The Unofficial Guide To The Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Folks, it’s that glorious time of year again, the time when once the continent of Europe, and now the world can unite in a night of song and entertainment courtesy of THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. The campiest, frootest, most streets ahead evening of white-hot guilty pleasure enjoyment. Unless you’re Russia, who haven’t been allowed to enter host country Ukraine, for obvious reasons…. But that’s not what Eurovision is about, so on with the show!

With only a handful of countries opting not to compete (Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxembourg, Monaco, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Kosovo and even the heavily rumored and anticipated United States), the card is stacked with what might not be Europe’s (and Australia’s) best, but certainly their brightest. But that’s the best thing about Eurovision, speaking as someone from The UK, you’d think we’d enter someone like Ed Sheeran and walk it, but no! So little do we care and so damaging do established stars think it will be that we have been fielding the likes of Scooch to represent us…

Hooray…?

But every country has had a Scooch. Some countries have a Scooch every year. So without further ado, let’s meet the participants in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. YEAH.

ALBANIA — Representing the Albanians is one Lindita, singing ‘World’. A song about the world, I guess… Not much to report on this one, my experts are saying it won’t be a threat.

ODDS: 40/1

Great hair though.

ARMENIA — Artsvik sings ‘Fly With Me’ for Armenia, and with a very choppy dance routine, this one seems like an aggressive airline advert. Expect Artsvik to be cruising at a comparatively low altitude.

ODDS: 25/1

AUSTRALIA — The Aussie’s representation has been stellar the two years they’ve been in the comp, and this year, that trend has stooped. The rep this year comes in the form of Isaiah, Mowgli in a ill-fitting suit, singing ‘Don’t Come Easy’, which halts the hype and passion previous Australian performances have had. Experts say he will still do well, so it could well be alright on the night.

ODDS: 6/1

AUSTRIA — ‘Running On Air’ from Nathan Trent might actually be one of my favorites this year, and I really don’t know why. It’s jaunty, but at the same time, quite samey, and is likely to fly under the radar of a lot of voters. In terms of superficiality, Trenty-Boy just isn’t as dishy as Eurovision fans are used to and so, is unlikely to win too many votes that way. But it doesn’t hurt…

ODDS: 27/1

AZERBAIJAN — An ode to bones, with Dihaj delivering us ‘Skeletons’. Pretty catchy, and a dark aesthetic could lend itself to a decent sequence. My panel of experts are high on this, could be a dark horse…

ODDS: 12/1

BELARUS — Naviband’s ‘Story Of My Life’ is about two fancy-pantsters dancing in the woods. Expect it to place mid-table with at least three countries giving it inexplicably high points.

ODDS: 31/1

BELGIUM — This one is actually quite nice. Blanche comes at us with ‘City Lights’, a catchy yet haunting song, especially when accompanied by the video, but the performance could share the aesthetic. The modern nature of the song lends itself to New-rovision, and could see itself streets ahead of everyone else.

ODDS: 3/1

BULGARIA — Kristian Kostov caresses our audio canals with ‘Beautiful Mess’. Sadly, this number is only the latter. My team of untouchable experts expect a strong showing, however…

ODDS: 11/1

CROATIA — I love this guy. (‘guy’ referring to the song, I do not know Jacques Houdek). ‘My Friend’ sounds like it will have a choir in tow, and it’s just a lovely inspirey kinda number. A number of my experts say it’s likely to fly under the radar, but Jacques, you can count me as your friend after this one.

ODDS: 17/1

CYPRUS — Hovig’s ‘Gravity’ needs to come back down to earth with this one. While it seems to promise a lovely visual, it’ll need to be on par with Alfonso Cuaron’s piece of the same name to challenge for the title.

ODDS: 38/1

CZECH REPUBLIC — Martina Barta’s ‘My Turn’ will not turn around the fortunes of the Czechs. It will not be their turn to host next year, sorry. Martina seems a stellar dancer, mind.

ODDS: 55/1

DENMARK — Anja Nissen’s got the pipes, but the song (‘Where I Am’) does not got the ripes. If she wants to know where she is come the end of the contest, she can look towards the bottom of the table.

ODDS: 37/1

ESTONIA — Laura (someone had boring parents) and Koit Toome hit Ukraine with ‘Verona’, a song about losing and finding their personal Verona, seemingly a reference to Romeo & Juliet. Which ends with the two lovers dead. I strongly urge Laura and Koit not to do the same when this song tanks.

