Every few days between now and the Big Show, OnEurope's pundits continue to share ill-informed ideas about what's going to win the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. We're through to the second semi final now, and the music just won't stop. If you're new to this, the general consensus is that this heat is by far the weaker of the two - something few of us can dispute here at OnEurope Towers.
Feel free to insult and tell us how very wrong we are in the comments below each instalment.
Today, it's the first part of the second semi-final. We'll hear these songs on 11th May.
Serbia - Tijana Bogićević - In too deep
Mo - So many songs this year have great verses and really disappointing choruses. They build in interesting ways then deliver more or less the same shouty mess. Like its near neighbours, Serbia has decided to ditch the enthno-pop, and go for something mainstream. All that said, 'In too deep' is one of the better numbers this year. The instrumental break sort of saves it for me - though that can spell disaster on stage. I'm certain Tina (and hopefully the hoop) will be there on Saturday and she won't embarrass anyone.
Mo's score: 7 Points
Phil- I despise Ethnic shit, but thankfully Serbia have moved away from that and gone "generic disco" on us. Generic is often a bad thing in this particular contest, but at least this differentiates itself by being a good song. A good radio song at that, and it would get airplay from "proper" radio stations. It's a bit light on the old depth for me to mark it properly high, because it relies too much on the hook and title of the song. The chorus, though, gets into your head. Compared with some of the other dross in this heat, it should walk into the final. In the final too it will have enough difference from the field to make it stand out. Top 10 I'd expect.
Phil's score: 5 Points (because the hook annoys me)
Valentina - When I heard the teaser for this song, I remember thinking it was a bit light on the ethno-sound that I've come to love from Serbia, as indeed all recent entries from them have been. That being said, I definitely think this is one of this year's better offerings. It's a good contemporary entry and is sure to pull in points from around the continent. A winner? That may be ambitious, but I'm confident it'll walk into the final and do well on the night. I hope she brings the hoop from the video too!
Valentina's score: La Serbie - 7 Points (next year, please go back to the ethno!)
Austria - Nathan Trent - Running on air
Mo - I'm still mystified by how Zoe scored a single point last year, and to my ears this is an even weaker song. The lyric is terrible, he's as bland as unsalted butter and I'm almost sure that if you looked up unforgettable in the dictionary, someone would have meant to include a photo of Nathan Trent.
Mo's score: 0 Points
Phil - Mo's half right - it is instantly forgettable in a contest context. Nathan's not that objectionable and the song bounces along quite well but it's just not good enough to get many televotes. Mo's also completely wrong when it comes to Zoe; for the record, she was ace. This isn't.
Phil's score: 2 Points
Monty - Nathan Trent is another bright-eyed young thing bringing enthusiasm and charm to his Contest appearance. He sounds quite pleased with himself, as well he might, having been handed the biggest gig of his life. His song treads a familiar Eurovision theme of survival, triumph, achievement, and generally winning at life. To illustrate his success, he’s chosen to pretend he’s Julie Andrews singing with joyous abandon in the Austrian Alps, barely giving a moment’s thought as to how he’ll get back to the Abbey for vespers or where he’s left his wimple.
Monty's score: 6 Points
Valentina - I cringed when I saw the title of this song... I mean, seriously? As for the ditty itself, it has a kind of Ed Sheeran vibe to it and is pleasant enough, but yeah... pleasant doesn't win Eurovision. I enjoy it and should it do well in Kiev, can picture it getting a lot of radio play. Considering the semi it is in, I think qualifying might be a tall order this year...
Valentina's score: L'Austriche - 6 Points
[WITHDRAWN] Russia - Yuliya Samoylova - Flame is burning
Related news: Russia out of 2017 Eurovision
Mo - At the time of writing, bugger knows if it's taking part. I'm half expecting some manufactured hissy fit in Kiev if Yulia/Julia ever gets there and a bunch of angry Russians mincing home. This video seems to feature a ropy demo thrown together at the last minute. If you take it as that, it's not the worst song in the contest (San Marino anyone?). It's actually a very traditional Eurovision number, terribly old-fashioned, but I can remember the melody when the flame gets nubbed out. It sounds an awful lot like the sort of number you find buried in the middle of an underwhelming Agnetha Faltskog album. Were the song performed with any welly, we'd be saying the nasty Ukrainians should let her in, instead of suggesting the Russians were being a bit naughty by sending something so clearly half-arsed. I've heard Julia/Yulia sing better, she has got a decent voice. And she has plenty of time to learn how to pronounce the words so they resemble English instead of this lispy garble. With the right staging, work on production, it will end up in the top five ... and fandom will go into meltdown. Of both things, I've no doubt. But if everyone is right and this isn't a genuine entry, it will show. I suppose we'll see her next year if only to piss the Ukrainians off a bit more.
