Eurovision 2014: the top five contenders

Our Eurovision expert thinks a cross-dressing diva could triumph in Copenhagen tonight - but also predicts a high ranking for Molly's UK entry Children of the Universe...


Can a bearded lady win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Is a tune about domestic violence what the people want? And will Molly’s UK entry Children of the Universe get a look in?


Eurovision aficionado and commentator Dominic McDonough tells us who he thinks the top five will be in Copenhagen tonight…

In fifth place… Armenia

Aram MP3 – Not Alone

“It’s a song called You’re Not Alone and it’s by a guy called Aram MP3 – I don’t know if that’s his real name – but basically it’s just him on stage. It’s quite a big ballad, it builds up to a big ending, but it’s very simple for Eurovision, there’s no one riding on a unicycle or anything like that. It’s a good song and it’s got the most hits on YouTube out of all the entries – I think it’s got to about five million now – so it’s big and a lot of people have suggested that Armenia is going to be the winner. I don’t think it is, because basically I think it’s too good for Eurovision. It’s very powerful, it’s very anthemic and I think it’ll do very well, but I just don’t think it’s quite going to get there.

“Also, the performance on Tuesday night in the semi-final was not the best – his voice was straining, it just wasn’t quite up to scratch. But I still think it’ll do very well and it’ll get a lot of Eastern European votes as well – the likes of Georgia, Belarus and so on will vote for it.”

In fourth place… The Netherlands

The Common Linnets – Calm After the Storm

“Now The Netherlands have brought a bit of country to the Eurovision this year. The last time we saw country was in 2006 with Germany, and that went, well, ok for them, they came 14th, I believe. And it’s a nice song, you could hear it in the charts in Britain. In fact, it’s actually just got into the UK Top 40 on downloads, so it’s quite a modern, contemporary song.                                     

“There’s two of them on stage, in terms of image they’re kind of indie – but once again, I think, slightly too good for Eurovision, and I don’t think it’ll win, but I think it’ll get a lot of votes. It was quite a surprise to qualify from the semi-final but now there’s a lot of buzz around it. It’s just a nice, simple song, no gimmicks, they’ve both got fantastic voices and there’s a bit of a guitar there, which is always good!”

In third place… Hungary

András Kállay-Saunders – Running

“Number three, I think we’re going to see Hungary. Now this a very upbeat, high-tempo song. It’s actually about domestic violence, which is not the nicest thing to sing about, but he’s a fantastic singer – he puts the song across very well, he’s got a very powerful song. And once again it’s a very modern song, it’s not what you’d expect at Eurovision. It’s not the standing upside-down on a beach ball singing or anything like that. It’s just a very good song, very up-tempo, you can probably imagine hearing it in many clubs around the country. And the guy who sings it is a bit of a heart-throb for the ladies as well so that’s going to get the female vote there.”

In second place… United Kingdom

Molly – Children of the Universe

“At number two … I think it’s going to be the UK. I think we’re going to do very well – we’ve got a very good song, Molly is a fantastic, fantastic singer for the UK with Children of the Universe. It reminds me of our 1994 entry, Lonely Symphony, which in case you don’t remember, was by a singer called Frances Ruffelle, who’s now a big West End star. It was one of the favourites, it was expected to do very well and it came in at about tenth, but it was before its time, I think. I think this year’s entry has a very similar sort of anthemic sound, Molly’s very Florence and the Machine-esque, but I also think the anthem does well in Eurovision, it always does.

“There’s the old excuse that people don’t vote for us for political reasons, but personally I think that’s rubbish. The problem is that we’ve sent absolute rubbish over the last few years. I mean, if you look, we’ve sent Scooch for example, we sent Daz Sampson in 2006 ranting about school … I mean, would you vote for that? I wouldn’t! But, also, I think that you need a song that relates to all of Europe, and I think a big anthem with a big singer is always going to do that. You need something that everyone can tap their feet to, click along to and everyone can enjoy, and I genuinely think the UK’s entry this year can do that, with a girl who’s got absolutely bags of talent. She’s a real talent. She’s fantastic.                                                                                                 

“The last time we won in ’97 [with Love Shine a Light by Katrina and the Waves], it was with a big anthem number, so I think it’ll do well because I think it’ll relate to all countries of Europe – also, I think there’s a line in there, a few times, saying: ‘Power to the people!’, and whether that will resonate with Eastern Europe, we’ll find out! Whether Ukraine will rise up and support it, use it as some sort of campaign song, we don’t know. I think she’ll do very well but I think she’ll just miss out because I think there’s one more who’s a lot better…”

In first place… Austria

Conchita Wurst – Rise Like a Phoenix

“Well, I’m putting my neck on the line… I think Austria are going to win it. Now, Austria have a singer called Conchita Wurst. She is a woman who has a beard… It’s everything Eurovision mixed with a fantastic song. You’ve got a performer there; she’s a real diva. She’s a drag artist, but she’s got a fantastic voice, I think, and a great song. It’s called Rise Like a Phoenix. It’s got a great key change at the end, which is a Eurovision tradition, and her voice in rehearsal has been the best in the contest.

“The song is amazing, it sounds very much like a Bond song. You could see it at the beginning of Casino Royale. And judging by rehearsals, she is going to walk away with it because her voice is fantastic, she’s got the gimmicks there for Eurovision and the song is just perfect, it just lifts the roof and the crowd are going to go wild!”

Dom McDonough (right) and his brother Patrick compete in a series of cultural and adrenalin-charged challenges in RV Rampage on Monday 26 May at 9pm on Travel Channel (Freeview 42, Freesat 405, Sky 252, Virgin 288)