PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Semi 1 starring Little Big, The Mamas and Lesley Roy

WHEN?: 12/5/2020 (semi 1 now cancelled, although the BBC is planning a Eurovision moment for the night of what would have been the final, 16/5/20)

WHERE?: Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam

Coronavirus has caused the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in its 65-year history but we’re not letting it spoil our fun and, because we know the 41 songs which would have participated, we’re predicting who would’ve made the final here from Semi 1.

  • Who would’ve been through and who would’ve been on the 1st plane out of Rotterdam? Read on for our semi 1 predictions 

The BBC has promised ‘a Eurovision moment’ for final night on 16/5/20 and let’s hope it features some of the contestants featured below who have had their hopes of representing their country dashed. Read on for our thoughts on the 17 entries who would have been vying for 10 final slots. Last year we correctly predicted 8 of the 10 qualifiers from semi 1.

(Drawn in 1st half) AUSTRALIA Montaigne Don’t Break Me (Jessica Cerro, Anthony Egizii, David Musumeci) PREDICTION: Qualifier

24-year-old Jessica Cerro has the whiff of a performance-type, Loreen-esque artist about her but the song is just a little too downbeat to engage massively. Flanked by five dancers in the national final performance, it’s visually arresting as well as vocally challenging.

BELARUS VAL Da vidna (Before Dawn) (Uladzislaŭ Paškievič, Valeryja Hrybusava, Mikita Najdzionaŭ) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Atmospheric gloom pop which flowers into something a little more uptempo and catchy before retreating again. Some impressive vogueing in the choreography but the addition of pyrotechnics can’t blind to the lack of a great tune. Would have been Belarus’ 17th entry and, we suspect, its 11th non-qualifier.

IRELAND Lesley Roy Story Of My Life (Lesley Roy, Robert Marvin, Catt Gravitt, Tom Shapiro) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Roy has written songs for others including Adam Lambert and this is a step up for Ireland. Very uptempo and throbbing Katy Perry. Wouldn’t sound out of place in Melodifestivalen. The vocal is very country and the song is catchy with a memorable chorus. Question marks have been raised about the quality of the live performance but the ‘na-na-na-na-na-na’ hook should have seen it through. Unclear whether she’s returning in 2021 but she deserves to.

LITHUANIA The Roop On Fire (Vaidotas Valiukevičius, Robertas Baranauskas, Mantas Banišauskas) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

We always chuckle at a ‘higher, fire, desire’ rhyming lyric because it seems the height of laziness and we’re struggling to see why this was so well fancied by the bookmakers. The vocal has an outsider quality and the music is interesting but it’s not an entry we’d find easy to love.

NORTH MACEDONIA Vasil You (Nevena Neskoska, Darko Dimitrov, Lazar Cvetkovski, Kalina Neskoska, Alice Schroeder) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Backing vocalist for the country’s fine entry last year which won the jury vote in 2019. Low key verse lifts into a more jaunty chorus showing off the high notes Vasil can hit but more of an acquired taste than last year.

RUSSIA Little Big Uno (Denis Tsukerman, Ilia Prusikin, Viktor Sibrinin) PREDICTION: Qualifier

This was to be Russia’s 23rd entry and was a strong contender for only the country’s second victory and repeating the success of Dima Bilan in 2008 with Believe. Russia’s not normally a country of which we’re especially fond but it has an enviable Eurovision record, only twice failing to progress to the final and with an impressive 13 top 10 finishes.

A little more about why we love it here when it made our March song of the month.

Little Big’s Uno couldn’t be further removed from Bilan’s middle-of-the-road anthem of positivity and one look at the hugely stylised video dripping with attitude is all you really need to know about what a spectacle the band promised. Our favourite song of the 41.

SLOVENIA Ana Soklič Voda (Water) (Ana Soklič, Bojan Simončič) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Meandering and lacking in tune. Builds into something anthemic that would require a strong performance.

SWEDEN The Mamas Move (Melanie Wehbe, Patrik Jean, Herman Gardarfve) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Melodifestivalen wouldn’t be the greatest show on earth without the ability and strength of songs in depth to spring a surprise and so 2020 proved. We were gobsmacked Sweden didn’t go for Dotter’s Florence and the Machine-esque Bulletproof but this is uptempo and uplifting gospel sung by the all-female band who backed John Lundvik all the way to the fifth spot in last year’s Eurovision. Not a contest winner but by no means a bad choice at all.

(Drawn in 2nd half) AZERBAIJAN Efendi Cleopatra (Luuk van Beers, Alan Roy Scott, Sarah Lake) PREDICTION: Qualifier

‘Straight or gay or in between?’ muse the lyrics. Mixing a conventional pop sound with something a little more rooted in its country’s history, this has bags of potential. The chanting reminds of the Norwegian song which did so well last year and there’s a convincing Eastern sound to the music. Efendi’s look will no doubt find an audience also. Efendi returns in 2021 with a different song.

BELGIUM  Hooverphonic Release Me (Alex Callier, Luca Chiaravalli) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Belgium has confirmed that this very Portishead-influenced act will represent them in 2021 and we’re enjoying this dark pop with strings which has the air of a particularly bleak James Bond theme tune about it. Classy.

CROATIA Damir Kedžo Divlji vjetre  (Wild Wind) (Ante PecotićPREDICTION: Qualifier

Ballad in its native tongue which has plenty going on but isn’t perhaps as rousing as it’s aiming for. Qualification very much depends on the quality of the songs in the middle of the pack in this semi. Well sung. Enjoyed the false ending.

CYPRUS Sandro Running (Alfie Arcuri, Sebastian Metzner Rickards, Octavian Rasinariu, Sandro Nicolas, Teo DK) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

After two remarkable entries, including a runner-up finish in 2018, this is more business as usual for Cyprus. This German singer was born to a Greek mother and an American father. He’s a former contestant on The Voice of Germany. A pleasant but workmanlike song.

ISRAEL Eden Alene Feker libi (My Beloved) (Doron Medalie, Iden Raichel, Yinon Yahel) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

There’s a musical theatre feel to this uptempo number which boasts a pleasant chorus. Eden returns in 2021 thankfully with a different song.

MALTA Destiny All Of My Love (Bernarda Brunovic, Borislav Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Dag Lundberg, Joacim Persson, Cesár Sampson) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Co-writer Sampson finished third for Austria in 2018 despite winning the jury vote yet finishing 13th in the televote. Malta has raised its Eurovision game in recent years and this entry is sung by a former Junior Eurovision Song Contest winner in 2015. She has a strong, soulful voice and the recorded version screams that it will have a big performance.

NORWAY Ulrikke Attention (Christian Ingebrigtson, Kjetil Mørland, Ulrikke Brandstorp) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Two big hitters in the songwriting team and yet we’re not quite feeling it merits the attention it thinks it deserves. The staging feels a little restrained and, while the, ahem, attention is paid to the impressive vocals, this feels a little overthought and underwhelming.

ROMANIA Roxen Alcohol You (Ionuț Armaș, Viky Red, Beyan Isaac) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Piano-led, female-fronted, slow and moody. Strangely popular with the bookmakers. We’re not fans of the ‘I’ll call you/Alcohol you when I’m drunk’ play on words in the chorus. Understated songs like these often depend upon the intensity of their performance to gauge their success. Climaxes with a powerful vocal.

UKRAINE Go_A Solevay (Taras Shevchenko,Kateryna Pavlenko) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

This electro-folk band will represent their country in Eurovision 2021. It’s catchy, traditional fare with an exposed and limited live vocal some may find grating. Of all the 2020 acts who we would wish for a return for, Go_A wouldn’t be near the top of our list yet return they do.



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