Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eurovision 2012. And the winner is...

Sweden swept to an easy victory this year. I have gone on enough already about how good that song is so no need to say much more here. It had been my clear favourite from the first day the tracks were released but so had France's entry last year and that did terribly. You can never tell with Eurovision and that's part of its appeal, I suppose.

I have refused to write about Russia's ridiculous entry and am so relieved that it didn't make it. They were 113 points behind, where they battled with Serbia who took the top ballad spot that we Brits had hoped might go to Engelbert for the UK.

The host, Azerbaijan, and Albania exchanged 4th and 5th places most of the night. I had not expected Azerbaijan to make the Top 10 but they pulled reasonable votes in from almost everyone, presumably to ensure their journalists get out safely tomorrow. Albania was one of my long shots. Most people thought I was mad so that was quite satisfying.

6th place could have been any of Estonia, Turkey, Germany, Italy or Spain with just 23 points separating Estonia in 6th and Spain in 10th. Estonia's guy performed his ballad really well - my other long shot - and this clearly has been a night of the big songs. Italy I had down as a Top 10 but the other three surprised me.

At one point, Cyprus were in 3rd place but my other three predictions failed miserably. In the case of Denmark, inexplicably too. Their performance was good and almost exactly like the promotional video version - not a winner but no way did it deserve to come 23rd! That's fourth from the bottom. Apart from Sweden, tracks you might expect to hear in the charts across Europe were clearly not flavour of the night in Baku, with Iceland and Norway also suffering, Norway coming a most unexpected bottom of the pile.

I think everyone had expected UK's Engelbert to put on a marvellous performance and wow all his fans across Europe and, even if he didn't win, no-one predicted that he'd be only saved by Norway from coming last. The thing was, though, he wasn't very good. There was none of the style or the confidence he'd exhibited before and several key notes were just off. He did seem, I'm sorry to say, an old chap who had known better days. He was joined in the lower section by Jedward who surely won't be getting any more invitations to represent Ireland. They did score a few more points to manage 19th place but just couldn't perform live an otherwise excellent track. At one point the backing singers were more in evidence than they were, and more in tune. I even thought that might have been a good move by someone as the backing singers were good. Having a load of water gush down on them at the end didn't make any sense at all and that, together with silly outfits and stupid dancing, totally spoilt the well-written song.

So that's that, and my excuses and apologies for only getting 6/10 this year. The right song did win, though, as I'd said, thank goodness.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Predictions for #Eurovision 2012

Last night's 2nd Group Semi Final was a pretty dire event and I would imagine that the voting figures were probably 90% Sweden and 10% across the rest which meant that dreadful noises from places like Lithuania managed to get through to the final by getting 4 votes compared to 2 or 3 for the others.

Sweden's Loreen did perform Euphoria well and that sealed her place at the top of almost everybody's table of likely winners on Saturday. The two acts who appeared to go down well with the crowd in Baku were Estonia and Norway. Despite a lacklustre performance of an entry I've favoured for a long time and an awful re-working of the ending to feature some tuneless girl, Malta still got through.

So, it's 'early prediction' time. As we still haven't seen how the Big Five will actually perform live I do still have some doubts about the make-up of the Top Ten so, as always, these come with a health warning and will almost certainly be subject to change as the Final unfolds and we see just what the likes of Italy and France actually deliver on the night.


Top 10 (with a chance of winning)

Top 10 (the others)

Long shots (that might just make the Top 10)

Long shots (that could cause big surprises)

I can't pretend that logic plays much part in Eurovision but, for what it's worth, this is some of the justification I'd offer for these suggestions. there are only a few good ballads this year and Engelbert is the best of the batch. Serbia, the other big ballad, is also about the only decent Yugoslavia group entry this time and will benefit from their support and some other nations around there.

Ireland have the best song, likely to be a huge hit across Europe anyway, but Jedward... they've been pathetic in the live performances I've seen so far and lots of fussy voters in other countries like Finland and Slovenia don't like dodgy notes and random dancing.

