Eurovision 2014 seems to be full of curveballs, and looks like to be one of the hardest to predict for a while. Lithuania are hard enough to predict as it is, responsible for a number of unexpected qualifiers over the years.
They might not have the strongest track record in the contest, though they took novelty song “We are the winners” to 6th place in 2006. But you never know, the right song at the right time might do the trick for them. Just look at Latvia (no, actually don’t).
The lengthy Eurovizijos selection event chose the song and the artist independently, with Vilija coming out on top with a speedy rendition of winning song “Attention”. It’s a bit of a strange one, with some almost rapping segments in the bridge.
Well well well, as one of the first artists to be announced for Copenhagen, Conchita was one of the last to reveal her song for Eurovision. Internally selected by the Austrian broadcaster, drag queen Conchita, with her trademark bearded lady look has attempted to represent Austria in its selection events before, but now is her year.
It’s always rubbed up ultra-conservative Belarus & Russia up the wrong way, even starting petitions to get Conchita removed from the contest. I can’t say I’m really getting anything from the beard, but the song itself is as strong and dramatic as the most overblown Shirley Bassey epic.
Rousing orchestral swells, a huge voice to match, Conchita expertly navigates through what I was loathe to describe as a “James Bond-esque” song about, well you can imagine, overcoming adversity and coming out stronger. It’s a strong statement song, and finishes with a magnificent key change.
What a gig, representing Portugal in Eurovision. As one of the veteran participants in the contest, returning after a 1-year hiatus to present their 47th entry, you’d think they’d have a bit more to show for it.
In all that time, not only have they never won (a record), they haven’t even graced the top 5 in a final, with their last top 10 finish a distant memory. Maybe this will be their year? Yeah?
Well at least it’s a lively – after a string of pleasant but unexciting ballads and love songs, here’s some straight-up Europop, which won the overwhelming support of the Portuguese public when it won its national selection event Festival da Canção 2014.
I smell controversy on the wind, coming in from the East. PR-wise, things aren’t too hot for Russia, with the Ukraine situation leading many to wonder whether war is coming. For now though, let’s just consider whether the wheels might finally come off for one of Eurovision’s powerhouses.
Russia have never failed to qualify for a final since the semi-final system came in 2004, and due to various rules over the years this has meant six out of six Russian entries made it through. Among these was the first Russian winner, Dima Bilan in 2008.
It would be a brave person to bet against them qualifying, particularly with their Semi Final 1 holding a number of nations with Russian-speaking nations. Will they get booed in Copenhagen? I hope not, as the Russian entry this year – internally selected – are the young Tolmachevy Sisters; not responsible for any atrocities as far as I’m aware.
Israel now, and one of the longer running participants in the contest with three victories to their name, including the watershed Dana International in 1998.
Mei Finegold was selected internally, but the song was selected in a national selection event, Kdam, where “Same Heart” was selected. Israel have an unfortunate hat-trick of non-qualification to break, and have a fairly patchy qualification record in any case. But things are looking up this year.
This is a fabulous song, husky-voiced Mei has a lot of power and this is a perfect match for her. Mei has had enough, so get out of the way, she’s got a bloody samurai sword! The chorus throbs with synths and frustrated lyrics are spat out.