What should you look out for at the Eurovision 2019 final, when should you go to the toilet, and which country has the best lyrics? Scott Bryan investigates…

From Iceland's BDSM synth-trio to Australia's epic aerial performance, our RadioTimes.com columnist talks us through his approach to a long, long night of singing and dancing

Iceland Eurovision 2019

Want to know the exact right time to go for a loo break during the Eurovision Song Contest? You’ve come to the right place.

Advertisement

I’ve watched every single performance ahead of Saturday’s final to make this guide to what you should be looking out for. And if you think this looks extensive, last year I made a spreadsheet. And you do not want to read that spreadsheet.

An overview:

Performances that are worth your time: Czech Republic (3), San Marino (7), The Netherlands (12), Norway (15), Iceland (17), Switzerland (24) and Australia (25)

I want less than seven performances please: SAN MARINO AND ICELAND, THEN.

Best lyrics of the night: Albania (“Each day you look in view of death”), San Marino (“On a doctor’s order, please say na na na”) and Iceland (“The hangover is endless. Life is meaningless”)

You quite like Iceland then, don’t you? I-C-E-L-A-N-D!

Here’s everything in order:


1. MALTA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.17.24

Entry: Chameleon by Michela

Best Lyric: “Inside a box, I’ll find my way out” / “Chama-chameleon”

When I looked at my notes long after watching this being performed in the semi-finals, I realised that under the country of Malta I had failed to write anything down.

Great start.

And much like a chameleon, this song practically blends into the rest of the competition.


2. ALBANIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.20.04

Entry: Ktheju Tokës by Jonida Maliqi

Best Lyric: “Each day you look in view of death”

This is our first song of the contest that is not in the English language.

It is also the one where you have really no idea what is going on, but you know that it’s probably quite serious because everyone looks very serious here and there’s a lot of fire, so you just quietly sit and nod in agreement.


3. CZECH REPUBLIC (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.21.45

Entry: Friend of a Friend by Lake Malawi

Best Lyric: “There’s someone sliding up and down the ceiling”

BANGER ALERT!

A performance that feels as if you have just swallowed an entire packet of 45p own-branded sweets from Sainsbury’s, this is the second year in a row that the Czech Republic has done it: make me develop a doomed crush on the lead singer and proceed to follow him for an entire year on Instagram.

It’s also quite noticeable that the song sounds exceptionally Cockney in some parts. “She was my neighbour when we were thirteen” raps the lead singer, Albert, sounding as if he went to the Dick Van Dyke school of British accents.

Does it make much sense? No. Then again, neither did last year’s entry, the lead singer turning his back to us, gyrating whilst wearing and singing about his backpack.


4. GERMANY (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.24.08

Entry: Sister by S!sters

Best Lyric: “I’m sorry / Sorry for the drama / I tried to steal your thunder / Turns out I don’t wanna”

It was only after watching this performance about two sisters and doing some Googling that I realised that they aren’t actually sisters. Thus ends my review.


5. RUSSIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.28.53

Entry: Scream by Sergey Lazarev

Best Lyric: “They scream (Scream, they scream)” / “They scream (Oh, oh)”

This is the “I’m in a glass box full of emotion” entry, one that for some reason reminds me of the scene where Will Ferrell goes AWOL in a phone box during Anchorman. You’re also not allowed to have more than six performers on-stage during any Eurovision song, so what Russia has done here is copy and paste the same man on stage nine times. Well done everyone.


6. DENMARK (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.32.10

Entry: Love is Forever by Leonara

Best Lyric: “Come over my long lost friend, and work on a happy end”

The world’s biggest chair, a ladder and a song with lyrics so soft that it must be protected.

Quite the contrast between Iceland’s BDSM performance later. I really hope that this and the BDSM entry never get stuck alone in a lift together.


7. SAN MARINO (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.35.26

Entry: Say Na Na Na by Serhat

Best Lyric: “On a doctor’s order, please say na na na”

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

PUT YOUR SUBTITLES ON ALERT!

“There are so many jaw-dropping moments in this semi-final, some incredible performances… and San Marino” said Scott Mills during the first semi-final on Tuesday. And oh boy, he was not exaggerating. “Say Na Na Na” sounds as if it is being sung three octaves lower than it ever should. There are also (and yes I have counted this for you) 93 mentions of the word “Na.”