As Sweden will sweep the floor with the high scores from Skandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway and Iceland will be hard pressed to get the same high numbers rolling in. They have great entries but that'll hurt their chances. Iceland have a really well-written track and fabulous violin and press all the right buttons but for some reason I can't figure their odds at the bookmakers have gone out to nearly 100-1 which is why they're a long shot now.

The eastern bloc and Russian states vote for each other and usually like what each other does and, of course, Russia still tells most of them what to do so, however bad their entries are - and they are all, without exception, pretty bad this year - some will amass a good number of points on the night regardless of what they sing or how short the girls' dresses are. That has to be good news for Romania and, of course, Russia itself. It could also help Estonia quite considerably as that's a clever song and can appeal to both the eastern bloc and Skandinavian camps. Estonia is my first prediction for the Big Surprise. They're currently 200-1 so not many people have seen that yet. Or they have and think I'm talking rubbish.

The second Big Surprise could be Albania. For similar reasons but also this is a truly extraordinary song and performance. If it goes well then she'll be up there. If it doesn't then never mind. Over 300-1 says it all really.

France has one very catchy whistle thing in a decent track. Much depends when they perform but if it is at a position where it sticks in voters' minds when they're dialling the numbers then it will do well. Malta is the other very long shot. It is a very catchy song and, delivered well, it will steal Norway's votes, being similar in some ways. People seem to like Malta too and they'll pick up middle ranging votes from across the board.

Cyprus has possibly the most 'Europop' entry and it is remarkably memorable. Even if you don't like it you'll be singing it afterwards. for a while. Their entry is very similar to Greece but this year my guess is that they'll get the more votes of the two and also pull in a load from the Mediterranean bloc. Italy have a strong number, great female singer with lots of personality and a jazzy theme that is quite different to any of the others. It'll be well supported, will make the Top 10 for sure and might just steal the crown if she gets enough votes from the eastern and Mediterranean blocs.

And then there's Engelbert. He is very popular across Europe and will be a confident and assured performer. at his age, he's got nothing to prove and nothing to lose. He could well do it, appealing across the blocs and, if it weren't for Loreen, I'd say this would be UK's year. It might still be.

And remember the Aliyev family control everything. Oh, did I mention Azerbaijan's chances...?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

UK odds tumble but Iceland jump as second #Eurovision Semi approaches

Engelbert Humperdinck must have done something to restore UK's odds of winning to a more respectable 18-1 tonight after increasing to well over double that after the first Semi Final.

On the other hand, Iceland seem to have lost a massive load of support, going right out to 80-1 currently, less fancied than even than the host country's pretty uninspiring affair. Maybe the President's family have just realised they had some investments over there with that bank that many of our own local councils seemed to like a few years ago.

Russia continues to firm up a potential 2nd place with only Italy offering any other generally agreed threat to Sweden.

However, Thursday night could well bring all change when we discover whether Loreen can really reproduce her amazing track on the stage there. As the rehearsals have now been completed and the big money will have been placed on the basis of how they went, it would seem that all is going well for a Stockholm trip next year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Odds still fluctuating - but Sweden remain firm favourites for now

Sweden stay clear favourites after the first Semi Final of Eurovision. The big changes tonight have been Cyprus, Denmark and Ireland (and Albania - but still 110-1) with much shortened odds, whilst UK seem to be becoming less popular still, now at 40-1.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Group 1 Finalists decided for #BBCEurovision

Well that was fun. remarkably, I managed to predict all 10 of the acts from Group 1 that will make the Final on Saturday.

[Credit for the photos to Photographers Andres Putting, Elke Roels and Thomas Hanses (EBU) Date added 21/May 2012 Topics Eurovision Song Contest, Baku, 2012,]

In no particular order, they are:


The violin was there and they cut the looooong break near the end too which worked well. If they can borrow a wind machine from somewhere they could do well.


Possibly the prettiest girl in the contest this year. Not the strongest song nut she performed well and, come on, the song has maniac rhyming with aphrodisiac so it has to stand a chance. Greece always seem to do well but don't expect too much this year.


This is that extraordinary track that has the most dramatic style of any for a long time. A serious entry. It will appeal to all those who might have been shaking their heads at the mini skirts and oh oh ohs. Massive outsider yesterday but now a real contender.


This girl, I mean track, is much fancied! I didn't think they'd manage to attract as many votes without the beach background, tiny bikinis and general appeal that the promo video had in spades. However, she did well and it's a catchy little number that people seem to like.


Great track but not that well performed this time. One of my early predictions. Not so sure now.


Another early favourite of mine. Good singer but, again, not a brilliant performance compared to her previous efforts.


I suspect this scraped through the semis and doubt that it will make the left hand side of the board on the night so nothing to worry about there.


Everyone seems to like Moldova, or feel sorry for them. I mean they haven't a hope of affording to host the contest so it's lucky that this track isn't going to get a great deal further.


JEdward were the last to be announced. after a lacklustre performance they may feel fortunate to have got through. This is one hell of a great song but they need to mime to a backing track to stand a chance of getting in the winning zone.


Yeah, and Russia got through.

Monday, May 21, 2012

UK cling to predicted Top 10 position in Eurovision

Quite marked changes in some countries' odds this evening.

Here is the full list of the current Top 20:

Sweden      2.88
Italy      9.4
Russia     10.5
Serbia     18
Romania    19
Iceland    24
UK        36
Spain      27
Denmark    30
Germany    32
Norway     38
Ireland    38
Cyprus     42
Greece     42
Azerbaijan 65
Ukraine    65
Turkey     90
Estonia 140
France 200

Latvia have reduced massively from over 500-1 to 170-1, Malta also down from 350 to 200-1. I guess they must have had good rehearsals at the Semis. We'll see tomorrow.

Wake up. TheVoiceUK has finished. You knew the results anyway.

Next year I suggest that The Voice UK might be better just as one of the rounds in X Factor UK as it really isn't turning into that brilliant a series. There are a few potential star acts remaining, though, so I'll do my best to stay awake long enough to keep you informed of developments.

This week it was the turn of Danny and Jessie to slice their teams in half. Difficult for Danny as he had four good acts. Difficult for Jessie as she only had one.

Danny's team


I think the title's Black House With A Cherry Tree. At least that was the main line of what seemed more like a traditional folk song turned into a 21st century track. Nicely done by Max, though, if not inspirational. This fellow is very comfortable on stage and, whilst not an amazing voice or a big new star in the making, he's a likeable chap and I'd like to see him in the final 8.


This is one of the best that the programme has found. Will praises her in style for her presentation of Love The Way You Lie which made Rihanna's seem positively boring. Rihanna needn't worry too much, though, as I can't see Bo doing the desk romp on Jonathan Ross any time soon. She's is, however, really good and current. You can imagine her selling her records now and definitely should be in the last 8 and, indeed, in the final 4.


Mr Laid Back. Good singer and, although he gets bundles of criticism for being chilled out and not prancing around, he did what he's good at and, strangely, his style is more likely to get him album sales at this time than many of the others. For some reason, though, other judges seem to think he's not making an effort.


A sort of older version of Matt Cardle. Very good singer and performer, doing Maroon V this week and doing it really professionally. In anyone else's team he'd be a natural for the semi-final. As it is he'll be famous for showing the world Holly's knickers.

Jessie's team


Yet another tired version of Turning Tables that wouldn't have got him past the first auditions on X Factor UK Very weak and instantly forgettable. In fact all I can recall now is the image of him being clutched by Holly and looking tiny, speaking to her at a height that any normal tv producer would have said was just plain wrong.


Some reggae take on My love Is Your Love or something like that. UB40 have been there, done that. I know it's supposed to be about the voice but, really, no sleeve T shirt and arm pits on show do nothing for me at all. All just too plain ugly. I don't know how he survive the last round.


Seven Nation Army. Now here is talent. This girl will go far. She's today, natural, unbridled as well as being a bit stupid, just right for the teen market. You give her a track and she delivers it in a unique way, makes a few mistakes as she prances around and has yet to learn some microphone technique but she could definitely make someone some money. Simon Cowell should put a bid in for her before Jesse takes her down in case she takes her market away.


This is the girl with no hair. She is so shiny. A good singer but all a bit much, nothing that really grabs you and says that she is something special.

The results show, despite being live, was broadcast after most of us had a pretty good idea of some of the names going through, thanks to some poorly managed publicity by the Jesse team and Will's twitter account!

Danny gets Bo from the public vote and chooses Max - good choices but images of a very sullen Alex won't have done his career much good.

Jesse gets given Vince. How the hell did he come first in the public vote? Weird. She chooses Becky to join him in the semi-final. at least she got that bit right.

So that's it. Not an inspiring night and the viewing figures are reflecting that. Things ought to improve now that the remaining acts should be a bit more capable of entertaining without the need for the judges to prance around with their teams or get hugely different people to attempt a sing-a-long.

As future votes are purely down to the public, you do have to remember the four that won through on that basis: Ruth, Jazz, Bo and Vince must stand a good chance. Becky is the only one I would add to that list in place of the awful Vince. If they made the votes such that it was the top four that go through, rather than one from each team, then Max might also stand a chance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fairly Easy Decisions For #TheVoiceUK Judges This Week

After two weeks I had forgotten what some of Tom's or Will's team sounded like. Maybe that says a lot.


I Put a Spell On you
Great song and, yes, she can sing, all notes where they should be and even one or two where you might not have expected them to go for good measure. But she's not going to win this thing. Just a bit ordinary and not really a star in the making.


Show The Love
Now she's modern, reminds me of Cher Lloyd from X Factor a couple of years ago. Not the best performance, though, and she's not going to get much further either.

Matt & Sueleen

An excellent version of this track and, however odd they look, this was actually a good performance. I still don't see them hitting the big time or winning this competition but they might just squeal through for another week.


You look at this girl and think 'Yes, she could make the big time'. there were good bits and some not so good bits. Nothing particularly special, though, and if she gets through it'll be purely because Will needs to have a girl on his team for a bit longer.


Next To Me
I know everyone's talking about this girl and how good she is and, yes, she is very remarkable, doing things with tunes that are quite extraordinary. Not always that great, though, and she does tend to mash up the lyrics so that you have no idea where she's going with the song or, for that matter, why. She's certainly one hell of a find for this programme and whoever styled her this week deserves a medal. She'll be through to next week.


Sign Your Name
Very well sung - his falsetto worked well. he's looking so much healthier than a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to see some decent talent there. He does still strike me as an 80s star returning to the stage but made a brave effort tonight and might get through if Will prefers him to Joelle.


High And Dry
This was good - he sings well, across a good range and can interpret the words well. One of the few modern artists in these two teams. He didn't come across as anything like as weird as last time and deserves to get through.


You're Amazing
Talented guy and a potential winner. he'll be around for a while. He's always spot-on, in tune and original, tonight mixing both tracks of the same name and doing that well.

Who knows what the voters will make of this lot? No-one actually grabs me really and the whole show was a bit of neither one thing nor the other, the highlight possibly being Will's team performance at the end. Usually those things are dreadful but he'd put a lot of effort into its production and it showed, Jazz and Tyler, interestingly, taking all the lead and getting virtually all the limelight.

My guess would be Jazz and Tyler from Will's team and Ruth and Adam from Tom's. Joelle and Matt & Sueleen might just scrape through in place of either Tyler or Adam but I'm pretty sure it's farewell to Leanne and Frances. The choice isn't exactly going to occupy my mind that much, though. It's all a bit forgettable. Things will improve as the numbers get whittled down.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Voice UK: Rather too much of the judges' voices (and dancing)

The producers really do seem to have trouble knowing how to start this programme. This time we get some very embarrassing dancing from the judges - and more than once too as they seem to have trouble staying seated at times. This show dragged horribly. Although Hollie is pretty quick with the announcement of the two at risk in each group, the time taken by both Jesse and Danny to explain how difficult it is to make a decision (when we all know they must have made their minds up some time before) and then to describe at length how each of the four is this or that and everybody's wonderful and everything in the garden is lovely.

Get on with it, guys! This is tedious viewing and the same old well-worn phrases are trotted out over and again. People say how much 'better' this is than X Factor but so far I don't see it. It's a flawed selection process and, whilst the weekly team competitions are sound enough, there's a need for some changes.

Anyway, I realised that the two I would have sent home were both in the same team! It was bye bye Ruth-Ann for sure. Instead of Vince (who got enough votes to be safe) it was between Max and Hannah on Danny's team to go. No competition there, it had to be bye bye Hannah.

That's about it. Not a great deal more worth writing about.

Eurovision 2012 The Top 10 contenders

With just over a couple of weeks before the two Semi Finals it could be a good time to take a good hard look at the Eurovision 2012 entries and try to whittle them down to some kind of Top 10.

The bookmakers have Sweden as clear favourites at the time of writing - the full list of odds available can be seen here. They have been so wrong in previous years, though - remember the wonderful and much favoured operatic entry from France? Superb video and impeccable recorded performance but, on the night, it just didn't work live and the poor fellow finished up nearly last.

Country Digital odds
Sweden 3.3
Italy 9.4
Russia 12.5
UK 14
Serbia 15.5
Denmark 18.5
Iceland 23
Romania 24
Spain 24
Germany 29
Ireland 29
Norway 34
Greece 36
Cyprus 50
odds as at 4pm 5 May 2012 from Betfair

Let's start with the Sweden entry and its main competition in that genre.


It really will be down to how well the girl can recreate that atmosphere and performance on the live stage. Lighting, dance moves, the guy that's dancing around her, the force of the backing track - if they all come together then this is the one.


This is a crazily commercial and fun track. I've backed this from the start and if the singer can put the same amount of energy in as she puts into the live performances I've seen so far, and can be slightly less frightening with her expressions, with styling, clothes to make her look as pretty as in some of the photos too then she ought to be popular and, importantly, highly memorable too.


Another commercial track. It has a boring start - it begins to get going but then gets boring again but eventually settles into the good, commercial stuff with a satisfying, albeit predictable end. The guy's main competition is Norway but my guess is that Malta's man will be more reliable on the night and, for those who like this modern dance genre, I reckon Malta, despite heavy odds against at the moment, have a chance. I just don't see voters putting Malta above Sweden or Cyprus. He could get a good average across the board. Enough to make the Top 10 but not to win.


The group's lead singer is the best looking in the competition which won't do him any harm. It's a pretty catchy number and certainly will attract a good selection of votes. With an exceptional performance then he might just nudge Norway into the Top 10 but my feeling is that they'll be beaten by each of the three above and are a longer shot. With the split of votes amongst potential fans too, and several Skandanavian bloc entries already in strong positions, Norway could lose out with the geographical split in votes too.

Next the single singer ballads


This is a good, solid and ready to go performer and you get the impression that he won't let his nation down on the night. He has a sparkle in his eye too which is bound to appeal to many. It's a professional, quite operatic affair, with a strong voice, better in some ranges than Englebert's. This is one of very few of the Balkan bloc entries that look like winners this year. For that reason, almost alone, it cannot be discounted as a potential winner as I can see Serbia getting high average placings from a good number of countries nearby.


This is a great song for Eurovision and must represent UK's best bet for a while. There is nothing quite like it which means less split of votes amongst those who like this type of music. Englebert carries his own fan club across Europe too and there's bound to be a good number in enough countries' voting panels to ensure that he gets a broad range of support and, possibly, some high rankings too. Unless he turns on some extraordinary charm on the night (which is a possibility, especially at 76!) then UK will lose out to Serbia because of the Balkan bloc preferences. But UK should make the Top 10 safely.


