Eurovision Song Contest 2024: All 37 songs reviewed ahead of semifinals, including UK's Olly Alexander

There are a mammoth 37 songs entered in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – so to bring yourself up to speed ahead of the live shows, The Scotsman has watched and reviewed every one of them for you

It’s Eurovision Song Contest week and after a run of big favourites taking out the title in previous years, 2024 is shaping up to be the most open in recent memory. The bookies’ favourite has been chosen as Croatia’s Baby Lasagne as we head into the first semifinal on Tuesday night, but the mantle has been passed along via Switzerland and Ukraine at various points during the lead-up.

As the world’s largest live music event with over 160 million viewers, Eurovision is, of course, no longer just a song contest, with much riding on the staging, visuals and live vocal performance. So with that in mind, The Scotsman has reviewed all 37 participating countries and their acts from their live rehearsals direct from Malmo, Sweden.

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Albania: Besa – ‘Titan’

Besa is a powerhouse vocalist and will certainly deliver the goods on the live stage in this mid tempo bop. But having been placed in position two in the second semifinal on Thursday night, commonly regarded as the ‘death slot’ in the running order, qualification to Saturday’s grand final seems borderline at best. 4/10

Armenia: Ladaniva - ‘Jako’

Ladaniva is serving us the first native language entry with this high energy folk song. It’s catchy “la, la, la, la, la, la” chorus should have the live crowd joining in, but may prove too generic to be truly memorable. But it’s colourful, full of character and what Eurovision is all about. 5/10

Australia: Electric Fields – ‘One Milkali’

We are headed to the indigenous dreamtime, didgeridoo included, with Electric Fields, Australia’s two-piece electro-pop duo. With lyrics in both English and the Yankunyatjatjara Aboriginal language – One Milkali translates to ‘One Blood’ – it’s great to see Australia wearing its heritage on its sleeve this year. It’s considered unlikely to progress to the GF with the bookies, but I’m a fan. 7/10

Austria: Kaleen – ‘We Will Rave’

Kaleen’s background is in dance and you can tell as her vocals are slight. This song isn’t about powerhouse vocals though as the title suggests, and it’s big beat and the popular vote will see it sail through to the GF. It also hits this year’s apparent theme of wordless choruses – ‘ram di dam dam dam’ this time – and a dance break. More of those to come. 6/10

Azerbaijan: Fahree Featuring Ilkin Dovlatov - ‘Özünlə Apar’

Blending traditional elements with contemporary, this song has a lovely melody and calming energy. The vocals are truly impressive and showcase Azerbaijan’s culture and heritage, but I fear this one may not be memorable enough amongst the chaos. 6/10

Belgium: Mustii - ‘Before the Party is over’

This has been considered a top ten finisher throughout the build-up. The song is a dark, slow burn until it reaches the final bars and explodes in a vocal crescendo with Mustii’s full body energy. There have been questions around his live vocals, however, and this is likely to be more of a hit with the juries than the live televote. But it remains a strong entry. Fun fact – Mustii is a judge on Belgium’s Ru Paul’s Drag Race. 7/10

Croatia: Baby Lasagne - ‘Rim Tim Tagi Dim’

Full confession – when I read the artist name and song title, I expected a joke act, but not for the first time, I was wrong diddly wrong wrong. The bookies’ favourite for a reason, this rock anthem is a clear contender for the televote win. With staging featuring neon cats and farm animals pounding out the mesmeric beat on hoofs and paws, the crowd will certainly meow back on the night in the stadium. My winner. 10/10

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Cyprus: Silia Kapsis – ‘Liar’

At just 17, Silia is this year’s youngest contestant and this pop dance track will be opening semifinal one on Tuesday night. Silia is terrific, and the song is a catchy enough opener, with another of the aforementioned dance breaks featured. Pleasant if not ground-breaking, it’s a perfect opener to the contest this year. 6/10

Czechia: Aiko – ‘Pedestal’

This is a firm favourite in our household, particularly with my nine-year-old. It’s rocky, it’s edgy, it has a great soaring chorus with an empowering self-love message. It’s also 300-1 in the odds and most likely not getting through its semifinal. Aiko’s live vocals haven’t quite been matching up to the recorded track, so this one is destined to join the ‘great on the radio, not great live’ pile. 7/10

Denmark: Saba – ‘Sand’

The first big female ballad of the contest features good live vocals and a strong, if repetitive, melody. The staging features a laser light show, but Saba herself is quite static and it will be an uphill battle for qualification in a vintage year. 5/10

Estonia: 5miinust & Puuluup – ‘(nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi

There’s a lot going on in this six-man band entry, including the longest song title to ever feature in the contest. There’s also traditional instruments, rapping, a synchronised dance off. It’s a lot and wont’ be for everyone – including me – but is the sort of fun high tempo entry that can do well in the televote. 3/10

Finland: Windows 95 Man - ‘No Rules’

This won Finland’s national final by a landslide and will be one of the most picked-as-fancy-dress acts of the year. A real marmite entry, which sees said Window’s 95 man emerge from a denim egg with nowt much on, but his blurred out branded t-shirt and cap. But with no jury vote in the semifinals, this could help it progress. Could. 4/10

France: Slimane - ‘Mon Amour’

A huge vocal from Slimane in a signature sweeping French ballad, expect big votes from the jury for this one. The live rehearsals showed a sneak peak of an A capella chorus, which has the potential to be a real moment on the night. Could be a sleeping giant. 8/10

Georgia: Nutsa Buzaladze – ‘Firefighter’

Another big pop bop, with an inevitable dance break. The visuals feature lots of fire as you would expect, and Nutsa delivers a flawless, if formulaic, entry. 5/10

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Germany: Isaak – ‘Always on the Run’

Germany have finished dead last for the past two years running and could be on track for a hat-trick with this one. There’s no doubt Isaak can sing, with shades of Lewis Capaldi and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. But despite being a decent pop song, I can’t see this rating highly with either the juries or the televote. 4/10

Greece: Marina Satti - ‘Zari’

This is a unique entry from Greece after a run of generic pop. Combining traditional Greek music, instruments and stereotypes in the visuals, including some handkerchief waving, with a thrumming urban beat, there’s nothing else remotely like this in the contest this year. Whist it won’t trouble the top spot, it could be one to look out for, and I for one hope their bravery pays off. 8/10

Iceland: Hera Bjork - ‘Scared of Heights’

Hera is a returnee to the contest, having competed in 2010 for Iceland. Her inclusion this year came after she beat out a Palestinian entrant Bashar Murad in the Icelandic national final selection, which prompted claims of a voting glitch. So it’s already been a bumpy ride. Hera is a consummate professional with a flawless voice, but the song is cliché, predictable and destined to bow out at the semifinal stage. 3/10

Ireland: Bambie Thug - ‘Doomsday Blue’

In direct contrast to Iceland above, you certainly won’t miss or forget Ireland’s entry this year. Bambie Thug emerges from the mists in pure pagan gothic pomp, forming a witchcraft circle and raising the dead. This has seriously elevated from the Irish national final and has been climbing the betting odds steadily after initially looking like a NQ. Maybe make sure any littlies are in bed before this one comes on. 7/10

Israel: Eden Golan - ‘Hurricaine’

Speaking of controversy, the European Broadcasting Union’s decision to allow Israel to compete this year has been the talking point of the lead-up and the song itself has had to undergo major re-writes to qualify, having been deemed too political to meet the criteria. In terms of the performance, Eden is a strong vocalist, the song is sweeping and melancholy, and the staging pared back. Expect boos in the arena, and it’s anyone’s guess how the voting will play out. 7/10

Italy: Angelina Mango - ‘La Noia’

Italy just know how to do Eurovision. This is right up there and could win the whole shebang if the televote and jury vote count against each other for the other favourites. Angelina is a captivating performer, her vocal including an acapella section flawless, and the song pulsates to a rhythmic beat. 8/10

Latvia: Dons - ‘Hollow’

There are very few male ballads this year, so that may help this unfancied entry. It’s unshowy, but a good, honest pop ballad, and Dons delivers one of the vocals of the contest for me. I hope it squeaks through to the GF. 6/10

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Lithuania: Silvester Belt – ‘Luktelk’

A sure qualifier from semifinal one for me, this big dance track marries the Lithuanian language with a bass heavy beat you’d expect to find in Ibiza. Silvester delivers an almost hypnotic vocal and the visual stage show is stark reds, blues and lasers. I can see the Euro clubs around Malmo pulsating to this all week. 9/10

Luxembourg: Tali - ‘Fighter’

The Grandy Duchy returns to Eurovision after a whopping 31-year absence. It’s been placed in the final running order spot in semifinal one, so it’s on a fair wind to qualify for the GF. The song combines French and English lyrics seamlessly, and if it perhaps feels a little dated, it’s perfect pop with a strong vocal. Deserves to progress. 7/10

Malta: Sarah Bonnici - ‘Loop’

Malta open semifinal two in much the same fashion as Cyprus will open semifinal one with a catchy female-led party pop dance track of which the contest is heavy this year. Look out for yet another dance break, with impressive vocal control, but it might not stand out enough amongst the crowd. 6/10

Moldova: Natalia Barbu – ‘In the Middle’

‘In the Middle’ by name, and in the middle by nature for this track from Moldova for me. Natalia delivers some impressive whistle notes and violin sections and it’s not a bad track, just not a great one either. May struggle. 4/10

Netherlands: Joost Klein - ‘Europapa’

Destined to become a Eurovision anthem, this joyful pro-euro ditty from the charismatic and zany Joost will go down a storm in the arena. Pulling on strong Dutch musical tradition, the dance break is pure 2-unlimited from the ‘90s and this is criminally catchy. The jury won’t love it, but this is surely a potential televote winner. 9/10

Norway: Gate – ‘Ulveham’

There is nothing else like this entry in the contest this year. It’s a Norwegian folk song, but it’s also emo rock. It’s showcasing Norwegian culture and the vocals are unique, if not always, to my ear, pleasant. I can’t tell if it will do well or not. 5/10

Poland: Luna - ‘The Tower’

With the wide reach of the Polish diaspora helping the hand of the televote, Poland are always a fairly safe bet to qualify regardless of what they send to Eurovision. This is frothy, catchy pop with a chess theme stage show. Luna’s sweet, breathy live vocal could be the sticking point though. 6/10

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Portugal: Iolanda – ‘Grito’

Portugal always send an authentic, artistic entry to the Eurovish and this is another fine example. You’ll either find it haunting and seminal, or a bit boring. I’m in the latter camp, but what do I know? 5/10

San Marino: Megara - 11:11

Strap in for a punk revival, complete with half hot pink, half black hair dos and lashings of black lipstick and rock attitude. It’s full of energy, slightly chaotic and sung in Spanish for some reason. I can’t see it progressing beyond the semis. 3/10

Serbia: Teya Dora - ‘Ramonda’

An emotional one this one, quite haunting and beautiful. It does take a while to get to the chorus, so requires a little patience, and you’d expect this to do better with the juries than the televote. Qualification might be tricky. 6/10

Slovenia: Raiven - ‘Veronika’

With lyrics based on a Slovenian legend, Raiven brings her mezzo soprano voice to a crossover electro pop track. Despite being out of the ordinary, it’s also somehow a little repetitive, although the costuming and stage show are certainly daring and memorable. 4/10

Spain: Nebulossa - ‘Zorra’

Nebulossa is a duo who have been married for 20 years, and this dance anthem is already wildly popular in its native Spain. Its message is about inclusion, and taking back your power, but this time with regards to age. Wait for the crowd to reverberate “ZORRA ZORRA ZORRA” back to the stage on the night, which literally translates as “vixen”, but has negative connotations in Spanish when used to describe women. It’s not going to win, but it’s a cult favourite in the making. 7/10

Sweden: Marcus and Martinus - ‘Unforgettable’

Sweden do it again on the staging front, and with perhaps our own UK entry aside, this is the most elaborate backdrop, LED and concept you’ll see at the contest. The twins singing and gyrating in sync actually hail from Norway, but they will go down a storm in Malmo when they open the GF. Sweden have been accused of sending ‘by the numbers’ clinical pop at times, and this entry won’t dispel that image to its detractors, but its beat and polish can’t be denied. 7/10

Switzerland: Nemo - ‘The Code’

The bookies’ favourite until last week, this is a veritable smorgasbord of a song. Nemo takes us on a wild ride through pop, opera and rap, with a soaring beat, melody and knockout vocal performance. Should take the jury vote in the GF and it will be down to how well the big populist favourites from Croatia and the Netherlands do in the public televote. We could well be on our way to Geneva in 2025. 10/10

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Ukraine: Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil – Teresa and Maria

Another of the favourites this year, it’s not hard to see why. Jerry’s melody in the chorus is moving, sad, hopeful, solemn and anthemic. It’s coupled with Alyona’s rap sections, which you’ll either think brings the song together and contemporises it with a new dimension, or detracts. The staging looks epic, with shooting stars – or perhaps mortars – falling behind Jerry as she climbs a literal mountain. Potential winner. 9/10

United Kingdom: Olly Alexander – Dizzy

Well, we’re all excited about Olly, aren’t we – a proper bona-fide pop star representing the UK at last. Unfortunately the song is underwhelming compared to many in the contest, but we are promised the most elaborate staging the UK has ever seen for an entrant, which could elevate it. Fingers crossed for a finish on the left hand side of the leaderboard. 6/10

So, there we have it. Will Croatia bring home the trophy for the first time in its history? Will there be a sizeable split result between the jury and public televote again this year, which proves decisive? Whatever happens, as ever, it will be a lot of fun.



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