Watch out everyone, the Slovenia entry this year is a corker and one of the entries touted as a potential winner of the glittery top prize! Married couple Marjetka and Raay, known as Maraaya, will perform Slovenia’s best entry in the contest to date with the perfect slice of indie-pop 'Here for You'. The glamorous headphone wearing Marjetka will showcase her fabulous Duffyesque-style vocals across this addictive track. Start practicing how to spell Ljubljana, Slovenia’s stunning capital, which could be the most unlikely of hosts for the 2016 contest!
After last year’s chaotic car crash of Twin Twin the French have wisely opted to send a seasoned performer with a stunning voice to Vienna. Unfortunately Lisa Angell will be delivering us yet another “heartfelt ballad” and although it is charming it will be swamped by the far more powerful entries from Russia and Spain. Sadly France will most likely find themselves occupying the bottom quarter of the leaderboard for the umpteenth year.
At only 16 years of age, handsome French-Israeli performer Nadav Guedj will be the youngest performer in the Wiener Stadthalle come May. The youngster will deliver a refreshing Middle-Eastern infused dance floor jam which, thankfully, promises to rescue the audience from the depths of ballad despair. Catchy and cute 'Golden Boy' is fluffy fun and will capture the imagination and approval of teenager voters. With such a pop-deficit in this year’s contest Nadav will find himself in the final where he’ll square off with Australia's Guy Sebastian and Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw for the catchiest pop song of the night.
Watch out Guy! 'Goodbye to Yesterday' is one of the hot favourites to win this year’s contest and there’s good reason. The Estonian duo of Elina Born & Stig Rästa broke all local records this year in winning their national selection, Eesti Laul, by a whopping 79 per cent. Their act is not dissimilar to last year’s successful Dutch entry, which placed second overall, where the duo has traded Nashville sensibility for moody hipster. 'Goodbye to Yesterday' is a sixties style jangly duet about miscommunication between a forlorn couple. This act will appeal to a broad cross section of voters and the agonisingly hip entry could have us saying “hello” to one of Europe’s prettiest capitals Tallinn in 2016.
A bit of a surprise when announced by the BBC, there’s now some significant momentum behind the UK’s electro swing pop offering from spunky duo Electro Velvet. Boasting over a million views on YouTube 'Still in Love with You' is super fun and probably the contests most infectious entry. Desperate to reverse its recent dismal recent results, Electro Velvet may just do for the UK what The Common Linnets did for The Netherlands last year. This surprisingly good entry from Team UK may see them grab a significant portion of the televote.
Armenia’s conceptual entry 'Face the Shadow' is beyond classification and was one of the highlights of the first Semi Final. The anthemic entry will be performed Genealogy an ensemble of 6 singers from varying backgrounds gathered specifically for this event. The singers, all with Armenian heritage, herald from Australia (Mary-Jean O’Doherty Vasmatzian), the US, Africa, Europe, Asia and Armenia itself. So our Guy won’t be the only Aussie act performing in the Wiener Stadthalle in May. 'Face the Shadow' is ripe for all the Eurovision tropes so be prepared for the wind machine to be set to cyclonic. And thankfully there’s not a Kardashian in sight.
The “stepped straight out of the pages of an H&M catalogue” duo are Monika and Vaidas, representing the small Baltic nation of Lithuania. Originally designed as a song for a soloist the perky duo convinced the Lithuanian voting public that the song was better serviced by a duet. The result is jaunty, clappy, Eurovision friendly pop song which kicks off the second semi in style. This is the kind of traditional Eurovision entry that everyone looks forward to and is why the Lithuanians have found their way sneaking into the final.
Serbia is returning to the contest after a one year hiatus and it’s fantastic to see them back with one big song that cheekily disguises itself as a ballad. The strong positive message of 'Beauty Never Lies', with lyrics such as “I’m different and it’s okay”, will resonate with the audience in Vienna and at home. And as the final third of the song transforms into a dance floor thumper bubbly Bojana will most likely have the hall dancing with joy. One of this year’s dark horses the infectious Serbian entry will be one that Guy should pay careful attention to.
Dramatic, dark and unlike anything else in this year’s contest, Norway’s disarmingly handsome duo of Mørland & Debrah Scarlett offer the best duet of the competition. An intensely dark love ballad 'A Monster Like Me' promises to deliver a “wow” moment on stage. Kjetil Mørland's sexy broodiness and Debrah Scarlett’s ethereal beauty will leave the audience mesmerised and this melancholic entry should deliver another sterling result for Norway. Dark in tone and promising some hypnotising staging, this entry is a contender; a return trip to Oslo in 2016 is not out of the question.
