Semi-final 1: Who gets my vote?
“Hello Stockholm, and a very good evening Europe from all of us here at Gig Club. Petra, you’re looking fabulous for this Semi Final tonight. But Måns, wow, what is with that bowtie!?
“Haha. Okay. Yes, lets move swiftly on.
“Here goes with my verdict on the first eighteen entries vying for a place in the Final on Saturday…”
Sing It Away by Sandhja — A lively song, but Finland’s entry is missing a hook it despirately needs, and is likely to get diluted by other songs of similar ilk in the competition. Verdict: Nil points
Utopian Land by Argo — Traditional Eastern European sound mixed with a lot of Greek rapping make this an interesting, if not arresting song. The lyre solo is a great addition, but it’s a little ham fisted for me. Verdict: Nil points
Falling Stars by Lidia Isac — A slow, dramatic build. Wait for the Venga Boys-percussion to kick in. Lights. Lasers. Massive note to end. Solid Eurovision. Verdict: 6pts
Pioneer by Freddie — A topical song from a country at the heart of the European humanitarian crisis. Poignant lyrics and a husky voice. This is my favourite of this preliminary group. Could win the whole competition. Verdict: 12pts
Lighthouse by Nina Kraljić — A neat little love song with clever metaphor. Builds to a key change and big finish. Kraljić’s voice is beautiful, but Lighthouse might just be too lightweight to seriously challenge. Verdict: 4pts
Slow Down by Douwe Bob — Yaaawn. 285 seconds of bland country-cliche-filled soft rock. What are the Dutch thinking? Verdict: Nil points
LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan — A massive voice, but not much else going for Armenia. Verdict: Nil points
I Didn’t Know by Serhat — If creepy whispering to the tune of Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word is your thing, then Serhat might just be for you. This is Eurovision after all, so picking up points isn’t impossible. But none from me. Verdict: Nil points
You Are The Only One by Sergey Lazarev — Russia are the bookies’ favourite, and for good reason. A driving bass line and an ear worm hook give the Russian entry the ingredients of a challenger, but that big finish is missing. Verdict: 7pts
I Stand by Gabriela Gunčíková — A brilliant song, and another fantastic vocalist. I really like this track, but it lacks a bit of punch. Verdict: 3pts
Alter Ego by Minus One — Imagine for a moment that Jon Bon Jovi had moved to the Mediterranean, recorded an electro-inspired album, and entered Eurovision. Such a great song, but it won’t win. Verdict: 1pt
Loin d’ici by ZOË — An inoffensive pop track with a ClubMed sound. Good, but nothing exciting, and unlikely to make too many waves in Stockholm. Verdict: Nil points
Play by Jüri Pootsmann — An average attempt at a moody love song that doesn’t really go anywhere. Bad, but not terrible. Could be quite dull on tv, can’t see this getting many votes. Verdict: Nil points
Miracle by Samra — Another textbook long-build, big-chorus Eurovision track. Massive hook. Could do well if paired with a good stage show. Verdict: 5pts
The Real Thing by Highway— Taken on its own merit, The Real Thing is a good song. Problem is, straight-laced rock bands don’t tend to do well at Eurovision, and this isn’t as good as Cyprus' entry. Verdict: Nil points
Hear Them Calling by Greta Salóme — An outstanding track with lots of little surprises to it. The chorus has festival flair that should tap in to Eurovision party spirit. Verdict: 10pts
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Ljubav Je by Dalal & Deen — A sweet instrumental intro? Tick. Male-female duet with a rousing chorus? Tick. Lots of angry shouting? Tick. Points? 2
Walk On Water by Ira Losco — The final song in this semi-final is an absolute belter. If Walk On Water doesn’t do well in Stockholm it should have a bright future as a bed on BBC telethon montage videos. Verdict 8pts
Click the play button below and listen to some music: