You can see all the second group of entries here. The remaining automatic qualifiers will be in my next post. You do have to remember that in videos the performers get several opportunities to get things right, they have backing tracks and all sorts of extra things available that simply won't be there on the stage for their live show. Some will manage fine and seem to be straight recordings of performances but others are heavily edited and show story lines that will be lost on the night.
Lithuania^A classic boy + girl entry that could have been from the 90s. It's a jolly affair and you'll remember two things: Round and round and round we go and a kiss in the middle. Maybe a charming embrace at the end too which will gain them a few votes as you can't help but feel good with this one. Lithuania have had a pretty miserable showing so far but this ought to get them a place and maybe even in the Top 10 if the voters are in the mood.
IrelandAlways (if you exclude the chicken) good songs and always (if you exclude JEdward) well performed from Ireland who used regularly to be up there on the left side of the board every year but who seem to have suffered recently for no reason I can explain. They have some wonderful singers and song writers. This is a very good album track but not something that will win Eurovision. It's quite mournful and I wonder whether she'll even get through the Semi Final.
San Marino***This nation struggles to get into the Final most years. They have made some excellent efforts but perhaps they haven't many friends. I like the way this song builds. It's quite clever and has a message. It ends a bit too quickly but could be popular.
Montenegro^*Girl with violin. Another girl with a balalaika or something like that. This is good and traditional Yugoslav stuff. the bloke in earrings and a jumper and jeans sings in Slav too. The four girls are very attractive. So far this stands out as the only 'national' entry of the old style that ever Balkan country used to enter. For that reason, if it stays unique, it'll be there and should do well.
MaltaI think I have been a fan of almost every Malta entry over the years. I don't dislike this one but it doesn't seem to have any hook or rhythm that we can hang on to. It's sort of hard work and they may struggle to make the Final. She tries to get us on board at the end but may have left it too late.
Norway^This is serious stuff. Excellent singers but they don't have the most watchable faces. It is a fascinating song and a very strong entry. It is the first track I've heard that is a potential winner. The video, whilst completely irrelevant to the competition, is disturbing.
Portugal***Engaging rebel girl singer. Great track and performance but I am not sure how popular she will be across Europe. A few missed notes on her video don't augur well but I like it for all that. I doubt if it'll get anywahere.
Czech RepublicA serious number from two good singers. Both have large chests. It's a boring song and the bloke is a bit too gravelly. All the chord changes are there and it almost ticks all the boxes but i don't see it going far. Th local nations will like it but that's about it.
Israel*Something modern after a lot of heavy stuff from this batch of entries. Israel can do catchy. Too much of an 80s feel though in the lyrics. I'm A Golden Boy | Come Her To Enjoy | Before I leave | Let Me Show You Tel Aviv. Oh dear.
LatviaThis gets an award for the most unusual start. A curious track. It needs to be performed as well live if it's to work, though. Latvia is one cool nation for music but the girl's voice is just a little tinny and this is maybe too avant garde for Eurovision. I wish her well but doubt it'll get far.
Azerbaijan^**One of the most consistent in Top 10 appearances in recent years and also often chasing the leader for a while on the voting board, Azerbaijan have a knack of picking good tracks for Eurovision and a lot of money to give to juries if necessary. Once more they've done well but once more it will not be quite good enough for #1. This gets a bit messy as it progresses so may not make the Top 10 this year, despite its chord change and choir joining in towards the end.
Iceland^****One Step At A Time. Repeat. Not the Michael Ball track thank Heavens, though. This has more of an Emilie DeForest feel and look about it with the bare feet and off-white dresses. I suppose in Iceland there's too much white around already. It's a good pop song, if a bit repetitive. Many will like it and it is another that I think has an outside chance for the #1 spot.
Sweden^***The current favourite. Fantastic video but try to imagine the guy singing with no special effects. On of just a few modern tracks this year. It's OK but a winner? I don't think so. Top 10 yes. That We Are The Heroes Of Our Time is pretty catchy. The guy is a strong performer and good-looking. So maybe.
Switzerland***Quite a good song. It races along and has a modern feel with nice guitar backing. the singer is good and if she performs that well on stage this ought to bring Switzerland back into the competition. My Time To Shine.
Cyprus^***A gentle ballad of a style that is easy listening and pretty pleasant without being boring. It is a real song with real lyrics. It may seem a little bland when compared to many of the other entries but, funnily enough, that could be its strength. Nice track. I'm predicting a bit of a surprise from Cyprus with this one. As long as the voters stay awake, that is.
Slovenia**Europop but none the worse for that. Effective Lulu sound-alike singer gets it across well and will presumably have more clothes on in the her live performance. Slovenia normally hardly get off the bottom of the betting lists but this deserves a few votes. Their best entry for a while.
Poland*A gentle runalong song by a nice singer. It's all just a bit 'nice' and that's all. It is quite predicatble and boring. Rather over-produced too. The video is good with an unexpected twist at the end. I won't give that away but if it turns out actually to be the case with this singer then that could well bring a few extra votes. Not enough to do that well though.
OK, that's all the nations that have to compete to get in the final. There are no obvious stand-out winners yet. So that means UK may have a chance after all! I often have trouble whittling down entries to reach a predicted Top 10 but this year I am having trouble actually finding 10. There are still the Big 5 + Australia, however.