Getting through to the final is quite an achievement when you take into consideration that San Marino is a country with the population smaller than the city of Salisbury. Oh and when you consider that this song is well… well, it’s not very good, is it. When it was announced by the show hosts during the semi-finals on Tuesday that they had qualified for the final, BBC4 itself fell over and didn’t come back on again for about five minutes. Coincidence? I think not.

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.36.40


8. NORTH MACEDONIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.42.17

Entry: Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl

Best Lyric: “Go on now, tell them / Raise your voice and say it loudly / Show them / What it means to stand up proudly”

POTENTIAL LOO BREAK!

Still recovering from San Marino. Sorry.


9. SWEDEN (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.46.34

Entry: Too Late For Love by John Lundvik

Best Lyric: “Is it too late for love? / Mhm”

TOTAL BANGER ALERT!

Yes, this song sounds as if it was copied and pasted from The Voice, but I will allow it. It is a total banger. Imagine if Sweden win also. It means that Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede, the greatest hosts Eurovision has ever had in its 63 year history, would likely be the competition hosts again. And it would also mean that we will witness something close to the greatest interval performance of all time, which they did last time.

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.51.11


Who is representing the UK at Eurovision 2019?


10. SLOVENIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.53.04

Entry: Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl

Best Lyric: “When a leaf goes with the wind and resists it / I go with the flow and resist it”

POTENTIAL LOO BREAK SONG!

This is not a typical still from the Slovenian performance. This is the Slovenian performance.

They do not move from this position the entire time. It’s like you’re accidentally on a date with some people pretending to be The XX and you’re the absolute third wheel, which results in you looking at the wine menu for the fourth time in only five minutes.


11. CYPRUS (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.55.55

Entry: Replay by Tamta

Best Lyric: ‘Replay, replay, replay, yeah (yeah yeah)”

Important disclaimer: I would just like to inform you that Cyprus is not saying “shitting her body” during her performance. She is in fact saying “Them sheets need my body”

I checked the lyrics.

And no, those aren’t technical problems in the middle of it. Your television has not broken.

That’s also intentional.


12. THE NETHERLANDS (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 12.59.12

Entry: Arcade by Duncan Laurence

Best Lyric: “Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh”

BANGER ALERT!

This has been tipped to win, even though you might not see it as a typical Eurovision bop. Whether or not it stands out in a sea of ridiculousness is anyone’s guess.


13. GREECE (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.01.25

Entry: Better Love by Katerine Duska

Best Lyric: “No pain, no gain”

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

This is a rather eclectic mix of a) swordplay and b) giant balls. Unfortunately, they do not come into contact with each other and a lot of the performance seems like they are making it up as they go along. Also, after watching this I am rather tempted to start yoga again for some reason.


14. ISRAEL (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.49.29

Entry: Better Love by Katerine Duska

Best Lyric: “No pain, no gain”

Not sure we are coming back to Israel next year.


15. NORWAY (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.51.45

Entry: Spirit in the Sky by KEiiNO

Lyrics: “He-lo e loi-la. Čajet dan čuovgga”

BANGER ALERT!

PUT YOUR SUBTITLES ON ALERT!

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

Nope that isn’t the guy from Aqua (I Googled). Neither is it a cover of the Gareth Gate record (I Googled). This is instead a proper cheeky banger, featuring lyrics that are in the Northern Sami language, and some of the best subtitles you will see this evening.


16. UNITED KINGDOM (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.53.02

Entry: Bigger than Us by Michael Rice

Best Lyric: It’s bigger (Bigger) / Bigger (Bigger) /  Bigger (It’s bigger than, it’s bigger than) /  Oh, it’s bigger (Bigger) / Bigger (Bigger) / Bigger (It’s bigger than, it’s bigger than)

Good luck!


17. ICELAND (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.55.15

Entry: Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari

Best Lyric: “The hangover is endless. Life is meaningless. The void will get us all”

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

You might have heard about this year’s BDSM entry. Iceland’s Hatari, whose aim as a band is too overthrow capitalism (same). It was first performed during Tuesday’s semi-final at approximately 9pm, on BBC4. I was hoping that someone who did not realise that Eurovision was on had inadvertently switched onto the channel at that time, expecting a doc about canals but got this.

