Eurovision 2022 Frontrunners: What Are Their Odds And Are They Any Good?

today13 May 2022 1

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We’ve got our scoreboards ready, the flag bunting is hung up and our nearest and dearest have been told under no circumstances are they to contact us from 8pm onwards… yes, the Eurovision Song Contest is almost upon us.

Now the two semi-finals are behind us, we’re ready for the main event, with everything from Euro-bangers and heartbreaking ballads to dancing wolves and some throwback noughties rock to keep us entertained on Saturday night.

Just two questions remain now. Who are the frontrunners? And are they any good?

Well, wonder no longer, as we round up our ones to watch at this year’s Eurovision, our verdicts on their competing songs and even their winning odds (via Betfair)…

Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

Representing: Ukraine

Odds: 8/15

Our verdict: For obvious reasons, Ukraine is the odds-on favourite to be crowned this year’s Eurovision winners, and between traditional imagery of Ukrainian beauty showcased on stage mixed with the band’s passionate performance, this one is sure to pack an emotional punch on the Turin stage.

It’s worth noting, though, that even outside of the context of the tragedies still ongoing in Ukraine, the Kalush Orchestra’s offering would still be one of the strongest of the year (hardly surprising, given Ukraine always deliver something remarkable at Eurovision, one way or another).

Like Go_A last year, the group have taken traditional elements of Ukrainian music and put a contemporary twist on them by including rap verses and electronic instruments, while including a message of maternal love that transcends language barriers. And while it’s pretty much a dead cert that the public will be showing their support for Ukraine at Eurovision with their votes – the question remains whether the juries will be doing the same.

Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi

Representing: Italy

Our verdict: In a year that’s actually pretty heavy on ballads, this passionate tune between returning star Mahmood (who came in second place with Soldi back in 2019) and Italian musician Blanco (primarily known as a rapper in his home country, interestingly enough) stands out for the sheer drama that it delivers on.

Sung entirely in Italian, the two musicians swap lines about the difficulties of a turbulent romance over the course of the lush and orchestral track, and their voices sound really beautiful together.

Brividi has already had huge success in Italy, and impressively landed among the five most-played songs on Spotify worldwide when it was first released, so it’s undoubtedly one to keep an eye out for.

If they do win, Italy will become the first country to triumph at Eurovision two years in a row since Ireland back in the early 90s (when they pulled off the still-amazing triple win).

Sam Ryder – Space Man

Representing: UK

Our verdict: After last year’s result, we didn’t think we’d be seeing the UK so far up the list of potential winners any time soon – but that’s the power of a good song (not to mention the power of a UK representative who understands Eurovision as much as Sam Ryder seems to).

This year a number of the favourites have leaned into traditional elements from the country they’re representing, which is kind of what Sam has done with his lyrical and musical nods to Queen, David Bowie and Elton John – who he told HuffPost UK were his “holy trinity” of British musicians – within Space Man.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Sam has also put in the leg-work when it comes to promoting his track. As he put it: “We wanted to make sure that no matter what happens at the end of this, we can look back and say ‘we didn’t leave any stone unturned’. We went everywhere, we sang on street corners, we did TV promo in countries where the UK entrant has never gone before.

“We paid respect to the actual institution of Eurovision, because the fans deserve that. And I think that’s also your responsibility.”

And while we can’t say we’re 100% convinced Space Man is a winning track, we’re still backing Sam all the way, and can’t wait to see if his hard work pays off on the night.

Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

Representing: Sweden

Our verdict: We’re going to be completely candid and say we’ve been obsessed with Hold Me Closer since Cornelia’s first performance at Melodifestivalen way back in February, and we’re over the moon that the whole world is going to get a chance to fall in love with this song.

Sweden has become known for sending undeniable bangers like Benjamin Ingrosso’s Dance You Off, Måns Zelmerlöw’s Heroes and, of course, the iconic Euphoria by Loreen. It’s interesting, then, that this year’s offering is a ballad, particularly one as straight-up heartbreaking as Hold Me Closer, on which a downcast Cornelia sings about an inevitable break-up.

There’s still enough here to keep your average pop fan interested, though, including the slow build-up of Cornelia’s passionate delivery and the mix of organic instruments and electronics on the production – even if it doesn’t have you up dancing around the sofa.

One way it does hark back to some of Sweden’s greatest Eurovision stars, though, is the simplicity of both the track and its staging, which we can only imagine will help the message of the song really shine through on the Turin stage.

Amanda Tenfjord – Die Together

Representing: Greece

Odds: 20/1

Our verdict: Anyone who thinks Eurovision is about cramming as many gimmicks and elaborate costumes into a three-minute space as possible needs to take a listen to what Greece is serving up this year.

Mixing the sounds of Lorde, Billie Eilish and Imogen Heap with a touch of Olivia Rodrigo, Amanda Tenfjord’s emotional tune Die Together is almost completely acapella for a full minute, with the sparse production letting her heartbreaking lyrics really resonate, and the build-up that comes later feel all the more satisfying.

Quite how this will translate to the big Eurovision stage remains to be seen, but if she can pull it off (and she gets a decent spot on the running order, so she doesn’t blend too much into the other ballads on the night), Amanda could definitely be onto a winner.

Chanel – Slo Mo

Representing: Spain

Odds: 18/1

Our verdict: If you’re tuning in to Eurovision for bangers and/or a full visual production, then trust us when we say that this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Chanel is serving us a fully bilingual bop here, complete with full choreography and that rare thing of beauty that is a Eurovision dance break just for good measure.

In a year that’s relatively low on upbeat numbers, SloMo may well be just what people need as a palate cleanser after a string of ballads and midtempo tunes, and we definitely think it’s going to make people sit up and pay attention. There are obvious comparisons to be made to Eleni Foureira’s Fuego here, but this is far from a retread of what we’ve already seen at the competition.

Between Spain, Italy and the UK, the big five are really bringing it this year, and we defy anyone not to be dancing along with Chanel by the finish (even if our armchair moves are somewhat less impressive than hers).

Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

Representing: Norway

Odds: 50/1

Our verdict: Well, there always has to be some element of novelty at Eurovision, doesn’t there?

Norway’s entry is definitely one of the year’s most controversial, thanks in no small part to its borderline-nonsensical lyrics, including lines like “not sure you have a name, so I will call you Keith”, “if you don’t like the name Keith I’ma call you Jim” and the earworm chorus: “Before that wolf eats my grandma give that wolf a banana”.

Alrighty then.

Completing the ridiculousness are Subwoolfer’s bright yellow wolf costumes and their accompanying dance routine which, in what we’re sure is no accident, is totally TikTok-ready.

It might all seem like a bit of silly fun, but Subwoolfer are genuine contenders – and they’ve got the Spotify streams to prove it, so we definitely wouldn’t count them out just yet.

Oh, and for any millennial pop fans out there, that’s Ben Adams (the one with the curtains from 90s boyband A1) underneath one of those masks.

Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano

Representing: Serbia

Odds: 80/1

Our verdict: Another of the year’s more unusual offerings is this folksy number from Serbian singer-songwriter Konstrakta. At first glance, there’s not a great deal to this song or its performance, aside from Konstrakta giving her hands a scrub while surrounded by some fairly intimidating backing singers.

It’s only when you give the lyrics a run through Google translate you realise there’s a bit more going on than you might realise.

“What’s the secret to Meghan Markle’s healthy hair?” Konstrakta sings at the beginning of the song, before referencing everything from “an enlarged spleen”, the “autonomic nervous system” and walking the dog on a summer’s day, which suffice to say has left a lot of room for interpretation, with fans online offering their own theories about exactly what the lyrics might mean.

In fact, the song seems to deal with the importance placed on good physical health and traditional beauty at the expense of mental health, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Rasmus – Jezebel

Representing: Finland

Odds: 100/1

Our verdict: Rock has always had its place on the Eurovision stage, whether that’s the heavy metal stylings of Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah or the more contemporary stylings of Måneskin. This year, The Rasmus are taking up the rock mantle on behalf of Finland, with their tune Jezebel.

It’s a total throwback to the emo era of the 2000s, and also happens to be catchy as hell. We’ll admit we don’t quite see it among the big hitters like Italy, Ukraine and Sweden – but it’s bound to score a few votes from anyone who spent their teenage years rocking out in their bedroom to In The Shadows.

The Eurovision Song Contest final airs live on Saturday night at 8pm on BBC One.

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