PREVIEW/PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest pre-qualified finalists starring Chanel, Sam Ryder, Mahmood and Blanco

By Aline Mahrud and Neil Durham

WHEN? Saturday 14 May 2022

WHERE? PalaOlimpico, Turin, Italy

HOW DO I WATCH? BBC1 8pm (UK time)

This is the strongest batch of pre-qualified finalists for a Eurovision we can ever remember and we think there are 2 potential winners in this batch.

  • Read on for how we think the 5 pre-qualified finalists will perform on the big night

Hosts Italy are the only country with a fixed slot in the running order so far drawing position 9 and we think that’s late enough for them still to be in with a shout as a potential winner.

ITALY: Mahmood and Blanco Brividi (Shivers) (Michelangelo, Mahmood, Blanco) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th

Mahmood finished 2nd at Eurovision 2019 with Soldi (Money), an international hit that topped the charts in Italy and Greece, and again co-writes here. His same sex duet partner Blanco also co-writes and this is his 4th domestic chart topping single of the last 2 years and his debut album also went to number 1 in Italy last year. Brividi is a tender yet rousing love duet and, although it wasn’t our favourite at this year’s San Remo Festival, it’s set to do very well this year at Eurovision. The couple’s profile was done no harm at all by this Vanity Fair cover. The rehearsal clip (not above) is a little pitchy.

FRANCE: Alvan and Ahez Fulenn (Spark) (Alvan and Ahez) PREDICTION: 1st to 5th RUNNING ORDER: 1st half

This was our 2nd favourite in France’s March Eurovision selection show and we said then: ‘Terry Wogan might deploy the ‘whiff of the souk’ line here and its running Pauline close as our favourite song. Alvan is an experienced multi-instrumentalist and Ahez are trio Marine, Sterenn D and Sterenn L. Fullenn is a mix of electro and traditional and tells the story of a young woman who dances by the light of the fire. In complete contrast to Nuit Pauline, it’s in its live version where we suspect its power will be unleashed. Absolute contender for the win.’ Some question marks over the live performance however.

SPAIN: Chanel SloMo (Leroy Sanchez, Keith Harris, Ibere Fortes, Maggie Szabo, Arjen Thonen) PREDICTION: 6th to 10th RUNNING ORDER: 1st half

Before we’d seen the live performances this was the song we wanted to win Benidorm Fest and, although it struggled in the televote, it triumphed with an aggressive and all-conquering live show. We said then: ‘Always difficult to judge the true potential of a performance without the live version of the song but we believe, in a very strong field, that this is the biggest hit here. Boasts a hypnotic bassline and a repetetive yet memorable hook which we can see performing very well in Turin come May. The performance we’re most excited for here. And the performance (see immediately above) popped! The one to beat.’ Famously, written for Jennifer Lopez.

UK: Sam Ryder Space Man (Sam Ryder, Amy Wadge, Max Wolfgang) PREDICTION: 1st to 5th RUNNING ORDER: 2nd half

The UK’s struggled at Eurovision in recent years but we’ve heard Ryder’s live performance of this and it boasts an impressive vocal that juries will like. Co-writer Wadge is behind some hits by Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and Sheridan Smith that we’ve enjoyed and this is a song that reminds of some of the best of British artists going back to the likes of Elton John, David Bowie and The Beatles. It also seems popular with the fans and our prediction is only really tempered by the UK results of this 21st century. Having seen the rehearsal clip for this we’re now massively upgrading our prediction. We think this might be a surprise winner of the jury vote.

GERMANY: Malik Harris Rockstars (Malik Harris, Marie Kobylka, Robin Karow) PREDICTION: 21st to 25th

Harris gives us a radio-friendly strumathon that is probably most notable for the way it transforms into an Eminem-style rap three-quarters of the way through that might even remind some of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. In a year when the Big 5 have all really upped their game this is probably the least impressive attempt but it’s still a credible entry from Germany that may even do slightly better than we are predicting. Looks a little lacklustre from the clip.

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