After two thrilling semi-finals this week, we now know the finalists through to tomorrow night’s Eurovision Grand Final. We’ve picked out five New East tracks worth listening out (and maybe even voting) for.
Belarus, NAVIBAND, Story of My Life
Representing Belarus in Kiev will be indie-folk pop duo NAVIBAND with Story of My Life (Historyja Majho Zyccia). Whether they win or not, NAVIBAND will have made history — their song will be the first ever Eurovision entry to be performed in the Belarusian language. A treat for the both the eyes and the ears, the jolly pair are decked out in a kind of folk-bridal-hipster combo. This is the second time Artem Lukyanenko and Ksenia Zhuk have tried to represent Belarus at Eurovision, having placed fourth in the national final last year.
Bulgaria, Kristian Kostov, Beautiful Mess
The youngest of this year’s contestants, and the first ever Eurovision entrant to be born in the 21st century, Kristian Kostov was one of the big pre-contest favourites. His song Beautiful Mess is a dramatic ballad with a contemporary pop touch, and definitely one to keep your eye on — what’s more, the singer wrote the track himself. The Bulgarian-Russian singer could well benefit from Russia’s withdrawal from the contest, picking up some of the votes that might have gone to Russia’s banned entrant, Yulia Samoylova.
Moldova, Sunstroke Project, Hey Mamma
If there’s a song that will get you dancing come the Eurovision final, this is it. This is the second bite of the Eurovision cherry for Sunstroke Project, who represented Moldova back in 2010. Something tells us that tomorrow night will see the group do a little better than their hard fought 22nd place in 2010. Come for the dubious saxophone playing, stay for the signature leg move, leave confused by the many women in wedding dresses.
Romania, Ilinca feat. Alex Florea, Yodel It!
Romania are making a comeback, having been disqualified from last year’s contest after national broadcaster TVR failed to pay its debts to the European Broadcasting Union. This year they are represented by duo Ilinca and Alex Florea, notable for their unusual combination of (pretty slow) rap and, you guessed it, yodelling. If that’s not enough to get you to tune in, you can also look forward to some inexplicable cannons gracing the stage.
Croatia, Jacques Houdek, My Friend
In a word: confusing. A big name in his native Croatia, Jacques Houdek hopes to enthrall the Eurovision audience with his rendition of surreal genre-mixing track My Friend. But, just who is this friend? Spoiler alert: it’s Jacques himself! His performance sees him sing half the song in a pop style, and the other as an opera singer, creating a perplexing yet hopeful narrative centred on diversity. Just in case the message wasn’t entirely clear, a huge rainbow shines over the stage at the end of the song.
Will one of our New East hopefuls take home the Eurovision trophy? Tune in to the Grand Final live from Kiev on Saturday night to find out.