Valentina Monetta was born on March 1st, 1975 in the Republic of San Marino. She is the second of two children, her father is from Calabria and her mother is Sammarinese.
Although she has not dealt with an academic background, she had studied piano and singing by herself, reaching the same professional quality. She loves the stage, having contact with the public, she creates a fact in the 'here and now' of the scene; in that way she feels to be an active part of a unique artistic process, in which she assumes the risk of transmitting something real and concrete, becoming a free artist, and a free woman. So Valentina and her producer Ralph Siegelv will go to ESC for a third time in a row. After long consideration both musicians agreed to take part one more time hopefully going to the final.
Mr Siegel and Ms Monetta return for the third (and likely final) time with a touch of the Brooke Bond. It's more Dalton than Connery, but it does seem to be a bit 80's 007, with added gums. The only two gimmicks on show are a cloth seashell effect backdrop which underwhelms, and Valentina's seeming inability to stand still even when she's in heels on a plinth. The song is ok, the singing is decent, the result probablee won't be. Do I wish the landlocked nation well? Maaybee. Do I think they should look elsewhere next year? Maaybee. Will I be popping off for a comfort break during this one. Most probablee.
Tinkara Kovac is a musician, singer, professional flautist and lyricist.
Together with numerous and diverse music bands, Tinkara had played more than 800 gigs in Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Italy. For her, her most prominent international collaborations on stage or in the studio were those with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Carlos Nuñez, Dan Lavery, Massimo Bubola, Bungaro and Paul Millns.
In January 2013 and under her own record label NAI, Tinkara released a special project with lullabies and musical bed-time stories in dialects of Slovenian and Croatian Istria, Friuli Venezia Gulia and the Slovenian Coast and Karst Region.
Tinkara plays the flute, which is nice. She's got that slightly harsh look of a lady who's had to struggle along every step of the way, playing her flute sometimes against her wishes in sub-standard flautist performance spaces. The other issue (as is usual with the Slovenes) is the staging; a deep blue that doesn't do any justice to some otherwise solid ethno pop claptrap. Ms Kovac herself is clearly able and she deserves a qualification spot regardless of the song. Having only made it to the final twice in 10 attempts (since the introduction of the Semis), this nation needs to build a stronger business case. Tinkara may help.
The day Ruth was born she screamed so loudly during the birth that the doctors said she would be a singer. They were right. At the early age of two Ruth was singing along to the songs from Annie. In 2008 she decided to try out auditioning for The X Factor. “I had to come to England to try and achieve my dreams”. When she arrived at the auditions in Manchester she almost went back home, but Ruth is a fighter, and finished fifth (Prince’s Purple Rain was instant Internet sensation with over 100 million YouTube hits). She was publicly supported by the likes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp & the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Ruth wrote this song during one of her darkest moments in London: "I learned to accept adversity and just take it as a challenge to continue to fight in what you believe".
The Rain! I disliked this on first listen but have since found 5-10 seconds I quite enjoy purely to prepare myself just in case it wins. You see this is one of those dreary one note ballards which may inflict untold damage to the ESC by winning the thing. It's cheap operatic theatre cheese that allows a perfectly decent singer to repeatedly shout a nonsensical phrase at us for 3 mins. The rain, the rain! Apparently a UK X Factor finalist, Ruth may well be remembered on these shores, and perhaps even acclaimed wider afield if her power singing hit the right notes. Wildcard factor is high.

Sanna Nielsen, 29, broke through as an artist at the early age of 11 and is today one of Sweden's most famous pop artists. One of Sanna's biggest dreams - to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest - has now been fulfilled! Despite finishing runner up at the Melodifestivalen in 2008, the song Empty Room was a massive success and Sanna held the first place on the Swedish charts 24 weeks in a row.
Sanna's career as a singer and performer began back in 1992 when she starred in her first talent show. It was followed by several more which in turn led to TV appearances and the #1 hit Till en fågel. She is still the youngest artist ever to hold a #1 position on the charts.

