WHEN?: 18/5/19 8pm (UK time. Watch live on BBC1)
WHERE?: Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 2, Israel
We’ve enjoyed both semi finals and this is starting to feel like the most open Eurovision in years with no clear winner.
- Read on for reasons including how we think the UK’s Michael Rice will fare
The UK hasn’t won Eurovision for 22 years but in 2019 it boasts London-born Swedish entry and fellow finalist John Lundvik as 1 of the co-writers of fabulous entry Bigger Than Us to be sung by Michael Rice.
Rehearsals started 4/5 and we’re updating our predictions to reflect them as they progress. We also predicted the qualifiers in Tuesday’s Semi 1 and Thursday’s Semi 2 which you can read elsewhere on this site in the suggested links. We got 8 and 9 predictions correct.
- MALTA Michela Pace Chamaleon (Joacim Persson, Paula Winger, Borislav Milanov, Johan Alkaenas) PREDICTION: 6th – 10th
Wasn’t it a joy to see the reaction on Michela’s face as she was the last successful finalist to be announced on Thursday? Co-writer Persson has written for Kylie and Lady Gaga and this is a strong modern pop song that should produce Malta’s best result for years. Michela got the gig as a prize for winning her country’s 2019 edition of the X Factor. The country’s best ever result is runner up in 2002 and 2005 – and that’s not out of the question with a better performance than Thursday night.
2. ALBANIA Jonida Maliqi Ktheju tokës (Return To Your Land) (Eriona Rushiti) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th
Albania has now made 9 finals at 16 attempts and this is an authentic eastern European effort in its native tongue which we admire but don’t especially enjoy. The country’s best result was 5th in 2012. This was the only finalist from Semi 2 we didn’t successfully predict, favouring instead Moldova.
3. CZECH REPUBLIC Lake Malawi Friend Of A Friend (Jan Steinsdoerfer, Maciej Mikolaj Trybulec, Albert Černý) PREDICTION: 6th – 10th
Like Cyprus, last year the Czech Republic achieved its best ever result (6th at its 8th attempt) with its entry, the youthful and modern-sounding Lie To Me by Mikolas Josef. The writers are different but this has a similar feel and should certainly see this country making only its 3rd ever final appearance. Loved this performance and the Take On Me-ish song..
4. GERMANY: Sisters Sister (Laurell Barker, Marine Kaltenbacher, Tom Oehler, Thomas Stengaard) PREDICTION: 21st – 26th
The only 1 of the pre-qualifiers to be drawn in the 1st half. Our least favourite song in this year’s contest – and they’re not even sisters. Best moment for a toilet break in the 3 hour-plus extravaganza.
5. RUSSIA Sergey Lazarev Scream (Philip Kirkorov, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Sharon Vaughn) PREDICTION: 11th – 15th
Lazarev won the televote in the 2016 contest but was beaten into 3rd by Australia and winners Ukraine when the jury vote was included. This is far less frenetic than You Are The Only One and sounds like something from a West End musical. Writers Sharon Vaughn and Dimitris Kontopoulos have penned efforts by Jedward, Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and Farid Mammadov amongst others. Producer Philip Kirkorov also has close ties with the contest and finished 17th in 1995.
6. DENMARK Leonora Love Is Forever (Lise Cabble, Melanie Wehbe, Emil Rosendal Lei) PREDICTION: 16th – 20th
The plink-plonk of the opening chords sound like raindrops and this could be a Eurovision favourite from yesteryear while still retaining the perky charm of something more modern like Satellite by Lena which won for Germany in Oslo in 2010. Just for fun it switches into different languages towards the close and this should see Denmark reach its 44th final in 48 attempts.
7. SAN MARINO Serhat Say Na Na Na (Serhat, Mary Susan Applegate) PREDICTION: 21st – 26th
Pet Shop Boys B-side. Memorable not least for the lack of originality of the hook. This is San Marino’s 10th entry and it had made a final only once (24th in 2014 with Maybe by Valentina Monetta). Serhat was 12th in his semi in 2016. Poor husky live vocal and we can’t believe this made it through at Hungary’s expense.
8. NORTH MACEDONIA Tamara Todevska Proud (Darko Dimitrov, Robert Bibliov, Lazar Cvetkoski, Kosta Petrov, Sanja Popovska) PREDICTION: 6th – 10th
No longer the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Singer Todevska has real Eurovision pedigree: narrowly missing the final in 2008 and singing backing vocals in 2004 and 2014. The song has a rousing 80s Whitney ballad feel and we have this down as a dark horse. Should do so much better than FYROM’s best ever finish (12th in 2006).
