Moran Mazor was born and grew up in Holon a suburb next to Tel Aviv. 40 years ago my parents migrated to Israel from Georgia. At the age of four I started learning classical piano and continued until the age of 18. At the age of 17 I was accepted to the military band of the Air Force even though I really wanted to study Pharmacology as a reservist. After a full year at the military service I went for auditions for the first season of the program "Eyal Golan is calling you" a reality TV show where I won first place.
Now my first album is coming out which I am very proud of. The last months were very exciting for me! For me to take part in this amazing ESC is a dream come true. I am proud to represent Israel and I'm sure I will bring honor to my country, family and friends.
She's a distinctive looking woman, is our Ms Mazor. Clearly she isn't particularly body conscious, as via the video Moran dons an outfit that presents her surfeit of curves in all it's debatable glory. She must have used 3 big lads and a wheelbarrow to get her in that lycra. As for the song "Rak Bishvilo" is your comforting guttural ballard, leading to the inevitable rousing finale. She seems to be referring to culottes quite a bit in the song, which maybe apppropriate fashion advice. At least it would stop her from looking like an secretarial article in a 1970's porn mag. Always a borderline qualifier, she fell outside of the border.
Marco was born on Christmas Day in Ronciglione (Viterbo, Italy) 1988. He becomes interested in music from an early age: “Soon I found out that music was not as easy as I thought, I had a lot to learn…breathing techniques, facial exercises, musical scales, vocalizations of every kind to improve my voice.” After seven years of musical formation which includes not only singing but also working as a sound technician, Marco wins the third series of X Factor in 2009. Only months later he participates in the 60th edition of Sanremo and finishes third. In November 2010 he wins the “Best Italian Act” Award at the MTV European Music Awards. Earlier this year Marco wins the 63rd Sanremo Music Festival with his song L'Essenziale.
Male grooming at the forefront here, with Marco spending a good wedge of time of the video staring lovingly at himself in the mirror, or looking thoughfully into the middle distance. "L'essenziale" sees a rare appearance of a piano this year, and expect much forehead emoting on the stool.
It's solid enough, and you're pretty much guaranteed a certain level of quality from Italy (largely due to the San Remo), however it doesn't stand out enough I feel for a real top show come Saturday. Mid-table.
PeR which stands for Please explain the Rhythm is a Latvian beatbox and vocal band formed by two singers and beatboxers from Latvia (Edmunds and Ralph). These two musicians have already participated in the Latvian finals of 2009, 2010 & 2012. 2011 was successful for PeR not only in Lithuania, their single Go Get Up peaked no. 2 in Denmark’s Top 100. In 2012 PeR released their self-titled debut album which was nominated as the ‘Album of the Year’ in Latvia. In the semi-finals of the Latvian selection this year, Ralph had a 38 degrees temperature. However most of the people didn’t even notice that he was feeling sick. “That’s the magic about music – on stage, no matter what has happened to you, you become a complete different person. You just have to hide all your problems, because nobody cares."

PeR are, it appears, the PJ and Duncan (& another) of the Latvian music scene. They have seemingly bottomless amounts of energy and cheeky chappie banter, which could be viewed as wearisome. The song, "Here We Go" has an acceptable enough refrain and a certain quality to it, but in the hands of Edmunds and Ralph any latent sophistication disappears with the spangly jackets and 80's instrumentation. Also expect fairly woeful attempts at audience participation, and a semi final exit. Psych!

Andrius Pojavis (29) will represent Lithuania in the 2013 ESC. Born in Jurbarkas, Lithuania, in 1983 he started singing at the age of five and never stopped since! His first band at school was called “No Hero”. After moving to Vilnius he played with some other bands. With one of them, The Hetero, won EuroRock 2006. He started his career as a songwriter in Ireland where he lived for one year. Astuoni (Eight) is the title of his debut album. As the title suggests, the album has eight tracks and is a good representation of the artist style. Now Andrius is living on the bridge between Italy and Lithuania. His first single Traukiniai (Trains) arrived in a good position in the Lithuanian Top 20. His next plans include to do a tour around Lithuania while he keeps on writing new songs for the next album.