The only other vague contender in the ballad line is Albania's extraordinary entry. The odds are way long on this and they may not even make it past the Semi Final. If they do, though, and how well they do will be a guide to their chances on the night, then, with a very impressive performance of this weaving and wailing, very passionate number, Albania might gather some votes from all quarters. Not enough to challenge potential winners but possibly enough to make the Top 10. Unlikely, in my view, if only because this could be so difficult to get right on both nights, but I wouldn't write them off yet.

Now, the popular vote countries. These are all very different but could do well just because of either who they are or sheer Eurovision appeal.


With a wind machine and re-written to cut down a ridiculously long break near the end, and a spotlight on a well-styled violinist this very well produced track could get Iceland up there in the Top 5. Like Sweden's entry, it is atmospheric and very much its success and appeal will depend on how well the couple, and particularly the girl, perform on the night. The Semi Finals will provide a good guide to how it is likely to go down with voters more widely but Iceland do tend to do well and get consistently average scores each year. They are up against Sweden, though, both in style if not genre and, of course, in Skandinavian preference votes so I can't see this beating the favourites but it could make the Top 10 and knock some others out as a result.


This is really the only US/BritPop style entry of note. That has to be good news for Denmark and the girl lead singer is pretty, bouncy and enthusiastic. She will appeal to lots of younger voters and, with a good, solid and fun performance this might even win. The very strong Skandinavian bloc entries this year will reduce Denmark's chances in some respects, though, but, being one of its kind, that may not matter so much and is a sure-fire Top 10 entry. Watch how they do in the Semis against Iceland, Cyprus and Russia for a guide as to what may happen on the night.


Just the best song by a long way. But the worst singers. JEdward are popular, in a bizarre way, and got Lipstick in the Top 10 last year. This is a far, far better song, actually quite brilliant and, with anyone else singing it, I'd predict it as a winner. But JEdward? I really don't know. Watch how they do in the 2nd Semi Final against Sweden, Serbia, Malta and Norway. That will be very interesting and their odds will either shorten massively or stay where they are.


Oh dear. I am trying not to talk about this entry much. It is dreadful. But it is Russia and they do seem to get good votes from almost everyone on their borders - and that's a lot of support. You simply cannot discount the possibility of their getting enough good rankings across the board to do well. This must not win, please. But it will probably, much as I hate to say this, make the Top 10. There is also little decent competition from countries like Ukraine who usually diminish their chances a bit. That will make a big difference. Unfortunately.

Two others to watch:


Their video performance is very over-produced but beneath all the heavy bass and rhythm is a simple and very clever track. And a whistle. If they strip it down effectively on the night then France, who don't need to qualify first, could surprise us.


Another country that will be first challenged on the Final night. It's a good, slightly jazz, slightly commercial, slightly off-beat number that might get a lot of support amongst the undecided voters. I can see it being popular and not as affected by regional bloc preferences or political friend voting as many others. Italy could be the one that people vote for because it is a bit different and we haven't heard from this nation for a while either. It's a harmless vote and they may get enough mid-range rankings, not only to make it into the Top 10 but possibly Top 5. Winner? I don't think so.

So, this year is complicated. I cannot make a prediction yet. Sweden still has my vote but don't exclude UK, Serbia, Denmark or even Ireland at this stage. I don't think there are other potential winners, at least. But it is very complicated!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Voice UK: If You Recorded It Just Play The Last 3 Tracks..

Mercifully no singing judges this week. Two more to go home tonight, one from each of Danny and Jesse's teams. That shouldn't be too difficult and even if the voters get it wrong I get the feeling Will's already got plans to get some on his books anyway. Jesse looks really pretty in the recorded mentor shots but tonight in the chair she looks like she's just dropped in after doing some vacuuming.


