PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest Final starring Destiny, Victoria, Daði og Gagnamagnið, Little Big and James Newman

We’re predicting the top three at 2020’s Eurovision-that-never-was would have consisted entirely of countries who had never won before in the contest’s 65-year history. But which three?

  • Read on for reasons including where we predict each of our 26 finalists would finish. We did the draw ourselves

  1. AZERBAIJAN Efendi Cleopatra (Luuk van Beers, Alan Roy Scott, Sarah Lake) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

‘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.

2. SERBIA Hurricane Hasta la vista (See you later) (Nemanja Antonić, Kosana Stojić, Sanja Vučić) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

Hurricane is a three-strong girl group containing co-writer Vučić who finished 18th for Serbia in 2016. This is R&B that starts off sounding very Destiny’s Child/Little Mix and while the impression is retro, without appearing to know it’s retro, we think this would make the final also.

3. SAN MARINO Senhit Freaky! (Gianluigi Fazio, Henrik Steen Hansen, Nanna Bottom) PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

Senhit would have made a return to Eurovision nine years after failing to make the final. This is bags of fun, boasts string stabs, is very 70s disco and is easily the country’s best ever Eurovision entry. They made the final in 2014 and 2019, where they finished 19th.

4. NORWAY Ulrikke Attention (Christian Ingebrigtson, Kjetil Mørland, Ulrikke Brandstorp) PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

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.

5. ALBANIA Arilena Ara Fall From The Sky (Michael Blue, Robert Stevenson, Sam Schummer, Darko Dimitrov, Lazar Cvetkovski) PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

Dimitrov is a co-writer of last year’s North Macedonia entry Proud  which won the jury vote and finished 7th overall. This is a reworked version of the song which won Albania’s national final and it is sung impressively by this 21-year-old X Factor Albania winner.

6. SWITZERLAND Gjon’s Tears Repondez-moi (Answer Me) (Goon Muharremaj, Xavier Michel, Alizé Oswald, Jeroen Swinnen) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Gjon sings impressively in French with a memorable falsetto and is a 21-year-old Swiss singer and songwriter of Kosovar-Albanian descent. It was doing surprisingly well with the bookmakers although we didn’t think it would do as well for him as his 2011 Albanians Got Talent appearance when, aged just 12, he finished third.

7. DENMARK Ben & Tan Yes (Emil Rosendal Lei, Jimmy Jansson, Linnea Deb) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Co-writer Jansson wrote six of this year’s 28 Melodifestivalen entries and not for the first time Denmark is content to rely on a contribution from neighbours Sweden for its Eurovision songwriting. The song is a mixture of folk with a dash of Ed Sheeran performed well by two acts who met through X Factor Denmark in 2019.

8. ITALY Diodato Fai Rumore (You make noise) (Antonio Diodato, Edwyn Roberts) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

The English translation of the lyrics are perhaps the best recommendation for this desolate ballad verging on the dreaded p-opera. ‘But you make noise, yes, and I can’t stand, this unnatural silence. And now I don’t want to do without, that beautiful noise you make.’ A little over earnest, it’s exactly the sort of song sung in its original language which professional juries would doubtless appreciate.

9. RUSSIA Little Big Uno (Denis Tsukerman, Ilia Prusikin, Viktor Sibrinin) PREDICTION: 4th

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.

10. ICELAND Daði og Gagnamagnið Think About Things (Daði Freyr Pétursson) PREDICTION: 3rd

One of the acts we’d most like to see return in 2021 is Daði (pictured and video above) although it’s looking unlikely. Think About Things was written for his child and its simplicity is matched by both its catchiness, quirkiness and charm. The video is funny and was one of the first we fell in love with in this Eurovision crop.  The indie-sensibility and formation dancing is particularly fresh and this is one of the entries that we would have expected to give Little Big a run for their money.

11. BULGARIA Victoria Tears Getting Sober (Borislav Milanov, Cornelia Wiebols, Lukas Oscar Janisch, Victoria Georgieva) PREDICTION: 2nd

Co-writer Milanov also worked on the entries for Malta and Germany this year although this was the favourite to win before the contest’s coronavirus cancellation. Bulgaria’s previous best was 2nd in 2017 with Beautiful Mess by Kristian Kostov and we can see why this was so well fancied. It’s memorably melodic and the 22-year-old singer songwriter internally selected returns next year. It’s gentle for the most part, reminds of Adele and does rouse itself into something more anthemic before its finish.

12. IRELAND Lesley Roy Story Of My Life (Lesley Roy, Robert Marvin, Catt Gravitt, Tom Shapiro) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

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.

