It is that time of year again. The daffodils are blooming, the birds are singing and Eurovision is but a month away. As per usual I have subjected my ears to all the participating songs and here is a quick First Look & Listen response. More to follow when/if my customary Eurovision mania takes hold. The Alright Ones: Albania have set themselves up as providers of decent pop and this year is no exception (even if it starts out sounding a bit Doctor Who). Denmark have pulled up their socks and have sent an epic sing-along schlager. Estonia proves yet again their knack for sending excellent oddball songs (it's like they don't know Eurovision is about cheese). Germany is surprisingly emerging as the pre-show bookie favourite although it is a bit too Gabrielle Cimli/Duffy/Paloma Faith for my taste. I have a weak spot for big Balkan rock ballads and Macedonia brings it this year.
The Disappointing One: Turkey is usually one of the countries to watch and have in recent years provided some real highlights (Mor ve Ötesi's Deli is still totally awesome). This year they are significantly less than awesome, even if Turkish Emo is .. an interesting concept.
The "What Were You Thinking" Ones: Finland is notoriously hit-and-miss. This year .. well, you be the judge of Kuunkuiskaajat's Työlki Ellää. In Moldova the local youth club is stuck in 1997, while the Dutch send Sarah Palin singing a local radio hit circa 1977 and the United Kingdom yearns for a pre-drugs Jason Donovan in 1990. Meanwhile Serbia sends something I don't even know what is (and this is the same country which gave us Molitva!).
Last year Alexander Rybak was a runaway favourite early on. This year nobody really stands out and even the usual heavy-hitters like Russia, Ukraine and Greece are failing to bring a big song/performer (even if Ukraine is trying to court Twi-Hards by sending a blond Kristen Stewart). Prediction? Your guess is as good as mine.