As you'll know, the running order has now been set by the organisers of the Malmö bunfight. Since my first three parts were simply in alphabetical, I've kept these the same. Monty has doing a sterling job in his reviews, but here are mine.
Armenia – We have some heavy metal pedigree here I understand, but it doesn’t show. In fact, a song promoting a range of travel books is a masterstroke. If only there was one for Malmö or Skåne. A bit like the song really. It promises much but really fails to deliver. I suspect Armenia will really struggle to make the final this year. There’s one extra song in this semi-final, so a song needs just that little bit extra to make it.
Georgia – In 2011 Ell & Nikki sang a duet ballad and limped home to victory in dear old Düsseldorf. This year’s vintage of that formula has been hijacked by one of their neighbours. In my view, a straight fight between them Azeris and these plucky Georgians would see the Georgians win every time. It’s a far far classier attempt and it ticks all the boxes.
Greece – If only the title of this song were true. Heady days of a Moscow Euroclub spring to mind. We appear to have a bit of an identity crisis going off here. They’re Greek, but they’re wearing skirts/kilts. Is there some Helleno-Scottish alliance no-one’s talking about? There must be, because we know how much the inhabitants of Pollok love their Buckfast wine. As a song, it’s executed very well. It’s got the right ingredients if you want something typically Greek. The British will like this I’m sure. But I suspect the Greeks don’t want to win as Mad TV blew the budget on the national final.
Hungary – We have another country eschewing the chance to sing in English, and I therefore have a lot of respect for the Hungarians. Sometimes a song in your own language indicates that you’re not afraid to take risks. And even though I need a translation of the lyric to work out what Byealex is singing about, I really like this song. It’s very simple although maybe a little wordy. Perhaps that’s the Magyar way – why use one word when 38 will do. But I would like to see this in the final.
Israel – Another female power ballad. While I’m sure the Hebrew language means well, it sometimes doesn’t come across best musically. Portuguese and French are musical languages, but Hebrew and German aren’t always as easy on the ear. I can’t really say how I think this one will do. I somehow suspect it might just fall by the wayside because it is another ballad. I’m going to sit on the fence here and predict it’ll come between 7th and 13th on 16 May.
Norway – This is serious song. There’s no fun element here. Just listen to the lyric. Knives against backs and all that. Sounds like a night out in my own home city. The Norwegians don’t appear to be in Malmö to have fun, but more to almost bully everyone into voting for them. More than that, after the titles of the songs from Belgium and Ireland, I’m not sure whether I’d want love feeding to me. Now if the title was ‘I feed you my cheese’, at least I could die a happy Riigi. That said, Margaret is an eye-catching blonde and she’s going to have a large contingent of patriotic countrymen in the audience. This will qualify.
Romania – Falsettos (I think that’s the right word) David D’Or and Krassimir Avramov were similarly blessed/cursed in the voice department and both failed to get out of the semi-finals. There’s something slightly unnerving about a man with such a strangely high voice. Not so long ago, we were all making predictions that Romania could win within five years. Maybe that was a little optimistic, because Romania is not going to be singing on the Saturday night.
Switzerland – Way back in the depths of winter, before someone came down my chimney bearing gifts, this song won in a town that is almost in Germany. I did want Anthony Bighead to win the competition, but it seems that both the producers of the show and the populace of the Confederation had other ideas. I understand that Mr Oneurope did briefly see/interview/overhear one of the members of
HeilsarmeeTakasa in Malta and generally the vibe is positive about the song. I’d like to see it qualify, just to p*ss on Lys Assia’s chips as potentially the act with the oldest person ever to appear on a Eurovision stage on a Saturday night.
I'll deal with the 'Big 5 plus 1' soon.