PREVIEW + PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest final 2017

WHEN?: 13/5/17

WHERE: BBC1 8pm (link below)

The quirky charm of Portugal’s Salvador Sobral and hope of his song in his native language stole Tuesday’s first semi as rehearsal footage of Italy’s runaway favourite Francesco Gabbani cast doubt over its ability to win.

  • Who’s finishing where Saturday? Read on for our final predictions 

  1. ISRAEL: Imri I Feel Alive PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

One of our favourites. Like Nadam Guedj’s Golden Boy in 2015 this is a catchy, uptempo and optimistic number sung by a youngster. Thrilling performance Thursday. Energetic show opener.

2. POLAND: Kasia Moś Flashlight PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

The draw no song has ever won from. A song we find ourselves wanting to like far more than we actually do. Unmemorable. Nice violin and dramatic drums in the chorus. Kasia’s confidence just edging her into the final we think.

3. BELARUS: NAVI Story Of My Life PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

Repetitive shouty nonsense. Like a nightmarish party you desperately want to escape but all your exits are blocked. A toss-up between this and Serbia for Russia’s place in the final but we think the late draw puts this in pole position.

4. AUSTRIA: Nathan Trent Running On Air PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

25-year-old Nathan co-wrote this and it sounds like middle-of-the-road Ed Sheeran to our ears. Strong enough song to ensure it will do well. A problem at this year’s London Eurovision Party meant he had to sing it acapella at the last moment but it was still well received.

5. ARMENIA: Artsvik Fly With Me PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Much better than we were expecting. Eastern sounding with some traditional elements. This has grown on us since we started to listen to the version on the official show album. A flurry of interest at the bookies has seen its odds slashed.

6. NETHERLANDS: O’G3NE Lights And Shadows PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Great harmonies. One of the classiest songs in this year’s competition and the Netherlands too has really upped its game in recent years. The Wilson Phillips’ comparisons may come easily because it’s performed by an all-girl trio but they’re also fully deserved. Won The Voice Netherlands in 2014 and represented their country in 2007’s Junior Eurovision, where they were 11th of 17.

7. MOLDOVA: Sunstroke Project Hey, Mamma 16th to 20th

Horribly dated cheese with a saxophone hook straight out of all the worst songs of the 80s. Qualifying (along with the dire Yodel It! from semi 2) because once heard, never forgotten. Weren’t there a lot of women wearing white in the first semi?

8. HUNGARY: Joci Pápai Origo PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Singer, rapper and guitarist Joci is one of the older competitors in this year’s contest, wrote this himself and it’s one of the few entries in its native language (Hungarian). There’s often at least one traditional song that does well each year and we reckon this will be it. Top 10 in the final.

9. ITALY Francesco Gabbani Occidentali’s Karma PREDICTION: Winner

The bookies’ favourite since it won the San Remo Festival earlier this year. Initially we found the monkey gimmick annoying but this is so much fun and, at its least commercial, it sounds like Coldplay. Has there ever been a more surefire winner? The first chink in Italy’s armour? The rehearsal shown in Tuesday’s semi seemed a little lacklustre.

10. DENMARK: Anja Nissen Where I Am PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

This Danish/Australian singer won The Voice Australia in 2014 and co-wrote this moody and anthemic song which needs a big performance to inject some much-needed excitement. Convincing semi turn from an engaging performer.

11. PORTUGAL: Salvador Sobral Amar Pelos Dois PREDICTION: 2nd to 5th

Classy and second favourite with the bookies behind Italy as we type. We thought it would fare less well than predicted because it was a little dull. Salvador has a heart-rending back story and the contest’s biggest fans would love a first Portuguese win. We loved the quirky charm of the semi 1 performance and, having read the English translation of the lyric, see it now as Saturday’s dark horse.

12. AZERBAIJAN: Dihaj Skeletons PREDICTION: 16st to 20th

Azerbaijan ramp up the unsettling imagery. The composers of their only Eurovision win with Running Scared in 2011 return here with less success. It’s grown on us in recent weeks and we’re particularly enjoying the eastern melodies.

