It’s no mystery that when it comes to competition, few are as fiercely contested nor as influential to national pride as The Eurovision Song Contest, which means that if our nation’s golden hope Dami Im is going to bring home the glorious Eurovision crown she’s going to have to best some stiff competition. And unlike Guy Sebastian last year Dami actually has to qualify instead of getting to roll right into the finals with a last minute invite.
Still with bookies the world over giving our girl good odds to make it out of the semis, and even nab a place in the final results, we have faith. Still if she hopes to prove us right, she’s going to have to watch out for these eight acts she’s coming up against in the semi finals.
FYR Macedonia: Kaliopi – Dona
First up is Kaliopi, a Macedonian singing sensation who sits musically somewhere between Nana Mouskouri and Cher. Returning for the first time since 2012 – when she finished an admirable sixth – she’s hoping to capitalise on the celestial power of the leap year to once again push her to victory. Citing enormous fan support and the sheer undeniable quality of the song Dona – and its oh so repetitive chorus – as the reason for her return, Dami will have to watch out for this comp veteran.
Ukraine: Jamala – 1944
Unlikely to be much of a threat due to the political nature of the song and the competition’s strict prohibition on political lyrics, Jamala’s powerhouse hit was an undeniable favourite at the Ukrainian qualifiers. Considering she also won Best Artist, Best Album, Best Song and Best Duo at the Ukraine National Music Awards it’s hardly surprising. Anyway whether it gets disqualified or not, this is easily one of the best songs in the comp, if you can get over some of the cheesy yet politically uplifting lyrics. Sounds like it was produced by Burial.
Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night
A touch of the autobiographical in this song title as Donny Montell is yet another returning former contestant, who, like Kaliopi, is back with the leap year. Losing out despite giving a spectacular performance back in 2012, Montell vowed to return and he has, having bulked up and filled out. Seriously what a babe. Loving his thick accent too. Woof.
Albania: Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale
What would Europe be without a Balkan satellite state fielding an over the top emotive diva? Nothing, that’s what. And considering Dami Im is following a similar music path with her offering this year, she better watch out for Eneda Tarifa, the Albanian TV presenter and household name. Lucky for Dami she’s got a bit more of a cutting edge look, and the let’s face it, it’s not like they haven’t seen someone like Tarifa come through before.
Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure
Belgium’s entry is a bit of a dark horse – despite looking and sounding like she bleeds sunshine and shits chocolate pudding – with her catchy Mark Ronson-esque funk pop number possibly seeing a break with the competition’s long standing love of electronic pop. Having played Annie on the stage in the past, she’s a very confident performer too, which with so many strong singers in the competition she is sure to be a judge favourite.
Belarus: Ivan – Help You Fly
Look, I’m all for supporting Australia, but it’s hard to deny that fact that Belorussian entry Ivan is going to win the whole thing. What makes me say that? Oh I dunno, maybe it’s the fact the beautiful long haired nymph man is going to be performing naked with live wolves on stage! I’m not even joking, this is a thing and I couldn’t be more aroused… I mean excited.
Denmark: Lighthouse X – Soldiers Of Love
A lot has been said about the domination of sexy solo male performers at this year’s competition and Denmark’s Lighthouse X certainly give you the most bang for you buck… being a trio. Jesus, get your mind’s out of the gutter. The fact that these incredibly attractive yet painfully strained in the face love-children of Westlife and One Direction are in the comp screams one big question in my mind: Why don’t Human Nature compete?
Norway: Agnette – Icebreaker
Finally, Norway’s Agnette has been put forward as one of the frontrunner to take out the whole comp, with her Frozen inspired tune getting a lot of attention for the jarring tempo change between verse and chorus. Despite sounding like a bit of a trainwreck at first, I suspect the song may be an experiment in mass hypnosis as by the end it sounded fluid and smooth. Check it out for yourselves.
For the devotees Eurovision’s second semi final will air on SBS at 5am Friday morning. For those less inclined to ungodly early wake-ups, SBS will re-air Semi Final 1 at 7.30pm on Friday and Semi Final 2 at 7.30pm Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s final, which will also air at 5am and again at 7.30pm.