Mo's score: 6 Points
Phil - On the assumption that this song actually gets to Kiev (and it's a massive assumption!) it's rubbish! It's old-fashioned, trite, Disney-o-vision stuff that the broadcaster have allowed in, despite knowing everything Russian that's gone before it. Julia is clearly aiming at English by singing the syllables of the words, and I suspect she doesn't know what she's singing about ... unless it's been explained to her in Russian. It'll be dramatically staged (probably a bit like the video above) focusing on Julia, and tugging at the old heartstrings. It's the ear-holes that are going to be assaulted though. On the assumption that this gets to Kiev, it's out of the semi-final, but struggling in the final. It won't finish top five but, if we're honest, I'm fully expecting this not to be in Kiev.
Phil's score: If it gets to Kiev..... 3 Points
Valentina - I would love to congratulate whoever does the PR for Russia at Eurovision because this whole scenario has been engineered flawlessly and quite monstrously. The song is a paint-by-numbers Eurovision entry that doesn't show much imagination or conviction. I suspect more is being made about the singer's wheelchair and the sh!tstorm surrounding her participation than her talent, which is a real shame. I can't say for sure if it will get to Kyiv, but if it does, there will be anarchy in the arena if it qualifies ...
Valentina's score: La Russie - 4 Points
Macedonia - Jana Burčeska - Dance alone
Mo - It's like the Macedonians decided that sending entho-pop hasn't worked, so they'll have a stab at what everyone else is doing. And a bit like that line about a bunch of blind monkeys left with a typewriter eventually coming up with something good, they seem to have hit their target full on. If she can perform this live, and the staging is right, this will be in the final mix. And the video is a corker.
Mo's score: 10 Points
Phil - Finally, finally a song from Macedonia that isn't shit or half-arsed! They have put their big boy pants on, and written a song that the Swedes would be proud of, and boy is it good. Galloping out of the semi-final in one of the top few places. This has everything, including that instant hook that everyone seems to think a three-minute song needs. The video draws you in, and if there is a sniff of good choreography and lighting here that accentuates a good song (rather than stifling it) ... Macedonia top five, you say?
Phil's score: 12 Points
Valentina - What can I say other than wow wow WOW!! I've always loved Macedonian music and willed them to do better at Eurovision than they have. And while nothing has ever really worked for them, this time I think they've finally cracked it. A bit retro, a bit contemporary, danceable and feel good... it's something very different for them, but it works so well! Macedonia are going to achieve their best ever placing at Eurovision this year - you heard it here first!
Valentina's score: La Macédoine - 10 Points
Monty - This year Jana has ditched any pretence at bringing something typically Macedonian, but with it I think she brings their best ever chance. Singing a tale of secret, and unrequited, desire this is a breath of fresh air, a cracking pop song with instant widespread appeal. There’s a terrific video to match, with an older woman escaping into a dream world of not-to-be memory through virtual reality goggles, a brief but bittersweet respite from the lonely drudge of her pitiful existence. It would be terribly sad were it not for the defiant resilience of Jana’s lyrics.
Monty's score: 12 Points
Malta - Claudia Faniello - Breathlessly
Mo - I enjoyed the video much more than the song. Though really, don't text and drive, kids. It's wrong.
Mo's score: 0 Points
Phil - I was at the National Final in Malta when Kewkba took the place by storm. I half expected Claudia Yellowfanny to go ahead and come second. How silly did I look? My-turn-itis hit the Maltese with a passion. Claudia will emote the socks off this song. The thing is, she's not singing for the hometown votes now. She's lumbered with a ballad that wouldn't have been out of place in the Eirovision years of the mid 90's. The rhyming dictionary has had a good old dusting down, but the song takes too long to build. By the time it does, its three minutes are almost over, and that's the problem - it does nothing and doesn't inspire.
Phil's score: żewġ punti, 2 Points
Valentina - To echo Phil's sentiments about the Maltese final, I was never going to get behind any song that wasn't Kewkba. That beautiful Maltese aria was a potential winner. Breathlessly is lacklustre at best. Oh Malta, why is it you can storm Junior Eurovision, but Eurovision itself seems to be forever out of your grasp?
Valentina's score: Le Malte - 1 Point (I put 2 originally, then remembered Kewkba again...)
Monty - The clip is a good one, telling in reverse the story of her enacting an angry revenge on her man who’s been carousing with another woman. Here she plays demented brilliantly, but it’s in the interspersed cuts that she overcooks it, laying on the overblown emotion despite aiming for a subtler portrayal. The slightly too dramatic arm movements, smoky long-held gaze, and appearing on the cusp of an orgasm that never quite comes will be very off putting should she try it when the camera’s more trained on her on stage. Ultimately after all these years waiting in the wings it’s all a little disappointing song-wise that she’s finally won the big prize with this, but after being patient all these years I hope she fully embraces her moment in the spotlight and makes the most of it.
Monty's score: 6 Points