Culture

Good evening Europe! 

All you need to know about the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

Dust off the silver glitter dresses, because it’s almost time for our favourite time of the year: the Eurovision Song Contest! You know, the one week when Europeans are reminded that Moldova exists, the UK is completely humiliated by getting zero points and the question: “Hey, are Norway and Azerbaijan dating?” is not a strange one to ask. 

With forty performances spread over three days, the event can be a bit overwhelming, so that’s why, just like last year, we concisely present a list of all the countries competing in the Song Contest in order. Who are the contenders? Which performances are ‘meme-worthy’ and which songs will end up in your Spotify playlist? These die-hard Eurovision fans figured it out for you. 

Before we get started: Here‘s a playlist with all the performances 

First semifinal: Tuesday, 10 May 2022

1. Albania: Ronela Hajati – Sekret

Albania is underestimated year after year. This year they have again submitted a special song and we love it: this is the Eurovision Song Contest at its best! Sekret is a song with a reggaeton/dancehall vibe mixed with traditional Albanian musical influences. The video clip obviously ate most of this year’s budget and we are curious to see how this song will be presented live. It is expected that many dancers will be involved, with Ronela Hajati as a kind of Beyoncé. Albania will not win, but this will certainly be a festive start of the evening!

2. Latvia: Citi Zēni – Eat Your Salad

Well… We might compare Latvia’s entry to last year’s performance by Germany (you know, the one with the walking hand), and that does not bode well. Not to worry though, ‘Eat Your Salad’ is a fun and energetic song with a great message: ‘Being green is cool’ and ‘Being green is hot’. The music group Citi Zēni will put a smile on your face, as the entry is somewhat comical. Will it win? No, it won’t. But will you remember this entry forever? Yes, you will. That it is difficult to forget this sing-along was already proven when the iconic opening line ‘Instead of meat I eat veggies and p*ssy’ went viral on TikTok immediately after its release. 

3. Lithuania: Monika Liu – Sentimentai

After Latvia, it’s time for another Baltic state, Lithuania. Sentimentai is a somewhat alternative indie pop song. Monika Liu sings in Lithuanian and is a great ambassador for the beautiful Lithuanian language. The song is cinematic and has a class and elegance that you can’t help but appreciate. Funnily enough, Sentimentai is quite low in the bookmakers’ polls. So it is not very popular. However, we hope that Lithuania will get enough votes to reach the final. That way we can hear the song again ;). 

4. Switzerland: Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry

Switzerland does not send in a typical Eurovision song, but why should they? Marius Bear’s ‘Boys Do Cry’ is a beautiful, quiet song that gets more beautiful every time you listen to it. The atmosphere of ‘Boys Do Cry’ is reminiscent of the song ‘Grow’ by Jeangu Macrooy, the song that unfortunately never got to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest because of the corona pandemic. In ‘Boys Do Cry’, Marius Bear says that everyone knows sadness, including men and boys. He hopes that people don’t ignore or switch off their emotions and feelings, but embrace them. A very nice and rightful message, if you ask us. 

5. Slovenia: LPS – Disko

Disko is a top song. Just enjoyable. It has swing, a nice jazzy vibe and you can’t get it out of your head. The song is a bit underrated, it is almost at the bottom of the bookmakers’ charts and therefore has almost no chance of winning. Okay, the singer is not the best of the night, but otherwise we think it is unfair that Disko is so low. Because let’s face it; this song is very original and cosy, isn’t it? There we said it. 

6. Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

According to the bookmakers, Ukraine has a more than forty (!!!) percent chance to win the 2022 Song Contest. Whether the country would have been this high without the terrible war is debatable, but the fact remains that ‘Stefania’ is a true Eurovision song. Kalush Orchestra is bringing their A-game. Rappers, singing, dancing, outfits that you have never seen before and even the use of a sopilka, a traditional Ukrainian flute. ‘Stefania’ is an ode to the singers’ mothers and is sung in their mother tongue. For many Ukrainians, the song has become a metaphor for the war, in which ‘the mother’ reflects Ukraine. ‘Stefania’ can therefore be called a phenomenon, and rightly so. This entry will almost certainly win. 