ODDS: 40/1

FINLAND — The video for this looks delightfully different (see below), but from the rehearsal shots, the performance looks painfully plain, and without that strong of a song to back ’em up, Norma John can only take ‘Blackbird’ so far.

ODDS: 24/1

If the Eurovision isn’t about wavy water ladies, then which show is!?

FRANCE — Actually one of my favourites. Alma lends her cracking vocals to ‘Requiem’, which isn’t nearly as sad as it sounds. The lass just looks so chipper and I hope the chippericity is infectious, because I’m hoping this song goes all the way. Experts differ slightly however, citing it’s generic beats as it’s downfall into the mediocrity of mid-table.

ODDS: 8/1

CHIPPER

F.Y.R. MACEDONIA — Anyone I’ve spoken to about this song (everyone I know) has said that this song has made them a fan in the 15-second extract I showed them, and I’m starting to see what they mean. Despite the fact that the video for ‘Dance Alone’ depicts singer Jana Burceska grooving with somebody else, the number is catchy and my experts and I can see it coming in with a top ten finish at least.

ODDS: 10/1

GERMANY — Since Lena’s ‘Satellite’, the German entrants for Eurovision have gone downhill. PREPARE FOR THAT TO STAY THE SAME. While not terrible, Levina’s ‘Perfect Life’ is entirely inoffensive, neither making me run for the door, nor getting me on my feet and dancing The Jiggler until 6 A.M. (as I do with all songs I enjoy).

ODDS: 20/1

I thought Robyn was Swedish?

GEORGIA — Apart from giving the commentators a chance to earn their paycheck, Tamara Gachechiladze and her entry of ‘Keep The Faith’ toes that line of political undertones (which Eurovision songs are banned from doing) in an attempt to replicate what Ukraine did last year. The song may not be as catchy as some others, but a strong message can carry a song to a strong performance.

ODDS: 8/1

GREECE — Greece have a strong recent history of entries, but after missing out for the first time in a long time last year, Demy’s ‘This Is Love’ could march on with that trend. Another inoffensive number, without a strong visual performance, a lot of folk could forget about this one.

ODDS: 30/1

HUNGARY — ‘A confusing mess of a song. Imagine your Gran carrying two bowls of soup down the stairs during an earthquake; what spills on the floor is this song.’ Not my words, the words of respected playwright G.S. Slater. And I don’t disagree. It’s as if they wrote the first four bars and forgot to write the rest.

ODDS: 8,000,000/1

ICELAND — Svala is finally doing what everyone has always wanted to do but just didn’t have the guts. She has written a love song about paper, appropriately titled ‘Paper’. Now while this is obviously an analogy, the lyrics do seem to blur the lines, making one think that Svala and the country of Iceland have gone through a bad breakup with a slice of A4. Something we can all relate to.

ODDS: 36/1

Why won’t you return my calls?

IRELAND — Not a terrible number from the Emerald Isle, but the song doesn’t inspire exciting visuals. PROVE ME WRONG, IRELAND. Also, they gotta hope that Brendan Murray’s voice doesn’t break before he can perform ‘Dying To Try’.

ODDS: 21/1

The semi-final is on a school night, so straight to bed after your performance.

ISRAEL — Imri enters for Israel with his number ‘I Feel Alive’, which is ironic because even as I was watching the 15-second extract of this song to remind me of the entries, my eyes glazed over and I nearly choked on my Pobre Hombre Cuba Libre. Experts say that the majority of folk will feel alive, but that minority that don’t will stop Imri from placing anywhere near the danger zone.

ODDS: 21/1

ITALY — This could be it. Myself and experts alike are in agreement, Francesco Gabbani could be your winner. He could bring the world not only the winning Eurovision 2017 number in ‘Occidentali’s Karma’, but also the fanciest, snazziest outfits known to man, fearlessly treading the line between extravagant and casual like nobody else, along with the next dance craze of Europe. Expect to see it EVERYWHERE. This is all without the genuine message of the song, which is one of the smarter approaches to a political slant.

ODDS: 2/1

Jacket and hands. Jacket and hands. Jacket and hands. Jacket and hands. Jacket and hands.

