This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be upon us in a matter of weeks and, following Conchita Wurst’s victory in Copenhagen with ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, the contest will take place in Vienna, Austria. Forty countries will take part in the annual singing competition, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2015. This year sees returns for Cyprus, Serbia and the Czech Republic, with Ukraine withdrawing for financial reasons. Also, as part of the anniversary, Australia, who are huge supporters of the contest, have been awarded a one-off guest invitation, meaning Eurovision will be bigger than ever before!

In this post, the first of four, I will begin to count down my personal top 40 of this year’s contest and also will judge the chances of each of the competing nations. Don’t forget that this is my own personal opinion and not affiliated with any other organisation (I’ve always wanted to write that!)

40) San Marino – “Chain of Lights”
Last year was a milestone for this small principality with Valentina Monetta, who had participated for the nation in the two previous contents as well, succeeding in qualifying for the grand final, where she finished 24th. This year the broadcaster picked two young performers who had represented them in the past two Junior Eurovision contests in Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini. Unfortunately the song does not reflect on the artists with an extremely dated song with a beat that doesn’t seem to match the song. Whilst Michele and Anita are to be commended for doing this at such a young age, the lyrics are cringeworthy (“one’s a lonely number – but together/we can make a million candles/shine forever”). This definitely will not follow Monetta as a finalist and is probably the most likely to achieve the dreaded nil points.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

39) Finland – “Aina mun pitaa”
Before I start commenting on the song, I have the upmost respect for Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (PKN for short), a band formed in a workshop created by Lyhty, a charity for adults with developmental disability. This year’s Eurovision has the tagline ‘Building Bridges’ and the fact a band like PKN has made it into the contest is quite a big milestone. Their music is punk rock, which unfortunately does not appeal to me in the same way that other genres do. The song is also much shorter than typical Eurovision songs are at just 90 seconds. This song, whilst disliked by many diehard fans of the contest, will appeal to some of the viewers through being the sole representative of this genre and the heart-warming story of the band. I predict that this will reach the final, though I have a feeling that the national juries will bring it down slightly.

DJ’s Prediction: 20-27th

PKN Band

38) Moldova – “I Want Your Love”
In the national selections for this year’s contest, there has been an unusually high level of controversy surrounding the results, Moldova being a prime example. The winner, Eduard Romanyuta, was accused of fixing the result after an extremely high amount of votes came in for him in such a small country, so much so that the other participants boycotted the after party. The song itself is an auto-tuned mess that one would expect on the back catalogue of an act from the States and the live performance in the national final was a disaster, another reason why his win caused controversy. The only thing this entry has going for it is the relatively catchy tune but I doubt that will be enough to make the necessary impact.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

37) Montenegro – “Adio”
It would not be a 21st century Eurovision Song Contest without a traditional Balkan ballad and for the second year in a row Montenegro carries that title. Last year Sergej Cetkovic managed to get this nation to the grand final for the first time and the broadcaster has decided to once again go with experience in Knez. Unfortunately the entry does not have the memorable tune that helped them reach the final in 2014, nor the beautiful music that one would come to expect from Eurovision Balkan ballads. The whole thing never manages to take off and the overall impression is one of flatness that would be forgotten in the midst of the large number of ballads this year. It would take a brilliant live performance to see this song make it past their semi-final.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

36) Cyprus – “One Thing I Should Have Done”
The 2015 contest sees a welcome return to Cyprus after a year’s absence. Their best ever finish is 5th in 2004 whilst Ivi Adamou took them to the final in 2012. However in between those years were years of disappointment and sadly I don’t think that the streak will be broken with John Karayiannis’ low-key ballad. This is another entry that doesn’t take off despite its decent lyrics. Personally I feel that Cyprus did not choose its strongest entry in the national selection, with several who would have made more of an impact with me. There are so many ballads in the contest and with neighbours Greece in the other semi-final it is extremely unlikely that this will progress.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

Giannis Karagiannis

35) Israel – “Golden Boy”
In the previous few contests Israel has arguably had a right to feel hard done by and personally I thought they should have qualified for the final in the past couple of years, with their most recent attempt nearly finishing last. This year Nadav Guedj has the honour of representing his nation after winning the national selection and his effort could be described as an ‘Arabic Justin Timberlake’ and the overall effect isn’t too bad. However the lyrics are woeful (“I’m a golden boy/Come here to enjoy/I’m the king of fun”) and if he is Timberlake then this would probably have been dropped. Despite the lyrics being truly awful, I think the song does have potential and is something different from the majority of the other entries. This could make the final for Israel for the first time since 2010 and would be a welcome return after the past few years of injustice.

DJ’s Prediction: 13-19th

34) Hungary – “Wars for Nothing”
This year’s entry for Hungary focuses on one of the sung-about themes at Eurovision, world peace. The lyrics do indeed create food for thought on multiple listens (“Do you know how many innocents/Are hiding from punishment/For crimes they’d never commit”) and indirectly references several conflicts that have occurred in the past couple of decades. The performer of this song, Boggie, carries this message across in an understated fashion, which also could be the song’s downfall as well as its strength. This is because most viewers would only have the chance to listen to the song on the night of the semi-final and its quiet nature could again see it slip between the cracks of the big power ballads.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

33) Denmark – “The Way You Are”
Eurovision 2014 was a brilliant contest almost perfectly devised by the Danish host broadcaster but it appears that their Eurovision has ground to a halt. The band, Anti Social Media (yes that is their real name) is representing Denmark with the kind of inoffensive Brit Pop that was extremely popular ten years ago. However, that was then, and in 2015 the lyrics and the tune sound quite dated. Again, the song is catchy in a mildly irritating kind of way and the middle-of-the-road nature could see it through, but Denmark is in danger of not making the final for the first time since 2007.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

32) Serbia – “Beauty Never Lies”
Many countries in the past have been guilty of changing their songs to the English language in order to make it appealing to more people, yet it does the opposite effect. The guiltiest country of this in this year’s contest is Serbia and it is equally guilty of wasting the brilliant voice of Bojana Stamenov. The lyrics are once again extremely clichéd (“Beauty never lies, never hides, never gives a damn!/Beauty never lies, no, it cries “Here I am!”) but in a way that suggests that a 10 year old wrote them. This will again depend on the live performance and how much Bojana’s brilliant voice makes up it but in a semi that will be tight for the last couple of qualification places, it may miss out.

DJ’s Prediction: Out in Semi-Final

Bojana Stamenov

31) Austria – “I Am Yours”
Austria won the right to host Eurovision 2015 thanks to a truly magical live performance from Conchita Wurst and with it a free pass straight to the final. It may be seen as a bit disappointing then that the 2015 entry, sung by The Makemakes, is a bit middle-of-the-road and tame. It is certainly not the worst song in the contest by a mile and holds a moderately catchy tune. The fact that it is one of the few rock influenced songs in the contest also could help it, but I can’t see Austria getting anywhere near the left hand side of the scoreboard.

DJ’s Prediction: 20-27th

What do you think guys? Do you agree with my opinions and if not, who would you put towards the bottom of the rankings? And who do you think is going to win the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest?
You can tell me in the comments section below!

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