Young boys with carefully brushed eyebrows are the in-thing this year. Australia started it with their chap but his singing leaves a bit to be desired and the song is a bit tedious too. They'll be disappointed after Dani did so well last year but I expect they might still make the Top 10 as they're one of those countries people can vote for without worrying about the politics.
Another new kid on the Euro block is the Bulgarian lad who looks set to repeat last year's excellent result for the country. He's very young and no doubt many followers will find him cute and adorable. He can also sing very well and the song suits him and the competition well. In the Battle of The Baby Boys he's the likely winner.
The other boy is the lead singer from Homeland, a successful Irish band, much supported by Louis Walsh who usually knows what he's doing. A very good song and another extremely good singer should get Ireland back into the main show after their embarrassingly poor performance last year which failed even to get them in the Top 10 of their Semi Final group.
Then we have slightly older lads from Sweden, Portugal, Austria and Hungary. Last year, Austria were virtually written off by everyone except me before the competition but actually finished quite high in the table. I wonder whether the same could happen again. They're currently languishing at around 300-1 and, whilst I don't expect them to win, they have a chance of reaching the Top Ten if the singer performs well. It's a pretty good track although it's not going to inspire many.
Hungary have one of the few vaguely traditional tracks with a combination of the new and old that could appeal to quite a few in the juries at voting time.
Sweden have a very smart chap and four similarly smart lads singing and dancing around him. They win the Best Suit Award and the song could easily be a hit in our Top 40 but doesn't exactly come across as an all-out winner as many of their recent efforts have done. It's all competent stuff and is currently predicted to come 2nd so it would seem likely that Sweden will secure another Top 10 place this year.
Portugal is my own prediction for a challenger for the title this year. Much will depend on how the chap comes across on the day and I guess we won't really know until we get a preview at the Semi Finals. That will probably be when most people decide whether he's got a chance or not. I remember how France led the favourites list all the way through the lead up to the competition with a stunning video performance by their young male ballad singer one year - only to get virtually no votes at all on the night after a totally lacklustre live performance.
So it's still the older Italian for the Top Spot amongst the boys as things stand.
There seem to be no groups this year worthy of mention other than an early favourite from the Netherlands. OG3NE had the pzzazz of Little Mix - and the talent - but a poor song has left them way out of the running this year. Indeed, I am not even sure they'll reach the Final which is quite sad but that's the way things go if you get a lousy track.
Romania have a couple with a classic Euro-weird entry that will get votes just for the hell of it. A rapper and average girl singer do yodelling. At times she's quite good but there are other times when she's dreadful. It is crazy enough to win - Eurovision is like that, you know. I expect it'll scrape into the Top Ten and hope that's as far as it gets - even though it does make me smile.
So that leaves us with the girls. There are, of course, plenty of them and this year's main pretender to the Euro Throne is a girl from Belgium with a low voice that could almost be one of the boys we talked about before. Danger Zone is simply a good pop song and, once again, if it is performed well then it will certainly get votes from juries and public across the board. It reminds me of the Common Linnets track from the Netherlands a couple of years ago which quietly surprised everyone and consistently good scoring helped it to come 2nd. I see the same thing happening this year. It is, in fact, a potential winner should either Francesco let Italy down on the night or juries and voters simply not getting Occidentali Karma after all.
Another girl who could make the Top Ten is the young lady from FYR Macedonia. They haven't had much luck over the years and if their success was to rely upon the video then they could forget even qualifying this year. The video is not pleasant viewing. However, the song is good and deserves votes which a good live performance could attract.
A more watchable but nevertheless most confusing video accompanies the Azerbaijan entry. The punk-looking girl is one of the more modern-sounding girls this year, if not the only one now I think about that. There's a tone to her voice that people will either love or hate and we know that Azerbaijan always gets a bundle of votes so a Top Ten position is pretty likely for this unusual but quite effective track.
By my reckoning there's just one place left in the Top Ten if that lot all do well. The girl contenders are UK's Lucie Jones, Greece's Demy, France's Alma and Finland's Norma John. These are all really good singers and experienced performers so any one has the potential to knock out one of the people I've mentioned with better songs on the night. Their own songs, however, are just a bit lacking so if they do make it, it would be more by a combination of luck and their own personality than good songwriting. They should all do well but I think it will be another girl who makes that tenth spot.
There is also, of course, Russia. We've come to expect Russia to come 2nd or 3rd now as they do put a lot of effort into their challenges and, regardless of how good some have been, they have a legion of nations who seem inclined or obliged to give them good voting figures. This year the big nation is playing the Diversity card big time and Yulia Samoylova will be singing from her wheelchair. In the video she seems frail and her singing isn't as good as we've heard from previous entries. There is something very appealing, though, about this attractive young lady's performance and I am sure she'll pull in plenty of votes across the board.