One of the benefits to running your own business from home is that this year I’ve had time to listen to all the Eurovision entries before the big night.
Of course, I didn’t just stop there – I ranked them all as well from worst to best. The first time, I just listened to them, the second time, I watched the videos.
Then I watched the videos all over again just to make sure I had them in the right order (I didn’t).
So, buckle up kids, we’ve got 41 songs to get through – complete with my comments. Obviously, this is just my opinion, so it is 100% completely correct.
41. Slovenia – Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl
On first listen: Accidentally watched the video of this first and I can’t say I particularly want to sit through it again. It’s quite a gloomy quiet song, really not for me at all.
During the video: She’s moping about in the video, it’s not a very energetic performance, although granted that would be difficult with this song. I don’t know what they can do to make this any more interesting on stage.
40. Albania – Ktheju tokës by Jonida Maliqi
On first listen: This song reminds me of something, but I can’t think what. The singer has a dramatic tone to her voice, but it all feels a bit urgent, I’m struggling to relax while listening to it. And I’ve just noticed some yodeling. It’s not the worst song, that’s probably about the best thing I can say about it. I’m sort of glad it’s over.
During the video: Probably just me, but I think she looks a bit like Sandra Bullock. I think this song thinks it’s more important than it really is. If it rains on stage and she’s wearing that skin coloured dress, she could pick up a couple of extra points.
39. Iceland – Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari
On first listen: It took me ages to find that funny little ð so this better be worth it. And instantly, it’s not. If you thought Lordi were heavy rock, then this lot are Lordi’s heavier older brother. Please don’t make me listen to this again.
During the video: He looks like a kid having a strop. Honestly, his parents ought to keep him home from Eurovision and do us all a favour. On the third listen this started to grow on me, but still…
38. Georgia – Keep on Going by Oto Nemsadze
On first listen: It feels like a funeral march. I don’t know what he’s singing about, but it’s very moody. Because it’s not in English and it’s slow, it’s sort of lost me. I don’t understand the language and I can’t sing along with the sounds like I can with some of the others
During the video: The video at least matches the song. It’s black and white and a bit moody. In fact it’s more than moody, it’s downright depressing. At a guess, I’d say it’s a song about war/refugees. I guess the end is uplifting. It’s definitely song with a message, but not for me.
37. Serbia – Kruna by Nevena Božović
On first listen: Starts with strings, a sound we don’t hear much. The singer is quite breathy, and not in English. It’s slow, so it feels like there’s not going to be anything catchy. Hang on, she’s just flipped to English. But not for long. It’s not holding my attention.
During the video: I got all the way to the end of the video before realising I was watching Slovenia’s not Serbia’s, which probably says a lot about both of them. There is probably more to work with here, but not much.
36. Portugal – Telemóveis by Conan Osiris
On first listen: Ok, this is a good start. It’s not in English, but it has sounds I can emulate, and interesting music. Although, it’s already feeling a bit eclectic, almost as if it doesn’t know what sort of song it wants to be.
During the video: This is a selections performance, rather than a video, which I like because it gives you a clue what it might be like during the finals. This guy has a style that is as eclectic as the song. He’s dressed in feathers, and he’s got a topless friend dressed the same way. The dance is distracting but the audience don’t seem overly enamoured with it.
35. Germany – Sister by S!sters
On first lesson: The singers are quite nasal in parts and as ballads go it seems pretty unmemorable. I like the slightly quicker moments during the song, but when they start chanting ‘Sister’ it feels a bit durge-y.
During the video: Well, they don’t look like sisters, and I don’t think they really have a connection. They’re both a bit shout-y. It’s like something you’d have seen on Glee 15 episodes into series 5 when everyone was getting a bit tired. Not a fan, but again, it grew on me during the third run-through.
34. Belarus – Like it by ZENA
On first lesson: It starts off immediately more interesting than some of the others. The music feels quite Eurovision-y. It’s dance-y and does at least allow you to sing along to it, but it goes on slightly too long for my taste.
During the video: This isn’t a produced video, but the performance from the Belarussian selection show. It’s slightly easier to judge these songs, and unfortunately, I don’t think she’s got any stage presence. She’s ok, not terrible, but I think both her and the song are too forgettable.
33. Austria – Limits by PÆNDA
On first listen: Another high pitched female. It seems like it’s going to be quite a ballad-y year. This is fairly nondescript. There’s not a lot to interest me here.
During the video: The video is about as interesting as the song. It’s all quite bland. I don’t think it will do very well, which means it will probably win. Having said that, it grew on me again during the third viewing
32. Hungary – Az én apám by Joci Pápai
On first listen: At first, this appears to be like many of the others, a bloke singing a ballad. It doesn’t just feel like this is in a different language, it sounds like it’s being played backwards, but it makes for an interesting sound. The whistling interlude is new and breaks it up a bit. I don’t think this song is going to take off with a Westlife-style key change, step off the stools moment, but with so many of those moments in the other songs, that might help set it apart.
During the video: We’ve got another one who doesn’t like to open his eyes while he sings. But worse than that, he’s got a topa-knot. And a guitar. Christ.
31. Australia – Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke
On first listen: I can’t work this song out, it feels a bit too experimental for my liking. I’m not sure who they’re trying to target with this song. Oh, wow, a disco beat has just dropped in. That’s quite a change in tempo – could lead to an interesting visual. But after about thirty seconds of that, it’s back to the linnet-bird style of the beginning. And now opera. This is definitely too messy, I’m just waiting for it to finish now.
During the video: She looks like someone turned Princess Elsa into one of those dolls they put over toilet rolls. I liked the woman on the stick bouncing around in the background, but I was sort of waiting for her to smack Elsa in the mouth to shut her up. We should beat this.
30. Poland – Fire of Love (Pali się) by Tulia
On first listen: This has a unique sound – at least compared to the others, which could be an advantage, though it seems fairly linear. There’s no ebb or flow in it yet. What you get at the beginning is just kind of there for the rest of the song. It lost me mid-way, I got bored of it.
During the video: We’ve got a black and whie video with women carrying shoes and a man at a garage having a fag. This video isn’t really revealing to me anything about the song. It feels a bit obscure.
29. Israel – Home by Kobi Marimi
On first listen: From the start this song felt like it had a bit of an Irish feel to it – it took me a moment to realise why, but then I realised I could picture it being played atop a montage in Lord of the Rings. I suppose comparisons to Enya aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Marimi’s vocals are good, but I feel the choir and backing track threaten to overwhelm him from about a third of the way into the track
During the video: With the right emotion and the right staging this could do quite well, but I don’t think Marimi brings it in the video. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel, and so the song doesn’t really connect with me.
28. Montenegro – Heaven by D mol
On first listen: This might be the first act I’ve listened to this year which isn’t exclusively one gender or the other. That could help their perofrmance on the night, although the transition into an Irish style of music doesn’t work for me. It picks up towards the end. It’s another one that’s OK. Nothing special.
During the video: Oh, there’s four of them! I didn’t get that from the song. Even they seem surprised by the Irish music. Actually, there’s five of them! No… six. They’ve all found theIrishman and are now singing at him on the beach. I didn’t really pay attention to the video, I was too busy counting. I stand by my OK.
27. Estonia – Storm by Victor Crone
On first listen: He’s got a guitar. I can tell without even looking – I’m getting singer/songwriter vibes. The world doesn’t need another Ed Sheeran. Oh, it’s called Storm? Copy-cat. It’s ok. Enough to make me tap my foot, but I’ve already forgotten it and I’m still listening. That could be said about a lot of the songs this year, though.
During the video: He did have a guitar! But then it disappeared in some clever camera trickery. I can’t tell if this is an actual recorded performance, or the proper music video. Either way, it hints at what’s to come on the night, they might have some ambition for the staging that could lift it above average.
26. Romania – On a Sunday by Ester Peony
On first listen: A dramatic start, almost like a horror movie – but that could just be the video. The music falters to begin with, which is odd. The lyrics are simple and clear, the structure of the song seemingly obvious. It’s ok, bit dull for me.
During the video: A dramatic start, almost like a horror movie – but that could just be the video. The music falters to begin with, which is odd. The lyrics are simple and clear, the structure of the song seemingly obvious. It’s ok, bit dull for me.
25. Greece – Better Love by Katerine Duska
On first listen: The Greeks have come along to prove that just because an act sings in English, it’s no guarantee I will have a clue what’s going on. It’s a little bit catchy, but it’s mostly warbly.
During the video: If I was hoping the video would give me any clue what was happening, then I’m disappointed. They’ve definitely gone for theatre with this one, but it might be just a little bit too avant garde for most people. The song is similar to a lot of others this year. It seems to be the year of the ballad.
24. Moldova – Stay by Anna Odobescu
On first listen: She sounds like Claire from Steps. That’s a good thing. She’ll stand out for being a female doing a ballad among a sea of men doing ballads. But like the others they’ve not been able to resist dropping a beat in for the middle third. It’s another one that feels like it goes on a minute too long, though.
