10. Israel – We all love a bit of insanity – I positively thrive on it, as you can probably tell by my opinions so far. Izabo do not disappoint and this pleases me. The thing that gets me hooked is not the shrewd interplay between English and Hebrew, nor the oriental influence. For me, dear reader, it’s the bursts of strings á la A-ba-ni-bi. It takes me back to those distant 1970s. But on a more general level, I always rated the Teapacks from 2007, so this hits the spot for me. Will this qualify? I darn hope so.
11. San Marino – There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about. Such is the world’s oldest republic and their crazy attempts to curry favour with the cybernetic masses, but even changing the title to make it more generic won’t help. Maybe I should write a song with Sven Lõhmus about ‘iwantoneofthose.com’*. It’s bound to be a smash. Will this qualify? Erm, no.
12. Cyprus – Our other songstress from the Helleno-sphere ha-ha-has a ba-ba-battle on her ha-ha-hands. Ca-ca-can she sing live? Ca-ca-can she stop the sta-sta-stammering. I’ll stop now. A doyen of another website helped select this little ditty, so the fans have had their much-maligned influence here and only have themselves to blame if it doesn’t qualify. She’s easy on the eye and is maybe better than Ms Eleftheriou’s similar song. Will this qualify? I think Greece might just have the edge.
13. Denmark – Our third Nordic song is as good as the other two, however I don’t see all three getting through to the final. But heck, Denmark has had four consecutive top 10 finishes since failed fan-fave DQ. Soluna looks quirky, which may jog the jaded televoter’s memory come voting time. If she performs it well the juries across 20 countries may like it too. Will this qualify? I think so.
14. Russia – How dare johnny-foreigner send older performers that Saint Hump. But this is lunacy personified. One of our grannies has had grief from her husband because she won’t be able to milk their animals while she’s getting pie-eyed in Baku’s Euroclub on Bacardi & coke every night. This is great and gives us our first taste of Udmurt (more please I say). And I love a song that makes me chuckle. They may not be young, but I’m sure they could show us a trick or two, even with their teeth out. Will this qualify? At an absolute canter.
15. Hungary – A nice contrast with turbo-folk, if you can call the granny’s song turbo-folk. I really like this contemporary song. It’s sung by a nicely credible group and who wouldn’t love a contest in the linguistically-baffling Magyarország. It has a decent draw too, towards the end. Will this qualify? Yes.
16. Austria – More quirkiness in the form of German-ish rap from the Tracks Hittaz (that’s right, isn’t it?). It could be said there’s going to be something for everyone here. A muscular chap of semi-Chinese extraction. A hobbit. Lovely laydeez shaking their ‘Popo’. What’s not to like? I for one like this even if the lyric and band name are a little near the knuckle. Eurovision doesn’t rest on its laurels – so we’re told – so this could be the way forward. Will this qualify? I hope so, although it may just be toooo progressive.
17. Moldova – I first was not happy when Transbalcanica didn’t get the golden ticket to Jon Ola Sand’s Cheese Factory in Baku. But then I heard this and I found it very pleasant. Maybe he needs to polish his accent so he sounds more Chiswick than Chişinau. I may even buy a trumpet to celebrate this song too. Will this qualify? I’d like it to.
18. Ireland – Finally, the most annoy thing this side of the Farthing Bridge rears its insanely coiffured heads again. I’d had my fill of these, erm, ‘characters’ five minutes after they arrived in Düss last year. Many of my fellow journos were going head over heels everytime they said ‘Oh my God’ or something as daft. And they did far better than I thought they would. Now, this year is, in my opinion, a slightly superior song. I will probably still want to kill them in Baku, but maybe they’ve matured a little. Will this qualify? Sadly yes.
* Other websites are, of course, available.
So it looks like my qualifiers after the carnage will be, in semi-final running particular order: Iceland, Greece, Latvia, Switzerland, Israel, Denmark, Russia, Hungary, Moldova, Ireland.
Part 3 will hopefully follow tomorrow.