LATVIA — Triana Park enters with ‘Line’. That’s about all we have to say… Nothing bad, but just nothing terribly good… This entry could draw the line between 21st and 23rd.

ODDS: 44/1

LITHUANIA — Following on from Russia’s visuals from last year, Lithuania are doing their best to make their own visuals original. They’re succeeding to some degree, but they’ve sacrificed a catchy number to do so (which Russia had). The visuals could get them some votes, but not enough. Fusedmarc’s ‘Rain Of Revolution’ will probably scrape through the semi-finals into a mid-table finish.

ODDS: 20/1

MALTA — Claudia Faniello’s ‘Breathlessly’ sounds stunning from a vocal standpoint, but that’s about it. The story and song don’t inspire stunning visuals, and experts say that the song could be forgotten in the vote as early as the semi-finals. Claudia, I’d say don’t waste your breath, but, I assume you’re quite cavalier with your breath anyways…

ODDS: 36/1

MOLDOVA — A charming little ditty from Sunstroke Project here, and like sunstroke, it ends up leaving you charred, ill and hazy. To a lesser degree. While a charming number, the goofy nature will easily disillusion some fans, and while my award for taking Eurovision way too seriously comes in, the top place for ‘Hey Mamma’ goes out. There’s a step dance that’s fucking wild though.

ODDS: 29/1

MONTENEGRO — Slavko Kalezic wants to make sure you focus on his hair, because his song, ‘Space’ is wholly underwhelming. If Montenegro want to build a good history of entries, try impressing my thickly-locked panel of experts first.

ODDS: 45/1

Oh, that? It’s just a hairy snake,

NORWAY — My most trusted expert has assured me that Norway will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest next year as Jowst jousts in and grabs the moment with ‘Grab The Moment’, because she professes from the get-go, that it is the ‘catchiest song so far’. Myself, I think it’ll get lost in the mix, not so much grabbing the moment as it is grabbing 15th place.

ODDS: 15/1

POLAND — Kasia Mos offers a very alluring visual to her performance, as well as perhaps the first piece of Eurovision nudity, or, Eurotrash, as no-one calls it. ‘Flashlight’ is far too close to a toy of a similar name for a video that depicts as much near nudity as it does, and expect that to overshadow it’s (happy) ending. (This review was wholly unfair, but there wasn’t much else to say).

ODDS: 69/1 (sorry, the song does grow on you)

PORTUGAL — Apart from looking like a mouse has turned into a human and bought an over-sized suit, Salvador Sobral delivers a truly impressive number in ‘Amar Pelos Dois’, coming at us with poise and a beautiful voice. While my favourite, my experts have assured me of a low finish, if it even makes it to the final. Nonetheless, I stand with Sobral #IStandWithSobral

ODDS: 14/1 (#IStandWithSobral)

Get outta here, Feivel! Oh, I mean #IStandWithSobral

ROMANIA — Holy fucking graw. Have they nailed it? Have they found the formula for greatness? The short answer is no, but the long answer could be soooooo much longer. Ilinca and Alex Florea come at us with ‘Yodel It!’ and you would be a fool to think that’s not exactly what at least one of them does. Mixing pop with yodeling without shame, Romania (yes, Romania) attempt the impossible. And it might just work. If they haven’t got your vote, they’ve got your attention.

ODDS: 18/1

RUSSIA — CONTROVERSY ALERT! CONTROVERSY ALERT! Russia have been banned from Ukraine’s Eurovision Song Contest and if I need to tell you why, you’re stupider than a guy who writes about Eurovision without making a living off of it. The wheelchair bound Julia Samoylova was set to ‘invade’ Ukraine with her song ‘Flame Is Burning’. But since she and her country are banned, everyone will just have to ask Chechnya how their Russian flame is burning.

ODDS: Whatever the odds are of Lisa Simpson dying due to the results of a bear attack.

SAN MARINO — Failing to do my research, I struggle to remember a time when San Marino made it through to the finals. They should have done last year, but if they didn’t then, they’re not going to now. Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson hit us up with ‘Spirit Of The Night’ but as far as I can tell, this bland single’s singers are gonna be needing the spirit of the night to forget this one.