Hatari have used every opportunity to protest against Israel, so expect it to be a big talking point on the night if they do as well as anticipated.


18. ESTONIA (watch here)

Entry: Storm by Victor Crone

Best Lyric: “All my life I’ve wondered why I keep fighting all the tides”

POTENTIAL LOO BREAK

In the first ten seconds of his song, you see Victor playing with a guitar. Five seconds later, his guitar completely disappears.

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.58.30

Did he drop it?

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 13.59.59

Well, no. Because at the end of the performance he starts playing a guitar out of nowhere again.

And if you think that sounds underwhelming, wait until you see it.


19. BELARUS (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.00.44

Entry: Say Na Na Na by Serhat

Best Lyric: “Yes, you gonna like it. / Yes, you gonna like it”

I didn’t.


Why isn’t Ukraine competing in Eurovision 2019?


20. AZERBAIJAN (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.02.55

Entry: Truth by Chingiz

Best Lyric: “I’m in the mirror / So freaking bitter”

No, he is not being possessed. Nor is the background triangle the logo for Gladiators. And no, those aren’t the robots from the end of the Black Mirror “San Junipero” episode.

And that still isn’t Photoshopped. That actually happened.


21. FRANCE (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.06.00

Entry: Roi by Bilal Hassani

Best Lyric: “And I know-oh-oh-ow / Even though-oh-oh-oh”

A lovely little bop about tolerance and overcoming the odds.

That’s it really.


22. ITALY (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.08.06

Entry: Soldi by Mahmood

Best Lyric: “Penso più veloce per capire se domani tu mi fregherai”

One of those performances that you might not think that much of at the time but when it starts to do really well during the televoting you turn to the person next to you and go “oh I knew that was going to do well.” You’re also quite drunk by this point so half of the performances are blending into one.


23. SERBIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.08.54

Entry: Kruna by Nevena Božović

Best Lyric: “The night is long”

The lyric above there is very much an understatement when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Not sung in English, this is a cheeky little ballad with staging that looks quite a lot like the Black Mirror logo. It’s also one of those songs during the Eurovision great to boil a kettle to.


24. SWITZERLAND (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.11.31

Entry: She Got Me by Luca Hänni

Best Lyric: “Turnin’ heads and turnin’ up / Breakin’ necks, she breakin’ cups”

BANGER ALERT!

Never will you see so many different shades of red over the course of three minutes. The colour red appears in waves, a bit like when you get more ink for your printer and it does some test prints to check whether the cartridge is properly aligned.


25. AUSTRALIA (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.16.08

Entry: Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke

Best Lyric:  “I’m going where there’s ze-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ero.”

Worth your time: OH MY GOD yes.

POTENTIAL BANGER ALERT!

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

PUT YOUR SUBTITLES ON ALERT!

Quite honestly, this is one of my favourite Eurovision performances of all time. I am not exaggerating. It is so dramatic, so ridiculous, so quirky, so left-field, yet meaningful, powerful and unforgettable. You witness lead singer Kate Miller-Heidke, along with a couple of backing singers, attached to several poles, floating in circles above the stage.

Towards the end of the performance everything goes hell for leather, the circles getting so large and dramatic with them all on top, whilst singing, you can’t help but look away. It feels as if they are going to develop into one of those circus spinning plate tricks.

Also remember, if Australia do win the competition (and they have come close on several occasions), there’s a chance we could host next year’s competition… for Australia.


26. SPAIN (watch here)

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 14.20.58

Entry: La Venda by Miki

Best Lyric: “Lo que ere, lo que ere, ere, ere, e”

WTF PERFORMANCE ALERT!

And lo, we end the night with the typical Eurovision theme of “we built a replica house.”

My favourite part of the performance is when the lead singer takes a GoPro of the audience, then whilst dancing, passes it to the person behind him who in turn carefully places it on the floor.


The Eurovision Song Contest will be held on Saturday May 18th 2019

Advertisement

Coverage in the UK is on on BBC1, hosted by Graham Norton, from 8pm until 11:40pm