If you didn't already know, Paradise Oskar is to found in Astrid Lindgren's fairytales as an accordion playing vagabond. So where's the accordion? There's no accordion on show, and I like a good accordion. Instead there's just a guitar and Paradise (or maybe Mr Oskar) whispering a tune about a small boy who wants to save the planet by singing "da da dam". There is always a place for one twee saccharin song a year, and blimey this is it. In times of hardship people often find solace in smug non entities who find club singing fame, and so it's nice to find that Mr Oskar gets a final spot. Keep it local.

21 year old Mr Vassili's tonsils are his finest feature, and you'll get to know them well. His thick mane of hair is also both a blessing and a curse, in that like my pet labrador it makes him look cute to the damp fans but also means he has to sweat profusely from around the mouth. This is the dreaded operatic singer of the year, and is installed as the shit hot favourite for the competition. His singing is effective and highly impassioned if you like that type of thing, and there's a simple skyline night to day backdrop. But I just don't buy it. At the time of writing it's 2/1 to win, which normally means it's won already. I hope not though.

25 year old Vlatko is having a go at pulling in the Eastern big boy vote with a messy lite rock song about Russian women. The act involves random backing dancers in hoodies gyrating in front of a large backdrop of cuboid kebabs filled with letters. I know.
For a bloke who's big in his homeland, he wears a slightly ill at ease mein, which could quite easily transfer to the viewer. A hefty outsider and not one to worry your self about.


Eldrine are a six piece rock act of little renown outside of Tblisi. However when you have a CV like this, god only knows how..."Sophio Toroshelidze- the lead vocalist of Eldrine - studied at the Music College for Remarkable Students established under the umbrella of the State Conservatory of Tbilisi, where she continued her education at the Department of Polyphonic Singing and Conducting". I had to share that. To be fair this isn't by any means the worst, one of purer rock efforts enlivened by average white rap, green liquorice stuck to costumes, and much "pyro" all in front of a brick wall backdrop. Loud and proud.

Look out, nut alert! Lena Meyer Landrut, last year's winner has taken the unprecedented step of turning up again in 2011. So how was she going to top last year? Well, the German delegation sat down in a room and carefully thought it through. They considered the 35k auditorium along with the central stage with the many walkways...and came up with silver spandex skin suits. Genius! Considering it's a song about a guilt-free one night stand, I can't quite link 3 minutes of a silver figure gyrating on the world's largest LED screen. Still it has an impact. I can't really mark this one and it confuses me just to think about it. Mid-table

Earnest alert! Mr Yiorkas is unsurprisingly employing a pained expression whilst introduced by one "Stereo Mike". I initially thought this was the equipment that Loucas was singing into, however it is fact the worst rapper in the Med; an ill-fitting baseball cap wearing middle aged man by the name of Mike. The song consists of Mike doing a funny turn followed by Loucas belting out traditional Greek This is then repeated all to a backdrop of imposing Greek columns...plus the column in the baseball cap. Probably no massive cheer for the Greeks in their time of need, and a possible non-qualifier.

It appears Hungary are adept at taking a silk purse and making a sow's ear, and then serving it in stew. "What about my dreams" is musically the best song of the year, and whilst obviously not a tremendous accolade, it does count for something. However Magyars have a knack of turning potential thoroughbred into mongrel. Like Kate Garraway in a powder blue silk sheet, Ms Wolf will emote like her life depended on it. Watch out for the frankly embarrasing likeness to everyone's role model Whitney Houston's "I want to dance with somebody" in the middle. ..and the youths in random headwear. Could've won. Won't.

A fellow named Sigurjón Brink wrote this for the Icelandic selection, and then died in January. As a result the song was voted to the Eurosong by the Iceandic people in a volcanic landslide and six golf loving artists happily agreed to sing this in his memory. Now I'm not trying to come across as speaking ill of the deceased however his song reminds me of one of the really tame 1970's sitcoms...not one of the offensive ones like Love Thy Neighbour...more like Mind your Language. Anyway, I can't really see the voters 1. appreciating the befitting nature of the song, or 2. liking it. Still, they got some golf in.


Every teenage Irish twin act needs a Singing in the Rain Debbie Reynolds (Who do they think we are, dumb or something?). And thank b'jesus Mssrs John and Edward Grimes have the poor backing singer, who will have to cover at least half of the vocals on their song. "Lipstick" it's called, an unsurprisingly uptempo number, the speed of which unsuccessfully attempts to distract from the lack of vocal ability on show. Arms flail randomly, hopping is heavy, and notes are missed, and yet it's still more entertaining than Israel, Latvia, and FYROM put together. So much so, I now think this will qualify for the final with ease.

You often miss what you've lost, and it is therefore understandable that Ms International should be singing about her "Ding Dong". As the bell peals in the background Dayna will sway and totter on the spot whilst squelching out a disastrous pop lite effort (you'd think 13 years on she would at least be able to stand up in heels..maybe she lost balance when the whistles were sliced off...) I've always been baffled by her popularity in '98, and bar none she is the worst singer in the comp this year. Hopefully the world has become a wiser place since she crashed to the floor like a drunk Big Bird in '99. But I won't count on it.

Hairy 29 year old Raphael (waaahhhrrrr) Gualazzi is pianist and Italian jazz singer. Well really he's more of a lounge singer with the interpretation of jazz being loud wailing shouts unincumbered by any thought of social norms. He really is a one, is our Raphael. There are 3 mini songs in one here and you'd never guess Italy had been gone 14 years from the contest...as the performance belongs firmly in the last millenium. More horn on show, and all told a nice jazz-lite monstrosity. It's a good job they've qualified directly to the final as I would've feared for it's semi chances. Nice to see them back and hopefully to stay.

Gotta love those luscious thighs. Musiqq (apparently pronounced Mjusi...k) certainly like luscious thighs as their song repeatedly attests. The one with the particularly stupid glasses is still at school, so what he knows about luscious thighs is a moot point. Yet again Latvia are assailing us with a real dog of a track. "Kill me with killer kiss" is a another sample line from the lyrics that I would quiet happliy never hear again. And that's it really. Many damp fans liked this early on, however we all know by know they are deluded. This will crash and this will burn.