Eurovision: Who is Jessica Mauboy's toughest competition?
Artist: Madame Monsieur / Song: Mercy
Duo Jean-Karl and Emilie, partners in both art and life, took to the mist-blanketed stage clad in black with pops of red (lipstick, trainers and guitar) to deliver Mercy, a classic yearning pop song with an uplifting chorus. The lyrics might be in French but the sentiment is universal and timely: about a refugee child born on a humanitarian boat on the open sea. A stripped back performance but a solid song: the sentimental vote will be strong with this one.
Artist: Eleni Foureira / Song: Fuego
“Take a dive into my eyes, the eyes of a lioness”: Eleni Foureira AKA “Beyonce of the Mediterranean” is a powerhouse pop star in Cyprus, releasing songs in both Greek and English, though this year’s Eurovision entry, Fuego, is named for the Spanish word for “fire”. In a sparkly, flame-inspired bodysuit, her long hair loose and wind-machine-blown, accompanied by pyrotechnics galore – naturally – Foureira belts out the token “dance banger” for this year’s competition. A bookies’ favourite.
Artist: Netta / Song: Toy
If you were worried that there wasn’t enough kooky in this year’s top contenders, worry no more: Israel has the oddball beat covered. A beatbox opening with a strong farmyard flavour gives way to what is essentially a revenge anthem, performed by 25-year-old Netta in front of two walls of maneki-neko, while dancers perform what is unmistakably a chicken dance. “I’m not your toy / you stupid boy” she sings, in a song reportedly inspired by the #MeToo movement. Bjork fans may disagree, but whether Netta can go the distance will largely depend on how much she can shake off the shadow of the Icelandic star, to whom she has been likened.
Artist: Benjamin Ingrosso / Song: Dance You Off
A lopsided smile, come-hither eyes, double-entendre lyrics: Sweden’s answer to Justin Bieber in wet-look vinyl delivers a slick, dancey, but not unforgettable pop song. It’s extremely well-produced and that always means points but how likely is it that the good people of the European Broadcasting Union will vote Sweden to win it for the third time in seven years?
Artist: SuRie / Song: Storm
The UK has delivered its strongest entry in years, making SuRie an outside chance for a surprise win. Platinum blonde, on stage in a white body-suit, wielding a genuinely lovely voice, SuRie’s contribution is solid inspo-pop to rival We Got Love. She’s probably Mauboy’s closest contender in terms of substance and style – not to mention it marks a welcome break from the UK’s recent run of sub-par entries.
Artist: Ryan O’Shaughnessy / Song: Together
A very late contender and something of a wildcard, less a consequence of the song itself and more a consequence of outcry over the Chinese Eurovision broadcaster, Mango TV, censoring the heart-felt acoustic ballad due to the dance number depicting a romantic relationship between two men. The European Broadcasting Union responded to the censorship by terminating its partnership with the broadcaster, saying it was “not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music”. Will the solidarity vote carry Ireland through to take out the final?
• The Eurovision final will be shown live in Australia on SBS on Sunday 13 May at 5am AEST, with an encore screening at 7.30pm