This is a good year for music at the Eurovision Song Contest. There are plenty of radio friendly songs with less of the traditional cheese factor. That’s not to say we won’t see wind machines, wardrobe reveals and some bad dance moves on the night.
While many of the music videos for this year’s entries look great, it’s the live performance that really skews the viewing and voting public.
With that in mind, here are my picks for Eurovision 2016 - while remembering that, as per Eurovision tradition, I can't vote for my own country and Dami Im (though I can still look the part).
Who should win:
FRANCE with J’ai Cherche by Amir
It’s been a tough year for France. A devastating terror attack in Paris in late 2015, resulted in an outpouring of support from around the world. Could that sentiment flow through to votes in Eurovision?
J’ai Cherche is one of my favourite songs in this year’s contest. It’s about hope and love. It’s in-language with an English chorus. It’s catchy, modern and radio friendly. And, it’s made me want to learn French, again.
Who I’d like to see win:
SPAIN with Say Yay! by Barei
If I’m to go by what I’ve listened to the most this year, Say Yay! should win.
It’s uplifting, fun, puts me in a good mood and is on trend with the popular dance style of music doing the rounds at the moment. It takes me back to being on the beaches of Ibiza and Mykonos.
Who will win:
RUSSIA with You Are The Only One by Sergey Lazarev
The bookies haven’t got it wrong in the past few years. The favourite wins, and the odds are in Sergey’s favour. It’s a dramatic song starting with bells and peaking with thunder and lightening, kind of.
The video has all the necessary elements for success and the song has the required key change to secure a win.
Who has the most familiar song:
BELGIUM with What’s The Pressure by Laura Tesoro
I feel like I’ve heard this one somewhere before…
It's uncannily similar to 'Sax' by British singer Fleur East.
Who has the best Eurovision song of all time:
SWEDEN with Euphoria by Loreen
This is textbook Eurovision. Soaring vocals. Great stage performance. And a commercial success.
I’m such a fan of Loreen, I convinced my bosses to interview her when she was in town a few years ago, to talk about the business of music, naturally.