With just a week until the 2022 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest lands in Turin, we’ve already got plenty of questions. Will the UK get any points? Will anyone look as if they’re doing drugs on camera this year? How many costume changes will there be? How tipsy will Graham Norton get? What will be the most outlandish theme?
We could go on. But one thing is for certain: as always, the contestants look as if they’re going to be a rambunctious bunch, arriving armed with everything from I-have-never-felt-this-good pop songs to over-emotional ballads.
Some countries are assured of making it to the final — the so-called Big Five of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and, yes, us nul points specialists, the United Kingdom — while others will need to make it through the semis.
So for a little taste of what’s to come, we’ve picked out some highlights from the first round of entries.
Sam Ryder — United Kingdom
Oh, Sam. Poor, poor Sam. Does he not know that the UK is cursed (read: hated) in the Eurovision Song Contest, coming bottom in both 2021 and 2019 (2020 was, fortuitously for us, cancelled)? Maybe he does.
The musician, who is close to racking up 100 million likes on TikTok and has some pretty gargantuan numbers on the other socials, is going to sing his 2022 release SPACE MAN, which he co-wrote with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge and Max Wolfgang. It is a sort of boring, Oasis-style indie ballad. Sam, all we can say is: good luck.
Jérémie Makiese — Belgium
After winning The Voice Belgique in 2021, Makiese was announced as Belgium’s Eurovision candidate. He’ll sing Miss You, a Noughties-ish nostalgia ballad which heats up in its second half. This track is likely to divide people – it’s not the kind of Europop hit that has, over the years, got viewers going, but it’s a strong song.
Ronela Hajati — Albania
Yes, yes, yes! We love Sekret, Ronela Hajati’s Eurovision contribution, already a hit with nearly 1 million views. It’s fun and gets us dancing, even at our desks. Costumes are predicted to be great too – in the clip, she seems to be a Queen and then some sort of mystical, vengeful creature.
In Albania, Hajati is a big star, having been on tons of TV shows, Dancing With The Stars among them. She won Festivali i Këngës to gain a place at this year’s competition.
Achille Lauro — San Marino
Every year needs some rock representation and this year it is Achille Lauro. And judging by the success of Måneskin – the Italian rock band who won last year – it looks like he could go far.
Beginning his career as a rap artist, Achille Lauro has since switched genres. He’ll be singing Stripper. Look, it’s not fantastic, but it’s catchy.
Intelligent Music Project — Bulgaria
Any time there’s an adjective put next to something we feel a bit put off. Honest Suzy’s Car Shop? We might go somewhere else. Similarly, a band with “Intelligent” in its name? Very not sure.
But, maybe we should hold our reservations. The band have previously worked with artists including TOTO, Black Sabbath, Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins. They’ll be singing Intention, a rock song. Achille Lauro, watch out.
LPS — Slovenia
LPS (it stands for Last Pizza Slice, apparently) are five friends who met at school in 2018 but have already made a name for themselves, playing at competitions, festivals and concerts across Slovenia.
They’ll be playing Disko, a — you guessed it — disco track. Is it crazy or wild? No. But it’s lovely. You can’t help but dance and smile, and that alone will put them far ahead of the pack.
Subwoolfer — Norway
Uh oh, we may have a winner. This duo from Norway has everything going for them. From the fun, elegant, wolf-in-suit-with-moustache outfits, to the massively catchy tune, to the TikTok-ready dance moves, we would put money on Subwoolfer smashing it.
The duo, called Keith and Jim, will sing Give That Wolf A Banana and the lyrics are pretty great: “Before that wolf eats my Grandma, give that wolf a banana.”
The Rasmus — Finland
It’s likely that you’ll recognise The Rasmus for their 2003 hit In The Shadows. Now, they’re here to delight Eurovision audiences with Jezebel — yet another contender for this year’s rock crown. They’ll be performing with a new guitarist, Emppu Suhonen. Will it be the band’s second coming? Only time will tell.
Mia DimšiÄ — Croatia
Mia DimšiÄ is already a superstar in Croatia with six number ones, and at Eurovision, she’ll be singing Guilty Pleasures, which sounds a bit like a laid-back early-2000s pop track.
As with many of the artists this year she isn’t outlandish, but she’s super talented – she plays the guitar as well as sings – and her song is a bit of an earworm. If you enjoy the likes of Norah Jones, you’re bound to like Mia DimšiÄ.
Andromache — Cyprus
Andromache first rose to fame in 2015 when she competed in The Voice of Greece (you guessed it, Greece’s answer to The Voice), and we have to say: this Eurovision contribution could be a real contender. It’s a bouncy, massive pop tune. In fact, it’s not a million miles away from Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever — and if you’re sounding like the best song of 2001, that’s a good thing in our books.
We Are Domi — Czech Republic
The band We Are Domi met in Leeds, of all places, in 2018 at music college. Since then they returned to Prague and now bring us this banger, Lights Off. It has some early-Lady-Gaga-ish beats running through the song, and we know we’ll all be singing the hook long after their performance is finished.
The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on May 14 and will air on BBC One