This year’s Eurovision runners and riders: A Guide

SuRie, this year's Eurovision contestant. PHOTO: Eurovision.

SuRie, this year's Eurovision contestant. PHOTO: Eurovision. - Credit: Archant

Popbitch's Eurovision team give the lowdown on who to watch out for in this year's contest

The One For A Social Conscience – France

A he-she duo called Madame Monsieur, with a gentle pop hymn about a Nigerian child called Mercy, who was born on a migrant boat in the Mediterranean at the height of the refugee crisis. Surprisingly, one of the pre-contest favourites.

The One For Corbynistas – Italy

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An intense and angry peace song addressing the recent terrorist horrors across the continent, as well as our warmongering responses to them. And it's all in Italian so you can look smugly bilingual. If your music tastes weren't formed in a Stop The War demo, it's probably a good time for a toilet break.

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The One for #TimesUp – Israel

Currently the hot favourite. It'll be famous for its chicken noises above all else, but it's a clever composition, with the fabulous Netta utilising some new-tech, sassy lyrics about female empowerment and a big catchy chorus.

The One for the Nans - Norway

Alexander Rybak already won Eurovision back in 2009 with a record-breaking score so he knows exactly what buttons to push. That's How You Write A Song may sounds like a song off Sesame Street but it's slick, professional, and the lad himself is utterly charming.

The One That's Not Squeaky Clean - Czech Republic

There's no greater joy at Eurovision than a curious English-as-a-second-language lyric. Choose from 'plenty motherf***ers want to eat my spaghetti', 'the way she moves got me making a puddle' and 'bop wop a lu bop on his wood bamboo'. This is a fun 1990s throwback featuring a lot of on-stage acrobatics. Possibly too much, as singer Mikolas Josef ended up in a neck brace after the first rehearsal.

The One You Might Recognise - Finland

You may just remember Saara Aalto from The X Factor back in 2016, where she was runner up to Matt Terry. Here, she's representing her home country. Thanks, Saara. Thanks a bunch! Oh, and you will don't see her on the big night – because she's qualified through the semi-final. A triumph even greater than her X Factor result, eh?

The One For The Opera Buff - Estonia

Estonia is a big favourite of the Eurovision fan circuit but we're not absolutely certain it's going to cut the mustard with the true opera aficionado. When it boils down to it this entry is just an opera singer standing on a big plinth singing an average song in a weird dress that has projections on it. You'll probably find yourself wandering to the fridge for a cold drink around two minutes in.

The One For The Water Cooler - Moldova

Making the top 3 last year with the feel-good Hey Mama, Moldova have decided to double down and bring twice the fun. It's the biggest riot of the whole shebang. They condense an entire Ray Cooney farce into three minutes, with costume changes, magic tricks , comedy delight and a big Saturday night klezmer classic.

The One For The Dads - Cyprus

As well as being the first song in ESC history to involve the word 'pelican' in the lyric sheet, Elena fully channels Beyonce, with a side dollop of pure Eurocheese, thankfully. It's got all the hair flicks, crotch thrusts and pop licks you could ever wish for, and sounds like it could be in the charts right now.

The One for the Bieber Fans - Sweden

The epitome of slick Swedish pop production, the boy Benjamin is the cousin of one of Swedish House Mafia and the son of Sweden's Kris Jenner (and a reality star himself) He dances smoothly on a massive underlit stage prop making it look he's in a pop video. It sounds like a Spotify hit not a Eurovision entry and you might like it... if you can get over the wince-inducing nods to camera he likes to do.

The One For The Pedants - Australia

Yes, Australia. We could explain why they're in it, but it's complicated. So rather than explain the ins and outs of membership of the EBU and the plans for Australia to host a spin-off Asiavision, let's just go with it, eh? This is a big anthemic song which demands flag-waving extras marching to the front of the stage but instead gets Jessica Mauboy (a big star at home) Dad-dancing alone in a bad dress.

The One For The Cold Warriors - Russia

Banned last year on account of the Ukrainian/Crimean boycott, wheelchair-using singer Julia is back. And is it worth the wait? Erm... they've plonked her on top of a giant mountain-shaped prop. Very Spinal Tap.

The One For The Patriots - UK

Our girl SuRie has been backing singer for Belgium in the last two years, so knows how to perform a Eurovision song to within an inch of its life. So you never know, we might just get a respectable result this year. Although the bookmakers have UK as favourite for last place.

Eurovision will be on BBC1 on Saturday at 8pm

MORE: Michael Fabricant: Brexit should mean we leave EurovisionMORE: Why don't we win Eurovision any more?

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