Eurovision – 9 acts in the running for glittery magnificence –

The countdown to the Eurovision Song Contest Final has actually begun, with Ireland contending in the second semi-final on Thursday night. John O’Driscoll takes a look at the top countries to view in this year’s musical extravaganza.

While no one could ever claim that something with as much sequins and improbable key changes as the Eurovision is to be the most serious of events, this year the develop to the competition has been overshadowed by a deluge of political controversy.

Israel’s hosting of the event has caused much publicised calls by Palestinian human rights organisations for nations, entertainers and fans to stage a boycott. Despite this, no nations have actually followed the call, with just fan-favourite Ukraine withdrawing due to a completely different problem(essentially an agreement row with the winner disallowing her from carrying out in Russia).

So now that it’s all complete steam ahead, what about the songs participating this year? A grand overall of thirty-five countries will fight in out over 2 semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday today. Those that make it through will sign up with the so called ‘huge 5’ (the countries with the greatest Eurovision chequebooks) in addition to hosts Israel for the last on Saturday.

Here are the tunes to enjoy out for during the week.

Escort your Nan from the space …

Country: Iceland

Artist: Hatari

Hatrið mun sigra

How often have you lamented the lack of industrial-synth demonstration tunes with a dash of BDSM at Eurovision? Thankfully Iceland have heard your cries and Hatari here to kill with the most eye-popping tune and outré image in the competition (lashings of pvc and spikes).

Put it in this manner, Hatrið mun sigra makes Lordi’s Acid Rock Hallelujah seem like a lullaby sung by Barney the Dinosaur. Approximately translated as ‘Hate will dominate’ it’s either an anti-capitalism manifesto that pokes two fingers at rising populism in Europe or else they are epcially trolling the contest. You choose. A definite dark horse.

Second time fortunate?

Country: Russia

Artist: Sergey Lazarev

Song: Yell

Pipped at the post in 2016 by Ukraine in spite of some relatively mind blowing staging, vocalist Sergey Lazarev is back with another tilt at the crown. Mind you, returnees rarely fare that well. For Each Johnny Logan there’s an Alexander Rybak or more (the former winner could just manage a fifteenth place finish last year).

Rather he’ll be wanting to emulate fellow Russian Dima Bilan who stopped working on his very first getaway however lifted the prize a couple years later on. Based upon the hologram-heavy rehearsals and the bookies chances, this appears like it’ll finish conveniently near the top.

Beware. Art trainees

Country: Portugal

Artist: Conan Osiris


The very first time you hear this it does seem like a xylophone being flung down a stairs. And that’s even before we get to the pair of spoons vocalist Conan Osiris appears to have actually attached to his face or the high-camp attire or even the backing dancer’s relocations that will have hipsters tossing their stovepipe hats in the air to. Love it or hate it, this slice of modern Fado folk certainly wins for creativity.

Who keeps in mind the 90 s?

Country: Finland

Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman

Song: Avert

It’s your guy with that hit Sandstorm from back then. The next time someone asks “What ever took place to Darude?” you can reveal them this. Yes the DJ is behind the decks for this relatively average dance effort, with a really repeated chorus, though the name acknowledgment might bag a few votes.

Preaching the gospel

Country: Sweden

Artist: John Lundvik

Tune: Too Late For Love

Sweden are a bit like the Kilkenny hurlers of the Eurovision. You can never rule them out and they enjoy winning. This year they’ve gone for a gospel infused number, Far Too Late For Love written and sung by John Lundvik and when again, they will remain in the final shock when the ballot ends. You can also charm with your friends with the information that he also composed this year’s UK entry Bigger Than United States though when you give it a listen you’ll comprehend why he was glad to part with it.

Naked aspiration

Nation: Netherlands

Artist: Duncan Laurence

Song: Arcade

Keeping an analogy (of sorts) going – now we enjoy senior hurling! The Netherlands haven’t won the contest because way back in 1975 however the past couple of years they’ve truly upped their game including a surprise second surface in 2014 with a charming country ‘n’ western ditty of all things. This year they’re in it to win it with the most Eurovisiony of tunes – a huge skyrocketing ballad that somehow handles to feel really contemporary. The advertising video has acquired an excellent tally of views – Duncan Lawrence’s choice to appear naked had absolutely nothing to do with it. Amsterdam 2020 is the most safe of bets.

Yo! Olé, not Yodel

Nation: Switzerland

Artist: Luca Hänni

Tune: She Got Me

Poor old Spain. For the very first time in years they have actually entered a decent song just to be upstaged with a legendary Latin flavoured number from … Switzerland of all places. This is fantastic fun and it will have you thinking about scheduling a summer holiday as you re-arrange the living room furnishings trying to replicate Luca Hänni’s slick dance relocations. This will hoover up public votes and appropriately so.

On the cash

Nation: Italy

Artist: Mahmood

Song: Soldi

Italy is another nation which has regularly being getting in fantastic songs of late and this year is no various. Probably the coolest song in the competition, Soldi (” money”) is written and carried out by Mahmood. Emitting plenty of “present” vibes, this semi-autobiographical tune obviously deals with the relationship with his absent daddy and wouldn’t sound out of location on the current hit parade. It likewise gets reward points for being performed in a language other than English.

Come dine with me

Nation: Ireland

Artist: Sarah McTernan

Song: 22

In 2015 Ireland lastly broke the duck after an extremely bad run of it in the Eurovision and made it to the final. Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s tender ballad and smart staging charmed citizens and saw us complete in sixteenth place in general. This year getting out of Thursday’s semi-final is a bit of a taller order for Sarah McTernan. To start with, the second semi-final is a little a bloodbath which has most of the strongest songs contending for a location in the last. Secondly, and the majority of crucially, the producers have not done us any favours by offering Ireland the poisoned second slot in the running order.

However on the positive side, the tune 22 is very contemporary and does not sound like anything else in the competition. The staging, which sees the Co. Clare singer carrying out in a mock 1950 s restaurant versus the back-drop of very vibrant pop art imagery, will likewise help it stick out. Her vocals too are on point. Best of luck to her!

John O’Driscoll

Eurovision Semi Final 1, Tuesday, May 14, RTÉ2, 8pm

Eurovision Semi Final 2, Thursday, May 16, RTÉ2, 8pm

Eurovision Grand Final, Saturday, May 18, RTÉ One, 8pm

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