The bookies favourite and the red hot bet to win the 2015 contest comes courtesy of former Swedish Idol Contestant, the casually handsome Måns Zelmerlöw. Måns has attempted to win the Swedish National selection Melodifestivalen twice previously but his Avicii-style dance offering 'Heroes', accompanied by some dramatic staging, proved the third time was the charm. As a performer Måns is charismatic and 'Heroes' is undeniably the most upbeat song in this year’s contest. Sweden is deserving of its favouritism and will be the major roadblock to Guy being able to take top prize this year. We’ll be hearing this a lot come the Grand Final… "and our twelve points go to... (dramatic pause)... SWEDEN!” Cue applause and flag waving.
One thing Cyrpus should have done was send a killer pop song to Vienna as they could have easily cleaned up in this year’s contest. Instead we’ll get a charming guitar driven ballad that’s a little reminiscent of Extreme’s 'More than Words'. Mirroring the issue facing the Swiss entry, the Cypriot’s chances will also suffer from the sheer volume of very similar entries that it will be compared against. The highlight of this entry is a well-timed and unexpected acapella interlude three quarters of the way into the song.
Australia’s first entry into the Eurovision Song contest comes from one of our country's most successful recording artists of recent years, and former X Factor Australia mentor, Guy Sebastian. 'Tonight Again' is an entry Australia should be proud of and makes good use of Guy’s signature brass driven jams. Guy will get a massive positive reception in the Wiener Stadthalle and our moment on stage will herald a new era for the contest. Upbeat and almost annoyingly catchy 'Tonight Again' stands out as a genuine contender when compared to the considerable volume of ballads that will feature across Eurovision week. Guy’s most likely competition in winning will come via Sweden, with the dance thumper 'Heroes', Slovenia, with the addictive indie-pop ditty 'Here for You', and Italy’s Popera perfect boy–trio, Il Volo. Crucial to our result will be where Australia falls in the Grand Final running order – cross your fingers for the second half. Go Guy!
Belgium’s Loïc Nottet appears to have channelled Kiwi Lorde’s monster global smash 'Royals' for his stripped back clicky entry into the 2015 contest. Young Loïc cites South Australia’s Sia as one of his idols and his cover of her hit 'Chandelier' is pretty impressive and garnered praise from the performer herself. The Belgian will be taking “full creative control” of the staging of his entry and, if his preview clip is anything to go by, expect water and copious amounts of paint (that’d be a Eurovision first) to be flying around the stage.
This hirsute hipster trio will perform the laid back 'I Am Yours' to a rapturous home crowd. One of the contests “real rock bands” the Makemakes are more than just tight jeans and top knots but will the voting public find this entry a little bit too laid back? Host nation performers have found it notoriously difficult to emulate the previous year’s winning result but Austria has been wise to choose an entry that can draw no comparisons to last year’s winner Conchita Wurst. Nice enough but won’t be in the running come televote time.
Be prepared to hear lots of entries throughout the contest that are just like this one as this year’s line-up is littered with “heartfelt” ballads. The Greek entry, fortunately, is one of the better ones. Cypriot Maria Elena Kyriakou, a recent winner of “The Voice of Greece”, has delivered a ballad that’s big on energy and vocals and one which begs to be accompanied by thrusting hand grasps, fancy lighting, a passionate pianist and one cranked up wind machine. Greece’s Maria has qualified to the final, where we’ll be watching closely to see if the German and Greek voters and juries show each other a bit of love when it comes to doling out the votes. Who says Eurovision is not political?
A veteran of 10 albums, Montenegrin Knez is one of the older participants in this year’s contest and will offer for consideration his strong ballad 'Adio' delivered in his native tongue. After successfully qualifying for the final at last year’s contest with a male-led ballad in local language, Montenegro appear to not be messing with a potentially winning formula. Knez’s entry builds to a satisfying crescendo and the Montenegrin language is beautiful when entwined with traditional instruments. An admirable effort in a year dominated by stripped back ballads, duets and teenagers.
Ann Sophie’s road to Vienna is one of this year’s odder stories. Sophie finished second in the German National final Unser Song fur Osterreich but when the winner of the contest defaulted moments after being awarded the chance to represent Germany the first runner up clause was invoked and Ann Sophie’s 'Black Smoke' was suddenly off to Austria. Ann Sophie’s vocals are mildly reminiscent of previous German winner Lena and the Hamburg based chanteuse has promised to produce a black and white extravaganza on the Vienna stage. Should be fun.