Future yummy mummy Sanna (a mere 29 right now) emotes like she's been trying for years to get to the ESC. Which of course she has (7 in fact). It's pure ballard; simple,strong, hardly startling, and may be enough for the big prize.
There has been a bit of stick for the empty headed lyrics, particularly the line"Undo my sad", which to be fair is hardly Shakespeare.
Don't expect Ms Neilsen to have a single hair, a note, nor a layer of mascara out of place. Which considering the multitude of spotlights in play is all the best. Vying for the top spot.

The 28-year-old, whose real name is Sebastiano Paù-Lessi, lives in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. On stage at a Swiss event, Sebalter thanked the audience by raising his fiddle to the sky. During his teens, Sebalter felt the need to expand his horizons: he picked up a guitar and tried his hand at writing songs.
However, when the then 18-year-old Sebalter had his first career break, it was again thanks to his faithful fiddle. Sebalter's versatile and energetic playing propelled him on a 10-year musical ride as co-frontman of a well-known country-folk band. In 2012 - after four albums, more than three hundred live performances, and playing in front of crowds of more than 10,000 people - Sebalter felt his teenage songwriting itch coming back with a vengeance.
Sebalter is a perky lad from the Swiss cantons. He whistles strongly, plays the violin, bangs a drum, and drivels lyrics all in a state of hypomania. He was always going to struggle as an Italian singing 300 English words a minute, and it doesn't help that the lyrics are unfathomable balls, and his accent is beyond help. Contained within the car crash of a song are gems such as "I fear your judgment, I'm so wet, I'm dirty". Quite. So all in all another likely failure for the Swiss but at least they've thrown the kitchen sink at it this time around. And the promo video is nice enough. And did I mention he whistles.

Children Of The Universe blends strings and harmonies over a pounding drum beat while the lyrics promote the universal message of love and unity. Molly grew up in Leicestershire, a small county in the heart of England. In 2008 she scored her first UK top ten hit with Raindrops, a collaboration with superstar DJ Sash! In 2014 the BBC's Eurovision team discovered Molly through BBC Introducing, an initiative designed for unsigned acts who would like to get their original tracks heard on BBC Radio. Molly took the job of creating a song for the ESC very seriously and says the song "needed to be a big concept. It can't just be a nice song, it's got to be a little bit anthemic. So I came up with six or seven ideas in the space of 48 hours and this one just stood out."

Shiny faced Molly is such a welcome change of direction for the Beeb, a youngster who can write a song & sing & stay up after 11pm. She's come up with an anthemic pop based ditty which starts low (the worry point) and builds to promote her high-note singing ability. The usual dire backing singers the UK suffer from seem to have stayed home, and rumour has Molly is even starting to emote and look into the camera. Henna hands may be desicive turn-off tho. Accompanied by good old dry-ice stage design and bags of climatic fireworks in the "Running Scared" style, I am hopeful, borderline giddy. Everything crossed.

This year Ukraine is going to overwhelm Europe with one of the strongest and beautiful voices - Mariya Yaremchuk. The music of Tick-Tock has been composed by Mariya herself. She is also one of the co-writers of the lyrics. Mariya and her choreographer’s team are working hard on the stage performance to make it soulful and simple. Mariya Yaremchuk was born on March 2nd, 1993 in Chernivtsi into a musicians’ family. Her father, Nazariy Yaremchuk, is a true Ukrainian legend,who died when Maria was only two years old. In 2012 Mariya Yaremchuk participated in the Ukrainian version of The Voice, where she reached the fourth place. Her style and femininity idol is Monica Bellucci. In the music world, Mariya gives the nod to Madonna’s energy and Maroon 5 leader Adam Levine’s voice and sexuality.
The phrase polishing a turd is annually discredited by the Ukrainians in ESC. You'd think they'd have more important matters to occupy their time right now, but designing a human hamster wheel has clearly been a priority. As for the song it starts quietly, which as it turns out would've beeen preferable for the entirety of the song. The chorus goes "Can you hear me go tick-tock, my heart is like a clock, steady like a rock". You get the picture. Partial redemption is in the shape of Mariya herself, a gamine lively fawn, extemely proud of both her voice and arse. Sympathy vote and top ten virtually guaranteed.