9. SWEDEN John Lundvik Too Late For Love (John Lundvik, Anderz Wrethov, Andreas “Stone” Johansson) PREDICTION: 1st – 5th
London-born Lundvik co-penned Bigger Than Us which Michael Rice will sing for the UK in Eurovision this year and so if he makes the final he will be competing against a song he co-wrote. We’re enjoying that this has gospel elements and love the choir but find the song a little predictable. The rousing backing vocals really lift it though and this could win the whole contest. If so Sweden would tie with Ireland as Eurovision’s most successful country with 7 victories. Sweden has only missed 1 final (2010) and has been top 10 in 7 of the 8 years since.
10. SLOVENIA Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl Sebi (Oneself) (Zala Kralj, Gašper Šantl) PREDICTION: 21st – 26th
Slovenia’s 25th entry is popular with the bookies but is a rather dreary, downbeat electro effort. They’ve now made 15 finals finishing 7th twice but we don’t see this doing anywhere near as well.
11. CYPRUS Tamta Replay (Alex Papaconstantinou, Geraldo Sandell, Viktor Svensson, Albin Nedler, Kristoffer Fogelmark) PREDICTION: 6th – 10th
Cyprus has never won Eurovision but last year’s 36th attempt (the longest run without a win) achieved its best ever result when the memorable performance of Fuego finished 2nd. 3 of that song’s 5 co-writers return here for the similar sounding Replay and the song is certainly as strong as its predecessor.
12. NETHERLANDS Duncan Laurence Arcade (Duncan de Moor, Joel Sjöö, Wouter Hardy) PREDICTION: 6th – 10th
We’re not hearing why this is the favourite. Although Laurence is swimming naked in the video which might help. It’s a pretty, guitar-led song which boasts a rousing chorus but we’re struggling to reconcile it with the curious title. The country has won 4 times, the last in 1975, and we don’t see this adding to that tally. Too static.
13. GREECE Katerine Duska Better Love (Katerine Duska, Leon of Athens, David Sneddon) PREDICTION: 16th – 20th
Co-writer David Sneddon won BBC1’s Fame Academy in 2002 and after a short-lived career as a pop star has gone on to write for acts including Hurts, Morten Harket and Lana Del Rey. Greece has a reasonable Eurovision record with 1 win in 2005 and 37 final appearances out of 39 entries. This is a pleasant but unremarkable attempt. We were underwhelmed by the performance..
14. ISRAEL: Kobi Marimi Home (Ohad Shargai, Inbar Weitzman) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
The last time the host nation retained its Eurovision title was in Dublin in 1994 when Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan won with Rock’n’Roll Kids. Israel performed the feat itself in 1979 in Jerusalem when Hallelujah triumphed for Milk and Honey featuring Gali Atari. This has the whiff of Somewhere from West Side Story about it. We’re downgrading our expectations after seeing rehearsal footage in Semi 1 that looked far too earnest and overcooked.
15. NORWAY KEiiNO Spirit In the Sky (Tom Hugo Hermansen, Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan, Henrik Tala, Alexander N. Olsson, Rûdiger Schramm) PREDICTION: 11th – 15th
Our Song Of The Month for April may not win Eurovision for the 4th time for Norway on 18/5 (it’s currently 10th in the betting) but it’s everything we love the contest for. The song is inspired by the struggles for equal rights regardless of ethnicity, gender identity and sexuality. KEiiNO (pictured) is a Norwegian supergroup that consists of Sámi songwriter, rapper, and joiker Fred Buljo, and Norwegian singers Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo. The group was established in the late summer of 2018 when Tom Hugo Hermansen and his husband Alex Olsson began writing Spirit in the Sky. All you really need to know though is that it is an ethno schlager banger of epic proportions. It pulls off the difficult trick of incorporating something traditional into uplifting enormo-pop and making it sound both seamless and effortless.
16. UK: Michael Rice Bigger Than Us (Laurell Barker, Anna-Klara Folin, John Lundvik, Jonas Thander) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
The busker winner of BBC1’s All Together Now starts low and quiet, boasts a crowdpleasing key change and a gospel choir which may be difficult to replicate if only 6 performers can take the stage. Just in case selection show Eurovision: You Decide wasn’t Melodifestivalen-flavoured enough, this year’s MF winner (John Lundvik) co-wrote this song. Whisper it but we think the UK has the better song while Sweden’s backing singers really lift it.
17. ICELAND Hatari Hatrið mun sigra (Hate Will Prevail) (Einar Hrafn Stefánsson, Klemens Nikulásson Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson) PREDICTION: 1st – 5th
This isn’t the entry we wanted to win Söngvakeppnin preferring instead our Song Of The Month for March Moving On by Hera Björk. We described it then as a hardcore growl-fest and we loathe the title. However, it’s a catchy and uplifting song with credibility that is a potential winner of the whole contest. It has attracted strong pre-contest coverage for its anti-capitalist message and now that we understand the idea of the song – hate prevails in a dystopian future if we don’t love each other 1st – we think this is the entry most likely to win the entire contest.
18. ESTONIA Victor Crone Storm (Stig Rästa, Vallo Kikas, Victor Crone, Sebastian Lestapier) PREDICTION: 16th – 20th
Co-writer Rästa performed and co-authored 1 of our favourite Eurovision entries of recent times (Goodbye to Yesterday his duet with Elina Born was 7th in 2015) and this is Coldplay-light which works well in this context. Estonia has won once at 24 attempts, in 2001, and this this was well worth the country’s 16th final appearance.
19. BELARUS ZENA Like It (Yulia Kireeva, Viktor Drobysh, Zinaida Kupriyanovich) PREDICTION: 16th – 20th
We like it – and the Belarussian Britney Spears has plenty to recommend her. The song contains the modern-sounding horn parts that featured in Ukraine’s terrific entry that dropped out from this semi in controversial circumstances shortly after selection. It’s Belarus’ 16th entry and it was the 6th to make it to a final. Their best showing was Work Your Magic (6th in 2007) although this isn’t in that league.
20. AZERBAIJAN Chingiz Truth (Borislav Milanov, Chingiz Mustafayev, Trey Campbell, Pablo Dinero, Hostess, Bo J) PREDICTION: 1st – 5th
Azerbaijan has only missed 1 final in 12 attempts. Truth seems an odd title for a song with a more recognisable: ‘Shut up’ refrain. It’s a bit Sam Smith and Chingiz is strong on bear-like charm. The presentation was quite clinical but this has a great position now in the running order.
21. FRANCE: Bilal Roi (King) (Bilal Hassani, Madame Monsieur, Medeline) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th
YouTuber Hassani was born in Paris to a Moroccan Muslim family from Casablanca and his entry was written by him with last year’s French entry Madame Monsieur (they finished 13th). We think his look is very now and it’s a pleasant song but a little flat live. The staging is verging on a Peter Kay parody.
22. ITALY: Mahmood Soldi (Money) (Charlie Charles, Dario ‘Dardust’ Faini, Alessandro Mahmoud) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
The winner of the 69th Sanremo Musical Festival is predominantly in Italian although boasts 1 line in Arabic. Mahmood is an Italian singer and this has topped the chart in his own country. The lyrics are downbeat, depicting a lying, contradictory and unreliable father, whose main priority is money instead of his own family, while the music is more uplifting. It doesn’t sound particularly appealing from that description but it comes together into something far more beguiling.
23. SERBIA Nevena Božović Kruna (Crown) (Nevena Božović) PREDICTION: 21st – 26th
Serbia won in 2007 with a ballad and have now made the final 9 times in 13 appearances. Serbia has had most success with ballads and this is more of the same: it’s well sung and the chorus moves things up a gear but it’s the song that lets things down here. Nevena has Eurovision history, she was 3rd in the junior edition in 2007 and was part of group Moje 3 which finished 11th in its semi in 2013. After watching rehearsal clips, we’re swapping this in and Belgium out.
24. SWITZERLAND Luca Hänni She Got Me (Laurell Barker, Mac Frazer, Luca Hänni, Jon Hällgren, Lukas Hällgren) PREDICTION: 1st – 5th
Luca co-wrote this and it sounds very Enrique Iglesias with a catchy Turkish musical hook. He’s a part-time model who won a German TV talent show in 2012 and this is a real dark horse for us. Switzerland isn’t a country we’re especially Eurovision fans of but this made its 1st final since 2014 and has an outside shot at winning.
25. AUSTRALIA Kate Miller-Heidke Zero Gravity (Kate Miller-Heidke, Keir Nuttall) PREDICTION: 1st – 5th
The country’s move from internal to public selection has coincided with a drop in quality. The Florence and the Machine-like strings show promise but we loathe p-opera although the staging is much improved. There was a moment during the performance as the poles really began to sway when we thought this might win but we quickly regained our senses.
26. SPAIN: Miki La Venda (The Blindfold) (Adrià Salas) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th
We love Catalan ska, will be in Barcelona for the final and so are a little disappointed that the joyous musical style been dialled down in the Eurovision version. La Venda was also 1 of the 1st entries selected which may explain why our hopes for it were perhaps not as high as they were initially. However, this is being staged wonderfully for the final (apart from the jarring wicker man) and we’re wondering whether in this open year it now has an outside shot at winning?
- Picture courtesy Andreas Putting. Tickets
- Are our predictions way off? Let us know why in the comments below. Enjoyed this preview? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email email@example.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook