Eurovision 2019 national selections: another Super Saturday [and Sunday] (Finland, Iceland, Moldova, Norway, Portugal and Serbia previews)

One manic finals Saturday down, another to go and will we see yet more drama during and after these sets of national finals following the twists and turns of the Ukrainian saga (which sadly ended in Ukraine’s withdrawal. There are some fan favourites here – will they be going to Tel Aviv or will they fall foul of the curse of the fan favourite which has been haunting the Eurovision 2019 season?

I know the background to some of these finals better than others but what with starting a new job and my partner (now fiancé!) moving in it’s been a bit busy but I will do my best to introduce the favourites (for what it is worth!)

Finland: Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu

Finland opted for the same process as last year, internally selecting the artist but offering the public the choice of songs. Darude was the surprise choice, famous for his worldwide hit in 1999, “Sandstorm“. Sebastian Rejman provides the vocals on all three songs in the UMK final.

The UMK final starts at 7pm UK time.

Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman – “Look Away”

While on a quick first listen, my favourite is “Superman” (which you can hear a tiny bit of Sandstorm in!), the consensus seems to be that this song is the favourite. Being Darude, it’s dance, though I think it does feel a little “vintage”.

Iceland: Söngvakeppnin

There’s one big favourite in Iceland’s five strong final – and given we’ve had semi-finals, it’s possible to say with more confidence on what is most likely to win. Two former Eurovision artists, Hera Björk and Friðrik Ómar (and indeed Eurofest guests – and absolutely lovely people!) are in the mix though their chances are slim I’m afraid (though Friðrik is second favourite).

The Söngvakeppnin final begins at 7.45pm UK time.

Hatari – “Hatrið mun sigra”

Now how do I even begin to describe this?! Well you can watch the live performance in the semi final to get a flavour! Hatari are a “satirical
techno and punk rock performance art group”, known for their live performances and BDSM-inspired stage costumes. Well, live performances and wild costumes are a core part of Eurovision so perhaps them going to the contest isn’t so far-fetched! This could be a real disruptor at the contest (think Lordi) and might even bring Iceland one of its best results to date.

Moldova: O Melodie Pentru Europa

Moldova have had a lot of success in the last two years, with two top 10 hits, though I think they have benefited from support and expertise that would have otherwise gone to Russian entries. With the return of Lazarev and Russia making an effort that might change things for them this year, but they’ve still got 10 artists to pick from in their national final.

O Melodie Pentru Europa takes place from 7.15pm UK time.

Tinna Gi – “Virus”

There’s a lack of a clear favourite but this song seems to be coming up quite high in polls and fan juries. It’s a bit of a change for Moldova and is being sung in Moldovan (Romanian).

Norway: Melodi Grand Prix

This is the 57th edition of Melodi Grand Prix and it’s a pretty good selection I think – probably my overall favourite of the Scandinavian/Nordic national selections this year. There is a HUGE fan favourite in this one, which probably means it won’t go through, but the second favourite wouldn’t be a disaster – they are a former Eurovision top 10 finalist.

This year’s Melodi Grand Prix begins at 7.55pm UK time.

KEiiNO – “Spirit In The Sky”

OK so this might be a bit retro, clichéd and potential candidate for this year’s fanw*nk song, but it’s glorious! So catchy, so Scandinavian, and so Eurovision. Plus some Sami chanting thrown into the mix…

Mørland – “En Livredd Mann”

Former top 10 finalist and Kingston University alumnus Mørland returns and has a great chance to make it back to the contest with this brooding Norwegian language song.

Portugal: Festival da Canção 

Last year’s hosts have (to many people’s surprise) provided, in my view, the best overall national selection of all this year with a set of really high quality, classy, distinctive and defiantly Portuguese (with Angolan and Brazilian influences) songs. And even among this high calibre group, there is one that stands above them all and is generating a lot of excitement in interest. It scored maximum points with the televote in the semi-finals, though not with the jury, so it will be edge of seat stuff in the final tonight…

The Festival da Canção begins at 9pm UK time (and goes on for hours…!)

Conan Osíris – “Telemóveis”

This is striking and different and really rather good and something special. Portugal has to be daring and different to do well and this is certainly that. On YouTube, the combined views of the lyric video and the semi-final performance has reached over 4 million views… Could we be returning to Portugal just two years after their first ever win in 50 years? Well I am sure this will get the televote tonight, but will the jury dare to deny the public choice (it’s happened several times this season!)?

Serbia: Beovizija

After the flurry of national finals on Saturday, Serbia go it alone on Sunday evening. They’ve compressed the two semi-finals and the final into the space of a single week (when I happen to have been super busy) so I can’t say I’ve had a chance to listen to the finalists but the one I’ve picked out does sound like it could be a national final winner.

The Beovizija grand final starts at 8pm UK time.

Sashka Janx – “Da li čuješ moj glas”

Sashka was runner up in the Beovizija last year and seems to be the fan favourite this year. Having listened to this for first time today, I rather like it actually – it’s got those Serbian/Balkan elements without being the bog standard male Balkan ballad that some love (but I do not!) so I’d be happy for this to go through to represent Serbia.

So much going on, but who are your favourites for this half dozen finals?

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