Hungary

Up next in our first semi-final is Hungary! Since it’s debut in 1994, Hungary has not done fairly well. It received 4th place in 1994, but since then it was not until they received 5th place that Hungary did decently. Last year Hungary sent the amazing András to sing the song Running which was about domestic abuse.

Continuing their success from last year with a song about ending violence this year they’re sending Boggie to sing Wars for Nothing. Boggie has been singing since 2013 and became very popular when she sang the song Nouveau Parfum in a music video in which she was actively photoshopped. The message of the song was that humans are not the products and that others will not change who we are. Through this fame, Boggie is hoping her new song about Wars for no purpose will garner a lot of support.

The song itself is really great. The music video itself doesn’t do it proper justice. I think when it goes on stage she will do wonderfully. I don’t think she will win as usually songs about peace don’t usually don’t do very well, but I think it will go very far. Especially with the international press already behind Boggie, this song will do fairly well. Although Boggie’s voice is not as strong as András’ voice was, I think she will still do fairly well.

Click here to view Boggie’s participant profile on Eurovision.tv

Portugal

Up next we talk about Portugal! Unfortunately, Portugal has a record of being one of the worst countries in Eurovision history. Although it has appeared 47 times in the competition their best result was 6th place in 1996. Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, Portugal has only qualified for the finals 3 times (2008 – 2010).

This year they’re sending Leonor Andrade singing Há um mar que nos separa in hopes of getting into the top 5 for the first time in Portugese history. Leonor only recently started singing in 2014 when she participated in Portugal’s version of The Voice and made it to the semifinals. Let’s see what her song sounds like.

Unfortunately I’m not to big of a fan of this song. It doesn’t seem to have any energy to it and is easily escapable. Although Leonor’s voice is fairly good, I don’t think it is strong enough to win the competition this year although it might be strong enough to bring it out of the finals. We’ll see how it goes.

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

Moldova

Moldova is next in our line-up for the 1st semi-finals. Although Moldova has been in the competition since 2005 they have only gotten top 10 twice; 10th place in 2007 and 6th place in 2005. Although the country usually qualifies, it seems to have difficulty getting over the hurdle of that 10th place spot. In fact, last year they had their worse year yet receiving last place in the semi-finals.

This year they’re sending Eduard Romanyuta to sing I want your love in hopes to get a better ranking. Although Eduard is Ukrainian by birth, but since Ukraine is not participating in this year’s competition, Eduard is trying his luck with Moldova. This is not his first attempt though as he attempted to represent Ukraine in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Eurovision Song contest’s getting 7th, 5th and 3rd place respectively in each of the competitions of his home country. This year he’s hoping Moldova will bring him to victory.

This song is pretty epic. I think this might be one of the better songs this year. Although the music video is not that great the song is a classic hit which will drive audiences mad. It’s very likely that he’ll get a high turnout from the audience as the song is fun and nice to dance to. Although it’s stereotypical pop that gets played on the radio, those songs have traditionally done very well in Eurovision. Although he likely won’t win with the song, it will give Moldova a boost in their record for best performance at Eurovision.

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

San Marino

Up next is San Marino! Each year San Marino does a little bit better than the year before. Since their return in 2011 each year they have increased their placement by at least one place each year. For three years running Valentina Monetta had been the representative and each time she did even better than the previous year. Finally, last year was San Marino’s first time in the Eurovision final. Although it didn’t help them much as they still ended up getting 24th place and only 14 points.

This year San Marino is changing things up and is sending Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola to sing Chain of LIghts. Anita herself is used to Eurovision having performed with the group Peppermints in the Junior Eurovision song contest in 2014. Although she’s only 16 years of age she is no stranger to publicity. Her partner, Michele, is also no stranger to publicity having performed in the 2013 Junior Eurovision Song contest. He is also 16 years of age which gives this duo the title of youngest duet in Eurovision this year. Let’s see what song they’ll be singing for us.

This song is not the best for this year’s Eurovision. The pair are both too young and you can tell by their voices. Their voices haven’t yet grown to be strong and powerful, and the song itself seems to have been written for their vocal ranges (which don’t seem to stretch very far). This lapse in judgement has caused a song that doesn’t grab the audience and makes you question why you’re even listening in the first place. Unfortunately I think this will be the first year San Marino slides in the rankings, and will likely not qualify for the finals again.

Click here to view Anita and Michele’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Romania

Up next in the first semi-final is Romania! As most people know Romania is usually one of my favourite Eurovision entries. Since their first song I saw, Liubi liubi I love you, I fell in love with this country. And they have never disappointed. In 2010 they received 3rd place with their phenomenal song Playing with Fire as performed by Paula Seling and Ovi. Although 3rd place is the closest they have ever gotten to winning the competition, they have always made it through the semi-finals and have done reasonably well usually in the finals.

This year they’re sending Voltaj who will be singing De la capăt (All Over Again). Voltaj has a very strong history having over 20 albums and having a varying degree of members. Voltaj won Best Romanian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2005 and so they’re hoping to get some success at this year’s Eurovision. Let’s see what Voltaj has in store for us this year.

 The song is a nicely made song. It conforms to the rock background that seems to be slightly more popular in Eurovision nowadays. With a background electric beat to it, it is also easily suited for remixing and being able to be played in the clubs which will give the band some publicity. This song should go fairly far as is usually done with Romania in the competition. Although I don’t think it’ll win the competition, it will have a good run.

Click here to see Voltaj’s participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Slovenia

Up next in the second semi-finals is Slovenia! Slovenia unfortunately doesn’t have the best reputation in Eurovision. The best result it has ever gotten was 7th place, back in 2001. In fact two years ago they got last place, in the semi-final! Although, continually getting bad scores has not stopped Slovenia yet. They are back at Eurovision for their 21st attempt at winning the competition!