The choice of Andrius Pojavis raised some eyebrows amongst the damp fans, as many thought it was in with a chance, whilst the ones who weren't deluded saw "Something" for what it is, namely a tuneless barrage of sub-par music. It is clear that Andrius goes for the dressed down look both in terms of clothing and indeed hair control. His forehead never stops moving during the performance which allows those eyebrows to hop around like a hamster on a wheel. I was always in the minority, by feeling that this was one of the most horrific of the year, and indeed I was prved incorrect as it made it through.
Gianluca, the young lad from Malta, is a medical doctor by profession, and also one of 7 siblings, who are all talented musicians. Although fully committed to what he describes as his vocational calling, music has always served as a good break for the singing doctor. He is mostly inspired by Michael Bubé’s brassy standards, John Mayer’s modern blues, the nu-folk style of Mumford & Sons and Noah & the Whale, whilst also being deeply captivated by Chris Tomlin’s Christian music. Gianluca is a regular singer with his prayer group and has also spent time doing voluntary work among children in Turin, Cairo and Palermo, with the sisters of Mother Theresa. It is indeed an honour for Gianluca to be putting his rigorous routine on hold for a while... definitely an opportunity not worth leaving till Tomorrow!
Battling with the Swiss for the "aah that's nice" award comes Maltese GP Gianluca Bezzina with "Tomorrow" a quaint ditty from arguably the Eurosong masters of innocent old fashioned melody. With the ingredients of slight vocals, a ukelele, and your standard charming little love song idea, only a hard hearted b#astard would turn against this one. Sure it's repetitive and fairly generic, but I'm a man who appreciates rigorous routine so I'll be put-out if such an amiable effort fails to make the Final with ease.
Aliona Moon is a rising star in the Moldovan music scene. She has already participated in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest as a backing musician of Pasha Parfeny. Now the two artists have changed places, and Aliona will be the lead vocalist of the touching ballad O Mie.
Aliona Munteanu was born on the 25th of May 1989 in Chisinau. Ethnical Moldavian songs and lullabys sung by her mother cultivated Aliona’s love for music. Since her childhood Aliona was a member of lots of artistic collectives, where she performed both music and dances at different contests in Hungary, Belarus, France, Romania, Bulgaria and of course in her motherland Moldova. Aliona’s talent and luck earned her the honour and right to represent Moldova in Malmö this year. Her song O Mie was written by Pasha Parfeny.
Lady Campanula Tottington was last seen doing the right thing for her rabbit infestation. Now she has since had a complete make-over, changed her name to Aliona Moon, and has been debasing orchards with coloured powder and hiring dresses from Linda Wagermakers. This is your customary Eastern ballard, which happens to be written by last year's entrant Pasha Parfeny (likely to be seen on the piano), which has excited many damp fans. I see this as getting through OK, but can't see enough to differentiate it from stronger similar numbers. Anyone who gives it douze points is, in my book, a giant vegetable.
Who See or Who See Klapa, is a Montenegrin hip-hop duo from the Bay of Kotor. The group members are 32 year old Dedduh (Dejan Dedovic), from Kotor, and 29 year old Noyz (Mario Djordjevic), from Herceg Novi. The group was created in early 2000s. In 2007, group released their debut album, „Sviranje kupcu“. This hip-hop duo is known for their humor and funny videos, and they are making history as the first band from Montenegro ever to be nominated for a MTV EMA!
Otherwise, Dedduh is married and works as a salesman in a toy store while Noyz has his own studio. Nina Zizic started with musical career in 2003. At 2006 she has participated in Montenegro's choice for ESC with the song Potraži me.
