As we get closer to the top 10, we come to a country that has only 4 previous appearances at Eurovision, and is yet to make the final – Czech Republic. Or Czechia as it may soon be known as! The Czech Republic had a woeful time in their first three years, twice coming rock bottom in the semi-final. They then sat Eurovision out for a while, before returning last year with the wonderful Marta and super hunky Václav. They didn’t qualify (a travesty) but did secure their best result ever so the Czechs have returned with arguably their best song and singer to date – and it’s one of my favourites this year!

Gabriela Gunčíková is perhaps not the most obvious choice to sing a ballad given that she comes from a rock background, but it works and boy she can sing! Until a few days ago, there had been no live performances of the song so I wasn’t sure what the live vocal would be like but she attended the Maltese Eurovision party and published the performance on YoTube account and you can see it further down this page. The video quality isn’t the best but you can hear the quality of the vocal – it genuinely makes the hairs on my arm (of which there are many) stand on end! Along with the singer of the other female ballad (still to come in the countdown), I think she is the best female singer in the contest.

But can the Czech Republic finally qualify? San Marino and Montenegro broke their ducks in 2014 and they got closer than ever before last year. It will still be tough though – Gabriela is in by far the tougher semi-final and the Czech Republic has no voting bloc it can rely on, and no history of countries voting for it. I really do hope it does though – there are only two proper female ballads in the contest this year and they are in different semi-finals, so you’d like to think that could help its chances. It also has a decent place in the semi-final running order, and with her live vocal and some fitting staging, it could do well. It’s finished higher up this countdown than the Czechs did last year so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Live at Malta Eurovision Party:

Czech Republic at the Eurovision Song Contest:Czech Republic Eurovision flag

First entered: 2007

Appearances (excluding this year): 4

Best result: 13th in semi-final in 2015

Last year’s result: 13th in semi-final (did not qualify)