EUROVISION 2015: Grand Final Preview!

Being in the UK, I can't vote for Electro Velvet, but I wish them all the best this evening!
Being in the UK, I can’t vote for Electro Velvet, but I wish them all the best this evening!

It’s finally here! In just over six hours time, twenty-seven countries from across Europe plus Australia will be competing in the grand final of this 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. Parties will be held, alcohol will be drunk, food will be eaten and scorecards will be filled in. To keep the excitement high here is my Eurovision Grand Final Preview – I’ve looked at the rehearsals and semi final performances to come up with my own predictions of where songs will be placed – and it’s a marathon read, but I hope you’ll enjoy it!  No live blogging this evening – but feel free to follow me on Twitter for retweets, comments opinions and general Eurovision fun – the handle is very simple – it’s @nutleyone ! Happy Eurovision everybody!

Slovenia: Here For You – Maraaya

I don’t think anyone picked this as a potential opening number – but with the opening lyrics ‘When you’re down, down low… you know that I am here for you’, this is more than a standard opening number for this year’s contest. A Macy Gray sound-alike in a nice lace dress with some oversized headphones and a cool dance beat, I can’t think of any better way to open the show. It’s a likeable song – and should get its share of points!

Prediction: 11-15

France: N’Oubliez Pas – Lisa Angell

The sad fact is that being on second is the Eurovision curse. No song has ever won from this position. This is such a shame because from the rehearsals it looks like France is going to put on their best act since Patricia Kaas in 2009. A massively effective backdrop, a big song and a very sneaky way of getting a lot more than six people on the stage. If there’s any justice tonight, this won’t be on the second half of the scoreboard.

Prediction: 8-13

Israel: Golden Boy – Nadav Guedj

A cross between Backstreet Boys and the later music of Michael Jackson crossed with a typical Israeli beat. This performance is so much fun! You’ll be clapping along the whole way. Hopefully this will do well for Israel, a country who is making it through to the final for the first time since 2010.

Prediction: 6-10

Estonia: Goodbye to Yesterday – Elina Born & Stig Rästa

I’m going to be honest, I don’t really get this song. It does have a sixties vibe, so the black and white background really suits this track. It is something a little bit different. The Estonians haven’t had a really good result in a while, and this could be one to watch according to the bookmakers.

Prediction: 3-8

United Kingdom: Still In Love With You – Electro Velvet

OK folks, this is it. Fun, bouncy, looks like something out of the Great Gatsby. If novelty is the in thing this year then it could be a surprise of the evening. Unfortunately, I cannot be anything but pessimistic about the UK’s chances but wave the flag, be proud and hopefully we might get a few points from countries that aren’t Ireland, Malta and Australia!

Prediction: Not making one, sorry! Never predict on your home country!

Armenia: Face The Shadow – Genealogy

This performance has some incredibly effective overhead shots with an intricate pattern that looks something out of Doctor Who (and that’s a good thing). The song is titled Face the Shadow, but the hook of this is ‘Don’t deny’. It’s a nice song with a good hook, but I still think this is nothing special.

Prediction: 22-27

Lithuania: This Time – Monika Linkyte & Vaidas Baumila

I love this song! The background is bright and colourful, it zips along and even though they’ve got a same sex kiss in there for a gimmick, I really don’t think it needs it. You can clap along to this quite happily, it is a truly happy track and I hope it will do quite well this evening.

Prediction: 11-15

Serbia: Beauty Never Lies – Bojana Stamenov

‘Finally I can say, I’m different and that’s OK’ – the lyrics of this song make it my anointed gay anthem of this year’s contest. They even wave flags and everything. The sad thing is that whilst people love promoting equality of difference and so on and so forth, this performance is simply not ‘sexy’ enough. It’s a great song, it’ll do well because it’s from Serbia – but with a different performance this could be a contender for victory.

Prediction: 16-20

Norway: A Monster Like Me – Morland & Debrah Scarlett

I still don’t get this song! It’s a simple performance, they both wear white. The background is very plain and simple, nothing intricate. They sing their hearts out – and I know as far as the bookmakers go they think Oslo 2016 could be a possibility, but alas I don’t see it happening.

Prediction: 6-10

Sweden: Heroes – Mans Zelmerlöw

Another song I get, but not really is Sweden. I love the computer graphics they use to great effect in this performance. However, I think it is too reliant on this gimmick. At its heart we have a good pop song, and whilst the performance will wow people I don’t think this is on late enough in the contest to win. It will however, still do well.

Prediction: 2-5

Cyprus: One Thing I Should Have Done – John Karayiannis

This song has a very simple gimmick in that the first minute of the performance is in black and white, which slowly fades to reveal our singer is standing there by himself on stage against a twinkling background. It is very effective. Unfortunately for Cyprus I think this will be overshadowed by the fact that they are surrounded by four favourites – Norway, Sweden, Australia and Belgium. It’s a shame, but that’s Eurovision.

Prediction: 22-27

Australia: Tonight Again – Guy Sebastian

Good Morning Australia! Said everyone, so often that Europe got annoyed – and probably the Australians by now as well. I love the fact Australia are here this year, and this entry is fantastic. I love the streetlight background, I’m less crazy about the way Guy is dressed. I think, maybe they are trying a little too hard on the performance side of things – however this is a good song with a very unique selling point (it’s Australia FFS!) and will go big!

Prediction: 3-7

Belgium: Rhythm Inside – Loïc Nottet

Black and white is definitely the theme, and this song is very different to many entries. This has grown on me a lot lately, and the singer ticks all the boxes. It really would be no surprise to see Belgium walk away with this contest. It’s a stripped down, effective performance and a very contemporary song.

