Well, we can be sure of six of the entries in the Saturday ESC finals. The Big Six = France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, plus last year’s winner Sweden. A few years ago, back when it was the Big 4, you could almost be guaranteed that none of them would take the contest seriously. But recently everyone has upped their game (more or less, and I am looking at you, UK) and at least deserved their place in the finals.
France has had a few years since they got a great result (Patricia Kaas, 2009). This year they are sending reality show star Amandne Bourgeois with “L’Enfer et Moi”. She seems to be a great live performer, and we think she should find herself somewhere in the middle between Kaas 8th place finish and 2012’s 22nd place for Anggun.
Germany has come back to life in Eurovision after winning the contest in 2010. This year they have turned to international dance music superstars Cascada, whose song is unfortunately a paint-by-numbers response to last year’s winning “Euphoria”. Even so, they stand a good chance at top ten.
Italy has come back to the contest with a bang, placing 2nd in 2011 and9th last year. 9th seems to be about right for Marco Mengoni this year, an excellent and charismatic singer, saddled with a song that won’t stand out enough to push him to the top.
Spain was absolutely GREAT last year, with the second song that year by Thomas G:son propelling them to a top ten finish. This year they apparently wanted to enter with something fully home-grown so they chose locally popular band ESDM. Unfortunately “Contigo Hasta El Final” is pleasant but anonymous, and will probably leave Spain back in the bottom five this year.
The United Kingdom don’t seem to want to do well in Eurovision, lately choosing acts that would have been fine in the contest decades ago, but well past their “sell by” dates in the 2010s. Last year Engelbert was far outside the sweet spot of what Eurovoters are looking for nowadays, and this year they have done a LITTLE better with sexagenarian Bonnie Tyler. Her gently countryfied “Believe In Me” won’t embarrass British fans, but won’t end up near the top.
Sweden has taken the “lagom” approach to this year’s entry. Robin Stjernberg is an excellent vocalist, and “You” is a good song that fits well in the modern pop scene. It will do moderately well, probably somewhere between 5th and 10th place, which is just where Sweden is aiming this year (they don’t want to be the host that hogs the party).
And there we have it, all 39 entries. By the weekend we will have a far better view of how they will all fare, once everything has been presented and rehearsed on the big stage at Hyllie. Far from being the boring, low-quality contest many were predicting, I think that 2013 will shape up to be one of the best Eurovisions in many ways.