Just six songs left: the 'big 5' countries plus this year's host Sweden.
Where to begin? OK...let's start with yooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuu Sweden :)
SWEDEN: "You" - Robin Stjernberg.
Whilst I come to terms with realising that I'll never be able to pronounce Stjernberg properly, there is one thing I'm even more sure about - this is one of the best songs in this year's contest and in a year when so few songs/performers don't seem to make that crucial connection with the viewers/voters, Robin most certainly will. Let's just hope that they ditch the silly dancing behind him, which was so irritating in Melodifestivalen. The down side of being defending champion or big 5 country is that you only get one chance to perform your song, but I'm sure he's up to the challenge. This deserves to do very well indeed.
ITALY: "L'essenziale" - Marco Mengoni.
This year I tuned into the last night of Sanremo, all 57 hours of it, and this song won. I was rather annoyed when it was announced that RAI chose to send this rather than Antonio Maggio's "Mi Servirebbe Sapere" which is so instantly catchy and I believe it would have had a serious chance of winning. "L'essenziale" on the other hand required many more listens before it grew on me, which is not exactly a good recipe for a Eurovision winner. Unlike Robin, I can't see Marco immediately connecting with the viewers, as his performance is a little detached and stilted. There's better stuff on his new album. But on the plus side, it's a real grower, it's in the wonderful Italian language and there is no silly dancing!
GERMANY: "Glorious" - Cascada.
Shortly after winning that (rather good and diverse) German national final earlier this year, there was a bit of controversy for about 5 minutes with that "Euphoria"-plagiat scandal. Is "Glorious" a Euphoria ripoff? It's got a 'u' and an 'or' in it therefore it must be :D To me it just sounds like all those other Cascada songs which were very popular over here about 3 years ago, the kind of music which teenage chavs used to play on their phones when they’re sitting up the back of the bus. (And that’s not a generalisation/stereotype, that’s speaking from experience!) Is this a winner? Probably not as it's just a little too close to the style of last year's winner, and it may just be too obvious an attempt to win.
SPAIN: "Contigo Hasta El Final" - El Sueno de Morfeo.
Say what you like about the old Operacion Triunfo days, they certainly whipped up some excitement for the Spanish ESC songs and artists. (Although I will never understand why Vicente's "Se Me Va La Vida" wasn't chosen to represent Spain). Anyway in recent years Spain has become one of the least talked about and musically one of the least interesting ESC countries and this song hasn't really done much to change my view. Its folky influences are very mid 90s ESC. It's nice, but that's all I can say, and like many songs this year it is instantly forgettable.
FRANCE: "L'Enfer et Moi" - Amandine Bourgeois.
This, like the Spanish song, is one of the year's least talked about songs. It's very brooding and atmospheric and she has a good voice, however it doesn't have much of a hook. It is however one of those songs which, if they get the staging right with a dramatic performance could maybe pick up a few votes. Amandine is of course a former winner of "Nouvelle Star" and I live in hope that one day another winner of that competition will represent France - I refer to the wonderful Christophe Willem!
So, in the style of the old Eurovision Song Contest preview shows of the 70s and 80s, I will close with Royaume-Uni....
UNITED KINGDOM: "Believe In Me" - Bonnie Tyler.
Yes the Bonnie Tyler, with a song co-written by the Desmond Child who has written some massive hit songs over the years. But this is Eurovision and reputations don't count here! This is Bonnie in more laid-back mode, it's a very easy going song and it's not the worst I've heard. However it is most definitely not a representation of the music made in Britain any time during the last 20 to 30 years. It'll probably get more votes than poor Engelbert did last year but that's not saying much, I can't see big voting totals for this either. When is the BBC ever going to get Eurovision right????
Well, that's it for my Eurovision preview. As you can probably tell, I'm not blown away by too many of this year's songs, and some of them have needed a few listens to convince me. There are too many ballads which all seem to blend into each other, and too many mediocre and forgettable songs all in all. Dare I say it's lacking in fun this year? But to use a little football comparison, the club is always bigger than the players, and so it is with Eurovision. The Eurovision Song Contest is what really matters, and that's why we love it so much.
So, who's going to win it then? Well, Denmark's "Only Teardrops" seems to be this year's pre-determined winner. Maybe so, but although I was happy to see it winning DMGP, the song has considerably gone down in my estimations and it falls short of that special quality which "Fairytale", "Satellite" and "Euphoria". If this wins it'll have more of a "Running Scared"-type result.
I have this strange feeling that the 2013 contest could be 2001 or 2002 all over again, and a less fancied song could sneak a surprise win. Malta or Finland, anyone?
Otherwise, I'd be very happy with a back-to-back Swedish win - don't laugh, it's possible - or if it's a ballad then Iceland or the Netherlands would be my choice.
But I'm not making any predictions, because I never get it right!