Get your flags out; it's Eurovision time again. Much like the Olympics, Eurovision is full of national pride, long periods of crap and a few brief moments of glory. Mostly involving Terry Wogan's one-liners.
No one knows why we still care about Eurvision, or have parties, or take such offence when we send shit songs and come last. But we do, and we enjoy the chance to mock our friends on the mainland a bit more than usual for one night. If possible, always include a drinking game.
As a nation we always send over crimes against music, and this year isn't much different. But what about the opposition? Ever on the hunt for the next Abba, here's a run down of the talent on show.
Apparently a 'a cult-figure of the Ex-Yugoslav music scene' and creator of 'Turbo-folk,' Rambo Amadeus looks like a hobo, rides a donkey and sounds awful. Imagine Jean Reno rapping over a funky beat, with some eastern strings playing in the background.
The impending doom of Greece's finances have clearly had an impact on the production values. The preview video is a live dub recorded in what looks like an abandoned shopping centre, the crowd is probably the rioters trying to loot it before they burn it down. With the inspired lyrics 'Ohohahohoh, You make me dance dance like a maniac, Ohohahohoh, You make me want your aphrodisiac,' Greece might be doing a Father Ted and trying their best not to win to save money.
Winners in 2002, Latvia aways enter with a sense of misplaced optimism. Essentially Anmary is singing about winning Eurovision and hanging out with Mick Jagger and Paul MacCartney. Standard pop with a catchy hook, the preview video has all the quality of a 70s local cinema advert.
Rona's so wild, she has dreadlocks. She's also a famous pop singer in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro and a devoted experimental jazz musician. In reality that all means she has a really arty video that makes no sense, but she has an impressive voice and the song lets her do all the hard work. Possible contender for actually winning points.
Apparently a 'a cult-figure of the Ex-Yugoslav music scene' and creator of 'Turbo-folk,' Rambo Amadeus looks like a hobo, rides a donkey and sounds awful.
Two wins in 50 attempts must be enough heartbreaking enough to make any Swiss put neutrality on hold. Despite the shit haircuts and lead singer's look of slight constipation throughout, Sinplus sound a bit like the Killers before they went all feather shoulder pads. Pretty decent.
After winning in 2006 with Lordi's classic 'Hard Rock Halleluja', Finland have decided not to win this year. Instead of sending Zombie Rock monsters, they've opted for Pernilla, a vanilla looking girl with a wind machine and cellist. Very very dull.
Three time winner Israel send Iazbo. The video is a Coulrophobiac's circus nightmare. A camp guitar-led mid-paced number that stands out for not sounding like every other Eurovision song ever. Pretty good and hopefully should do well.
My personal favourite. What starts out as a nice song about Facebook ends up being an ode to cyber sex. With lyrics like 'We used to greet friends on the street, But now it’s googling giggling gaggling,' they've essentially entered something to rival Rebecca Black's Friday in terms of quality. It's only the third time they've entered, and bookies have them dead last, but bound for Youtube Gold.
Previously a Greek X-Factor entree with a No.1 already to her name there, 'La La La Love' may have one of the most odious song names in the competition but its catchy synth beat mean it should rack up a solid points score.
Her bio says she was originally a busker, and for a second you think Denmark might've sent their equivalent of Seasick Steve, but with more teeth and hair. Sadly not, but 'Should've Known Better' is a good, soulful song that even comes with xylophone.
A group of folk-singing grannies all in their seventies who end up partying their arses off (as much as they can without breaking a hip), Russia might've struck gold with this idea. We've been treated to this kind of thing on Britain's Got Talent for a while, but those pesky Russians have taken it one step further.
Trackshiitaz represent their own genre; Tractor gangster party pop. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds it sounds awful, like two pissheads doing karaoke of a song they don't know the lyrics too. Somehow they've accumulated gold and platinum records, so you never know. You've got to wonder if they hid 'Shit' in the name on purpose.
Yes, Ireland's walking advertisement for sterilisation and infanticide return for the second year running. If last year's entry wasn't shit enough they've managed at least to equal it. Amazing they haven't been tried in the hague for crimes against humanity. Clearly Ireland are doing all they can not to win.
Despite the shit haircuts and lead singer's look of slight constipation throughout, Sinplus sound a bit like the Killers before they went all feather shoulder pads.
Remember how the Dutch have a really close bond with native Americans and Americana music? No, me neither. But in Joan Franka they think they've found a country star. Eurovision love dressup, and it's pretty catchy song
The bookies favourite by a mile. A poppy techno number with some questionable dancing, but the kind of song Eurovision loves. It's already been a big smash in the Swedish charts and neighbouring countries, which is always a boost for a songs chances.
If Sacha Baron Cohen was to enter Eurovision, it would sound something like this. A little bit opera, a little bit disco, and very camp. Lots of glitter and outfit changes. I wonder if all Georgians are like this?
Slovakia isn't exactly known for its metal, but fair play to them as they've actually entered a decent little rocker in Max. A chuggy verse with a chorus 30 Seconds To Mars would be proud of.
Turkey usually offer something a bit different, and this year they've entered a hip-hop gypsy sailor. It's as good as it sounds, and one of the few acts that isn't taking itself too seriously. One of the most memorable songs in the competition.
Who do you turn to when you want to succeed? An old crooner who hasn't been in the charts in forty years. 'Love Will Set You Free' was written by one of the people behind James Blunt's 'You're Beautiful' and sounds like a song from a Disney film, but big names do well. Andrew Lloyd Webber managed a top five finish in 2009 and bookies have the 76 year old Humperdinck vying for the top spot. Best hope all of Europe's undersexed octogenarians come out and vote on the night.
The Italians, whether they realise it or not, have sent what looks and sounds like an Amy Whinehouse tribute act. Lucky for them, she sounds just as good as our version and the song is a real quality soul/motown number, with many predicting her to win.
Another winner of some TV talent show, Roman sounds a lot like the script, or the wanted, or any of those other bands that try their hardest to bore the pants off you.
Follow Dan Swinhoe on Twitter: @DanSwinhoe
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