Eurovision Song Contest - Kiev 2005

   

by Terence Cassar


Eurovision 2005 It's that time of year when the Eurovision Song Contest is nearly upon us, and for 2005, we'll be celebrating its 50th anniversary. It will be held in the Palatu Sports Complex in Kiev, Ukraine, following last year's win for Ruslana with her "Wild Dances". Incidentally, Ruslana will co-host the contest with DJ Pasha and Volodymyr Klytschko.

This year will see a record 39 countries participating - Hungary are returning after an absence of seven years, while both Moldova and Bulgaria will be making their debuts. Following last year's format, there will again be two nights of performances: the qualifier night on Thursday 19th May, and the long awaited final itself on Saturday 21st May. The ten highest scoring countries from the semi-final will fill in the empty slots in the final running order.

Here are, in alphabetical order, the songs which will probably make it to the final night - the ten qualifiers, the ten automatic-qualifiers from 2004, and the 'big four'. Only one thing is certain - there's no real standout song being tipped by everyone as a winner. There could be a lot of dark horses this year, so stay tuned!


ALBANIA: Ledina Celo - Tomorrow I Go
Following up their successful first attempt in the Eurovision Song Contest last year is a difficult task for Albania. Their second attempt is, dare I say it, a very disappointing one. "Tomorrow I Go" seems like a 'heard it all before' type of song, not to mention the fact that it actually did sound better in Albanian. With so many ethnic-influenced songs competing in this year's contest, this one will take a lot to impress. Better luck next time!
Prediction: Bottom 4

AUSTRIA: Global.Kryner - Y Asi
Gobal.Kryner are a six-piece folk music band who managed to beat 2003's comedian Alf Poier by just four points in the Song.null.fünf festival. Like that notorious 2003 song, this is another hate it or love it track from Austria, mainly because of the yodelling! "Y Asi" is one of those insane, old-fashioned songs which either could be a guilty pleasure of some, or could make up for a coffee-break for others. Nevertheless, it's quite addictive and catchy, so it should impress people enough to make it to the final.
Prediction: 11-15

BELARUS: Angelica Agurbash - Love Me Tonight
Just in case you didn't know, Belarus are represented with a song which didn't win their national final! This song replaced the winning one, "Boys And Girls", as fans over Europe agreed that it was, quite frankly, a bad song - and it was a clever move. This one is an upbeat slice of pop in a typical Eurovision style, and was composed by the same people behind last year's Greek entry "Shake It". A stomping performance (preferably with a comprehensible English accent) should propel Belarus to the final night, but whether Angelica can pull off a big hit remains to be seen.
Prediction: 16-20

Bosnia & Herzegovina BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: Femminem - Call Me
ABBA comeback alert! "Call Me" sounds like it could have easily been recorded by ABBA... so the only problem is that it might seem a little dated. However, a good slot in the running order, attractive singers, one hell of a tune (and enough neighbours to support them when it comes to voting) should make this a serious contender for the top. A definite qualifier for 2006.
Prediction: 6-10

CYPRUS: Constantinos Christoforou - Ela Ela (Come Baby)
Constantinos is no stranger to this contest, having already represented his country twice before. He tries his luck this time with a carbon copy of a previous Eurovision hit - "Shake It Part II" anyone? Producing a song which is similar to an almost-winning hit is an easy way out! This one isn't quite as good, but his looks, a good performance and the usual douze points from Greece will give Cyprus another hit. Not a winner though.
Prediction: 6-10

FRANCE: Ortal - Chacun Pense à Soi
Shock horror, France have opted for an uptempo song! The outcome is very decent, with lyrics dealing with the modern world, and singing last in the final night should work to their advantage - although some say it could go the other way. France should do well on the basis of sympathy votes from Israel, not to mention the usual countries who suck up to them.
Prediction: 11-15

GERMANY: Gracia - Run And Hide
After making it to the national finals through a wildcard option (and stirring up controversy on the way), Gracia won the German contest with this guitar-led number. "Run And Hide" is the kind of rock song that the Germans tend to master the best. It might pick up votes from people who are more into rock music, but I can't help thinking that Gracia's grating voice will doom the song's fate.
Prediction: Bottom 4

Greece GREECE: Helena Paparizou - You're My Number One
This song is tipped for big things, and has been topping fans charts and predictions everywhere. Helena previously represented Greece as one half of Antique, and her sexy looks, as well as the tune's sassy vibes and catchy chorus, should be enough to ensure another Top 3 smash for Greece. I have a feeling this won't give the Greeks their long awaited win, but I'd love to be proven wrong!
Prediction: Top 2

Hungary HUNGARY: NOX - Forogj Világ
This song defines the phrase 'comeback in style'. After an absence of seven years, the Hungarians have really taken their time to come back with a song which has everything - a tune (you should end up tapping and humming to it by the end of the song), massive choreography (reminiscent of Ruslana) and that ethnic vibe which has constituted a new trend in the Eurovision. All in all, a worthy song which could not only win the semi-final, but could turn out to be be a threat to Greece in winning the contest.
Prediction: Winner?

Iceland ICELAND: Selma - If I Had Your Love
This year should be renamed the comeback contest, as Greece, Malta and Iceland are all represented by previous ambassadors. Selma came close to winning in 1999, and this year she's giving it another try. "If I Had Your Love" is a funky slice of pop which relies more on production than on the song itself. Still, it doesn't take away the fact that the song is catchy enough to do well on the final night, especially with Selma's stage charisma. I would like to see this win the whole thing, but political voting could mar Iceland's first ever victory.
Prediction: Top 5

ISRAEL: Shiri Maymon - Hasheket Shenish'ar
Israel have really suffered the kiss of death since their victory in 1998, with no real big hits since. Shiri's simple, laid-back ballad should turn the page and bring them back to the final where they belong. If life was fair, this would end up in the Top 10 on the final night, but a low Top 20 is more likely.
Prediction: 16-20

MACEDONIA: Martin Vucic - Make My Day
Macedonia have never really made it big in the Eurovision, never landing in the Top 10. Sadly, I can't see this one being a massive hit either. Firstly, it doesn't sound original at all, and secondly it would have been better if Martin sang in Macedonian. Neighbourly votes could help make this a success, but I doubt it will get very high.
Prediction: Bottom 4

Malta MALTA: Chiara - Angel
Another artist who previously participated in the Eurovision and returns this year is Chiara, who wrote and composed "Angel" all on her own. It's a sickly-sweet ballad which should be well interpreted, and although comparisons are being made to her 1998 entry, this won't score as highly. It seems a little outdated now, and if people are really going to opt for a ballad, then the Netherlands should pose Malta a serious threat.
Prediction: 11-15

NETHERLANDS: Glennis Grace - My Impossible Dream
Here's the other big, hyped-up ballad of the year. "My Impossible Dream" has received high ratings over the Internet, with people saying it could easily be a song Whitney Houston could have recorded. That's maybe stretching it too far, but it is indeed a powerful song with amazing vocals, and should do well on the final night. Not a winner, but if Cyprus did well last year, I can't see why the Netherlands should fail this time around.
Prediction: 6-10

NORWAY: WigWam - In My Dreams
Norway won the contest in 1985 and 1995, so could this be a ten year event? Well, a victory isn't out of the question for this one! Although it does sound a bit dated (reminiscent of 80s Bon Jovi and Kiss), it's a breath of fresh air from the usual pop/dance tunes which cram the Eurovision. It's instantly appealing and has been a firm fan favourite, especially among those who are mad on hairy, 80s rock bands. I don't think this will win the whole thing, but it's up there as a possible threat to the winning song. Come on, come on, come on, love is all oooooooooooover me!
Prediction: Top 5

ROMANIA: Luminita Anghel & Sistem - Let Me Try
Romania's Eurovision scores have gradually improved over the years (excluding last year's bimbo's attempt) although they've never made the Top 5. This year, a Top 5 placement is much more likely! This pop/dance tune is amazing, from the ethnic intro to the infectious chorus, very well sung by Luminta. With Sistem's great backing music, this is another one to look out for.
Prediction: 6-10

RUSSIA: Natalia Podolskaya - Nobody Hurt No One
This song just goes nowhere. It's supposed to be a pop/rock song, but the chorus and verses are actually quite weak. However, friendly voting could ensure a less than deserved placing for this, as was the case last year.
Prediction: 16-20

SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: No Name - Zauvijek Moja
Having almost made it last year, the Serbians & Montenegrins have submitted a song not entirely dissimilar to last year's entry. It has that ethnic vibe which is quite a winning formula these days, and it does have a strong tune, so don't be put off by the fact that it's sung by a boy band! However, they're unlikely to come close to winning this year.
Prediction: 11-15

SPAIN: Son De Sol - Brujería
Every year there's bound to be one, and here's this year's novelty record. This song sounds like a recycled, washed up version of the annoying "Ketchup Song". I mean, they sound so suspiciously like them, one would be forgiven for thinking these girls might actually be Las Ketchup in disguise. That can mean only one thing - it could easily do really well because of its novelty factor.
Prediction: 6-10

Sweden SWEDEN: Martin Steinmark - Las Vegas
This year's "Melodifestivalen" boasted a number of high quality pop tunes, and this perhaps wasn't the wisest of choices to represent Sweden. It's not really in an ABBA style, as is common with Sweden's entries. It is still retro-sounding - the problem is that it might not be instantly likeable, which is always a bad move in this contest. It will all depend on both Martin's strong, distinctive, voice, as well as the dance routine, as to whether Sweden can score the usual hit.
Prediction: 11-15

SWITZERLAND: Vanilla Ninja - Cool Vibes
Talk about redemption! After last year's nil point disaster, the Swiss hope to make up for that shameful entry with this Estonian four-piece girl band. Vanilla Ninja are already an established name in some countries in Europe, so a couple of sympathy votes are to be expected, but that's all justified, as this song is a strong one. I'm still not sure what the song is about ("Cool vibes, why don't you kill me?") but nobody will really care about the lyrics, as it's the tune that will grab everyone's attention. Definite winning material!
Prediction: Top 5

TURKEY: Gülseren - Rimi Rimi Ley
There have been quite a few mixed opinions about this one. The ethnic influences and the constant repetition of the title make the song appealing... but then other people see this as a cheap, unoriginal song which goes nowhere. It's a bit of a let down after the past two Turkish entries, though in all fairness, the final version being presented to the contest is much better than the original one. Due to such mixed opinions, I expect this one will end up somewhere in the middle.
Prediction: 16-20

UKRAINE: Greenjolly - Razom Nas Bahato
They're playing at home! After last year's victory, the Ukrainians decided to hold a national final series, and eventually this alternative number turned out to be the winner. Full marks for trying something unconventional in the contest - this one has quite a few hip-hop elements, as well some controversy behind it. It was popular during the country's 'Orange Revolution', and the lyrics eventually had to be changed because of their political nature. This might be a breath of fresh air to the pop/dance of the Eurovision, but it's such a far cry from the typical entries that it will probably mean a bad result again for the hosts.
Prediction: Bottom 4

UK UNITED KINGDOM: Javine - Touch My Fire
The Brits chose the best song in the "Making Your Mind Up" show, but that's not saying much - all those songs were relatively weak compared to the other countries' Eurovision entries. "Touch My Fire" isn't a bad entry by any means, but it does sound slightly dated (and this style of music is really clichéd now). With the running order being unkind to her, Javine might actually struggle to do well.
Prediction: 16-20


Here are the running orders of the semi-final and the final nights:

SEMI-FINAL (19 May)
1. Austria
2. Lithuania
3. Portugal
4. Moldova
5. Latvia
6. Monaco
7. Israel
8. Belarus
9. Netherlands
10. Iceland
11. Belgium
12. Estonia
13. Norway
14. Romania
15. Hungary
16. Finland
17. F.Y.R. Macedonia
18. Andorra
19. Switzerland
20. Croatia
21. Bulgaria
22. Ireland
23. Slovenia
24. Denmark
25. Poland

FINAL (21 May)
1. (from Semi Final)
2. United Kingdom
3. Malta
4. (from Semi Final)
5. (from Semi Final)
6. Turkey
7. (from Semi Final)
8. Albania
9. Cyprus
10. Spain
11. (from Semi Final)
12. Serbia & Montenegro
13. (from Semi Final)
14. Sweden
15. (from Semi Final)
16. Ukraine
17. Germany
18. (from Semi Final)
19. Greece
20. Russia
21. Bosnia & Herzegovina
22. (from Semi Final)
23. (from Semi Final)
24. France


The semi-final will be broadcast on 19th May on BBC Three from 8pm onwards; the final night will be broadcast two days later on BBC One and BBC Radio 2 from 8pm onwards.

To hear clips of all the participating songs, visit the official website:
WEBSITE: Eurovision Song Contest Official Site