Poland have traded their buxom milkmaids for a “heartfelt” ballad delivered by seasoned performer Monika Kuszyńska. Kuszyńska, a successful recording artist in her native Poland, was injured in a car accident in 2006 which left her partially paralysed and threatened to destroy her successful career. Her entry 'In the Name of Love' translates the theme of this year’s contest “Building Bridges” into a sweet ballad containing a message of hope and tolerance. An admirable effort, and a complete change in direction from the 2014 Polish entry, this is a reflective and powerful song which as made its way to the Grand Finals.
This is one of the best entries Latvia has sent to the contest in a long, long time. Aminata, a native Latvian of African-Russian heritage, offers the contest 'Love Injected' a stylishly slick electronically infused R&B track. This hypnotising entry echoes Swedish R&B queen Beldina and is a less frenetic version of Norwegian Margaret Berger’s 2013 entry 'I Feed You My Love'. Stark and powerful, assured and mesmerising, this great effort has been rewarded with a ticket into the Grand Final.
Romanian pop/rock band Voltaj have successfully been performing and charting across Europe for 20 years. Their entry 'All Over Again', sung in Romanian and English, has a strong message regarding a specific domestic issue plaguing Romania. Often young children are left at home alone across the Eastern European nation whilst their parents travel across borders to find work to support their families. This restrained yet optimistic entry shines a light on a particular issue deserving of awareness across Europe.
One of this year’s better ballads (and there’s A LOT of them) comes from Spanish performer Edurne. A national treasure in her home nation Edurne has produced five successful albums as well as having dabbled in acting and TV presenting over the last decade. With such a big profile she deserved to be given a big song – and she got it. Expect her to be wearing a big gown, with big hair and a bevy of near-naked, oiled-up, male backing dancers (now we’re talking). 'Amanecer' is yet another great entry from Spain and continues with the recent high quality of their entries into the contest. This will battle it out with Russia for best female ballad of the competition.
Boggie, a nickname for successful Hungarian jazz singer Boglarka, will represent her nation with the earnest stripped back peace anthem 'War’s for Nothing'. This hymnal ballad may struggle against stronger entries but that should not take away from the positive message of the song. This entry promises a quieter moment on the Vienna stage that will have us all considering the futility and absurdity of conflict.
Channelling The Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen, Georgia’s Nina Sublatti finished the first semi in style with the powerful rocky 'Warrior'. Co-written by Thomas G:Son, the composer responsible for the 2012 winning entry for Sweden 'Euphoria', Nina belts out lyrics like “world’s gonna listen to me” and her strong message of empowerment will undoubtedly captivate the viewing audience. Will Nina have her arrow trained on Guy? Better watch you back Mr Sebastian.
Easily the best male ballad in this year’s contest 'Hour of the Wolf' comes courtesy of one of the best performed nations in recent Eurovision history: Azerbaijan. No stranger to the Eurovision stage, Azerbaijani Elnur has already represented his nation in 2008 when he finished 8th in the Grand Final performing as part of the duo Elnur & Samir. 'Hour of the Wolf' is a soaring hymnal ballad containing a killer key change (finally) that promises to transfix the Viennese audience. As a recent winner of the Turkish version of The Voice, Elnur’s profile coupled with such a powerful song will accumulate plenty of points. One to watch.
The best ballad in this year’s contest has an Aussie connection. One of 'A Million Voices' composers is Sydney ensemble Cassette Kids vocalist Katrina Noorbergen and will be performed in Vienna by the stunning Polina Gagarina. Although Russia’s sure to get a cool reception in the Wiener Stadthalle there’s no denying the power of this song. It’s big and it’s going to get lots of votes. Expect seasoned performer Polina to pull out some dramatic staging and deliver on all the Eurovision performance tropes.
Another powerful “heart-felt”, but this time, ethno-infused ballad, comes courtesy of Albania’s Elhaida Dani. Elhaida’s profile stretches across the Mediterranean courtesy of winning “The Voice of Italy” in 2013 boding well for her garnering precious votes. “I’m Alive” is a solid effort that works towards a stunning end. Fortunately for Albania Elhaida will benefit from being drawn later in the running order which often augers well for votes.
Another of the serious contenders in this year’s contest come courtesy of the Popera perfect 'Grande Amore' sung by a trio of Italian lads. Be warned though, Popera has had a less than stellar history at Eurovision with previous entries from the likes of Sweden, France and Norway, who were all bookies favourites at the time, failed to bring in the points when it came to the all-important televote. Could the Italian trio reverse this fortune? Well, the threesome’s spunkiness alone will be worth at least a vote or five. Critical to an Italian win will be where this entry falls in the running order in the Grand Final. If it falls in the second half Guy will have some serious competition on his hands.
Tune in to watch the Grand Final Sunday May 24th, 7:30pm on SBS ONE.