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I love Eurovision. I adore Eurovision. A solid 30% of my personality is loving this contest that nobody outside of Europe (and Australia) has ever heard of. So, you can imagine my excitement when I managed to bag a digital press pass for this year’s contest getting me exclusive access to the rehearsals in the run-up to the live shows. So, for the past week, I’ve been tippy tappy typing away at the rehearsals to curate my top 10 picks for Eurovision this year.
10) San Marino: Adrenalina – Senhit
San Marino’s self-proclaimed ‘freaky queen’ Senhit kicks off the list with her high-energy performance of Adernalina. The great mystery surrounding this track is whether Flo Rida will be on stage for the live shows as despite featuring on the backdrop graphics, and even having a standing during rehearsals (a Faux Rida if you will), he’s currently judging a bikini contest in Miami. Regardless of his appearance, the energy from Senhit alone makes this one of the standouts from rehearsals so far.
9) Switzerland: Tout l’univers – Gjon’s Tears
There’s a reason that Switzerland has been so high in the odds for this year’s contest. The song and Gjon’s vocals are both impeccable and watching his rehearsals has been a joy. While the stage’s dark atmosphere works well with the track, though I’m less sold on some of the choreography as the song can carry itself without it and it ends up being a bit distracting. We’re most likely looking at a top 10 finish for Switzerland this year which will be thoroughly well deserved.
8) Malta: Je Me Casse – Destiny
Before coming into rehearsals, Malta was the bookies favourite to win, and for good reason. The song is a bop that sounds right at home at the contest. Couple that with staging that works with the track, and stellar on-stage performance that exudes confidence and it’s undeniable that this is going to be a well-performing track come the final.
7) Azerbaijan: Mata Hari – Efendi
Azerbaijan has a pretty good grasp on how to make a Eurovision song at this point and normally do quite well at the contest. While I love this year’s song, the staging they’ve chosen is quite underwhelming given the track’s energy. This doesn’t detract too much from Efendi’s flawless vocal performance, however, so I think we’ll see this qualify and do decently well in the finals.
6) France: Voilà – Barbara Pravi
Clean, simple, and effective staging from France this year that lets the song speak (or rather, sing)for itself. A track like this doesn’t need fancy graphics or massive props and instead relies on Barbara’s incredible voice and close-up camera work to give the performance an intimate feeling. France’s rehearsals so far have been flawless and an entry like this could very well see us jetting off to Paris next year.
5) Lithuania: Discoteque – The Roop
This year Lithuania kicks off the contest on Tuesday with a fun and energetic performance filled with choreography that’s perfect for the TikTok generation. The staging is almost identical to the Lithuanian national final which is far from a bad thing. Another sure-fire qualifier this year and a well-deserved top 10 finish likely.
4) Ukraine: Shum – Go_A
I don’t have the words to describe Ukraine’s entry this year. Seeing the song performed live in the rehearsals has sent it skyrocketing up this list as well as the bookie’s odds. The inspiration from the music video is obvious with the group stood on a white platform with fake trees with all group members dressed in white, except lead singer Kateryna who’s wearing a green feathery jacket. Such a unique performance is sure to grab viewer’s attention and, while I can’t see this winning, I think a top 5 finish is likely.
3) Cyprus: El Diablo – Elena Tsagrinou
Yeah Yeah, Fire. Cyprus is bringing us Fuego once more with El Diablo. Unsurprisingly, red features heavily in the staging with the backdrop, floor, lights, and dancers all following the theme. There’s also a mirror on stage that rises towards the track’s end to reveal the words “El Diablo” with fire pulsing from behind them. Despite basically non-stop choreography, Elena’s vocals sounded pretty on point, so I have no worries about this not making it to the final.
2) Italy: Zitti e buoni – Måneskin
If you’d have told me before rehearsals started that Italy would end up my second favourite track of the contest, I would have called you crazy. But that’s exactly what’s ended up happening. The energy from this performance is off the scale with suitably chaotic lighting to match it and even some fireworks and pyro at the end. The band is dispersed around the stage with the drummer on their own raised platform and the two guitarists on opposite sides of the stage with the backing screens showing silhouettes of the band’s members throughout the performance. It’s an outstanding performance that’s sure to do well on Saturday night and could well win the contest.
1) Iceland: 10 Years – Daði & Gagnamagnið
How could it be anything else? You all know Daði & Gagnamagnið, even if you think you don’t you’ve probably heard their entry from last year. Think About Things went kind of viral last year with over 27 million views on YouTube and thousands of videos on TikTok. And for good reason, the song slapped. This year they’ve brought that same energy to the contest in the form of 10 Years. The dance from the 10 Years music video is also obviously featured in the staging along with backdrops showing pixel art of the group in space, geometric cubes, and even some unicorns. Neither Daði nor his backing singers showed any sign of vocal issues so I’ve no concerns in that regard and after the year we’ve had, I can see a fun song like this doing incredibly well with the televote. We’ll probably see this finishing in the top 5 with the possibility that this could win it all and see us visiting Reykjavík next year.
It’s been two years since Duncan Laurence was crowned as the king of Eurovision and I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time someone else took over. Who’s going to win? Will there be any embarrassing live TV hiccups? Will people complain about Australia taking part despite being half the world away? I guess we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out.