After months of build-up and weeks of rehearsals, the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is finally here. Tonight at 21:00 CET, 41 countries will shimmy and shake on stage in Tel Aviv, Israel. But only one will slay hard enough to snatch the crown. As they slip into their tightest trousers and warm up their wind machines, we thought we’d take a moment to walk you through what’s about to go down. So grab your painkillers and your noise-cancelling headphones — and let’s do this!
Malta: Michela Pace – “Chameleon”
Michela rose to fame on the inaugural edition of X Factor Malta earlier this year. The 18-year-old comes with one of the most technologically advanced performances of the year. Her team uses several projectors and digital mapping to magically transport her through a variety of settings — bedroom, seascape, jungle, desert and more.
Chameleons are reptiles known for changing colour according to their mood, and the theme of colour is very prominent here. The first verse is laden with colour metaphors: “I’m bluer than the ocean, I’m golden like the rising sun and, I’m red with hot emotion”. The pre-chorus then takes the song to a place of empowerment. “And when they try to hold me down, inside a box I’ll find my way out,” she sings. That spirit of perseverance continues in the chorus where Michela expresses her doggedness and determination. “When life brings me trouble this I know, I never walk away na-na….We are technicolour watch us go, we never walk away na-na”.
It’s a lively and luscious mix, building to an infectious and catchy drop. Say it with me now: “Chama-chameleon!”
The post-chorus continues a strong theme of empowerment and adaptability, detailing all the adversities Michela will overcome and the opportunities she will seize. “Give me water I’m a swimmer, Give me fire I’m a fighter, Give me love I’ll be your lover”. True girl power. Combined with the tropical theme of the music video, it paints a brilliant picture. We all know Michela has strong stage presence, and with youthful energy on her side, this could make for an unforgettable extravaganza in Tel Aviv.
Fun fact: Singing for Michela is a full-body experience. She says that when she starts singing “it’s as if my voice takes over my entire being… Aretha Franklin once said that you sing soul with your whole body. I know exactly what she means”.
Memorable lyrics: “When they try to hold me down, inside a box, I’ll find my way out”
Albania: Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”
If Game of Thrones ever launched an Albanian spin-off, Jonida would be in the running to play khalissi. Her Albanian-language number channels mystery and mysticism as she calls on Albanian emigres to “return to the land.” In the performance Jonida is Mother Albania calling on her far-flung people to remember what they left behind. And if they watch her performance they’ll see a nest on fire. Its flames represent the passion she has for her people — but also the pain of separation.
As wiwiblogger Robyn writes: “‘Ktheju tokës’ has a very specific audience, aimed at Albanian emigrants. It might seem like the song risks shutting off anyone outside that demographic, but the strength and emotion of the song is far reaching. The driving percussion (with echos of Phil Spector’s iconic “wall of sound” production style) and urgent horns transcend nationalities, and Jonida delivers the message with heart. There’s no doubt ‘Ktheju tokës’ will make an impact.”
Fun fact: Jonida runs the most exclusive fashion boutique in Albania. It stocks countless luxury brands, often with exclusivity agreements, making Jonida synonymous with fashion and style. House of Jonida? Let us in!
Memorable lyrics: “Return to your land, you know there is a heart waiting for you”
Czech Republic: Lake Malawi – “Friend of a Friend”
“Friend of a Friend” tells the story of a guy reminiscing over his teenage crush. She’s moved on but apparently he hasn’t. The band stands inside a series of frames that mirrored the Instagram Stories frame. They’re performing in real time and it really shows. Inside those frames they jump and jive, rock and dip. Insta is used to store memories and this narrative comes through: boy loves girl, boy and girl grow up, boy and girl grow distant. Sad face.
Albert’s stage presence is undeniable. His connection with the audience is palpable and he seems to stare straight through the camera and into viewers’ eyes. His dancing is awkward — no doubt. But it actually fits perfectly with the performance and the spirit of an indie band. He’s got razor-sharp cheekbones to boot.
Fun fact: African lake, you ask? Yes. Lake Malawi chose their band name after a lyric in the Bon Iver song “Calgary”. Lead singer Albert was staying with friends in Prague and saw Lake Malawi on the map.
Memorable lyrics: “There’s not much between us now, do you know what I mean?
Germany: S!sters – “Sister”
S!siters — that’s a deliberate exclamation point — consist of Laura Kästel and Carlotta Truman. The latter was the runner-up on The Voice Kids in Germany in 2014 and the former has provided backing vocals for Eurovision 2010 winner Lena during her nationwide tour. As the opening lines make clear, the song stems from the conflicts that emerge between women and the tendency for some ladies to shove their sisters down. As one of the early verses goes: “I’m tired, tired of competing, I tried to hold you under, but honey, you kept breathing.”
Canadian songwriter Laurell explained the meaning behind the song to us in Berlin shortly after the national final.
