Ever since Bucks Fizz ripped off their skirts in the service of a grateful nation, I’ve been a massive Eurovision fan. This is honestly one of the best contest we’ve had in years. Here’s the Backseat Mafia guide to this years runners and riders in the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final. This is all the songs in Saturday’s Grand Final, in the order they will perform. The betting odds were taken from Oddschecker on the evening 17 May.
1. Malta: Chameleon, 100/1
(After Edward Lear)
An odd creature is the Chameleon;
It starts off green, then red, then green again
Their muscles contract
so its colours adapt
But not to complex patterns Malta says it con.
I’m not a big fan of this one: the staging is distracting and the tunings were out too often. Also wearing a pacamac on a hot night in Tel Aviv can’t be a good idea, and I worry that Claire’s Accessories must have exhausted itself supplying all that blonde weave. And yet, the YouTube video has had over 8 million views, and so don’t dismiss this. If we’re lucky, Boy George might join in on the night.
2. Albania: Ktheju tokës, 500/1
Most years there is some ethnic wailing at Eurovision, and I think it is best to get it out of the way good and early. Here a lady wails surrounded by a ring of fire in a very heavily brocaded dress. Not conventionally pleasant, but really lovely teeth.
3. Czech Republic: Friend of a Friend, 300/1
I think the bookies may have been a bit harsh here. Mockney Britpop meets the menswear department at M&S to deliver a well delivered pop song. Very Justin Bieberlake, will get everyone’s toes tapping at an early stage of the Contest.
4. Germany: Sisters, 500/1
Two plainly unrelated ladies sing about the importance of female empowerment and collaboration. The Spice Girls did this better, and weren’t nearly as nasal on the high notes.
5. Russia: Scream, 30/1
Russia return to Eurovision with one of their bigger stars, Sergey Lazarev. A Eurovision vet, Lazarev delivers a stunning performance with LED mirrors and a shower cabinet. I don’t think this will win, but it is a class act. Still goes a bit Clannad at the end though.
6. Denmark: Love is Forever, 150/1
A surprise qualification this. Sweet to the point of sickly, an adult sits atop a massive child’s chair singing about happiness and such. I’m saying right hand side of the board.
7. San Marino: Say Na Na Na, 300/1
San Marino has a population of 30,000, and has mainly relied on Valentina Monetta and musical mega god Serhat. Oily as a 70s chat show host, Serhat lives his authentic truth in a way very few can which is why we sort of love him, despite his having delivered two of the worst songs in Eurovision history, including this one. A strong home vote may yet see him on the left hand side of the board.
8. North Macedonia: Proud, 250/1
People are thrilled that Macedonia have been able to drop the ‘Former Yugoslav Republic’ from their name. This lady looks like Cersei from Game of Thrones, and would make a great west end star. I don’t rate this for Eurovision, but it is better on the notion of female empowerment than Germany.
9. Sweden: Too Late for Love, 14/1
Ah Sweden. Kings of the contest, John Lundvik is currently third in the betting to win with this classy, effortless gospel song. Joyful without being saccharine, I would be perfectly happy if this won.
10. Slovenia: Sebi, 400/1
This song would be great at a dinner party, less good in a contest. Inspired by Dido, most of us are distracted by the eerie way they look at each other throughout. Hide the bunny, that’s all I’m saying.
11. Cyprus: Replay, 150/1
A slower replay of last year’s legendary entry, Fuego, Tamta rocks a PVC thigh high boot, and has jewellery dangling from body parts which should never be adorned. More Shady than Lady Gaga, this banger should land on the left hand side of the board.
12. Netherlands: Arcade, 3/4
This classy ballad has been the favourite since all the songs were confirmed in March. Very much in the Sam Smith/ Patrick Watson school, this is a wonderful song, delivered well, with just enough gimmicks that it looks like the Dutch have tried. If his nerves can survive the performance, this really could win, and I’d be happy if it did.
13. Greece: Better Love, 150/1
Beautiful girl sings song recognisibly from this century, surrounded by flowers and ladies clad in pastels, some of whom fencing. Makes me yearn for Nana Mouskouri.