Proud Mary
So many artists wear wigs whether they've actually got any hair or not. Someone needs to tell her it's OK and will make her mouth less obvious as it is huge. Anyway what came out of it was a stop start, oh what shall I do now affair. Screech, yes, that's a good idea. And wave my hands about. Energetic. In tune, sure. But all a bit boring. Jessica did a far more impressive and professional version on American Idol this week. If they both released the record Jessica's would be the hit.


Free Fallin'
Annoying audience. Excellent and different version of the Tom petty number. Reliable and very competent guy. Nice job. He'll be around for a while.


Promise This
Tough song. Oddly out of tune and no rhythm. Pretty awful and not saved by some fancy notes at the end either, however good they were. Tom says "There's things in an 18 year old that come out." OK.


Cry Me A River
You could tell from the start that she knew what she was doing. Or at least I thought I could but then she changed completely and that was odd. Back on track for a while but she never actually returned to the amazingly smart start she'd made. She's good. I didn't like it but she should stay, if the voters get it.


Always On My Mind
Classic, beautiful song. Crap, ugly treatment by this guy.


Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Remarkable. Loved it. laid back, very cool, junior Brat pack member there.


Not many people cover Coldplay songs. Cassius can't either. He could be good but needs to try something else next week. Luckily, he'll get a chance with Ruth-Ann in Jesse's team.


Sweet Disposition
No idea where this comes from but it's great. Nice track - difficult but very well performed by this guy who comes across as one of the best this week. And by quite a way out of those we've seen so far.


Good Luck
This girl is a natural. Rough and ready. Performs out of the box and you can see she's really enjoying being good at what she does. Owned not just the stage but several platforms around it too. Very well done.


Running Up That Hill
Wow. This lady is fabulous. Everyone sat spellbound as she weaved some kind of magic with this song. Absolutely perfectly delivered and, yes, with genuine passion too. Another ready-made star tonight.

Bye Ruth-Ann and Vince. Hello Max, David, Becky and Bo.

The automatic finalists' entries for #Eurovision

Here are the last six reviews - the five founding nations of the contest who get automatic entry to the final and the host country. France and UK are the main ones to watch out for.


Nice ballad, well-written and performed. A likely hit across Europe but not a winning Eurovision entry. I can't quite put my finger on why but I think Engelbert wins out on tracks like this, despite his age.


You'll have to go here to see the Spanish entry for some reason best known to the organisers and their lawyers. after a quiet start and slow build there's a lot of passion and it is remarkably well sung. It lacks something, though, to really make it memorable. A good effort but not a winner this year either for one of the major players.


They'll get plenty of mid-range votes as the host. An oval-faced, hard-voiced girl sings this year and, whilst she is spot-on with the notes and all that, the song itself isn't that great and we'll be looking for another venue next year.


Boom boom boom. No, it's not that bad at all! In fact this is a highly complex track that is performed really well by the girl. maybe it's too clever for the Eurovision audience, though, and a touch over-produced. Certainly the video version was. A nice effort from Italy, who we don't see much of these days. I'd like to see it do well but it could just struggle to get the left hand side of the board.


Now this is a clever entry. the whistle is really really catchy and the girl is really really pretty. Add the fact that she can sing well and this is a potential winner and has to be top 5 unless the live performance fails to inspire. The video is good and, of course, much depends on what she wears, who does the whistling etc. Nevertheless, if you watch this you will remember it and that, to a great extent, is what matters when attracting Eurovision voters.


I've dealt with Engelbert before so don't need to repeat his video here. As I said then, 45 years ago I would have turned off the radio at the merest possibility of his songs being played but I'm a bit older now and ahve to put all that behind me somehow! It is a very well crafted song and he can be relied on to do a great job with it on the night. There will be votes for the song, votes for the guy so he's sure to do reasonably well. Win? I don't see it but, if the voters like ballads, JEdward mess up the vocals, several pretty girls split the pretty girl vote and malta and Norway fight over theirs then the UK do have a chance.

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