ESC 2022: The Big Five

Given that I’ve already reviewed the two semis, I might as well give some brief thoughts on the five countries already in the grand final, in running order.

This years folk-electro track is one of the more frantic performances of the evening — it’s more or less the same as the national final, without some of those camera shakes. There’s certain nothing like it this year, but I’m worried that it will be lost in a first half full of heavy hitters.

Early favourites, over taken by certain events and other songs, but still a chance. I’m not sure about some of the staging: Blanco getting on the piano in the video was cool, on stage it seems forced. Either he starts on there or just leave him with Mahmood.

A fan favourite from day one, especially those who still mourn the loss of “Fuego” in the 2018 contest, this relies mostly on the choreography, although Chanel’s vocals are still pretty good given how much she moves about. The chorus of this song always let it down in my opinion, but I can’t deny that this is going to do very well and it deserves to.

The staging for this has turned out better than I thought it would, creating the atmosphere of a dusty band room as Malik walks around “playing” various instruments to build up the backing track. Ultimately, it was never a huge favourite and now that it’s after Ukraine in the running order, I suspect it will be forgotten.

While I am delighted to see the UK finally sending in a competitive song with a fantastic ambassador for the UK and Eurovision in Sam Ryder, I am not entirely sold by this performance. Yes, it will do well, but at times I think Sam over-sings it a bit by adding vocal flourishes, and the guitar solo in the end feels messy. Overall though, it’s the best UK entry in a very long time, and its momentum has grown to the point where a top 5 result seems not just possible, but increasingly likely.