There are a lot of real dirges this year and a lot of awfully miserable lyrics:
This offering from Hungary's Boggie ("Wars for Nothing") sums it up:
"Do you know how many innocents
Are hiding from punishment
For crimes they’d never commit?
All alone, all alone"
I would, however, suggest that the song itself is a very good one.
Unlike Armenia's, whose lyrics seem to have been hastily thrown together by one of those online rhyme generators:
"We find so many ways fooling our heart
Playing too many games trying to hide
When you follow a dream, surrender the sorrow inside
Face every shadow you denied
Feels like so many times life was unfair
Will you run and forget all the despair?
If it’s breaking you down, remember the power inside
Face every shadow you denied"
There are some diamonds in the rough, for example France, whose chanteuse Lisa Angell offers peace, hope, courage and (that old French cliché) solidarity to her listeners when she sings about her village that had been destroyed by war and that she is back to rebuild it. We all need to have dreams - good luck with that...
It's going to be three very long evenings in May, and I have decided not to hold a Eurovision party this year. So let's check the potential winners at the bookmakers:
- Sweden is about 6-4, even though the song itself, for me, falls very short.
- Italy, at 4-1, had come with a powerful performance by three tenors and the song sticks in the head, although opera tends not to do so well at Eurovision.
- Estonia are 5-1 third favourites, goodness knows why, it's a mess.
There are some worth mentioning:
Latvia's singer has a very special voice and the song has some very unique backbeats.
Lithuania, the only Baltic country never to have won, has a happy melody and will do well, even with the kissing gimmick in the middle of the song. A dark horse.
Austria, Poland, Ireland and Belarus all go for pianos in one way or another, as do several other countries.
Finland has sent some men with learning difficulties with another hard rock number, which will garner a lot of votes.
Cyprus has taken a leaf out of the cute shy guy book and sent a pleasant ditty.
The smart money should go on:
Australia at 9-1 - the song is strong, and it's their only attempt at it so they're liable to have an incredible act. At this stage, I think it will place high, but it won't win. I may change my mind on the night.
Denmark at 100-1 - it stands head-and-shoulders above the rest as an anthemic number that won't go out of your head, and is by a long way the best offering from the Nordic Eurovision powerhouses. It's got everything going for it - cute boy singer, no gimmicks and a memorable melody. I think I'm going to vote for this one.
The UK at 40-1 - quirky updated Charleston number with a feelgood beat and some humour attached. Some Louis Armstrong scatting in the middle is the only change in what is a pleasant melody but never really takes off.
The Netherlands at 66-1 - as usual, something different from them, and Trijntje Oosterhuis hits out a song that doesn't make you want to switch over to the news. Probably won't win, but is the best of the ballads.
Belgium at 33-1 - this young man will have the housewives and gay men purring. His video shows water dripping down his face, and I'm sure that's how most people will want to watch him as he sings "we're gonna rrrra ba ba tonight". If the staging is right (and Belgium is notoriously awful at it, although Wallonia less so than Flanders), he'll be sitting pretty in the top half of the final table.
Forgettable songs are aplenty though: Russia seems to have given up and is sending another copy/paste china doll; Greece really doesn't want to host it next year, but it feels left out without an entry; Switzerland is so desperate for votes, it has sent an off-the-shelf number that will appeal to the mediocrity lovers east of the Balkans; Armenia, FYROM, Georgia, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic are all forgettable. But not as forgettable as everyone else I've not mentioned.
So here are my predictions for the winning song this year:
- The winning song will have at least one man singing.
- It will be a song that does not mention the current issues: an escape from the world's troubles.
- It will be close.
To check out all this year's contestants and their songs, visit the Eurovision website.