13. NETHERLANDS Jeangu Macrooy Grow (Jeangu Macrooy) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

Marmite former UK commentator and 1998 contest host Terry Wogan occasionally used to joke about host countries making gentle attempts not to repeat the experience and so we have the Netherlands’ choice. Macrooy is a Surinamese singer-songwriter who has contributed something gentle and inward-looking that is rather laidback gospel.

14. GERMANY Ben Dolic Violent Thing (Borislav Milanov, Peter St James, Dag Lundberg, Jimmy Thorén, Connor Martin) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Co-writer Milanov had two other entries in this year’s contest and we were predicting both Malta and Bulgaria would make the final. Dolic is a Slovenian singer with an unusually high voice who was runner up in The Voice of Germany in 2018. The song has horn stabs which remind of last year’s fancied but withdrawn Ukranian entry and showed promise for the country’s best Eurovision result since Michael Schultz finished 4th in 2018.

15. AUSTRALIA Montaigne Don’t Break Me (Jessica Cerro, Anthony Egizii, David Musumeci) PREDICTION: 16th to 20th 

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.

16. FRANCE Tom Leeb Mon alliée (The Best In Me) (John Lundvik, Amir Haddad, Tom Leeb, Léa Ivanne) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Co-writer Lundvik had two songs in last year’s final, performing Sweden’s entry which finished 5th and seeing Bigger Than Us undeservedly trailing in last for the UK. The Best In Me is in keeping with those entries and builds pleasingly to something catchy if safe. Leeb also co-wrote it and we would have loved to have heard it performed live because it feels like he should be able to do it justice.

17. UK James Newman My Last Breath (James Newman, Ed Drewett, Adam Argyll, Iain James) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Co-writer James had a credit on one of our least favourite Eurovision winners (Running Scared for Azerbaijan in 2011) but we had high hopes for this internal selection. Brother of pop star John Newman, James has won a Brit Award in 2014 as a co-writer of Rudimental’s Waiting All Night. This is immediately catchy with a folk pop quality of someone like KT Tunstall and we like the rather unusual lyric which has unfortunate coronavirus connotations. We’re imagining his background means he could perform the socks off it too.

18. SWEDEN The Mamas Move (Melanie Wehbe, Patrik Jean, Herman Gardarfve) PREDICTION: 5th

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.

19. MALTA Destiny All Of My Love (Bernarda Brunovic, Borislav Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Dag Lundberg, Joacim Persson, Cesár Sampson) PREDICTION: 1st

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.

20. GREECE Stefania Supergirl (Dimitris Kontopoulos, Arcade, Sharon Vaughn) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

Co-writer Vaughn has Eurovision history as does Kontopoulos with Scream, Work Your Magic and Shady Lady. He also co-wrote the Moldovan entry but it’s this 17-year-old Greek/Dutch singer that we have the highest hopes for. She returns in 2021, finished 8th as part of a Dutch girl group in 2016 Junior Eurovision and bosses this uptempo, Eastern-sounding hit. The video is great too.

21. ROMANIA Roxen Alcohol You (Ionuț Armaș, Viky Red, Beyan Isaac) PREDICTION: 11th to 15th

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.

22. AUSTRIA Vincent Bueno Alive (Vincent Bueno, David Yang, Felix van Guns, Artur Aigner) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

‘There is a hidden hero in all of us,’ sings Austrian-Filipino singer Bueno during this uptempo, Bruno Mars middle-of-the-road number. We’re reminded of last year’s well-fancied Swiss entry for a number of reasons. Vincent makes a welcome return in 2021.

23. CROATIA Damir Kedžo Divlji vjetre  (Wild Wind) (Ante PecotićPREDICTION: 21st to 26th

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 his semi. Well sung. Enjoyed the false ending.

24. BELGIUM  Hooverphonic Release Me (Alex Callier, Luca Chiaravalli) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

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.

25. SPAIN Blas Cantó Universo (Blas Cantó, Dan Hammond, Ashley Hicklin, Dangelo Ortega, Nikolaj Trybulec) PREDICTION: 16th to 20th

Cantó is bisexual like last year’s winner and has chosen to dress down in the live clip we’ve seen. monstagigz spends as much time in Spain as possible  and we would have loved to have been more excited about this. The former boy band singer topped the Spanish charts in 2018 with his debut album and this is grown-up, middle-of-the-road fare.

26. CZECH REPUBLIC Benny Cristo Kemama (Osama Verse-Atile, Ben Cristóvão, Charles Sarpong, Rudy Ray) PREDICTION: 21st to 26th

Cristo’s father is from Angola while his mother is from the Czech Republic. Diversity is a great strength of Eurovision and while this reminds of summer and is not without both tune and rhythm it might have struggled to make the final in a stronger semi.

 

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