Cyprus

What can one say..... It will certainly get the blood flowing in the old ladies in Europe!! Ladies, and the odd man will be jumping around with excitement!! They do strip off thankfully. You see now, Bucks Fizz and their velcro have nothing on these lads. However, vocally it is somewhat strained but they do charge on to the stage.... but as for their dress sense... it looks like they got dressed in the Nicosia branch of Oxfam. Very brightly-coloured costumes with bits hanging off, which fall across the stage, and the straps that remain after they strip off do make it look like the lads have broken a rib. It wont be the chest muscles of Europe that these lads will be straining on Saturday.

UK

This gets better and better, as Maian Anne Karmas said to me, not bad for 10am in the morning! The Pop Idol tour has done her for the world of good. She is very confident and a very assured performance. The doubts about the draw and the backing singers mix being too loud fade away as Jess starts to warm a very cold hall. Even the detractors should be careful about this one. She walks on to the stage, looking sulky but she cheers up later on. No problem with any high or long notes, which she hits perfectly every time. The vocal range is perfect and you know, she just might on this evidence. I'm not saying mortgage the house, just mortgage the dog kennel as life insurance.

Austria

Everything we have come to expect from the Austrian song. A total babe running around the stage flouting his “talents”. The song itself seems to have been beefed up somewhat with a decent backing track and he urges us to clap with him towards the end of the song. It has potential to do well, but I get the feeling that it will be swallowed up by the end of the song. Manuel’s voice is very strong but it might not be good enough.

Greece

What can one say that has not already been said? Dressed in leather, they goose-step their way around the stage, while stomping their feet acting like members of the Greek national guard. This gets painfully worse every time I hear it.

Croatia

Vesna really tries so hard to do her sex kitten impression, but. No. not really. She will be wearing a black little number which will no doubt get the blood flowing, but the song is, like so many others, weak. The performance that she gives is VERY strong and she stands at the front of the stage and pouts. Her props this year include a diamond-studded whip (evidently to smack the audience into submission and to threaten the televoters ). Vocally she is strong, but the song is intrinsically weak … though I reckon it will still do well. (Confused? I am).

Russia

How can an organsiation get it so badly wrong. ORT had a perfectly decent song ... but then forgot that the contest is a live event. The song still stands out as a decent song that Boyzone would have covered, but they seem to be shouting the words out a great deal. There is no mix or harmonies to the backing track and they seem to have followed the "how to dance" manual. They have not yet resorted to putting the cardboard feet and arrows on the floor, but its getting close. They have an appearance of 80's Rap acts in Baggy trousers.. though in the final they will be wearing white outfits, which doesn't help the performance along. I'm sure it will get better....

Estonia

Now she gets her chance. Having progressed from the backing singers, Salhene, the new Swedish darling of the contest has the host nation's hopes on her shoulders. I know there is not supposed to be any national broadcaster bias here, but ETV really do seem to have gone to town with the lights and the set staging, possibly better than any other song so far. She is only the second performer to utilise the front of the stage. As you would expect it is a very good performance from her, but there were some dodgy notes and the harmonies are not quite spot on as the CD version, but that is only to be expected as this is a live song. Having said that, she does have a certain something that makes it so ... well ... potentially irresistible to the voters. The more I look at her though the more she looks like Billie Piper crossed with Brittany Spears and, in one final hark back to 1999, she even ends with the same hair flick. Will ETV win? Perhaps ... but don't tell them.

Macedonia

Oh Dear..... Karolina stomped around the stage link another brooding Vesna but without the talent. From the run through that I saw, she did not seem to be trying very hard for the first half of the song, and then burst into some semblance of life towards the end. Cynics would say that she was holding herself back for the rehearsals to come, but I seriously think her heart is someplace else. She has a good voice.... but its too broody I think for the rest of Europe to pick the phone up and vote for.

Israel

Politicking aside, this is everything you would associate with an "normal" Israeli song. Strong ballad with "hands in the air" but this is anything other than a normal entry as we all know. Despite your political affiliation, when Sarit opens her mouth you HAVE to feel for her, for what it meant to her when she wrote it, and what it means now after what has gone on. This is still a very strong song and it has a something... call it heartstrings being tugged, call it me being soppy.. but with her singing, the candles on the background and the whole red hall.. it might not be a winner, and it might not get its share of the votes... but it damn well should.

Switzerland

The singer, Francois, is trying to be more French than Swiss. She is trying to give a typical "chanson" performance to the song, which frankly isn't coming off as yet. The Backing singers just stand and sway a bit and as has lost any appeal that the song had. She does, on the positive side, have a good voice and from our position hits all of the notes and answers any questions that the song poses of her vocal range, but their is no choreography, no movement as such (just the aforementioned swaying and a bit of hand gesturing) and just no overall rhythm to it. Is this song a successor to Gunvor? is the question that we are all wondering here. Dressed in an terrible spangly red skirt and what appears to be a see through liberty bodice from Marks and Spencer's, she looks bad and it will come across to the televoters as a song that is "decent, but not worth voting for" and that I am afraid is her downfall.

Sweden

Now I personally don’t get this song, but however there is a certain something that goes with this song. I think that it could be the soul/funk rhythms, it could be the semi good looking females, or it could be the infections beat. Infectious like a disease mind. It isn’t too bad and they do attack the song and they move quite well. However be warned, the Swedish have resurrected the Golden Boots, but this time, thigh height.. you have been warned!!