Denmark: "Cliché Love Song" - Basim
When I heard this song for the first time, I got a spooky feeling when hearing it: the same spooky feeling I felt when I heard Tanel and Dave's "Everybody" for the first time, in 2001. Which, coincidentally was the last time that Copenhagen staged ESC....yes, the year Denmark came very close to winning for the 2nd consecutive year. History repeating? Or can they go one better?
There's a killer draw position (23rd in the final) and in any other year I think this would scream 'potential winner' and the only thing holding it back will be the host-country factor, as these days it would seem that people don't want the same country to win twice in a row. It's a mix of Bruno Mars and "Scatman" and is insanely catchy. Basim gave a well-staged, charismatic performance at DMGP and I think he'll charm viewers all over Europe.
Again, this song has a bit of a Marmite factor about it, and it has as many haters as fans. I only heard it once and it was stuck in my brain. This for me is definitely the most instant of all the Big 6 songs. It's contemporary and memorable - just what's needed from a 21st century Eurovision winner.
France: "Moustache" - Twin Twin
Crikey, France had a national selection this year, even if it was tucked away on Sunday afternoon's "Les Chansons d'Abord" (a weekly music show which was also broadcast on TV5 over here if you've got Sky TV). TwinTwin, Destan (Une Direction) and Joanna Lagrave (ex Star Academy) were the finalists, and we had to wait a few weeks for the result of the viewers' vote. France chose "Moustache" - a song with a very catchy chorus and a deeper message which probably won't register with the viewers.Over the past few weeks this song has totally grown on me, and I think it will do well with the televoters. Although I suspect it will not do so well with the juries. It has been highlighted in internet land that the verses are very influenced by the first verse of Stromae's "Papaoutai" which was a big hit in the European charts last year. Will familiarity work in their favour, or breed contempt?
Germany: "Is It Right" - Elaiza
Some bad things happened in the German final. A dodgy presenter. An even more dodgy performance by Emma Marrone. And a guest appearance by Emmelie de Forest which begged the question - is she destined to wander forever through life dressed only in beige? Give the girl a bit of colour, she deserves it! Worst of all, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when this unknown act beat Unheilig in a David vs Goliath final. Unheilig would have been a brave and credible choice, and even "The Fiddler on the Deck" was better than this irritating slice of accordion-powered oompah-reggae. The lead singer will need to have significantly improved her vocal performance since the German final if the song is to have any chance of a decent result. You'll have guessed by now that I'm not a fan of "Is It Right" (known at EuropeCrazy HQ by the alternate title "Is It S****") and couldn't care less about how it performs in the final. But I'm not bitter, honest. *Goes off to play Unheilig's greatest hits followed by Fiddler on the Deck* Oh, there was one great thing which came out of the German final for me: Candy Jar by MarieMarie. Now that would have been an amazing choice to represent Germany!
Spain: "Dancing In The Rain" - Ruth Lorenzo
So, we have a Spanish singer who was a UK X Factor finalist, with a bilingual song with an English title. She'll certainly get lots of attention in the British media at the time of the contest. It will probably get a very respectable result but it's no "Quedate Conmigo". I think this is one of the most overrated songs this year, yes she does have a strong voice but my mum would call her a "squealer" and we're not really keen on this type of singing. And when THE RAIN! THE RAIN! kicks in, it's more than I can bear.
United Kingdom: "Children of the Universe" - Molly Smitten-Downes
We all enjoyed playing the UK Eurovision rumours game, didn't we! From Rylan to Geri Halliwell and what felt like a million other names later, the BBC revealed that it was turning its back on the over-60s for a new approach this year, via the BBC Introducing process. We even got a 'reveal' show, even if it was only on the Red Button channel, but I guess with the UK entries we should probably be thankful for even that. Molly (please say she'll just be known as Molly!) is an unknown name but her vocals have already featured on the Sash!/Stunt hit "Raindrops" so she's got good vocal form.
The lyrics are maybe just a bit too cliched - 'children of the universe'/'dancing on the edge of time'/'power to the people' - but on the evidence of the reveal show, she performed the song well. And at a time when the world around us is in ever-increasing turmoil, the 'power to the people' hook could strike a chord with the televoters and juries. Molly S-D looks like Emmelie de Forest's older sister (one of the legendary Eurovicious' 'manic pixie dream girls') and if they get the staging right it could be the left side of the scoreboard for a change!
With just days to go until semi-final 1, I am still none the wiser about who is going to win this year! *sits on fence* but I'm just hoping for great shows and memorable performances. I'm sure that DR will deliver a great show and finally make us forget the horror that was 2001!!