Estonia

Up next in the first semi-final is Estonia! Estonia has a fairly varied Eurovision history. Starting out strong from 1996 through 2002 they were consistently making top 10. Then in 2003, with the introduction of the semi-finals system, Estonia stopped doing so well, only qualifying for the finals four times out of the last eleven years.

Hoping to revive their streak this year is Elina Born and Stig Rästa singing Goodbye to Yesterday, a mid-tempo song with a jazzy background. Elina has been singing for a few years and was runner up in Estonia’s version of superstar. Stig on the other hand has had even less public experience. Although he has been in three bands (Slobodan River, Traffic, and Outloudz) his singing career has never seen a take off. On the other hand, Stig’s writing abilities have seen great success producing some of the biggest hits seen in Estonia in recent years. In fact, Stig himself composed this Eurovision entry. These two together are hoping Eurovision will be their debut to the future. Let’s hear their song.

The song itself for me is just ok. Although it seems to be a massive success in Estonia (garnering a record 79% of the vote in the Estonian Song Contest) I don’t know how well it will do in the Eurovision song contest. The music video itself leaves much to be desired. I think this song has potential, but it’s definitely going to depend on how it’s sung and peformed at the contest. If it’s anything like Playing with Fire from Romania back in 2010, then it has good potential. (Romania got 3rd place in 2010). We’ll see how this performance goes and we wish the best for Estonia.

Click here to view Elina and Stig’s participant profile on Eurovision.tv

Lithuania

Lithuania is the next one on our list of countries! Lituania has been in Eurovision since 1994, but has only  made top 10 once and that was in 2006 where they got 6th place. In fact, last year they barely didn’t get into the finals.

This year they are sending Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila to sing This time. Monika herself has been singing since 2007 and has tried to represent Lithuania every year since 2010.  Vaidas on the other hand has been singing since 2005 and finished 3rd in the music reality show Dangus. Together they sing a love song called This time.

This song is a nice song, and Vaidas absolutely destroys it. I have no idea why Monika was selected as I feel her voice completely brings down the whole song. She can’t hit all the notes and sings some of them off key. It’s no wonder she didn’t get selected to represent Lithuania since 2010. The song itself was really nice and I think it might go far if Monika’s voice doesn’t destroy the whole song on stage. Until then I’ll be dreaming about Vaidas’ voice.

Click here to view Monika and Vaidas’ participant profile at Eurovision.tv

F.Y.R. Macedonia

Up next is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia! Macedonia unfortunately has not done very well since it joined in 1998. The best it ever did was 12th place in 2006.  In fact since 2008 Macedonia has only qualified once to the finals.

This year they’re sending Daniel Kajmakoski to sing Autumn leaves in hopes of getting to the ellusive top 10. Daniel has been singing for quite a while and even was a finalist on K Factor Adria.  Although he has never had an album, he has had a few singles which hopefully have given him the experience to help Macedonia into the top 10 this year. Let’s see what song they have for us.

First off, the music video is so cute! I want to vote for this song just for the music video. Daniel’s voice is very nice and draws you in nicely and is very soft and soothing. The song itself is also a very nice song. It’s about losing your love and trying to get over it. I think this song is really good and has a very good chance of at least stopping Macedonia’s inability to get into the finals. I don’t know if it will be good enough to get top 10 in the finals itself, but it will be a good run.

Click here to view Daniel’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Malta

Malta is our participant in the second semi-final! Although Malta has never won the competition they have come very close in 2002 and 2005 by getting second place. Although they don’t normally do very well in the final, they do usually at least get past the semi-finals which is good.

This year they are sending Amber who will be singing Warrior. Amber has been singing since 2010 and this will not be her first time at Eurovision. She was a background singer for Mala in 2012. She also has also attempted to represent Malta every year since 2011 and finally has the chance to show us what she’s made of. Let’s see what she’s bringing to the table.

Although, we’ve already seen one song about being a warrior, this song has a totally different approach on the topic. Amber goes for a more pop approach and less empowering approach. The violin in the background is amazing and the artistry in the music itself is really nice, but her voice doesn’t really do much for the song. I wish it was someone with a strong voice, but alas she’s the one who was chosen. The song will likely do fairly well, but we’ll have to wait and see until the actual competition to see how this song fairs against the rest.

Click here to view Amber’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Finland

Next up is Finland! Finland has a record of usually sending a unique group to Eurovision. In fact, that helped them win in 2006 with the heavy metal group Lordi. But that weirdness does have a cost having them get last place 9 times and getting nul points 3 times. Since its win in 2006, Finland hasn’t done much better. It was just last year that their group got 11th place.

This year Finland is sending Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät to sing Aina mun pitää. This punk group, usually known as PKN, was formed in 2009 through a charity workshop for adults with developmental disabilities. Not only that, but they are the first punk group to be in Eurovision. Let’s see what this group has to offer.