During the video: This could almost be a Steps video . It looks like clips from a trashy daytime soap opera, and who doesn’t want melodrama with their Eurovision? She doesn’t move an awful lot so itwill be interestin what they choose to do on the night. It’ll probably involve fake rain of some sort.
23. Sweden – Too Late for Love by John Lundvik
On first listen: This guy wrote our song and the Swedish normally do quite well, so I’m interested. It’s straight into the vocals, I wonder if we’ve missed a bit. This is firmly in the style of bloke singing a ballad. I’m a bit disapointed by it, I mean it’s not terrible, but I don’t think it’s up to Sweden’s standards. You can tell he wrote ours. They’re not massively different.
During the video: This is a live performance rather than a video so again, a bit of a clue a to how he might perform on the night. There’s some good camera work which makes it feel slightly more dramatic than it is and he moves a bit more than I’ve seen Michael move when he performs, although he is still doing it on the spot. It’s a little bit catchy, but not a lot.
22. Russia – Scream by Sergey Lazarev
On first listen: A song from Russia called Scream makes me nervous, but it starts quite calm, although the drama is quickly starting to build. Having said that, it’s not holding my attention. It feels like the song you get at the beginning of the second act of a musical, the sort of song that eases everyone back in, but nobody would miss.
During the video: Worth pointing out this is yet another single white male singing an ballad. There’s a story unfolding around this guy in the video, but again, he’s not doing much apart from waving his arms around.
21. Lithuania – Run with the Lions by Jurij Veklenko
On first listen: When I saw the title of this song, for some reason I had bigger expectations of this song. It’s not what I thought it would be. I was expecting something a bit more energetic. It’s ok, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and am a little bit disappointed.
During the video: He’s quite a handsome chap – but honestly, do we need any more single white males on this stage? Perhaps my fatigue of this kind of singer is colouring it for me, but it’s nothing special. I think it’ll make it to the finals, but if it doesn’t, I don’t think it will be missed.
20. Malta – Chameleon by Michaela
On first listen: This song that feels like it’s stuck in second gear. It’s not a slow song by any means but it doesn’t ever kick in. It’s growing on me the more it goes on, but it’s definitely a middle-of-the-pack. It sounds a bit like an Ava Max reject.
During the video: She looks like Avril Lavigne – perhaps she’s one of her stand-ins. The words are coming up on the screen in case we’re having trouble understanding her. This means I’m reading the words rather than looking at the performance which seems to be not a lot going on in artistic backgrounds. It is definitely growing on me, but I think the verses are weak.
19. United Kingdom – Bigger Than Us by Michael Rice
On first listen: The only song that I wasn’t listening to for the first time, so it makes it a bit harder to judge in comparison to the others. Rice’s vocals are a bit like Israel’s at the beginning where they dominate the music, but then the chorus comes in and the music takes over. It’s a fairly typical British song. It feels like a sequel to Storm – which I loved. I like this too, but it doesn’t deserve to do better than Surie.
During the video: Michael overperforms this too much for my liking, the lip wobbles and air-grabbing are a bit too much. It’s a nice story, I guess, but it won’t play out too easily on stage, unless they try some sort of interpretive dance like Ireland did last year, but really, I don’t see what they can do apart from have a few flashing lights and a smoke machine.
18. Croatia – The Dream by Roko
On first listen: Shades of Conchita from the beginning – this time in the sound of their voice. It’s a promising start. Oh, wow, the shades are getting shadier, it’s quite like a lot of other ballads.
During the video: He looks like Belgium’s older brother. And he plays his own piano, but the problem with that is he doesn’t open his eyes while he’s playing or singing. It’s an ok song, but I don’t think he’s that charismatic.
17. Latvia – That Night by Carousel
On first listen: Instant thought is that this is a husky version of Amy McDonald. The lyrics are predictable, but that’s no bad thing, it means I’m singing along in less than a minute, which is what you need from a Eurovision song. A lot of the voters will only be hearing the song for the first time on the night. It doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s inoffensive, likely to be forgotten
During the video: It looks like she’s performing on last year’s Eurovision set. The performance is understated (they’ve even coloured it in black and white) so could stand out for its sheer simplicity on the night, but I fear for them that the song isn’t special enough for that.
16. Finland – Look Away by Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman
On first listen: The most famous (slash only) Darude song I know, isn’t actually a song. From memory, Sandstorm doesn’t have any lyrics, so I haven’t really got anything to compare this to. BUT it does have a Darude feel to the music. The vocal seems a bit weak, but it has echoes of BrightLight BrightLight about it, who I like. This could get in my head. (Pun intended).
During the video: This guy doesn’t really match his voice, but I like the look he’s going for. I’m not entirely sure if Darude is actually doing anything back there, but it’s good to see him, or it was until they turned him around and replaced him with a floating green woman. A nice bit of theatre, coupled with the fact I imagine this will be played all over Europe, this could do well.
15. France – Roi by Bilal Hassani
On first listen: There are some good hooks in this song. Some of the more memorable moments come toward the end of the song which will help – if people haven’t left the room during the beginning. Seems like standard Eurovision fare.
During the video: There are some good hooks in this song. Some of the more memorable moments come toward the end of the song which will help – if people haven’t left the room durin the beginning. Seems like standard Eurovision fare.
14. Italy – Soldi by Mahmood
On first listen: The first song I listened to where it was completely non-English, but that’s ok, I liked it from the beginning, possibly because it wasn’t a ballad. It feels quite dance-y and I can see this one going off on the night with the crowd. As a non-Italian speaker, there are no hooks for me to grab onto though, so not sure it will stick in my head. There are parts of it that made me think of Holly Valance and Kiss-Kiss
During the video: I still like it, but the video doesn’t give the vibe I was expecting. I thought they were going for a Fuego-style song, but Mahmood barely moves in this video, in fact for much of it, he just stands there looking moody as if you’ve criticised the painting and decorating you asked him to do on your kitchen. If that vibe translates to the final performance, I don’t think this will do very well on the night.
13. San Marino – Say Na Na Na by Serhat
On first listen: As the name suggests, this is quite dance-y. At this stage I’m grateful that it’s not another ballad. The male singer of this sounds a bit creepy, but they’ve got a hook, even if it does remind me of Fat Les and his Vindaloo. I don’t think he was the right person to sing this song, probably needed a woman’s voice. I am enjoying it, though.
During the video: He looks as I sort of expected. There’s a club setting and he looks slightly too old to be there, chatting up people ten years younger than him, which is fine, do what you like, but it’s not endearing. A lot of dancing in this video which can’t be replicated on the night with just six people on stage. This is one of those songs that gets better the second time you hear it. Weird little girl at the end.
12. Denmark – Love is Forever by Leonora
On first listen: Plinky plonky music to begin with. This has shades of Lily Allen circa 2001 – and that girl that had flowers in her hair. It’s a good example of that kind of music and it’s been long enough that it might feel fresh again. Ah, Eliza Dolittle is the other one she reminds me of. It’s going on a bit too long for my liking. The twee-ness of it outstays its welcome.
During the video: She looks like Lily James. If Lily James was a waitress. I like the giant chair she’s sitting on – it adds to the twee-ness, but it works. As do the two that join her with their ladders towards the end. It’s differen enough from the others so far.
11. Armenia – Walking Out by Srbuk
On first listen: This comes for you right from the beginning, it reminds me a bit of The Saturdays, but she loses that as the song goes on and she breaks into a bit of a Celine Dion impression. Mashed together two quite different styles, but it works for me, I think. At least it does for the first 2 minutes. The third minute completly breaks the style. Too unpredictable to dance to. I think this could be a bit too messy
During the video: This girl’s got attitude, and she’s got topless dancers in blazers which works for me. This works better with a visual and I quite like it second time around. There’s still that weird break in it though, which sort of breaks the momentum, but it does just about bring it back.
10. Spain – La Venda by Miki
On first listen: This had a dramatic start, but then seemed to introduce a banjo out of nowhere. Like Italy before it, it’s competely non-English and a bit dance-y – there are some hooks that I can get on board with though, so it will stay in my head a bit longer.
During the video: I was singing and dancing along on the second time round. This is infectious to me, it’s fun, and could potentially have everyone up and dancing on the night. The success of this one will depend on its position in the running order but it’s my favourite so far.
9. Norway – Spirit in the Sky by KEiiNO
On first listen: I’m already disappointed that this isn’t Gareth Gates and the Kumars. It’s got a night dance-y beat to it. The dancing with the fairies line will play well to the crowd on the night – I can already picture it on someone’s t-shirt. Oh, dear it was all going so well – a shaman seems to have taken over for the last third. It’s interesting, just not what I was expecting. The rest of the song is good, though.
During the video: They’ve filmed the video in Narnia – but it is at least another male/female combo which is different from most of the other acts. They’ve clearly got a vision/story for this song so the performance on the night should hopefully be something spectacular. The shaman looks like he’s in pain.
