Its Eurovision week!!! Its just two days to the First Semi-Final on Tuesday followed by the Second Semi-Final on Thursday. So I am a tad excited! (That may be an understatement). Check out my previews of Semi-Final 1 and Semi-Final 2
So its time to look at the automatic qualifiers for the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday 14th of May. They will be joined by 10 acts from each of the Semi Finals. So who are the automatic finalists? They are our Host’s Sweden and the Big Five contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Only Sweden’s place in the show is known and it will be Friday before the running order for the Final will be known. Sweden will perform 9th on the night.
So lets take a look at the songs we will definitely be seeing next Saturday.
All betting odds are from PaddyPower for outright winner and taken on 08/05/16
9. Sweden (SVT) – Frans – ‘If I Were Sorry’ – Odds: 12/1
Hosts Sweden first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 and have had a stellar record in Eurovision having only once failed to qualify for the Final since the introduction of the Semi-Finals, and that was in 2010. Sweden have the second highest number of wins with six (1974, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2012 and of course 2015), only one behind Ireland. This year they are sending 17 year old Frans to the contest. He won Melodifestivalen on his first attempt with the song ‘If I Were Sorry’. The song hit number One in Sweden and has charted in Estonia (13), Czech Republic (68), Slovakia (72), Finland (78), UK (194) and Russia (224). This was one of my early favourites for the contest, and I still think it could win as it is a great pop song that gets you bopping along.
Germany (NDR) – Jamie-Lee – ‘Ghost’ – Odds: 40/1
This is Germany’s 60th Eurovision Song Contest entry. Germany has appeared at every Eurovision since 1956 apart from 1996 when it failed to qualify from the Audio-only pre-selection round and is one of the reasons for the Big Five rule today. Despite its long history in the contest, Germany has only won the contest on two occasions. In 1982 and most recently in 2010. This year they are sending Jamie-Lee, the winner of the 5th Season of the Voice of Germany. She also won the national selection Unser Lied für Stockholm with 44.5% of the vote. The song ‘Ghost’ which is a pop ballad has charted in three countries Germany (11), Austria (65) and Switzerland (26). I can’t see this winning the contest, but it could have a decent finish.
United Kingdom (BBC) – Joe and Jake – ‘You’re Not Alone’ – Odds: 50/1
The UK first appeared in the second Eurovision Song Contest in 1957 and has been at nearly every contest since. The UK won the contest five times (1967, 1969, 1976, 1981 and 1997) but holds the record for the most runner-up finishes with 15! This year the UK is sending Joe and Jake who became friends during the 4th Season of the Voice UK and decided to enter Eurovision: You Decide as a Duo. Their song ‘You’re Not Alone’ to me is one of the best UK entries in quite awhile. A simple pop song with no gimmicks. It could go down very well at the contest.
Italy (RAI) – Francesca Michielin – ‘No Degree of Separation’ – Odds: 20/1
Italy took part in the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 and was a regular entry until 1997. Italy won the contest twice in that time in 1964 and 1990. Italy did not appear again at Eurovision until 2010. Since returning Italy finish 2nd at its first contest back and finished 3rd last year. This year they are sending Francesca Michielin who finished 2nd at this years San Remo Music Festival. Originally titled ‘Nessun grado di separazione’ it was re-arranged to be bi-lingual for Eurovision. This is yet another strong entry from Italy and is a strong pop ballad. It has topped the charts in Italy and peaked at 4th in San Marino. A top 10 finish is on the cards!
Spain (TVE) – Barei – ‘Say Yay!’ – Odds: 25/1
Spain first appeared at Eurovision in 1961 and has appeared 55 times at Eurovision. Spain won the contest twice in 1968 and 1969. Spain hasn’t had a top ten finish since 2003 and will be hoping to change that this year and with their entry they have an excellent chance of a top 5 finish. This year they are sending Barei a singer-songwriter after her win at the national selection Objetivo Eurovisión with ‘Say Yay!’. This dance-pop song with some R&B influence could go down very well on the night. I for one love listening to this on my commute to and from work.
France (France 2) – Amir – ‘J’ai Cherché’ (I have been looking) – Odds: 6/1
France was one of the first countries to enter Eurovision and has only missed an edition on 2 occasions (1974 and 1982). France has five Eurovision wins under its belt, the majority from the early years of the contest. The French wins came in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969 and 1977. More recently France finished last in 2014, and finished second last in 2015. This year they will be hoping for better. France won the vote of the OGAE Clubs beating the favourite Russia, so can France cause an upset next Saturday? I think so. This year they are sending Amir, who finished 3rd in The Voice: la plus belle voix in 2014 with a song in French and English. This is a cracking Pop song with an chorus that I find myself singing along to and with passionate French verses are fantastic. The song has reached 13 in France, 26 in Russia and 47 in Belgium. This is definitely one to watch. Could we be in Paris next year?
So that is it. The automatic qualifiers. Is there a winner among them or will the winner come from the Semi-Finals?