Cut out and keep guide to tonight’s semi – BBC Three 8pm 27/5
Lithuania – innovative trash-funk using the kazoo and their own mouths as instruments (no chortling at the back). Watch those trousers!
Armenia – sturdy and qualitable well-produced plodding rnb number about an Apricot Stone
Israel – passionate ballad and a good singer
Denmark – Police bassline meets Abba chorus the only problem is if they can convince us that they mean it as rehearsal reporters have said that the boy/girl duo `lack chemistry`
Switzerland – a plodding europop song that seems to lack an essential something
Sweden – could this be the first time that they fail to qualify? A run of the mill pop ballad that doesn’t seem to grab the attention
Azerbaijan – a tip for the top – strong RnB with the Beyonce Knowles crew working with the singer Safura. If this whole song doesn’t qualify I’ll wade in an Azeri oil slick
Ukraine – to my ears a mess of a non-Eurovision song though reports from the hall saying it can qualify as Alyosha is one of the best performers tonight
Netherlands – a `marmite` song – you either love it or hate it. Written by Father Abraham of the Smurfs fame this to me has neither the charm nor wit of that 80s hit. Instead it’s a trashy sing-a-long feelgood number and THE song that divides fans. I fear it will qualify due to its criminally insinuous catchiness.
Romania – tipped to qualify this boy/girl duo present a well-constructed pop ballad with a uniquely designed piano. The difference between the Netherlands and this song couldn’t be starker.
Slovenia – fuse folk and rock and what do you get? Remember `stars on 45` – well imagine that but very poorly put together using Slovene drinking songs that no one outside Slovenia will like. An utter mess and probably one of the worst songs to enter.
Ireland – another `marmite` song – Niamh Kavanagh won in 1993. To me this is Irish tourist board ballad by numbers – in fact I find it quite calculating. Still, it has its admirers and there’s no doubt she can perform magnificently.
Bulgaria – very charismatic Bulgarian superstar Miro with his adequate song – nothing more to be said.
Cyprus – a group made up of islanders – Cyprus, Ireland and a Welsh lead singer thrown in. It’ll make you hold up your candles in a darkened room. A bit Ronan Keating though to stand out?
Croatia – Feminnem performed a trash pop number in 2005. This is entirely different – a quality ballad that will hopefully put it into qualifying mood. Eye candy for the lads/lasses wanting to gawp at Eastern European beauties.
Georgia – Good singer, good song – touch and go about qualifying.
Turkey – Manga are a Turkish rock rap urban dance group. This is a dead cert for qualifying. I like it.