Monday, 15 April 2013

Five things to watch out for at Eurovision

1. Old is gold
Alongside host Sweden, only big spenders France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are guaranteed a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final on 18 May - Germany won in 2010 (for Lena’s Satellite), but none of the so-called 'big five' had previously won since Katrina and the Waves in 1997 (Love Shine a Light); the UK is trying to reproduce her success by having Bonnie Tyler fly the flag this year with Believe in Me. Semi-finals to decide which countries join them in the final take place on 14 and 16 May.

2. Nul points?
Expect much joshing at the expense of Norway, as the country has come bottom on 10 occasions, though they have won three times - in 1985, 1995 and 2009. I'd love Margaret Berger (pictured) to win with the stonking I Feed You My Love but suspect it's one of those that's too good to come out top.

3. Irish-ise
Ireland have won a record seven times and their entry this year, Ryan Dolan’s Only Love Survives, is fine radio pop, but their position as European favourites has been undermined by the explosion of former Soviet states on the scene. 

4. All tied up
Iceland has had some of the most unusual entries over the years - including former drag queen Paul Oscar, who instituted a perennial taste for bondage outfits in the competition in 1997 - and is one of the better-performing countries over time who have never won. I don't think they'll make it this year with long-haired Eythor Ingi’s ballad Ég Á Líf (I Am Alive), though - but look out for fellow nearly rans Malta, represented this year by Gianluca’s enjoyable, TV-friendly Tomorrow.

5. Hebrew times
Songs performed in English have won 24 times over the past 54 years – Hebrew has dominated three times and Israel tends to perform strongly, but can Moran Mazor (Rak Bishvilo) match their last winner back in 1998: transsexual Dana International and Diva?

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