ODDS: 44/1

SERBIA — I’m excited about this one. Visually. The dance number could be terrific with just one performer. The music video for Tijana Bogicevic’s ‘In Too Deep’ promises a masterclass of dance and I truly hope it can deliver, salvaging it from the deep to the shallows of the top ten…

ODDS: 19/1

SLOVENIA — This is an inspirational enough song… For 20 years ago. As if pulled from the Slovenian version of Hilary Duff’s ‘Raise Your Voice’, Omar Naber sings ‘On My Way’ so flat that he could only be on his way to The Netherlands (flattest country I could think of). This WILL NOT and SHOULD NOT make it past the semis.

ODDS: 183/1

SPAIN — Ah… Manel Navarro. Now, some of you Chevy Chase folk out there might be pissed at his hippy-dippy style, and I was for a while as well. While I don’t think the song will do well, I have to admit that the artist behind ‘Do It For Your Lover’ has the potential to do well, and with a song that could catch on, a top half finish, at least, isn’t out of the question.

ODDS: 13/1

The poor folks’ Rob Pattinson: Manel.

SWEDEN — This routine could steal the show, and I never use that phrase lightly. The use of treadmills and style will put their visual performance streets ahead of plenty of others, the only let-down… Is the song itself. Robin Bengtsson is clearly talented (along with his pool of dancers) but ‘I Can’t Go On’ is an apt name for an act that falls at the last hurdle: getting the audience to dance along. He does seem to be the critics choice though…

ODDS: 10/1

SWITZERLAND — ‘Apollo’ comes so close to being a catchy track, but a note before the end of every bar seems to fall short of greatness. Still, Timebelle spits a catchy song, and it does grow on you, but it may take just too long to take the title come the end of the evening. Expect a neutral finish for the neutral land.

ODDS: EVEN (Obviously for the joke. ACTUAL ODDS: 25/1)

THE NETHERLANDS — OG3NE sure know how to milk a bar. And that, ultimately, shall be their downfall. With an interesting (depending on your definition, remember I write about Eurovision and it’s not for a living) story behind them, these lasses could be in for a high finish if their performance of ‘Lights And Shadows’ is interactive enough. The title certainly leaves room for a lot of play.

ODDS: 13/1

UKRAINE — Due to being hosts, O.Torvald qualify automatically and their performance looks boss. With a countdown clock ticking throughout (due to a Eurovision song only being allowed three minutes) they turn their song ‘Time’ into a whole new dimension, and the visual is certainly something to behold. That, combined with the song not being too bad either makes for a reasonably wicked combination, which is exactly how I describe any two-person intercourse activity.

ODDS: 6/1

UNITED KINGDOM — Here we are; last, and normally least. Though I must admit, Lucie Jones has some lovely vocals and despite being one of the painfully slow ballads that can easily die a slow death in Eurovision, her rendition of ‘Never Give Up On You’ seems to be catching on. Throw in some breathtaking visuals that even Malta’s Claudia Faniello will pause for and we might have ourselves a chance…

ODDS: 18/1

Aaaaaaaaand there you have it.

All the competitors lined up. You know where to place your bets (and trust me, my experts haven’t missed a Eurovision since they were born), and now you know how to catch it (‘it’ being the fever for Eurovision):

The first semi-final is on May 9th, emanating live from Kyiv, with the second semi-final in the same place, live, on May 11th. The whole kaboodle wraps up with the live final on May 13th at the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine.

If anything I have said during this article has painted Eurovision in a negative light, be assured that Eurovision is there for that reason. We can see the very worst (normally hilarious) and the very best (literally emotional) and that’s what Eurovision can bring to the world. When Eurovision comes around, the world just seems a little brighter. Sure, the whole fuckfest of the hosts Ukraine banning Russia thing overshadows any joviality, but it’d take a shithead to say they didn’t deserve it a little bit.

With that out of the way, now the focus can be on music. Sure, it’s something people still disagree on, but we can come together in support of our countries to all say ‘Holy shit, look how fucking ridiculous we are.’ And therein lies the magic.

The Eurovision doesn’t solve wars or famines, but it alleviates pain, stress and discomfort, which are still real diseases existing in the world. Music can inspire hope even when the strongest of bonds can’t. Whether Eurovision bears that music or not, it does a hell of job opening the door.

Every competitor can be proud of their entrance into the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest and more than 200,000,0000 people can attest to that.

So let’s just have a fucking good time, eh?

If you wanna check out the entrants, see the handy recap video below courtesy of the Eurovision Song Contest YouTube Channel!

Keep it streets ahead,

CLR