Weeks and months of preparation have all come down to this. Later on tonight, 26 countries from across Europe (and a bit of Asia) will descend on the Crystal Hall stage and perform to an expected audience of 125 million people. Of these 26, only one will end up the winner (of the contest, various successes for the other twenty-five possible), and Europe can finally try and hide the fact that they let ‘Running Scared’ win.
There is a certain irony though, that after one of the worst Eurovision winners, the Russian Grannies, or to be correct Buranovskiye Babushki, could easily sweep it up. I love everything about the performance, they are unbelievably sweet (especially the small one), and it’s almost forgivable that they can’t sing a dreadful song. Last year Portugal sent something which was set up very similar. However the fact they were protestors (or the Village People who had their wages slashed in the economic downturn) and not adorable, didn’t catch the people’s heart and finished second to last in their semi final. The Babuskhi’s are different, and it’s almost terrifying. I don’t want them to win Eurovision, yes they are adorable and lovely and it’s a fantastic, fun filled three minutes after a sleep-inducing opening, but it is after all a song contest, and I continue to live in hope the juries knock it down heavily.
There are so many good songs in this contest, and the focus from a UK perspective shouldn’t just be on Russia, Ireland and ourselves. My own money is on Serbia, Željko Joksimović couldn’t have asked for a better draw to add to his strong song. 24th, amongst the craziness of Jedward and Pasha Parfeny, and the livliness of Ukraine, it really stands out from the crowd. Add in the usual votes from those who love him in the Balkans, and this could be right up there come the final votes.
Granted it’s not all straight forward, Nina Zilli has been a firm favourite of mine and others since it was first released. I’ve yet to see or hear of her put a foot wrong yet, and unlike others who have (cough Romania, Sweden, UK cough), that will put her in one of the prime positions for the live show. Likewise, I’m prepared to say, with Estonia, Spain and Iceland even, this could swing it into their balance. With Italy, and Iceland, there is no real reason why the televoters won’t go for it, and Spain certainly belts it out in an emotional performance.
And then there is those who are running towards the end, Malta could easily sneak into the top 10 following Spain and Germany, Ireland, although a weaker entry than last year, have the energy, Ukraine are being very-Ukraine like and Moldova, whilst I love it, could struggle a lot.
Basically, it’s impossible to call. There are a lot of songs that could win, I wouldn’t mind winning, and are good enough to win. As long as it isn’t Russia, I don’t really care either.