8. North Macedonia – Proud by Tamara Todevska
On first listen: I like this. The vocals are clear, not being drowned out by the music, which is sweet, but with a promise to rise as we go along. I do like a violin solo as well and it’s not too long here. Here comes the swell. I can imagine myself singing this in the shower pretending to be Whitney. It’s not the best song, but it’s more than OK.
During the video: It’s a song about female empowerment. That’s very now. I think this could do well on the night. It depends on what they decide to project on the screens behind the singer. But this could become a bit of an anthem.
7. Cyprus – Replay by Tamta
On first listen: She sounds like a lot of the acts in the chart at the moment. You can decide whether that’s a compliment or not, but it should mean she attracts an audience of some kind. There are some good hooks in this, and there’s enough to keep you interested.
During the video: This is a proper video. I’m going out on a limb here and saying she’s probably an established music star in Cyprus. She oozes confidence and if the performance on the night is anything like the video, we could be in for a good one. Half decent song with a good perfomance, it could be in with a chance.
6. Switzerland – She Got Me by Luca Hänni
On first listen: It’s not terrible, it’s making me move, which is always a good sign. It sounds like something you might find on One Direction’s second or third album, where they’re trying to be popular, but also a little bit edgy.
During the video: He’s got presence, although that could just be the hat (I do like a hat) – he looks like he’s recently left a boy band so I stand by my 1D comparison. He can move so we should be in for a good performance. I think he’ll have some fans on the night, he won’t win, but he’ll finish on the left hand side of the board.
5. Ireland – 22 by Sarah McTernan
On first listen: I’m listening to this one straight after Iceland, so I’ll probably love it. Oh, already, I do, it’s a bit plinky-plonky in a twingy-twangy way. That’s expert analysis for you. The music is better than the lyrics here, but she can sing. I don’t think it’ll match Ireland’s perfromance last year, but it’s decent enough, and is at least different from the other songs. I’ve surprised myself by singing along with it towards the end.
During the video: They’ve gone for a vintage feel with the video, which seems to be working for the song. It feels like it’s achieving what Michael Rice’s set out to do. I’m interested to see what they do with this on stage. I definitely like this more now than I did when I first heard it. Have to say, she did well in all that wind, especially when her hair smacked her in the face.
4. Azerbaijan – Truth by Chingiz
On first listen: I’ve liked a lot of Azerbaijan’s songs in the past, so I always look forward to what they bring. I like the beat of this song. It builds to a change that kicks in at just the right moment, and the chorus is easy to sing along to. It brings more of the same after this point, but I like it enough to listen to it again.
During the video: He looks like he’s rocked up to the gay club a bit too early. If the array of other interesting people in the video turn up on the night it could be for a fun performance. I like it even more the second time around.
3. The Netherlands – Arcade by Duncan Laurence
On first listen: This is the last one I’m listening to, I might have a bit of fatigue. It’s a slow start. Oh, good, it’s another solo male ballad. He’s got a nice quality to his voice though, I think he can sing better than some of the others. This is quite nice actually, and might be the best of the ballads. There’s a nice lively chorus that doesn’t break from the rest of the song.
During the video: He appears to be naked in a lake. We even get to see a bit of bum. Why did I wait 40 songs before watching this one? Winner. In all seriousness, it’s probably not, I think it will suffer from wherever it’s placed in the order, depending on how many of the other male ballads go through. They might all merge into one. This is the best of them, though.
2. Czech Republic – Friend of a Friend by Lake Malawi
On first listen: Straight into the vocals, which is a shame, as I don’t think I like them. Oh, hang on, have I heard this before? He’s got a cockney talking bit, and then the vocals get better. It’s a little bit catchy and the cockney bit is memorable at least. It makes you pay attention.
During the video: This guy has small ears. But he’s cute and I like the instagram-like video. This could be a hit. Some of the vocals bother me, but I think I like it because of that. It’s only problem is it’s not a serious song, that’s fine (look at Toy), but it might not be silly enough for Eurovision.
1. Belgium – Wake Up by Eliot
On first listen: At the beginning it sounds like the opening credits for something, but then the singing starts and it doesn’t anymore. I’m enjoying the way it’s building to something. I think I like this song, it sounds a bit like something Justin Bieber or one fifth of One Direction might sing. Bit anticlimactic though.
He’s cute. He looks like he could be one fifth of One Direction. I actually think on second listen this might be one of my favourites.
So, agree? Disagree? I’ve probably cursed half the field now and Serbia will end up winning!