Eurovision 2011 Preview – Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Greece

It’s Sunday and it’s time for another triple preview of this year’s Eurovision participants, one which rounds up our look at the first semi-final. So I’ll also be looking at who some of the bookies’ favourites are to progress to the final on 14 May (bearing in mind that bookies’ odds tend not to bear much relation to outcomes in the world of Eurovision). First up are Lithuania. They had an ignominous debut in 1994, when Ovidijus Vysniauskas went home with nary a point to his name, and frankly they haven’t done much better since, their solitary Top 10 finish coming in 2006. This year they’ve gone for Evelina Sasenko with C’est Ma Vie, a big ballad in a very big dress, which feels like it’s just lacking the big finish needed to make it a contender:

Next are Azerbaijan, who are looking to make it four Top 10 finishes out of four. Last year they were widely tipped to win (mainly due to an aggressively promoted entry that had some heavyweight songwriting and production people behind it), but in the end only finished 5th. This year they’ve got a very winsome, very earnest pair in the shape of Ell and Nikki, performing Running Scared. Which those with a phobia of auto-tune may be after they’ve listened to this:

Last today, and last to perform in the first-semi final on 10 May, are Greece. They’ll be looking to extend their run of Top 10 finishes to eight. Hoping to keep up the run of form are Loucas Yiorkas featuring Stereo Mike with Watch My Dance. Loucas is very pleasant to look at (and has a quiff to die for). Not sure about Mike and his dodgy rapping though:

So there you have it. Over the last eight days you’ve seen all nineteen acts who are going to be performing in the first Eurovision semi-final on 10 May. According to the latest betting odds, the big favourites to make it through the final are Azerbaijan, Hungary, Norway, Russia and Turkey. Armenia, Finland, Georgia, Greece and Serbia are also fancied. Portugal and San Marino, meanwhile, are the rank outsiders. This is the semi-final in which the United Kingdom get to vote, so our preferences will play a part. Personally I’m not sure who will get through – there are no stand-outs for me in this semi-final, so we’ll see what the remaining entries bring.

To finish off today’s blog it’s the classic corner, and one of Greece’s best entries. Securing 5th place back in 1992, here’s Kleopatra with Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida:

Stirring stuff. So tomorrow our preview of this year’s contest moves into the second semi-final. And we’ll be back in the Balkans before welcoming back a country who swore they were done with Eurovision for good four years ago…

Chris x

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