Eerily like the front runners for Labour's leadership, none of this year's contestants in the Eurovision Song Contest particularly grab me. Even the genius inclusion of Australia as a 60th anniversary one-off has not flattered my discerning, world-weary ear. There are still a few, however, that stand out from the mush for a variety of reasons. The first is Armenia's entry:
This year marks a century since the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, so what better way to commemorate the event and raise awareness by, erm, immortalising it Eurovision-style? It's a worthy track, how could it not be? But, I'm afraid to say it's a touch forgettable and without the trappings of the video, who would guess the titular shadow is that cast by one of the 20th century's most appalling atrocities?
Now, you can say what you like about Russia, but they do take Eurovision very seriously. Take this year's entry as a case study:
Production and melody-wise, Polina Gagarina's entry nails all the qualities one expects from a Eurovision entry, sans the campery that definitely is not the done thing in Putin's Russia. Polina is a well known star, having graduated from their equivalent of The X-Factor and has had hits in the Rodina and Ukraine. A lesson there for the mandarins in charge of our entries.
Next up is this peculiar offering from Serbia.
For two thirds of the song, you're talking dullsville Euroballad and then, suddenly, it goes all uptempo and a bit dancey. And then it collapses back into dirge again. Oh well.
So, who is my favourite to win? No prizes for guessing it isn't Britain, again. No, this ditty has had very little traction on YouTube but it does have the novelty value of a Conchita Wurst and a Lordi. It's also possibly the shortest Eurovision song ever, if it can be called that:
Not quite those Extreme Noise Terror scamps, but it should discombobulate and divide Eurovision audiences. Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät are an outfit made up of guys with learning difficulties and mental disabilities, and they're playing punk. Any sympathy gained from the former is immediately challenged by the (thankfully brief) racket of the latter. It's a bit like the bigots from last year. They wanted to fancy Conchita but the beard. The Finnish entry hasn't been heavily trailed outside of Eurovision geek circles, but provided it gets through this week's semis it could be a surprise hit on the night. Will it do the business?