Where has this week gone? Apologies for the delay in finishing off my review!!
I've been rather impressed by "Hasta La Vista" by Ruslan Alehno - even with its musical makeover - and can only hope that Belarus has enough friends out there to get them through to the final.
Latvia has given us "Wolves of the Sea" by Pirates of the Sea, which is yet another 'joke' entry (masterminded by Swedes!) but the difference here is that it is soooooo catchy and I think it may have done enough to qualify. I'm in Riga next week too, so I'll keep an ear out for this!
Croatia....they haven't done too well over recent years have they? Are these old blokes (Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents) the best they can do? "Romanca" is the song, and if it qualifies, well, I might just eat my computer.
Three cheers for Bulgaria, if only because "DJ Take Me Away" by Deep Zone & Balthazar is different enough to do well. Absolute qualifier. I think.
Since Denmark won in 2000 they haven't exactly set Eurovision on fire, although on hearing "All Night Long" by Simon Mathew I initially envisaged a Jakob Sveistrup-type surprise result. Now I'm not so sure though...
Every year there is an entry which IMHO is cynically fixed to tug at the heartstrings. Enter Georgia with "Peace Will Come" sung by Diana Gurtskaya. Like many of this year's entries, nothing to write home about.
Hungary has gone for a Chiara-type entry this year, "Candlelight" by Csézy, which has a nice old-fashioned touch to it. I've got a feeling this might just make it out of the semi final.
Malta is desperate to win ESC every year, but I don't think "Vodka" by Morena is the one to do it, although it should just get into the final. Just.
Another song, another female brunette. This time, Cyprus. I don't like "Femme Fatale" by Evdokia Kadi as much as last year's "Comme Ci Comme Ca" and that didn't make it out of the semi, so this one shouldn't either.
FYR Macedonia....well the general view, post-"Make My Day" is that they only need to turn up. Their song is "Let Me Love You" by Tamara, Vrčak & Adrian. Inevitably, like most of their entries, it just goes over my head. Sorry.
"Senhora do Mar" is this year's Portuguese entry. I love that country, but I'm never really keen on their entries every year....Vania Fernandes may spring a surprise with a familiar-sounding song though (anyone hear Christina Aguilera's "Hurt" in this??). It's got a little of the 'Molitva' about it and might just get out of the semi-final.
The "Big 4" and the host country
Former X-Factor finalist Andy Abraham has the poisoned chalice/career suicide of representing the United Kingdom this year. He is a good singer, but the problem is that "Even If" isn't such a memorable song. However I am confident that he'll do his best, but the way ESC is going, anything other than bottom 5 on the 24.05.08 scoreboard is unlikely.
Germany are represented this year by No Angels. I like the contemporary style of "Disappear" but like their fellow 'big 4' countries they've now got left behind in this contest and I don't expect them to get out the bottom half of the final scoreboard.
France should always be applauded for trying something daring and different and they've done it again this year with the Beach Boys-meets-Etienne Daho style "Divine" by hairy bloke Sebastien Tellier. Don't expect great results, but this will provide a nice diversion from many of the other bland entries.
Spain is still searching for the magic ESC-winning formula. A joke reggaeton song called "Baila El Chiki Chiki" by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre is not the answer.. I am still pining for D'Nash.
Serbia: if you judge a nation by its ESC entries, you could be forgiven for thinking that host nation Serbia is the land of the dreary ballad (exhibit A: "Lane Moje", exhibit B: "Molitva"), so they are defending their title with exhibit C...a dreary ballad called "Oro" by Jelena Tomasevic. Zzzzz. It could, and should, have been "Beli Jablan"!!
Well, that's all folks. Who knows who'll win the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest? I'll do one of my (usually useless) predictions and say that it will be between any one of the following 7 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Azerbaijan, or Switzerland. Or maybe somewhere else.