Yowser! Hip hop/dub step comes to the Eurosong. The most lively entry of the year comes from Who See & Nina Zizic with "Igranka", a knockabout bit of nonsense with a frankly lewd video of ladies in various states of undress (including an undone underwired bra, no less). Super. Montenegro is building a reputation of...shock horror... sending songs that truly represent the music of their locality. Performance wise, expect astronaut & steam shenanigins. Qualification was always debatable, and all my praying for the required elevated performance failed to give the song the success it deserved.
There are singers, and then there is Anouk. Anouk is one of a kind. Her singing is so much more than just singing. Her voice comes up from her toes like a force of nature, and immediately grabs you like a musical lump in the throat. This tough lady, who always pursues her own course, has had a hold on The Netherlands for over fifteen years.
In 1997 Anouk Teeuwe stormed the Dutch musical world with her single Nobody’s Wife. Holland massively fell for Anouk's powerful, clear voice, and the expression with which she poured out her heart and soul. Over the years she has received many awards, including an impressive nine Edisons. In 2001 she won the Pop Award, a prestigious Dutch annual music award, and both in 2005 and in 2006 she won an MTV EMA for Best Dutch Act.
Anouk Teeuwe is one of the larger names in the contest, a bit of a local wild child, a bit of a bender it appears that has lasted over a decade. So it is a bit of a coup for the put-upon Dutch who have failed to make a Final since 2004. At odds with her reputation, "Birds" is the lowest key of all songs, a bitter sweet melody which will need a bang-on preformance. So it is good news that the Dutch have what appears to be the best singer. "Birds" has the ingredients for top 3, the only worry is the litany of choreography/fashion disasters that follow the nation. It's my song of the year though so I hope for a suitably muted show.
Norwegian singer/songwriter Margaret Berger - feeds us her heart, soul and individuality.
Margaret embodies all the essential ingredients for a worldwide super star, one with the real possibility of a colorful career in front of her. With classic beauty, songs, the elusive “x-factor”, and an indescribable aura in the mix, this artist is being likened to her Nordic female counterparts like Björk and The Knife. Of course, this Trondheim born “overnight sensation” has been a work in progress ever since she was 5 years old. In 2004, at the young age of 18, she was voted runners-up in Norway Idol and released her debut album. Berger was creating a popular “brand”, through fashion projects, DJ-ing and being an unmistakable presence and name in the Norwegian underground electro scene.
I still can't quite make my mind up on this one. Upon first listening (which is often the best gauge of chances) I thought top 3. Upon repeated listens it grew dull very quickly. Now, after completing my predictions I think it's back with a shout. Gravity-curved Margaret Berger belts out her gobbledigook having been sewn into a highly restrictive dress. There is energy in the track although it doesn't really go very far. I can't really pick up the phone for it as I can't touch to feel. And a tip for the delegation...the B&W bit in the video doesn't work here, and has never worked in the ESC. Drop it.
Cezar is considered as one of the most talented contratenors of his generation, due to his ambitious and special vocal techniques. Cezar’s unmistakable sound led his fans add The Voice to his name. His repertoire is very large, starting with vocal-symphonic music and up to a great variety of opera roles. Born in 1980 la Ploiesti, in a family of musicians, Cezar Ouatu started studying piano when he was six. In 1998 he started studying canto and baroque music and soon became well-known due to his voice, natural legerity and less common vocal limits. For 2013, Cezar has already planned two international duets, with Andrea Bocelli and Angela Gherorghiu, as well as a single written Vangelis. Presently, Cezar works at his first pop-opera album The Voice, dedicated to love.
I sometimes find it difficult to express the words. Which is something the Cezar "The Voice" certainly doesn't have an issue with. I'm going off hazed memory with this one, as following first play I promised myself that I wouldn't put myself through listening to "It's My Life" until 10pm on the 16th. Sometimes life is too short.
Arguably more value by being processed into dog food, Cezar is a counter-tenor who shrills, warbles and afflicts maximum damage during an interminable 3 minutes of popera monstrosity. Can you tell I don't like it? Can you also tell its probably going to sail through?