7. Bulgaria: Intelligent Music Project – Intention

Do you remember those films from the early 2000s (School of Rock, Freaky Friday, The Cheetah Girls) where the main characters try to break through with their band and they are ‘cool’ and ‘different’? And at the end of the film, they perform during a competition? This is the song that is played then. 

8. Netherlands: S10 – De Diepte

With S10’s (read: Es-tien) ‘De Diepte’, the Netherlands chose a Dutch language song for the first time since Sieneke’s infamous Sha-la-lie from 2010. Now Dutch is unfortunately not known as the most beautiful language in Europe, but Stien den Hollander has managed to make ‘our’ language sound melodic and soft. Some parts of ‘De Diepte’ can also be sung along or hummed by people who have little or no command of the Dutch language. According to S10, the song is a ‘love letter to her own sadness’ and the singer knows how to convey the meaning very well – also during the previously broadcast live performances. The Netherlands will most likely not win, but a top-10 spot is perfectly feasible. And that is quite an achievement! 

9. Moldova: Zdob şi Zdub & Frații Advahov – Trenulețul

‘Trenulețul is a wholesome song about train travel. It is funny that they sing about a train ride to Bucharest, Romania. Who knows, maybe they will attract some Romanian votes with that? In any case, this song clearly falls in the middle category; not a winner, but certainly not a loser either. With ‘Trenulețul’, Zdob şi Zdub & Frații Advahov have sent in a fun act. The cheerful music and the happy singers will ensure a constant smile throughout the performance. This performance gets a 9 out of 10 for meme-worthiness. 

10. Portugal: MARO – Saudade, Saudade

The top 15 is achievable for the Portuguese singer MARO. Her ‘Saudade, Saudade’ is a quiet song, a bit boring, but beautiful. The word ‘saudade’ refers to a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia, which can only be described in (Brazilian) Portuguese. The characteristic atmosphere of MARO’s song fits this description well. However, it is not a stunner and Portugal will not bring victory home this year.

11. Croatia: Mia Dimšić – Guilty Pleasure

Croatia chooses an English song with ‘Guilty Pleasure’. The song fits exactly into the current musical landscape and Mia Dimšić’s singing style is a bit reminiscent of the popular American singer Selena Gomez. It is a pity that the song does not build up much and thus keeps on simmering. Even the bridge is not very exciting. ‘Guilty Pleasure’ is therefore in the lower half at the bookmakers. Nevertheless, Croatia has nothing to be ashamed of with this entry, as it is certainly not bad. 

12. Denmark: REDDI – The Show

‘The Show’ is a candidate to finish at the bottom of the list according to the bookmakers, even though the song is not bad at all. OK, it’s not our favourite, but ‘The Show’ is underrated. Remarkably, the song changes style several times during the performance. It starts quietly with one singer behind a piano and builds into an energetic performance with drums, a reasonably catchy chorus, guitar solos and multiple singers.  

13. Austria: LUM!X feat. Pia Maria – Halo

‘Halo’ by LUM!X feat. Pia Maria is reminiscent of Ava Max’s songs and the music video is clearly inspired by ‘Apeshit’ by the Carters (aka Beyoncé & Jay-Z). The catchy dance/pop song ‘Halo’ is truly a studio masterpiece, of which we hope there is still something left on stage. The high notes might be difficult to reach, making this a tricky performance.We do not see this entry as a possible winner or top 10 candidate, but the song is a potential radio hit. 

14. Iceland: Systur – Með Hækkandi Sól

Everybody loves Iceland, especially after their fantastic entry last year. This year, the Scandinavian country is a surprise as well, as they send in a country song. Who would have expected that? In the song ‘Með Hækkandi Sól’, sisters Sigríður, Elísabet and Elín Eyþórsdóttir sing that Icelanders lose a lot of sunlight during the winter months. However, around the 20th of December, it is time again for the sun to rise earlier and set later. This period is also referred to with the saying ‘með hækkandi sól’, which translates as ‘with the sun rising higher every day’. A beautiful metaphor for the growing hope that comes from the lengthening of the days. ‘Með Hækkandi Sól’ is a peaceful, magical and calm song, very welcome to catch your breath amidst all the Song Contest violence. It is not a top-10 candidate though. 

15. Greece: Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together

Last year Greece sent Dutch-Greek Stefania. This year Norwegian-Greek Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord represents Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest. The country is currently ranked 6th by the bookmakers and with some luck they could end up in the top 5 or maybe even top 3. Greece will definitely make it to the final. ‘Die Together’ is simply a beautiful and powerful song, which is about a relationship that has broken down. A love song, but with a somewhat sad edge. 

16. Norway: Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

Latvia sent ‘Eat Your Salad’, Norway sent ‘Give That Wolf A Banana’. Yes, you read it correctly. Norway’s entry, which some say is ‘What Does The Fox Say’ 2.0, is very popular online. The whole performance is rather special. Feel free to Google Subwoolfer for the outfits, because you won’t believe us when we say that the pop duo looks like a yellow wolf with very big ears and a suit on. All the way Daft Punk style. Vocally speaking, this entry is absolutely fine, the voices sound very nice and the choreography is also Just Dance-worthy. Especially the verses are well put together. They are very contemporary and reminiscent of songs by Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd. The more dance-like chorus is catchy, but also a bit cheasy (cheap & easy). 

17. Armenia: Rosa Linn – Snap

The perfect song for an IKEA commercial. 

Second semifinal: Thursday 12 May 2022

18. Finland: The Rasmus – Jezebel

After Finland’s success last year with Blind Channel’s ‘Dark Side’, the country returns with another rock song that leans towards  ‘family friendly metal’. The Rasmus have been active since 1994 and were a fairly well-known name on European radio especially in the 2000s. Just put on their song ‘In the Shadows’, believe us you will know it. The 2000’s rock vibe comes back with their song Jezebel. It remains to be seen whether they will do as well as last year (6th place), but the final should certainly be achievable for Finland. If only because of the nostalgia it will evoke in Europe’s millennials. 

19. Israel: Michael Ben David – I.M

Israel is sending the male version of the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ with Michael Ben David and his background dancers. This song breathes Eurovision: it is upbeat, it is extra and it has sex appeal. This song shows why the Eurovision Song Contest is sometimes seen as ‘the queer European Football Championship’. It was not clear for a while whether Israel would take part, as it was revealed at the beginning of April that Israel would not travel to Turin due to problems in the Israeli security service, which meant that David’s safety could not be guaranteed. Last week it was announced that David and his entourage will travel to Turin after all. Not to everyone’s delight, as Israel’s participation in the Song Contest has been controversial for years, but the performance itself is a feast. 

20. Serbia: Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano

The translation of the first sentence of the song ‘In Corpore Sano’ is “What would be the secret of Meghan Markles healthy hair?”. The rest of the song also makes several references to appearance and health. Some think the song is about the death of a musician, others think it refers to the Covid-19 pandemic or the digital age and its effects. Konstrakta herself is very mysterious about the actual meaning of the song. She only wants to say that the song consists of different layers that can all be interpreted differently. The live performance of ‘In Corpore Sano’ is better than the video clip, but it is not our favourite. Nevertheless, Serbia will definitely end up in the final. 

21. Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli – Fade To Black

Whether Azerbaijan will reach the final with ‘Fade To Black’ is uncertain, as the entry is in the middle of the list at the bookmakers. This power ballad, sung by Nadir Rustamli, is completely in English. In theory, the song is a tragic ode to love, but it is also somewhat hopeful. The verses are pretty cool and have the atmosphere of a title song of a James Bond film. The chorus, on the other hand, is less so. The fact is that Nadir is a good singer and provided he doesn’t put on too much vibrato, this is a good song to listen to. 

22. Georgia: Circus Mircus – Lock Me In

Circus Mircus is a somewhat experimental band, who – how do we say this respectfully – just mix all styles together. This results in a song, in this case ‘Lock Me In’, and you have to either love it or hate it. Probably half of Europe finds this entry extremely irritating and the other half is a fan. Not surprisingly, this song is in the low medium range. Probably not final material, although Georgia could still surprise us all. 

23. Malta: Emma Muscat – I Am What I Am

In recent years, Malta has gone for pop songs and this year is no different. ‘I Am What I Am’ is sung perfectly by Emma Muscat and is best described as a mainstream pop song. The lyrics are also good, so there is not much to complain about. Yet the song is not very popular. Maybe the entry is too ordinary for the Song Contest? Remarkably, Emma Muscat won the national final with another song, ‘Out Of Sight’. This song was not very popular with the bookmakers, so another song was chosen. ‘I Am What I Am’ is still pretty low though. It remains to be seen whether the entry reaches the final. 

24. San Marino: Achille Lauro – Stripper

San Marino saw Måneskin win last year and said ‘hold my beer’. Enough said. 

25. Australia: Sheldon Riley – Not The Same

‘Not The Same’ is about singer Sheldon Riley’s youth. He tells about being diagnosed with Asperger’s at a young age, coming out in a heavily religious family, growing up in poverty and living in social housing. Riley has indicated in interviews that he has always been a fan of Disney characters because he can identify with them. His performance seems to be inspired by this. The outfit and dark staging are somewhat reminiscent of the film ‘Maleficent’. Although Disney is, of course, immensely popular, Australia will definitely be this year’s wildcard. 

26. Cyprus: Andromache – Ela

Cyprus does what it does best by sending in a catchy pop-dance song that is a little reminiscent of ‘Fuego’, their 2018 entry. It’s upbeat and it’s a bop. Not a winner, but it definitely has the potential to stay in your head after you hear it. 

27. Ireland: Brooke – That’s Rich

Brooke brings the Geordie Shore aesthetic to the Eurovision stage this year. Ireland hasn’t had strong entries in recent years and only managed to reach the final once in the last seven years. We fear that this trend will be continued with this entry. ‘That’s Rich’ is your ultimate generic pop song from the 2010s that will do better in a nightclub at four in the morning than on a stage. Many Irish people long for the golden era of the 1990s when Ireland won the Eurovision Song Contest five(!!) times in ten years, but 2022 is not going to be the year that that comeback takes place. 

28. North Macedonia: Andrea – Circles

Andrea brings a powerful ballad to the Eurovision stage with ‘Circles’, about a love affair that just won’t work out. According to the bookmakers, this song is in last place and has therefore officially been labelled as ‘the worst entry of 2022’. Not entirely justified in our opinion. It is a rather thirteen-in-a-dozen kind of song, but certainly not bad for people who enjoyed the music of Leona Lewis and Beyoncé in 2008. 

29. Estonia: Stefan – Hope

This song is the love child of Avicii’s ‘Hey Brother’ and David Guetta’s ‘Lovers on the Sun’. It is an upbeat song with a lot of repetition that is very similar to Eurovision entries of previous years. It is a mid-paced song and it remains to be seen whether Estonia will reach the final with this song. 

30. Romania: WRS – Llámame

This song has everything to complete your Eurovision bingo card: intense lighting effects, background dancers, a repetitive upbeat song and sexy outfits. In the bookmakers’ list, Romania is ranked 37 out of 40 and yes… maybe rightly so. Next please! 

31. Poland: Ochman – River

Poland’s entry may cause some controversy at home. It is a case of love it or hate it. One will find it a beautiful and deep song and the other simply annoying. Switzerland proved last year that such songs can do well by finishing in third place, with a song that for us could not stop soon enough (it was a bit too dramatic). With a predicted eighth place, Ochman might just gently repeat that feat this year. 

32. Montenegro: Vladana – Breathe

Vladana’s beautiful voice is balanced out in this performance by her awkward stage presence and theatrical facial expressions that make it rather difficult to watch three minutes of this performance. If you don’t want to miss it, don’t forget to turn on the semi-final on Thursday as the chances of seeing her again on Saturday are not very high. 

33. Belgium: Jérémie Makiese – Miss You

Belgium is reliving the 2000s by sending a boyband-like performance that is reminiscent of ‘The Boys are Back’ from High School Musical 3 and the sweeter songs of The Backstreet Boys. With this entry and the release of the new Pixar film ‘Turning Red’, it looks like we predict a return of the boyband craze in the near future. We ain’t mad. 

34. Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

Sweden, Sweden, Sweden. Ask a stranger to name a song festival country and they will say Sweden. Not surprisingly, as the country finishes in the top 10 almost every year. Predictions for 2022 are also good with a current third place at the bookmakers’ polls. Sweden usually chooses a pop song. This year is no different, except that Cornelia Jakobs’ song, ‘Hold Me Closer’, is a rawer power ballad, unlike the more polished danceable songs of recent years. The song is reminiscent of ‘Shallow’ by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and will give many people goosebumps. This song is definitely a contender. 

35. Czech Republic: We Are Domi – Lights Off

In recent years, the Czech Republic has never disappointed. We Are Domi’s song ‘Lights Off’ is not high on the bookmakers’ charts, but it might still surprise us. This underdog is one that we could hear on the radio. ‘Lights Off’ is a dance number, but one you can sing along to. And dance. Or both. A good song for a club. Not a winner, but a nice ending to the second semifinal. 

Final: Saturday, 14 May 2022

There are also a number of countries that will not be seen in the semi-finals and will go straight on to saturday’s final. Traditionally, these are last year’s winning country (Italy in this case) and the so-called ‘big 5’. These countries contribute relatively the most money to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organiser of the Song Contest, and are therefore always allowed to participate in the final. Because even within Eurovision the most sacred capitalist rule is honoured: If you are rich enough, the rules don’t apply to you. The Big 5 consists of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy. 

36. France: Alvan & Ahez – Fulenn

France is known as a country that goes for safe songs during Eurovision. After they missed out on winning last year’s contest, that standard has been dropped completely. With the song ‘Fulenn’, France sends something unique.  It is sung in Breton, a Celtic language that is threatened with extinction. It is, in one word, fantastic. What Go-A’s ‘Shum’ brought to Rotterdam last year, Alvan & Ahez bring to Turin this year. One commenter on YouTube describes it as a ‘Celtic forest rave’ and yes, that is the vibe. One of our favourites this year. 

37. Italy: Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi

Italy’s entry is by far the most streamed song of this edition with over 70 million streams on Spotify. For Mahmood, it’s his second Song Contest adventure after finishing second in 2019 with his hit ‘Soldi’. Now he’s back for a rematch with ‘Brividi’, a piano ballad he sings together with 19-year-old singer Blanco. To be honest, this is not our favourite song, but it certainly has hit potential. 

38. Germany – Malik Harris – Rockstars

Germany’s entry this year can best be described in one word: mediocre. Both the song itself and the staging and singing qualities of Harris. It is a song you forget as soon as you hear it. Lucky for us, because Germany receiving zero points from the home audience has become a proud Eurovision tradition. And with this entry, that would be completely justified this year. 

Later added by our German editor Sandra: It’s definitely better than what we submitted last year, for German Eurovision standards this is a pretty good song!  

39. Spain: Chanel – SloMo

What Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’ was in 2018 is Chanel’s SloMo this year. Definitely not a gem of a song, but the dancing! Omg. This song will be played at the requisite drag shows for years to come. 

40. United Kingdom: Sam Ryder – SPACE MAN 

The UK has plenty of famous artists (including Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and 80% of One Direction). Nevertheless, the country manages to finish somewhere at the bottom of the league table almost every year. All the more remarkable, then, that this year the UK is in 4th place with the bookies. Sam Ryder’s SPACE MAN can rightly be called a radio song. We are curious to see how it performs live. The song is technically sound and if Sam can hit all the high notes during the final, he could live up to expectations. Still, we hope the song gets 0 points. Not because Sam Ryder is not good, but tradition is tradition.

Linda den Bol has graduated in history (Radboud University) and European Governance (Masarykova Univerzita and Utrecht University) and is currently working as a trainee at the Dutch Province of Noord-Brabant. 

Loes ter Horst is a Liberal Arts and Sciences student at Utrecht University with a specialisation in International Governance.

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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