13. CROATIA: Jacques Houdek My Friend PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

A well-sung but unintentionally comic duet in which Jacques sings with himself in opera mode. Pretentious spoken-word intro was the icing on the cake until we clocked his outfit. Oh dear.

14. AUSTRALIA: Isaiah Don’t Come Easy PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

Australia came ever so close to winning the whole thing at only their second attempt last year. This isn’t in that league but it does sound a lot like Sam Smith and 17-year-old Isaiah’s the winner of last year’s X Factor Australia. Can’t beat a turntable at Eurovision (see The Ark in 2007).

15. GREECE: Demy This Is Love PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Where do all the topless Eurovision dancers go when it’s over? Last year was the first that Greece failed to progress from semi to final and we didn’t expect a 2017 repeat. Uptempo, old school, Eurovision-friendly, dancefloor fodder from Demy.

16. SPAIN Manuel Navarro Do It For My Lover PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

Manel has the look of a young Ed Sheeran about him but it’s the pedestrian lyric of this which is letting him down. He may be ‘doing it’ for his lover but, we fear, for no one else.

17. NORWAY: JOWST Grab The Moment PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

A really disappointing entry from Norway who can normally be relied upon for so much more. There’s something here and a build to the chorus but it’s not up to much.

18. UK: Lucie Jones Never Give Up On You PREDICTION: 2nd to 5th

We’ve upgraded our expectations of this twice having seen Jones excel live onstage in musical Rent. She’s a fabulous live performer, we appreciate the tweaking given to the new version and absolutely adore the 7th Heaven mix. Written by 2013 winner for Denmark Emmelie de Forest. Loving the mirrored staging and golden lighting. Plumb draw.

19. CYPRUS: Hovig Gravity PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

Penned by Swede Thomas G:son, who co-wrote Loreen’s 2012 winner, and was behind many entries for other countries over the years. This isn’t one of his best. Hovig performed the socks off it on Tuesday.

20. ROMANIA: Ilinca and Alex Florea Yodel It! PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Cannon fodder for the juries … or will they go for the yodelling? Likely to score better with televoters. If you’re looking for the LOLs in this year’s contest, you’ve stumbled upon its most memorable novelty entry. Yodelling? Check!

21. GERMANY Levina Perfect Life PREDICTION: 21th to 26th

Levina is a graduate of King’s College London and we so wanted to enthuse about her entry. But it’s too similar to David Guetta’s Titanium featuring Sia. Feedback from her London Eurovision Party performance was that her singing was a little hoarse. Or was that Azerbaijan?

22. UKRAINE O. Torvald Time PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Heavy rock doesn’t often generate a great deal of Eurovision success and this is no Lordi, who won in Athens in 2006.

23. BELGIUM: Blanche City Lights PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

17-year-old Blanche has an unusually low voice and co-wrote this catchy slice of Euro electronic dance music. A fan favourite that’s very Pet Shop Boys to our ears. Didn’t she look terrified in semi 1? Her growing confidence may help this in the final.

24. SWEDEN: Robin Bengtsson I Can’t Go On PREDICTION: 2nd to 5th

The Swedes picked runner-up Nano, which would have been a far more credible entry than this winner with the international juries in greatest show on earth Melodifestivalen. While we think its production actually detracts from it, we can’t see Sweden equalling Ireland’s record number of wins with this predictable Euro stomper.

25. BULGARIA: Kristian Kostov Beautiful Mess PREDICTION: 2nd to 5th

Runner-up in X Factor Bulgaria and a finalist in The Voice Kids Russia where he was mentored by Eurovision winner Dima Bilan. We still think the song’s too laid-back but it’s a terrific performance that was everything Ireland wasn’t in Thursday’s semi. This is Bulgaria’s 11th Eurovision entry and they’ve only made the final twice, chalking up their best finish (4th) last year in Stockholm. A great effort but is it on too late to win?

26. FRANCE Alma Requiem PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Co-written by Nazim Khaled, one of the authors of 2016’s French entry J’ai cherché which was much fancied before rehearsals began. This has Eastern influences, is sung in both French and English, and is interesting without being compelling.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Francesco Gabbani. Link to watch here. Read our semi 1 predictions here and semi 2’s here. Are our predictions right? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Enjoyed this preview? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Facebook

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