Sunday 8 May 2016

Eurovision 2016: Ones To Watch

Eurovision 2016

^^don't worry Sweden, we will.

Who are the ones to beat?
Who are the ones to miss?
What are this year's key trends?

Gizzle has you covered...

After Måns Zelmerlöw's win for Sweden last year, everyone seems to be doing interactive screens. None are as impressive as Russia though, who will probably deliver the standout performance of the night.

Rather than offering a string of pretty women, there seem to be more male performers this year than before. Know your audience...know your audience...

Western Europe
With the Nordics being sub par this year and Eastern Europe continuing to offer dull eurodance, it turns to Western Europe to deliver the goods. France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and (dare I say it) the UK could all have a strong year. Not Germany though.

Game of Thrones
Stunningly moody vistas. Wolves. And (and that's just the men). Eurovision has gone medieval this year, in the videos at least.

On to the entries. Strap in, there's gonna be WWIII at the top...

Finland: Sandhja - Sing It Away
This is quite possibly the best of the Nordics this year. Catchy chorus, blaring horns, camp dance routine and a video message that all Brits can get behind: tea makes everything better.

Greece: Argo - Utopian Land
It starts off pleasingly traditional, until the verses are...rapped? Is that what that is? This is just too bizarre to make an impact.

Moldova: Lidia Isac - Falling Stars
Well there's not much you can do with a white backdrop and a wind machine is there?

Hungary: Freddie - Pioneer
It's not hard to see why this chap was chosen: he has a voice as pleasantly rough as his stubbly beard...I presume.

Croatia: Nina Kraljić - Lighthouse
Guys! National Emergency! Ellie Goulding has been kidnapped by Croatia!

Netherlands: Douwe Bob - Slow Down
The Netherlands haven't won since 1975. That won't be changing anytime soon.

Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan - LoveWave
"Hey. It's me" is the new hello. SO MUCH HAIR. To be fair, this more experimental electro track is pretty decent.

San Marino: Serhat - I Didn't Know
This sultry funk sounds like some sort of dodgy 70s porno. Terrible. But also kind of amazing.

Russia: Sergey Lazarev - You Are The Only One
Look, nobody really wants Russia to win (except Russia). Yes the opening sounds just like Euphoria. And yes the lyrics are dire. But this has everything you could want from a Eurovision song: throbbing beats; kitchen sink production; a cool screen gimmick; a cute semi-naked guy who definitely isn't into men; terrible acting; and a goddamn key change. Putin could well be welcoming us all next year.

Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková - I Stand
This is actually a really beautiful power ballad with folky melodies and a yearning chorus. It just won't win.

Cyprus: Minus One - Alter Ego
Eurovision isn't all cheesy electrodance. Minus One are bringing some rock to the competition, 30 Seconds To Mars style. They might stand out for that at least, even if this wolf-themed track is no She Wolf.

Austria: ZOË - Loin d'ici
Austria definitely peaked with Conchita. This cutesy little ditty pales in comparison. Please fall over on that treadmill, we could do with some excitement...

Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann - Play
The sort of deep-voiced, twinkly-faced performer that only mothers will love.

Azerbaijan: Samra - Miracle
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink...seriously did Sia actually write this?! (That is absolutely a compliment)

Montenegro: Highway - The Real Thing
Sexy guitars, heavy beats, hypnotic synths. And then the vocal starts. Awks.

Iceland: Greta Salóme - Hear Them Calling
Iceland, as ever, a second-rate Sweden. Staging that mixes Loreen and Måns, with a track full of synth-folk drama. Unoriginal.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala - Ljubav Je
Well the church is nice..... *cough*

Malta: Ira Losco - Walk On Water
She looks like a popstar. She sounds like a popstar. It's very current. And the beaches are stunning. A pretty strong year for the Maltese.

Latvia: Justs - Heartbeat
Last year Latvia had the most interesting song of all. And whilst this isn't quite as good as Love Injected, it continues along the same lines with experimental electro that suggests there's a thriving club scene in the Baltics. Let's just hope he can sustain that vocal until the end.

Poland: Michał Szpak - Color Of Your Life
Beautiful video. Boring song

Switzerland: Rykka - The Last Of Our Kind
This fizzing little pop track sounds like a load of other familiar songs spliced together. That's actually a very good thing.

Israel: Hovi Star - Made Of Stars
Whilst promoting this track in Russia, ex-Idol contestant Hovi Star was reportedly the victim of homophobic abuse. It's the sort of story that could push this ballad of acceptance and equality towards the top of the pile. The drone symbolism in the video further adds a military feel to the ballad that only fuels the power of this song after political unrest in the Middle East.

Belarus: IVAN - Help You Fly
Oh look, another interactive screen. This synth-rock track is just too bizarre.

Serbia: Sanja Vučić ZAA - Goodbye (Shelter)
Her voice might have power, but the way she exhales at the end of every line is infuriating.

Ireland: Nicky Byrne - Sunlight
Am I supposed to vote for you, when you're singing like that? This is average fare from the Westlife singer, despite the anthemic chorus.

F.Y.R Macedonia: Kaliopi - Dona
Dona Dona Dona Dona Dona Dona Dona Kebab.

Lithuania: Donny Montell - I've Been Waiting For This Night
So the song is a basic Eurovision anthem, but the video is about a young guy going to a drug-fuelled rave so he can bang the girl of his dreams? Inappropriate.

Australia: Dami Im - Sound Of Silence
Australia are still definitely not in Europe. But when their entry is X Factor winner Dami Im all is forgiven. Probably the best singer in the competition, there's a powerful chorus, a hot ballet dancer, and Asian glamour. Australia are actually taking the competition seriously with a proper popstar performance. Well done everyone.

Slovenia: ManuElla - Blue And Red
"You're not a composer, I'm not your song". Slovenia serving some Taylor Swift realness here, but they'll never ever ever win the competition.

Bulgaria: Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime
Solid. Safe. Standard.

Denmark: Lighthouse X - Soldiers Of Love
Oh Denmark. We expect more of you. What is this cheesy boyband shite?

Ukraine: Jamala - 1944
Moody, haunting, ethnic melodies. Stark production that sounds like nothing else in the competition. Political undertones of Stalinist oppression. And a raw, intense vocal. Ukraine are fighting back against Russia with real spirit and could well take the top spot from them.

Norway: Agnete - Icebreaker
In many ways, Norway are simply repeating Margaret Berger's performance from a couple of years ago: hot blonde in a white dress, industrial beats and euphoric synths. The rhythmic changes just about make it stand out.

Georgia: Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz - Midnight Gold
Did this band genuinely learn their instruments on Guitar Hero? It sure sounds like it.

Albania: Eneda Tarifa - Fairytale
This is utterly forgettable.

Belgium: Laura Tesoro - What's The Pressure
HIT IT. In a sea of electrodance and moody ballads, this entry from Belgium stands out for its bubbly rhythms and youthful performance. Frothy and fun.

France: Amir - J'ai cherché
The French are storming the competition this year. No longer the weird arty lot, they're singing (partly) in English and delivering a brilliant, contemporary pop song. It's a change of tactics that will likely pay off.

Germany: Jamie-Lee - Ghost
Have Germany given up this year?

Italy: Francesca Michielin - No Degree Of Separation
Not into it.

Spain: Barei - Say Yay!
Initially this sounds like generic eurodance. But then the handclaps kick in, the chorus builds and the feet are moving. This could do very well.

Sweden: Frans - If I Were Sorry
This could legitimately be in the charts, which makes sense when we all know Sweden deliver the best pop. But this? No thanks.

UK: Joe and Jake - You're Not Alone
It should've been this.