Prediction: 1-5

Austria: I Am Yours – The Makemakes

This entry won’t disgrace the hosts, at the same time it won’t win – or probably come any close to doing so. It’s another plain and simple performance. Grand piano, electric guitar and drums on stage add to that kind of jazz bar effect – and you’ll love what happens to the piano! Nice song, nice chord progressions. The Austrians in the hall will be clapping with pride!

Prediction: 11-15

Greece: One Last Breath – Maria Elena Kyriakou

The performance for this seems to take its inspiration from the old-style Eurovision logo as Maria stands in front of a circular background of spotlights. It is another song I don’t really get, but the wind machine is ramped up to full blast, she looks nice. It’s going to do OK – and let’s face it they will always get 12 points from Cyprus anyway!

Prediction: 16-20

Montenegro: Adio – Knez

Performance is everything for some songs, and for others the song is more important than performance. To Adio, performance is key. I cannot describe how lovely this looks with dancers looking like they are emerging from a river of water, and the performance looking like it takes place on a river. It almost has a Lane Moje (2004, Serbia & Montenegro) vibe to it. This could surprise!

Prediction: 6-15

Germany: Black Smoke – Ann Sophie

Possibly the luckiest entrant in the contest, Ann Sophie lost the German preselection but the winner stood down immediately in favour of her having decided on live television he didn’t want to do the contest! Obviously given Germany don’t compete in the semi finals, there are only the rehearsal videos to go, but this is a good song. It sounds familiar which can only be a good thing – and the background is effective – showing black smoke. Good job, Germany!

Prediction: 17-22

Poland: In The Name Of Love – Monika Kuszynska

This is nice, flowing and simple. Unfortunately I don’t really rate this song. Please do not get me wrong, because this song is nice enough – but I just think it is nothing special. It has a few things going in its favour. There are no favourites around it, which mean it could do well, but unfortunately a result not dissimilar to Azerbaijan’s last year would not surprise.

Prediction: 20-25

Latvia: Love Injected – Aminata

I know this song has divided opinion, but I think this is Latvia’s best entry for a long time. It is contemporary, modern and performed extremely well. The flashing background with the beat, revealing church windows in black and white at the beginning is fantastic and the red background really suits this. It also stands out being surrounded by too not dissimilar ballads. To hear this being played in any club across Europe would not surprise me – but is it too modern even for this contest?

Prediction: 1-10

Romania: De La Capät – Voltaj

It’s a nice song, and if this did well I wouldn’t be disappointed. However, I think it is nothing special. The background is very effective but you could draw paralells with France’s background. There are black and white photos of children in the background, suitcases on stage. At the end of the semi final performance the singer said ‘Don’t leave your children behind.’ I can get on board with that emotional message – but I don’t think Europe will twenty songs, and many drinks in.

Prediction: 17-22

Spain: Amanecer – Edurne

In rehearsals Edurne has sung her heart out. This is quite similar to the Greek entry both in terms of performance and song. Edurne wears a long red dress to start, which reveals a gold dress underneath, almost like Danjela (Croatia, 1998). Some have predicted this for a surprise result. I think this is too repetitive.

Prediction: 13-18

Hungary: Wars For Nothing – Boggie

I love this song. The performance is so simple. A guitar chord, a singer standing in red against a spotlight, twinkling stars are revealed, then another voice joins in. This is a song that simply grows and grows. People didn’t think it would qualify, but I think they really underestimate the power of this song. It has a fantastic placing and I’d be extremely surprised if Hungary didn’t make it into this year’s top five.

Prediction: 1-5

Georgia: Warrior – Nina Sublatti

From the simple to the dramatic. On Tuesday night I commented that Nina looked like a space age cross between Morticia Addams and Ruslana (Ukraine, 2004). I stand by that. This gothic styled, dance performance is extremely effective – however I’m going to have to criticize the rip off that is one singer standing in a background with wings suddenly appearing like a big bird – Conchita did that last year, and even if you dye them black it will still get noticed!

Prediction: 6-15

Azerbaijan: Hour of the Wolf – Elnur Huseynov

It’s a good song. The performance is very effective – some have commented that Lord of the Rings has finally reached Eurovision. The idea of having a full moon in the background of a song that is about the hour of the wolf is extremely effective. However, I think this could be overshadowed by Georgia and Russia therefore I’m predicting another disappointing year for the Azerbaijan.

Prediction: 16-22

Russia: A Million Voices – Polina Gagarina

Polina looks almost like Sanna (Sweden, 2014) and I think she may get a similar result. This is Eurovision at its anthemic best. I know Russia is not the most favoured country in Eurovision circles, but it’s a bloody good song. This could quite legitimately walk away with the whole thing. Unfortunately I think it is too late in the running order, and could suffer from song fatigue. The performance lets the song do the talking. Good luck to them.

Prediction: 1-3

Albania: I’m Alive – Elhaida Dani

It’s another performance that lets the song do the talking. I accurately predicted this to go through to the final because it’s a good song. Unfortunately I can’t see it going very far up the scoreboard but it will get some points here and there. It’s a good effort.

Prediction: 17-22

Italy: Grande Amore – Il Volo

And finally we reach the end. Yes, it’s going to be a twenty-seven song endurance test tonight and the biggest shame is, that with that many songs people do lose interest towards the end. This is Italy’s best entry since 2011. If they were on any earlier they would be in with a chance of winning. Alas, they’re just going to do well I feel. They will be surrounded by Italian architecture on stage (think a more sophisticated version of the background used when they staged the contest in 1991) and they are very much in the vein of Il Divo. If you like them, you’ll love this.

Prediction: 6-10

The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on the UK live from Vienna on BBC1 and BBC Radio 2 from 8pm this evening. For those outside the UK check your national broadcasters or view the contest on selecting the Eurovision Song Contest channel.