"New Beginning" is not just the translated title of Birgit Õigemeel's Eurovision entry, it also describes the recent developments in her life very well. She is not only facing the challenge of performing in an international arena, she is also expecting her first child! She is without doubt one of the happiest people in the world right now. Her life is full of love and great expectations: the challenge of performing in an international arena, settling in to her new home in Tallinn, and looking forward to the birth of her first baby.
Birgit won the first ever series of Estonian Pop Idol in2007. A year later she set up the Tähelaps ('Starchild') charity with politician and good friend Margus Tsahkna in support of the education of children from orphanages.
Birgit is in the family way, but you'd never notice swathed as she is in furlongs of white fabric. As with most Estonian entries there isn't a whole lot to say about this. It's your typical ballard, sung in the national language, from your cute girl next door amateur that Estonia seems to be awash with.
There may be some use of the badly judged B&W effect near the start which although is a proven vote killer, is at least suited to this particular song. Taking all this into account along with the dreaded 2 slot in the semi, and I was pleasantly surprised to see her in the Final.
Krista Siegfrids came to prominence following her energetic performances at the tv-show The Voice of Finland. Subsequently, the multitalented Krista has taken Finland by a storm, winning the nation’s adoration with her catchy tunes, extravagant and stylish shows and her outspoken and sunny personality. This is a woman who DARES and DOES according to her own catch phrase MORE IS MORE!
Krista Siegfrids and her fabulous #TeamDingDong are representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the super catchy song Marry Me!
”The record is one big party! It’s energetic pop-rock with many party tunes. Different themes and strong tracks. Music that makes your feet and your mind move!”

Ding dong. The full on Finns have sent a barmy blonde with a desire to get hitched. And she's not a girl to choose better looking bridesmaids either. Our Krista, who is a Daily Star version of Pink (very pink!), is going all out to try and make you remember her. The video even has a undercurrent of lesbotic S&M, which is bold. The song is bonkers with incisive lyrics such as Skipping dinner to get thinner” and “I’m your slave and you’re my master”. It's trash, but enjoyable nonetheless, and actually improves on second listen. This is a strong bet for the Final but will then be swamped by low jury turnout and Scandi vote sharing.

Amandine Bourgeois’ voice has a story. One of a girl who fell in love with music at an early age, completely in phase with her family’s dominant passion. The child dreamt of a duet with Whitney Houston, took music theory lesson, then flute lessons at the Nice Conservatory. She later on integrated a pop band, before choosing the tough road of cover bands, with which she performed in all the bars of the Toulouse area. In 2008, Amandine wins “La Nouvelle Star” (French Pop Idol). The audience instantly fell under the spell of her warm and hoarse voice, both powerful and fragile at once. In 2009, her debut album 20m² is certified Gold. Amongst some of her most beautiful memories: a duet she performed with Scorpions, and opening for Johnny Hallyday’s concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.
Mildly amusing rude English word goes to Amandine with a couple of clear “w#nkers” thrown in towards the end. We all know that isn’t what she’s saying, but my puerile side never fails to chuckle. And it fits in with the general idea of the song, which is your furious "men are b#stards" idea, with an added bit of sauce "hands of silk and leather ties"…Amandine Bouregois is your archetypal chanteuse, all fiery passion and style over substance. She’s not going to leave any part of the song backstage, it’ll be all up there like it or not. I'll be shocked if it gets into le top ten.
Esma Redzepova Teodosievska was born on 8th August 1943 in Skopje. She started her education in a primary school "Goce Delchev", where she recognized for the first time that she was different from the others. Children ignored her because she was Gypsy and nobody liked to sit in the same desk with her. From the Red Cross she took a scarf, gloves and a pair of socks as a present. That made a little girl very happy, and she promised herself that one day if she would have something more than she needs she’ll help people who need help. In 1976 in India, in a city of Chandigarh, on the First Gypsy World Festival, she was crowned as the Queen of Gypsy. That certificate was given by Indira Gandhi. Vlatko Lozanoski - Lozano is a Macedonian singer from Kicevo.

Two different generations of singers here, but both cut from the same Eastern wailing cloth. At the forefront is Lozano who sounds like just about ever other Balkan young male singer I've ever heard in the ESC. So thank god for the amusement (all unintentional I fear) coming from the rear where the never welcome ululation and tongue twisting terror is provided by Esma, a Margarita Pracatan-alike who is just happy to be able to assail us all with her vocal gifts. This is the type and source of song which would be guaranteed to qualify in year's past, but the 50-50 rule may just see justice done and an early plane home.

Sophie Gelovani and Nodi Tatishvili are acclaimed artists in both pop and classical music, with a great success in many international festivals. Waterfall is the first duet they recorded together, and they will hope to add another success to their list in May!
Sophie Gelovani was born on March 21, 1984. She is a teacher in the Musical School named after Iakob Gogebashvili. Sophie’s first TV success was her victory in the talent show Morning Star in 1999.
Nodi Tatishvili was born on November 5, 1986. Nodi is a versatile singer, which is proved by the fact that he sang several main roles in musicals. In 2011, his debut album was released under the title I Am Georgian.
You can just about guarantee that the Wogan-slot of “two people standing a yard apart, shouting at each other” appears every year. This time it comes from Tblisi in the club singing shape of Nodi and Sophie, who are only in their 20's but doing the club rounds has clearly aged them prematurely. The song is so generic I could’ve written it. Titled “Waterfall” expect generous falling fireworks a la “Running Scared” , a wind machine on gale, and the mic volume is gradually tested to it's limit as it builds to its loud expansive damp finale. All said, I'll be amazed if this doesn't qualify and I have it as a shock semi winner.
Since the release of their first album almost ten years ago, CASCADA look back on world-wide successes like Everytime We Touch, Miracle, Evacuate The Dancefloor, San Francisco, Summer Of Love or The Rhythm Of The Night.
Front-singer Natalie Horler and her team of producers and writers Yann Peifer (Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (Manian) have topped charts in more than 20 countries with their irresistible dance-pop songs. Within 18 months, together they found international fame with their huge debut hit Everytime We Touch. A smash in the States before the band even toured there, the song quickly caught on across the globe, followed by a multi-platinum selling album of the same title.
Cascada are actually a group (I know) and not just the middle aged bossy bird in heels. She is attempting to extend her limited vocal range to a thumping Euro dance pastiche of “Euphoria”. Expect bad swaying in stilettos, lots of arm flailing, and strobe lighting. You’ll be unsurprised to learn that “Glorious” doesn’t live up to its title. It's like The Only Way is Essex attempting to be Made in Chelsea…they know it’s trash but still are trying to rise slightly above its station. It must be said though that trash is popular, so I fully expect a big push over the top into a top ten finish.
The group Koza Mostra has got together with the popular rebetiko singer Agathon Iakovidis to perform the song Alcohol Is Free.
Koza Mostra consists of Ilias Kozas- Lead singer, Agathon Iakovidis - Lead Singer, Christos Kalaitzopoulos – Accordion, Vassilis Nalbantis – Trumbet, Alex Archontis – Drums, Stelios Siomos - Guitar

I'm convinced they say “Japaneesy” at one point, but that neither shows in the lyrics, nor would be proper. The Greeks are here, so it's time to link those arms and extend those legs. The prominent gent in "Alcohol is free" is the rebetiko man with the mini bouzouki and a marvellous moustache. He adds folkie experience to the younger be-kilted Balkan ska band, Koza Mostra. Expect the lads to move around the stage, playing imaginary illuminated instruments, and generally getting people's feet mildly tapping. Stick on finalist and a likely push for the top five.

The success in the Hungarian national selection came totally out of the blue for ByeAlex. With his gentle song Kedvesem, he instantly conquered the hearts of the TV viewers, putting him in front of the biggest talent show stars in the final televote. Alex Márta, alias ByeAlex, is a 29 years old guy from a small town called Fényeslitke in the Eastern part of Hungary. In his everyday life he works as a journalist: he is editor at Tattoo Magazine and holds a masters degree in philosophy, which has always been an intriguing subject to him, next to this passion for music. There has never been a Hungarian Eurovision entry which caused such a stir. The supporters of Alex celebrated the values he and his song Kedvesem stand for. A pure and honest song about love, sung by a humble, intelligent, sensible man.
It’s called Kedvesem this one, which you’ll pick up on quite quickly. An young, mildly hairy, gentleman will be performing this minimalist nonsense with a guitarma on a bar stool and a disinterested mein. His name is "Bye Alex".
You get the feeling he’s not quite got over his adolescent travails, and although it’s all a bit navel gazing (if you can translate the lyrics) it’s still very passable all the same. The promo video was put together well which deserves merit, and the pleasant green coloured aspect means that more often than not (as indeed now) I am wishing Hungary well.
Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson was born on May 29th 1989 in Dalvík, a small fishing town of approximately 1,400 inhabitants in northern Iceland.
Music was clearly a major part of Eyþór Ingi’s childhood; he used to sing Elvis Presley songs while still in kindergarten. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, he won a part in the Icelandic version of the musical Oliver!, which turned out to be one of the most successful theatrical works ever staged in Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland. Eyþór Ingi was inspired to start singing by the music of Jeff Buckley and is also a big fan of David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Ian Gillan and Freddie Mercury. He has been a member of a Deep Purple tribute band and performed in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Show in Harpa Concert Hall in 2011-2012.
A downbeat Icelandic addition this year. Let us appreciate that Eyþór is one of about 100 people (and a couple of dogs with SAD) in his hometown, so all told he’s the most famous trawlerman in the region. “Egg on Leaf” in addition to being a nice salad, is also the name of this low rent folksie ballard, which is in one ear and out the other. The only distinct aspect is our fisherman’s hair, which hasn’t seen a pair of shears since the turn of the millennium. Although I beleived it was unlikely to get its quota of points and was a tiddler to throw back, it may actually turn out to be a whopping great carp.
Ryan Dolan is a young singer-songwriter from Strabane in Co. Tyrone. He has played support to many acts over the years including Tinchy Stryder, Jedward and many more. Dolan has been described as one of the most exciting homegrown musical talents to be discovered in Ireland in recent years. Dolan said, “I am thrilled to have been chosen to represent Ireland. I’d like to thank my family, friends and my mentor Stuart for all their support over the last few months.”
Dolan's Eurovision mentor is Spotlight Productions director Stuart O’Connor. O'Connor is the man behind all Jedward's live tours in the last three years. He devised the performance of Waterline at last year’s contest.

From a nation of tin whistles and bendy lower limbs comes the novel utilisation of Euro Dance, along with tight leather and semi-naked bodhran beaters. Ryan Dolan, is a fresh faced village boy who for some reason reminds me of John Travolta's fat nephew. They are going all out for the "gays with low expectations" vote, which is a risky strategy. "Only love survives" is a decent enough effort, which starts strongly and just about keeps the momentum going. Though this is one of the borderline songs, I lean towards a spot in the Final which when all said and done. Let us pray for a traditionally Catholic homo-erotic show.