14. Israel: Home, 500/1
Winners get to host the Contest the following year, and get a guaranteed place in the grand final. It is my contention that Israel don’t really want to host two years on the trot.
This gent assures us he is someone, and I am certain he is right. But Eurovision is not the place for self-acceptance, it is the place for bangers which get a continent jumping to the phones to vote. Still. Lovely jacket.
15. Norway: Spirit in the Sky 40/1
This is a banger. You would not think that a pleather clad threesome alternating between traditional throat singing and disco would work but it really does, and a lot of the Eurovision cogniscenti think this could surprise us all and win. I’d be thrilled if they did – in these dark and troubled times, something that we can sing along to is just what we need.
16. United Kingdom: Bigger than Us, 300/1
Michael Rice’s is a gifted artist and graduate of the BBC talent contest ‘All Together Now’ so is well accustomed to getting a room up and dancing. He’s improved a lot vocally. He won’t win for all sorts of reasons. This song is too similar to Sweden’s. Performing between two of the most memorable acts in the Contest won’t help either. But he’s really pulled it together in recent days, and I think he could have done no more for us. Thanks Michael.
17. Iceland: Hatrið mun sigra, 30/1
Sit down my lovelies, perhaps with a stiff… drink.
Sometimes when people love each other very much they have a special hug under the duvet. And then there are some people who prefer a dungeon to a duvet, wear PVC and are a bit shouty about who puts what where. Hatari fall very much into this second camp. They also want to overthrow capitalism by spending 3 minutes shouting ‘Hate will Prevail’ in their native Icelandic. Melody is not their safe word.
This Marilyn Manson tribute act are very hotly tipped to triumph: intensely memorable and a decent ear worm, this is well performed, and great fun.
18. Estonia: Storm, 300/1
This is plainly intended to give all our ears a rest while we recover from our first ever BDSM Eurovision act. Tom Petty fans will really enjoy this. I still think it would have been kinder to pick a song in his vocal range, but that’s just me.
19. Belarus: Like it, 500/1
Adult woman wears neon pink for the first time since 1983, as young men perform gymnastics on a surface plainly not designed for it. Bit tinny in places. I’m not a fan.
20. Azerbaijan: Truth, 30/1
Chingiz performs song in the Moby school, while wearing outfit from Blakes 7. It’s a decent pop song, well performed. Will certainly be in top ten, and could be top five material.
21. France: Roi, 33/1
If you want to do self-acceptance at Eurovision, this is how. Very much in the Conchita Wurst school, Bilal dances with a fat ballerina and a deaf dancer to prove that however often you are told your dreams are impossible, sometimes they can come true. This was an indifferent song which Bilal has rendered extraordinary. It won’t win, but this is definitely top left hand side of the board stuff.
22. Italy: Soldi, 25/1
Let’s face it, rap at Eurovision normally makes you die a little bit inside. But this is very cool song, with good staging. If he can deliver it as well as he can, this will go down very well indeed.
23. Serbia: Kruna, 250/1
There are those who really rate this beautiful girl. Personally, I’m a bit distracted by her magnetic bracelets which appear to have attracted the full contents of the cutlery drawer, but that’s just me. I’ll be topping up the glasses at this point before the final push.
24. Switzerland: She Got Me, 14/1
A heartwarming tale of a horny young man at a nightclub, this is a real banger, well performed with a riff we can all get behind and shove. I voted for this at the semi-final.
25. Australia: Zero Gravity, 13/1
Popera performed in a big dress is not new to Eurovision, but honestly, we’ve never seen it done quite so well. A glorious song, about how happy you are when you escape post-natal depression, this is some of the best staging we’ve ever seen. It looks like the sugarplum fairy being chased by two dementors, as both she and her backing dancers dance atop poles. Camp as Christmas, this has been my favourite song since the beginning. I love it.
26. Spain: La Venda, 200/1
With staging based heavily on Pat Sharp’s Fun House, this delivers a lot of beats per minute, and is great to dance to. It won’t win, but it is the best Spanish entry we’ve had for a good few years, so well done them.