It’s Monday evening, the first day of another week is nearly done and dusted, and the first of this year’s Eurovision semi-finals is now barely more than a week away. This year’s previews, meanwhile, move on apace, and today we’ve got Croatia, Sweden and Georgia lined up for inspection. Starting with Croatia, who’ve missed the qualification boat in the last couple of years and will be hoping to put that right this year. Croatia decided to scrap their selection competition (fabulously called Dora) and go for an internal selection instead. Their representative is Nina Badrić (who herself has missed the boat when trying to get selected on a number of previous occasions), singing Nebo, or “Heaven”, from inside what appears to be a Dove advert. Complete with lots of gratuitously semi-naked men.
Random fact: Nina once did a TV job-swap with a zoo-keeper. That’s not a bad entry at all, but whether moving to an internal selection will improve things for Croatia as it did for the UK last year remains to be seen.
From a country that’s amongst this year’s rank outsiders, to the country that is currently this year’s hot favourite. Sweden of course are no strangers to success at Eurovision, although it’s now 13 years since Charlotte Nilsson (as she was then, and minus the ill-advised cosmetic enhancements) gave the Swedes their fourth Eurovision triumph with Take Me To Your Heaven. Last year it looked like Erik Saade’s glass-smashing efforts might come good, as Sweden led the voting for a while before being overtaken in the later stages and having to settle for third place. Hoping to take the lead and stay there to the end is Loreen with Euphoria, performed here using interpretative dance on a level not seen since the early days of Kate Bush.
It certainly has the sound of a potential Eurovision winner – start slowly, build up to a banging chorus and keep it up from there. She ends the performance being held aloft – whether she’ll end this contest holding the trophy aloft remains to be seen.
Last up today are Georgia. In the four Eurovisions they’ve competed in so far, the Georgians have been a model of consistency, qualifying each time and then finishing somewhere from 9th to 12th in the final. This year, they’ve sent Anri Jokhadze performing I’m a Joker. Anri, judging by this video, isn’t exactly a shrinking violet. In fact he makes John Barrowman look restrained. He also, one suspects, might be going all-out to make it clear to the world that he’s completely and utterly heterosexual.
Anri has apparently been doing showbiz since the age of 4 and is known as “The Georgian Golden Voice”. With hair colour to match. Completely OTT – if the stage performance is similarly excessive, and based on their previous results, this might make it through.
So, three very different entries, one of which could be this year’s winner. But there’s plenty more still to get through, and next time it’ll be the turn of Turkey, Estonia and Slovakia to get the preview treatment.