she’s teamed up with someone with winning experience for ‘Beauty Never Lies’. It’s written by Charlie Mason who has written for the likes of Miley Cyrus in the past, but probably most notably he co-wrote last year’s victorious entry ‘Rise Like A Phoenix‘ by Conchita Wurst. A good omen perhaps? Maybe, but he’s also written Slovenia’s entry so I guess we have another mini Eurovision battle on our hands (that absolutely none of you will care about).

Serbia won the first time they entered as an independent nation back in 2007, and return this year after a year away having failed to qualify for the Grand Final in 2013. This will be the first time their entry is performed in English, all those prior being in their national language. Bookmakers can’t seem to make up their minds with this one, current odds are all over the place, though most are expecting this to get a Saturday night performance.

Best odds: 125/1 (Coral)

Rating 8/10


36. Slovenia

Maraaya – Here For You

If you trust the bookmakers Slovenia could be on for their best ever Eurovision performance in Vienna next month. They’ve finished 7th on two occasions, the last of which being in 2001. In fact the country have only made it to the Grand Final three times since 2003 so they’re on a pretty awful run which I’m expecting to change here.

‘Here For You’ was written by that bloke I just mentioned who penned Conchita’s winning song last year and will be performed by ‘Maraaya’ A duo, Marjetka, the lady, who does all the singing, and Raay, who is a producer. You can tell they were very creative coming up with their band name…

She sounds a bit like Paloma Faith when she sings and he sounds like a poor man’s David Guetta tbh, and Raay produced Slovenia’s entry last year which flopped. The song is pretty decent, I wouldn’t place it anywhere near as high as the bookies, personally.

Best Bet: 25/1 (William Hill)

Rating 6/10


37. Spain

Edurne – Amanecer

Please allow me to take a moment to criticise Europe for its behaviour last year in not voting for Ruth Lorenzo. One of the best performances and songs in Copenhagen and she only managed 10th.

Moment over. Spain automatically qualify for the Grand Final as one of the ‘Big Five’ and have chosen (through internal methods) Edurne, a fairly successful singer in her country, to follow in Lorenzo’s footsteps. She’s done Spain’s versions of Fame Academy and Strictly Come Dancing in the past, but she’s probably best known (at least in this country) for doing Manchester United’s Spanish international goalkeeper David de Gea, with whom she’s in a long term relationship.

While her fella is a number one in his profession, I’m not sure ‘Amanecer’, English translation meaning ‘Dawn’, will be on the night of the 23rd May. A good song considering it’s in Spanish bearing in mind the Spanish I know is the middle 8 in Mi Chico Latino. I expect a mid-table finish. No Champions League for her next season.

Best Bet: 66/1 (Coral)

Rating: 7/10

38. Sweden

Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes

Sweden are really good at this Eurovision malarky. Like, really good. They go really well together, like strawberries and cream, or Ross and Rachel. If it weren’t for that marvellous combination I wouldn’t have been dancing like an idiot last Saturday night in the club to that Abba megamix…

 

Abba are just one of the many great acts Sweden have produced via Eurovision. Arguably the best ESC song of the 21st century and by far the most successful ever in terms of points was Loreen’s ‘Euphoria‘ three years ago, and since the turn of the decade they’ve finished top 3 on three occasions. It’ll be four out of five (six if you include the time they failed to make the final in 2011)  this time next month, mark my words.

This here is your winner I think. ‘Heroes’ won the 2015 Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s national selection, which is absolutely MASSIVE over there, by a landslide and is the bookies’ favourite to pick up the trophy in Vienna too. It does sound like an Avicii/David Guetta rip off but that’s about the only criticism I have for it, if you can even call that a bad thing.

Måns Zelmerlöw tried out twice before for this opportunity and beat 2011’s third place entrant Eric Saade to represent Sweden. He’s had a number one album in his homeland and is another reality show graduate, finishing 5th in Idol ten years ago now. Those who vote shamelessly will appreciate him, and whilst his song is great, the visuals, if they’re to be anything like Melodifestivalen, are even better. An each way bet here isn’t at all worth it. You might have to lump on this one if you want a decent return.

Best Bet: 6/4 (Betfred, Stan James, Ladbrokes)

Rating: 9/10

39. Switzerland

Mélanie René – Time to Shine

Penultimate song now you’ll be pleased to know. Switzerland have a decent history in Eurovision. The very first Song Contest was held there, and won by the hosts, and who can forget that they also have a previous winner in Celine Dion too!

Recently however the country has failed to live up to those heights, their best entry this century being 2005’s ‘Cool Vibes‘, which finished 8th. Only two of the last eight attempts have seen the Swiss make the Grand Final, and one of those finished bottom. The other was last year mind you, and that achieved a respectable 13th.

Can’t tell you much about Mélanie René other than she won her national selection at the end of January. The song is pretty average and the bookies think it’ll be another semi-final exit for them this year.

Best Bet: 200/1 Stan James

Rating: 5/10

So there you have it. You’ve now heard almost every song heading to Vienna next month. At this point you’ll be in a great position to have your own favourites and now’s the time to place your bets as the odds are shortening by the day.

Tomorrow I’m reviewing the last entry for this 60th anniversary contest, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out who that is. Yep, I’ll be treating you with an in-depth feature almost about our own UK entry and you won’t want to miss it.

Thanks for sticking with it so far. If this is the first of the four parts you’ve seen, you can catch up with what you’ve missed in part one, part two and part three by clicking the number, or clicking the home button at the top of the page. Again, thoughts, opinions and general feedback welcomed. Comment below or tweet me @blake2108

Until tomorrow…

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