The countdown is on. It’s approximately 67 hours (4,020 minutes) until Eurovision 2022. Eurovision is my favorite annual musical event. It’s part World Cup Finals, Olympics, and Super Bowl, with a healthy dose of self-knowing cheesiness and a 40-nation soundtrack. Quoting from the movie Patton, “God help me, I do love it so.”
Last year I prepared by watching all the Official Music Videos for each entry, and this year I did the same. Overall, I enjoyed last year’s songs more, but as you’ll see, a few of this year’s entries registered strong impressions. That said, I’ve learned that the Official Music Videos don’t always predict the quality of the live performances. When they do, it can be magical, as with Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw’s classic 2015 winning presentation of Heroes.
Sometimes, my expectations get exceeded. Last year I was gobsmacked by Switerzland’s Gjon’s Tears live performance of Tout l’univers, which finished third. But I was let down by Greece’s impossibly cute Stefania singing Last Dance. Alas, in a live performance, there is no way she could leap off a tall building onto a flying Pegasus or stare longingly into Atlas’ eyes while he’s holding the planet Earth. And while Elena Tsagrinou for Cyprus was even hotter on stage than in her video of El Diablo, her live singing and dancing left much to be desired.
So, I offer my twelve favorite songs with a grain of salt. I look forward to seeing who exceeds, lives up to, and upsets my expectations. But my only assignment is to enjoy this three-day obsession that I share with much of Europe, and that should be easy. However, I will miss the Dutch hosts from last year’s contest, though, so Italy’s hosts better step up.
My faves are listed in order of when they will appear in their respective Semi-finals or Final in the case of Big-5 member France. Two stars indicate my most favorite favorites.
** Netherlands: De diepte – It’s dark. I like dark. This is my Switzerland-sounding song (Tout l’univers ) from last year.
Albania: Sekret – Every time I’ve listened to this, I liked it.
Latvia: Eat Your Salad – “Our immediate reaction is that this is grotesque—but we cannot be sure that it is not in fact magnificent” (Marcel Proust).
** Ukraine: Stefania – I am addicted to the chorus and love the flute-sounding thingie. Much like last year, Ukraine grew on me.
Austria: Halo – Your basic, high-energy, four on the floor circa 2010s banger, and I’m here for it.
Iceland: Með hækkandi sól – This is very pretty, dark, and folky.
Cyprus: Ela – Cyprus – Beautiful neo-traditional song.
** Ireland: That’s Rich – It bangs in a 2010s way, and I’m not complaining.
North Macedonia: Circle – I love the song. I love her voice.
Poland: River – I like it despite its overdose of earnestness. I like his voice and the symphonic and gothic elements.
** Belgium: Miss You – I love this. And I want a Timbaland remix.
** Czech Republic: Lights Off – This is my EDM jam.
** France: Fulenn – This is cool. Dark electronic song in a Celtic language about dancing with the devil; lovely female harmonies.
P.S. Here is a link to my first impression notes on all of the Official Music Videos in order of their appearance in their respective Semi-finals. Compare your thoughts to mine during the broadcast! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eyB7eVNk5fmLUNHv4UocRg43fqpJZ7Ps/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=118086925259782932361&rtpof=true&sd=true
 Based on a draw, France will perform in the first half of the 25-participant Final.