This year they are sending Maraaya who will be singing Here for you in hopes of winning the song contest. Maraaya is relatively new only coming around into the music scene last year. Therefore she hasn’t released any albums, but here one released song Lovin’ Me was successful in many countries in Europe. The composer for this year’s song is Raay who also composed last year’s song and also wrote the 2014 Junior Eurovision entry for Slovenia. Let’s see what they have in store.

This year’s song is actually fairly good! Maraaya has a fairly nice voice. Although it’s a traditional song that you might normally hear from any artist on the radio, it is still pleasent to listen to. Her voice is very professional and is something that can very easily make a club hit. Some parts of the song don’t work very well, but all in all it’s a fairly good song. I think it has a good chance of getting past the semi-finals, but we’ll see how well it does in the finals.

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

Russia

This year Russia is in the first semi-final! Russia has had a historically good Eurovision run. Although they have wone only once in 2008, they have been top 3 six times in its 18 year history at Eurovision. Most have stated that political voting has helped Russia get to the top 3 spots more times than they deserve, but their previous singers have been fairly good and very exciting to watch, especially my all time favourite of Buranovskiye Babushki singing Party for Everbody in 2012.

This year they’re sending Polina Gagarina to sing A Million Voices in the hopes of bringing the competition back to Russia. Polina is not only a singer, but also an actress, model, and songwriter although she did not help write this year’s song. Her voice though is fairly recognized in Russia. She was the winner of Star Factory in 2003 and has also released 2 studio albums. Let’s see what her song sounds like.

The song itself is an amazing song and her vocals are phenomenal. The only major problem I saw with the video was that it was very… white. I wish there was a little more colour and diversity in her video and it would have been great to see non-stereotypical couples, although considering Russia’s ban on anything socially progressive, she might not have had a choice in the matter. The song was nice to listen to in the music video, but we will see how it turns out on stage. It seems like her vocals were helped slightly in order to hit some of the more powerful notes, so we’ll see what her voice sounds like live.

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

Sweden

Up next in our look at the second semi-final is Sweden! Sweden has had one of the best histories in Eurovision history. Not only have they won Eurovision 5 times, but their previous winners have gone to know amazing worldwide success, most notably Abba in 1974 and Loreen in 2012. So it’s no wonder that competition in Sweden’s annual selection show Melodifestivalen has fierce competition. Last year Sanna was chosen after 7 previous attempts at representing Sweden. This year’s performer tried 3 times before finally before being selected.

This year Sweden is sending Måns Zelmerlöw to sing Heroes and it’s got a nice vibe to it. Måns has had a veried career. As mentioned before he tried to represent Sweden in Eurovision 2 times previously, in 2007 and 2009. He came in 5th place in Sweden’s version of Idol, and has hosted Melodifestivalen 2 times. Måns made the biggest headlines though when he made homophobic comments in March 2014 when he called homosexuality a “deviation”. From looking at how the conversation occured (http://www.expressen.se/noje/mans-forsokt-att-fa-den-delen-bortklippt/) it easy to see that Måns knew that he had made a mistake. It seems more that he made bad comments due to ignorance rather than an actual phobia. Since then he has apologized for his mistakes and the community seems to have accepted his apology.

Without any more controversy, let’s look at his song.

As we see the song is a very well made song. On first hearing the song it doesn’t necessarily stick well, but after hearing it a couple times, it sticks in your ear and turns out to be a really nice song. The only problem with the song is that it might not work as well on a stage. It works very nicely in the music video as he can mess with his voice to get certain sounds that normally would be impossible (such as a slight echo and voice overs), but all of that will change on the stage. The song itself is really good, and it will be exciting to see how it works out on stage.

Click here to visit Måns’ participant profile at Eurovision.tv

Serbia

We welcome back Serbia in this year’s 1st semi-final! After not being around last year they are coming back strongly with an attempt at winning the competition as they did in their debut year of 2007. And this year they’re sending a talent similar to Marija Šerifović. Serbia has had a turbulent history in Eurovision history. Failing to qualify twice and receiving top 10 three times in it’s 7 year history at Eurovision.

This year they’re sending Bojana Stamenov who will sing Beauty Never Lies in an attempt to win over the Eurovision audience and it looks like it’s going to be a massive hit. The lyrics replicate the strength of being able to accept who you are as an individual. It talks directly to the Eurovision audience and you can tell Bojana speaks directly to her audience by having her music video not be about her, but instead be about the audience. You can see the video here:

As you can see the song is strongly about appreciating one’s own individuality and how each person is beautiful in their own way. I believe that if Bojana can give a performance similar to Conchita then she will blow the audience away and she will be the sure fire winner this year. Let’s hope she wins in order to send a message to the world that everyone is beautiful in their own way.

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

Switzerland

Next up in our survey of the second semi-final is Switzerland! Having not won since 1988 Switzerland seems to always like to have weird songs. Do you remember Vampires are alive? But last year Switzerland seems to have actually tried to win the competition by sending Sebalter. They ended up getting 13th place, but they’re hoping this year they’ll do better.

This year they’re sending Mélanie René who will be singing Time to Shine. Singing since she was 7 she doesn’t have much background in the music industry. Being of Mauritian origin she is hoping to bring back the glory to Switzerland. Let’s see the song itself.

 First off, this music video. Ridiculous. Mélanie seems to be having an amazing time, but I’m confused as the what the whole nature scene is supposed to depict. Are we going back to Mauritania? The song itself is also not that great. It doesn’t draw the audience in at all and just makes you wondering what you just heard. It seems more like something an amateur would create as a fun pet project than an actual Eurovision entry. Unfortunately I don’t think this song will make it past the semi-finals this year round. Sorry Switzerland, maybe next year.

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