The top ten trends among this year's entrants breaks down who's taking it seriously and who's not, who's a superstar in their home country, who's making a repeat appearance at this year's Eurovision and of course, who our Dami needs to watch out for.
1. Boys, Boys, Boys
Watch out Sweden: you’re about to get inundated with a massive dose of testosterone! And that’s not from the copious amount of men in the audience. In their bid for glory, 14 countries are sending male soloists to the contest this year. 14! That’s a lot of eyebrow raising, cheeky winking, big-haired, hip thrusting heartthrobs to look out for.
2. Spectacular, Spectacular
Expect many artists at this year’s contest to be using visual trickery in order to seduce the voting public when they hit the Stockholm stage. Iceland’s Greta Salome showcased some creepy visual theatrics at the Icelandic national selection whilst Austria’s ZOË channelled Thumbelina, ambling through a virtual forest of flowers and mushrooms, during her winning moment in the Austrian finals. But all eyes will be on Russian heartthrob Sergey Lazarov. His preview clip to “You Are the Only One” hints at what could be the “wow” moment for the 2016 contest.
Have a gander at why Russia’s Mr Lazarov is hot favourite to take out the top prize…
3. The Big Five Get Serious
With the exception of Italy, the performance of the Big Five over the last year has left a lot to be desired. Having heard the chorus of cries from their respective home nations the Big Five (UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain) are all sending superior acts to Sweden in 2016. And there’s so much buzz around France’s cheekily handsome Amir that the bookies continue to shorten their odds on the French entry. Could 2017 see us returning to France?They last won the glittery top prize in 1977!
Australia’s back and the Dami Army is ready to descend on Stockholm. But success is not guaranteed. Dami will need to fight her way out of the second Semi-Final to secure herself a Grand Final berth. It’s the first time Australia has had to participate in the qualification process and we’ll need the votes of all the other competing nations in our Semi to get there. Staging will be critical and Dami will need to pull out every Eurovision trope to see us safely through. Hand grasp – check, wind machine – check, costume reveal – well, that’s to be seen.
5. Glutton for punishment?
Every year we see a familiar face or two sneaking back into the contest and this year we’ll see five returning artists vying for another crack at glittery glory. And these returnees are no strangers to the Grand Final with all but one, Bulgaria’s Poli Genova, having qualified their countries to the main event. Of all the returnees it’s Malta’s Ira Losco who came closest to getting her manicured mits on the trophy. She was only 12 points away from securing Malta their first ever win in 2002 with “Seventh Wonder”.
Relive one of Eurovision’s ultimate bridesmaid moments as Malta’s Ira Losco almost claims the 2002 crown…
6. Band Aid
Eurovision has had an odd history with bands some have done exceptionally well, like Finnish rockers Lordi took the top prize in 2006, and others have fared very poorly, see Finland’s entry last year PKN who only collected a mere 13 points in their semi-final. So, it’s a little surprising to see a clutch of bands in this year’s contest. And they’re an eclectic bunch too containing a catchy pop-rock effort from Cyprus, a fusion experiment from Greece and a bog standard middle-of-the-road rock number from Montenegro. Let’s hope for them all that there’s more Lordi than PKN in their results.
The last band to win Eurovision was Finland’s Lordi who took the glittery prize in 2006 in Athens. Relive all the latex glory here…
Every year there’s one act that embodies the camp spirit of Eurovision (think Ireland’s Jedward or Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka) and this year’s embodiment of campery comes courtesy of the tiny micro-state of San Marino. Disco speak-singing has never looked so stylish. All hail Serhat. Let’s hope the Europe (and Australia) gets behind this monocled live-wire and we get to see the most unlikely of Grand Finalists.
8. This is the…Voice, Idol, X-Factor, Superstar… Etc Etc
The volume of alum from various television singing contests from throughout Europe and beyond is extraordinary. Regardless of the format this year’s entrants have seemingly all featured in some format or other of the televised talent contest. Even our Dami features amongst this group. At least we know these contestants have got what it takes to participate in a cut-throat singing contest. Welcome to the biggest song contest on the planet kids. It’s not likened to the “Hunger Games” for singers for no good reason.
9. Welcome Back…
It’s fantastic to have 4 countries returning to the contest this year to take the number of participants to 43, the highest in many years. Participating in the Eurovision Song Contest is not a cheap exercise and every year some nations are unable to join the party due to financial constraints. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and the Ukraine are all back after several years absence. Both Croatia and Bulgaria are sending fancied efforts and expected to grab Grand Final berths however the biggest reception will accompany the Ukraine’s return to the contest. Expect the applause to be thunderous.
The Ukraine’s Ruslana won the contest with “Wild Dances” in 2004. To date it remains one of the most popular Eurovision winning entries of all time.
10. Stockholm to Explode in Glitter
Finally the contest returns to Stockholm. Even with Sweden’s recent solid history in the contest the big event is returning to the Swedish capital for the first time since 2000. And Stockholm is preparing for a party. Eurovision week is primed with parties, Red Carpet events and the launch of an exhibition dedicated to the 60+ year event entitled “Good Evening Europe”. Add to this the return of super-host Petra Mede, who’ll partner last year’s winner Mans Zelmerlöw, to take the reins of the event and the 2016 is poised be the best in the contests history.
The hosts with the most – Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlöw.