Evelina (who has a deep rooted passion for French music) has the look of a denture wearing extra out of the Baltic version of The Colbys (or the Ballby's if you will)... Sasenko's hair tumbles lavishly into her ample cleavage bringing to mind a 1980's astronauts wife at the KKK deaf ball. Or that may be just me. Not much room to move in the not so trim figure-hugging dress for our singer, accompanied as she is by a Lloyd Webber-like grand piano as well as a utter shambles of a ballard. My, it goes nowhere slowly. If you're thinking of missing out on only one song during the comp, my advice would be take a quick "dis oui" here. Dire.


Mr Vella will be following in Finland in Semi 1 with the archetypal chalk then cheese. The cheese comes from Glen with a wildly horrific pop act that never fails to slow or annoy. Giving Jedward a run for their money in crap stakes, at least our Maltese entrant is a perky sunglasses wearing loon. You almost start to forget that he's as damp as a Maltese sponge as his inane gurning starts to fit into the music rather well. Seemingly a nice enough chap, you just wouldn't want to be stuck with him in the kitchen at a party. An almost definite non-qualifier (once again) for the Maltese. Hey-ho.

You may recall the first Moldovan entry in 2005, a rouseabout affair including a gurning gran in national dress pelting a big drum. The fellows accompanying the gran were Zdob si Zdub and they are back in 2011 to have another bum crack at it. The song "So Lucky" is notable for large pointed hats, loud amateurish noise, and a fairy unicyclist with a horn. Screaming fun so much you'll get a headache from the excitement of it all, many feel this is qualifying material. I must disagree since it's nowhere near their debut in terms of quality, and I shy away from squelching horn as a general rule.

I think this may be Terry's favourite. Three piece Dutch band 3JS are vocalising the usual lengthening of vowels and shortening of words to a MOR pop number. Taking styling tips from Laurence L Bowen, our singer is turning up in a flock white wallpaper suit (a '06 contest staple), and has an unfortunate kick step thing whilst walking. All in all it's an unprepossesing number and I'm a fan, however unfashionable. It reminds me of Norway '04 a song I really rated at the time which then finished dead last. What with a tough draw in Thursday's semi, I will have to have everything crossed. I wish the Dutch well. Veel geluk!

Now here's was a contender. I thought this was a definite finalist, even with a dreaded no.2 semi starting slot. But with the collapse of the Germanic live sound systems plucky 24 year old Stella was doomed. She was performing an Afrobeat type effort in Swahili and English...for Norway. Once Ms Mwangi has been lowered into her gold lame shorts, she's let loose to repeat the same line ad infinitum, performing a typically catchy Norway dance routine and a basic ditty with aplomb. It wasn't the best song. I didn't wish it particularly well in the final, but not for 1 minute did I expect it to be bummed by a German sound engineer before it got there.

A relative old 'un in the form of 31 year old Magdalena Tul, but she carries her experience in an interesting fashion. Opening the whole shebang on Tuesday, Ms Tul will be donning an ill-fitting Playboy suit with added ball bearings. I had positive vibes for this song until 1. I saw her in the metal nappy, and 2. I heard her do the 20 second climatic scream during rehearsal.
Now I think she will struggle to even make it to the final, especially as she's followed by African beat in the draw. A shame as the Poles are overdue success.

I'm thinking a bit of background may be appropriate here. Homes da Luta (Fighting Men) are a Portugzueesy joke act set up to mimic the country's protest songs of the 1970's (hence the get-up). And in that regard they are highly successful. The band represent an intellectual, fisherman, firefighter, peasant, cattle herder, nurse, solider, and an unemployed person. The last one of the bunch should well set for post Eurosong blues. To be fair they've been gettting right into the spirit of things in Dusseldorf, but frankly when the act comprises of shouting and placard waving, I'd rather watch a Unsion strike on BBC News.


British link! The singer for Romania this year is from Darlington. He travelled the Carpathians before meeting Hotel FM's lead bloke in a bar. And now the Tees lad is flanked by gangster's molls (who are carrying this year's obligatory toy horn), whilst the supposed brains of the outfit sits at a white piano pretending to play the same chord. The song is a mere trifle, more suited to a Christian childrens radio station than the world's greatest (bar none) musical extravanganza. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just not for me. A superior promo video notwithstanding, this is slap bang in the middle of the table.

An internal selection by the Great Russian Bear (tm) , Mr Alex Vorobjov (also known by his brand name of Alex Sparrow in his international careeer...) has a pop song written by the "world-famous composer RedOne who composed songs for e.g. Lady Gaga, Nicole Scherzinger and Jennifer Lopez". And whoa whoa it's a pop song alright. Undubitably slickly presented (including unecessary extra LED screens), but in equal measure a low-rent overly smug archetypal Russian Euro-boy, bestriding the stage looking slightly empty-headed (a la Bilan). It will of course thrive in the voting, but doesn't deserve to.

Aah, the plucky underdogs. All fans must have a soft spot for the Sammarinese this year. 31 year old Senhit Zadik Zadik was born in Italy of Eritrean parents and is perfoming for San Marino. After all the noise lights and hubbub, it's rather refreshing to have a subtle power ballard by the name of "Stand by", a simple tune which is performed quite strongly. She'll to watch that hair though, or else a Baileche moment may occur. Unfortunately as few people in Europe know where the country is, I can't see this going through to Saturday. But the 30k inhabitants will have a say in the final result, which is nice for them.

Pocket rocket 21 year old Nina (Danica Radojicic) will sing "Magical" for Serbia, a nation I have a slight problem with (Eurosong strong, otherwise dubious). The idea here is 60's chic. Bright mini skirts, leggings, and 5-point cuts abound, so if you crave Sandie Shaw then this is for you. It's also recommended if you're into psychotropic drug taking, as the backdrop is like Jamie & His Magic Torch but without the end to the helter skelter. It's a jolly affair and I like it. I'm hoping for a final qualification and a high finish as I optimistically put some wages down early doors. Less confident now, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Yes, another pair of twins. 24 year old Daniela and Veronika add borderline dirt to the proceedings. Their participation was very last minute as Slovakia didn't want to pay the fine for late withdrawal from the contest. And being brutal it shows through. Svelte though they are, it takes a mighty fine pair to distract from what is a woeful song. Relatively covering up in ball gowns, the laydeys have a stab at massacring an indifferent tune called "I'm still alive". As drab a double act as Horne and Corden. A highly unlikely qualifier.