Well here we go – the day before Christmas eve is here – and breathe. `John you’ve got to learn to breathe` I tell myself! We’ve had the posses, the parties, the bitching on the blogs about `my favourite is better than your favourite` now it’s the real thing. I have put * next to the must sees.
*1. Montenegro – this is the sort of song that Eurovision used to be all about and still should have a representative in the final. It’s good chug-along 80s style pop and their best entry to date. The blogs are saying that it’s touch and go whether she’ll get through. A great opener and not to be missed.
2. Czech Republic – one of the worst entries ever and a real let-down. Gypsy.cz is Roma hip hop band I saw live in Manchester. They were great but this is utterly crud. It’s like a Eurovision warm up act that doubles as a pantomime filler. Make a cup of tea if you like.
3. Belgium – if you like Elvis you’ll like this – it’s a serviceable rock n roll number from an established artist. The feet will be tapping even if people won’t be tapping their phones to vote for it.
*5. Sweden – now to the first real contender! This is an extension to the pop opera phenomenon. Melena actually performs Handel for a living! It’s camp in the right way, the dance routines are good though people are saying she can’t sing it as well as they’d like at rehearsals.
*6. Armenia – this is a conundrum. It has huge dollops of integrity and I can see it being a real grower. It’s genuinely interesting and I can’t tell whether I hate it or should give it a lot of time. It could be the wildcard of the evening. Must be watched.
*7. Andorra – chug-along pop very MOR. Could go either way. She apparently performs it better than the song.
*8. Switzerland – I ADORE this song and have tipped it for the top ten since I first heard it. Think Pet Shop Boys with guitars – it starts off like U2, middle is very PSB and ends like New Order. Lovebugs (the group) is the top Swiss group and they are really hungry for a win. Fans are saying `it’s too good for Eurovision`. Please if there’s a God let it go through.
*9. Turkey – five years ago or so this would have been seen as ground-breaking. Now it’s just the normal Turkish pop. To me it’s over-hyped and although likeable sounds like Turkish pop made by the politburo. I think they will need a rethink after Saturday.
10. Israel – I find this drippy and the fact it’s Israel in 2009 must go against it. People are saying it’ll go through but I wonder. It’s one of those `let’s love one another and give peace a chance` with two females one Palestinian and one Israeli. How contrived.
11. Bulgaria – saw this guy at the London preview party – think `jazzed up Jimmy Somerville` music. I do hope he’ll sing as he said `singing is my life` before he mimed to his own song at that preview party! Apparently people are saying it’s bombing in the hall. Oh well, you can’t dress mutton up as lamb.
*12. Iceland – this young lady is not only visually stunning (if you’re of the type that like the ladies this will be eye candy) she has a voice to match. This is a good song that lingers in the head basically a classy euroballad and what’s wrong with that? btw you should have heard her acapella at the preview party. Stunning.
13. Macedonia – another dreary Eastern European rock song (that they do so `well`) that I pray doesn’t go through though apparently they perform it so well! Have a glass of vodka.
14. Romania – chirpy number that will get your feet tapping. Slightly ordinary in this company and no one knows whether or not it will go through.
*15. Finland – like Switzerland this is the most modern of the entries. Finnish eurodance house whatever. I don’t like the rapping at the start and it’s unsure how such a song can be brought off on stage. One of the favourites tonight with the fans.
*16. Portugal – one of the best Portuguese entries for years and a song with a tonne of integrity and well-liked into the bargain. It’s very `Portuguese` with dollops of charm and elegance with a nod to the past. Pure class. I do hope it goes through.
*17. Malta – It’s not over until the fat lady sings and here she is again trying for the third time. She’s the mother goddess of Eurovision and this is a very good ballad that is very `her`. In recent years she’s come 2nd and 3rd. Whatever happens it’s great that she’s here.
*18. Bosnia Herzegovina – If this doesn’t get through I’d be as shocked as if Labour won Chelsea. They call this group `the Bosnian Coldplay`. Apparently it’s got all the pundits saying that it’ll be top 5 on the night. Think Coldplay doing a marching song with Soviet Kitsch. What a classy end to a semi-final.