To be honest the song isn’t really my cup of tea and the music video is slightly disturbing. I think if the group can get across their message then they’ll do fairly well, but that might be fairly difficult. The song itself is about always having to do things, such as waking up, eating, working, and not getting to enjoy other things such as alcohol. We’ll see how well this song does, but I don’t believe it will go very far this year, and might not even qualify for the finals.

Click here to view Pertti’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Montenegro

Next up is Montenegro! Since joining in 2007 Montenegro has not had much luck. They were only last year able to get out of the semi-finals for the first time and placed 19th place. Each year they get better and better and they’re hoping this year they will continue their upward trend.

With these hopes they’re sending Knez to sing Adio.  Knez has a strong history singing having sung since 1992 and working under 3 different record labels. He also has released 8 different albums which have been fairly popular in Montenegro. Let’s see what his song for us sounds like.

Knez’s voice is very well constructed and draws you in. You can tell he’s been doing this for a while and has a strong history of knowing how to move an audience. Although the song itself has some abrupt changes in tempo (likely due to the 3 minute time limit) it is still a well rounded song and might help bring Montenegro back into the finals again this year.

Click here to view Knez’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Georgia

Next up is Georgia! Since their joining of Eurovision they unfortunately not done very well. They peaked at 9th place in 2010 and 2011 and haven’t done much better since then. In fact, their song last year received last place in their semi-final which was against my prediction of them barely making it in to the finals.

This year they are sending Nina Sublatti to sing Warrior in hopes of getting higher up in the rankings. Nina has been singing since 2008 and won the Georgian version of Idol in 2013 and her voice shows it. She has a very strong voice and even produced an album last year. Let’s see what her voice sounds like in her music video.

As we can see the song is a typical Eurovision beat. This is the first time that Georgia has gone the more stereotypical Euro-pop beat. And I think that this will help Georgia get one of it’s best runnings. They might even beat their 9th place peak. The song itself is about a woman warrior which will go well with the audience and her good looks will help bring the rest of the audience in as well. I think the song itself has a good chance of going far. Let’s see what happens this year.

Click here to view Nina’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Norway

Norway is next in our tour of Europe for this year’s Eurovision. Norway has had mixed results and is probably one of the countries with the most volatile Eurovision history. They have won 3 times, but they have gotten last place 11 times (4 of which they got nul points) which is the most of any other country (on both negative remarks). But even with their last place finishes, Alexander Rybak remains one of the most successful Eurovision winners and still holds the record for most points won ever in the contest. Since their last place finish 3 years ago, Norway has done relatively good winning 8th last year and 4th the year before.

This year they are sending Møorland and Debrah Scarlett singing A monster like me in hopes of keeping up their record and hopefully winning again. Kjetil Møorland hasn’t done much, but has released just one album. He is a singer and songwriter in Norway. Debrah on the other hand has been singing for two years and competed on the Norweigian version of The Voice. Let’s see what this duo brings to the table

First off, Mørland’s voice in this song is just epic. If he can sing like that live then it will definitely bring the audience. And if the two of them can harmonize properly on stage then Norway has a good shot of being top ten again this year. The song itself has a very weird music video and it will be exciting to see what happens on the stage itself. I think the stage performance will either make or break this performance.

Click here to view Mørland and Debrah’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Greece

Next in our first semi-finals is Greece! Greece has recently done very well in Eurovision, usually getting top 10 and winning in 2005. In fact, they are one of the most successful countries in Eurovision in the 2000’s after only Russia. Since semi-finals have been introduced, they have never failed to qualify. Additionally since 2004 they have only twice not hit top 10 (2012 and 2014).

This year they’re sending Maria-Elena Kyriakou singing One last breath to hopefully reraise the Greek spirits on the downward spiral that seems to have been occuring. Maria is a fairly strong singer, winning the Greek version of the Voice last year. Not only that, but she also has an album getting ready for release. Let’s see what her song sounds like.

One last breath just doesn’t leave me breathless unfortunately. It’s a really good song, and Maria’s voice does the song justice, but it doesn’t seem to be as strong as some of the previous years. In fact, in my opinion, it’s not even as good as last year’s song. Unless there is some spectacle that happens on stage, I don’t see this song going very far. It will likely go into the finals as Greece normally does, but I don’t think it will go much further than that.

Click here to view Maria-Elena’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Poland

Next up is Poland! As was the case of Hungary, Poland hasn’t had much luck since it’s 2nd place debut in 1994. In fact, Poland has done worse than Hungary and has only made top 10 one other time. Additionally, since the introduction of semi-finals, Poland has only been in the finals twice.

This year Poland is sending Monika Zuszyńska singing In the name of love to hopefully break Poland’s not so lucky streak. Monika has been singing since 2000 and has a strong vocal history. She had 3 albums with her rock band Varius Manx and a solo album in 2012. Let’s hear the song and see whether it has a shot this year.

Unfortunately the song is not one of my favourites. Traditionally Monika sings rock, so it’s confusing why she woudl chose a pop song. Her voice works wonderfully with the piece, but it fails to draw the audience in and have them want to listen. I think this year Poland will have a difficult time getting out of the semi-finals again.

Click here to view Monika’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv