If the bookies are to be believed, Eurovision is returning to Stockholm in 2024 — the winning title is all but stuck on Loreen like a tattoo-oo-oo. But we at the Grapevine like to root for the underdogs. And compared to Loreen, who last won the continent’s most important song contest for Sweden back in 2012 with her smash hit “Euphoria,” literally every other performer is a statistical underdog.
Here’s who we’ll be racking up our mobile bills for once the voting lines open at the Eurovision Song Contest grand finale on May 13.
Teya & Salena — “Who the Hell is Edgar?” (Austria)
Including names of famous people in Eurovision songs was a way for non-English speaking performers to make the larger European audience understand at least ONE word of their song back when contestants had to sing in their native tongue. The Austrian representatives this year take the Eurovision tradition of sneakily mentioning random famous people and kill it! According to the lyrics, the song is actually written by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe who possesses the songwriter. The word “Poe” is uttered more than 60 times over the course of a song that clocks in under three minutes, serving as a kind of beat to the chorus. Nowhere but Eurovision would this work. HH
Käärijä – “Cha Cha Cha” (Finland)
Come for the aggressive techno beats, stay for the iridescent shoulder pads. Finland seems to do many things right – their education system, public saunas and now their 2023 Eurovision contribution. Before looking up the lyrics, I was fine with thinking the song was about doing hard drugs and ending the night in a fistfight dressed like a sexy clown. Turns out he‘s mostly singing about drinking Piña Coladas. JB
TVORCHI — “Heart of Steel” (Ukraine)
Call me biased, but I am truly rooting for TVORCHI this year. And not in the sense that they should win. Chances of winning two years in a row are always low and, frankly, we don’t need another party we can’t host in our own house. But it’s exciting how this electronic duo from a provincial town has been making waves in the music scene. Straight out of medical university and onto a stage in Liverpool, TVORCHI proves that Ukrainian music doesn’t always need to heavily rely on folk references. IZ
La Zarra — “Évidemment” (France)
I’m still getting over Barbara Pravi being absolutely robbed in Rotterdam in 2021, so another solid offering from France this year was quick to rally my support. La Zarra’s “Évidemment” starts out with a sultry tango rhythm before the beat kicks in, transforming it into a danceable power ballad that the judges will obviously be scrambling to award their “douze points.” A La Zarra win for France will also be a de facto win for Canada — the Montreal native is the sixth Canadian to grace the Eurovision stage. Is La Zarra getting my vote? Évidemment. CF
Pasha Parfeni — “Soarele Si Luna” (Moldova)
There are always a couple of countries that get inspired by the winners of the previous year and try to compete with the same elements. This year, Moldova brings us the flute techno that propelled Ukraine to victory. Not a bad song, actually. Perhaps better than the inspiration. It’s a bold move because, as a strategy, it is doomed to fail, ridiculing the contestants into oblivion. But it is the true underdog move and I applaud Moldova for boldly going where others have already stumbled. Slow clap styles. AJ
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