“It’s at large about women who, aren’t necessarily related, but who may feel intimidated or just thrown down by each other. It’s about making space for each other in the workplace and in life and in society. There’s room for all of us to be strong and powerful if that’s what we want to be.”
Fun fact: The duo were a late addition to the ULFI line-up, that’s because NDR struggled to find two singers to fit the song. However, both Carlotta and Laurita were already on their radar. Carlotta had applied for this year’s process with Carlotta & The Truman Show, ranking 53rd out of 1,000 with the Eurovision jury. Laurita had entered the year previously as part of a trio called Diamonds, alongside her sister and another singer. Producers worked with multiple singers, but ultimately felt Carlotta and Laurita were the best match. Thus, S!sters was born.
Memorable lyrics: “I see flames in your eyes. Damn they burn so bright”
Russia: Sergey Lazarev – “Scream”
The text plays on the intensity of tears — which can burn and leave us out of breath. Tears may run clear, but Sergey knows they carry with them the regrets, fear and pain we all inevitably experience. As he sings: “Maybe they can’t be heard or seen, but tears aren’t quiet things, they scream.” At one point Sergey sounds as if he’s trying to maintain composure as he waits for someone to avert their eyes: “Though my throat is on fire, my eyes will be liars, and they’ll try to stay drier, until you turn away…”
Sergey, Russia’s third highest-paid pop star according to Fortune, has spared no expense. His high-tech show features a series of panels that represent various visions of himself as he attempts to overcome deep-seated fears. Naturally he does so by screaming.
Fun fact: We all know that this year is Sergey’s second attempt at winning Eurovision since his last participation in 2016. But Sergey once had his sights set as a champion gymnast. From 1988 until 1993, he participated in and won several local competitions as a child. Shortly before taking to the international stage, he suffered a leg injury and was forced to quit the sport.
Memorable lyrics: “Echoes, rivers of loneliness hitting the walls of my heart”
Denmark: Leonora – “Love Is Forever”
Love is forever — but Leonora’s song is only three minutes. And in that time she takes us on a jaunty, feel-good trip across Europe, skilfully weaving between English, French, German and Danish. The song has a distinct Parisian vibe — there is romance, insouciance and a great deal of heart — yet it somehow feels universal. She speaks in clichés, no doubt, but it’s a language we can all understand. And boy: never has mounting a massive chair been so magical! She doesn’t just navigate the heights. She also weaves through English, French, Danish and German.
Fun fact: Leonora was a two-time Danish national junior champion in ladies’ singles figure skating (2015-2016), as well as a national junior champion in ice dancing in 2017. She also competed on the international stage, making appearances for Denmark at the ISU Junior Grand Prix at Riga Cup 2015 in Riga, Latvia and the 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.
Memorable lyrics: “Why we make it tough? The world has had enough. Don’t get too political!
San Marino: Serhat – “Say Na Na Na”
Broadcaster SMRTV internally selected the Turkish crooner Serhat Hacıpaşalıoğlu, who previously represented San Marino at Eurovision 2016. He’s a former dentist who went on to host the Turkish version of Jeopardy. Less of a singer and more of a talker, he often sounds as if he’s just talking about the backing track.
To many, his song “Say Na Na Na” will read as schmaltzy, cheesy, cliché, predictable….and absolutely perfect. This is the mystery and madness of “Say Na Na Na” — a so-so song that is brought to life by the loveable and charming Serhat. If anyone else sang this I’d press skip. But the song fits so perfectly with Serhat — a bundle of positive energy who commands attention and elicits a smile. I can’t take my eyes off of him
Fun fact: In 2017, Serhat released a remix of his first Eurovision song “I Didn’t Know”, with guest vocals from disco diva Martha Wash. The song went on to reach No.25 in the United States on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. The chart isn’t based on sales, but it is a sign that “I Didn’t Know” was being played in the nightclubs and discotheques of the US. Shake it, shake it, y’all.
Memorable lyrics: “Who cares if you’re outta love? It happens every day.”
North Macedonia: Tamara Todevska – “Proud”
Tamara will sing the song “Proud”, which she says is meant for anyone who’s ever been told to put their head down. It is, Tamara says, a rallying cry for women and girls to know their worth. On paper that may create a sad, serious world where being female is just the worst thing. And, in the words of wiwiblogger Robyn, “it’s up to women and girls to get themselves out of this shitebox.” But when you hear Tamara deliver the song — with her resonant voice and that look — you can’t help but fall for her sincerity and conviction.
Fun fact: Tel Aviv won’t be the first time Tamara has hit the Eurovision stage. In fact, it will be her fourth appearance at the contest. She’s never made the final. In 2009 she did make the Top 10 in her semi, but owing to a now obsolete rule the juries were allowed to drop her. They replaced her with Sweden’s Charlotte Perrelli.
Memorable lyrics: “Have no fear, the power lies in you. Shine your light, go and break the rules”
Sweden – John Lundvik – “Too Late For Love”
Sweden has taken a slight detour from their run of overproduced male pop songs, and infused a bit soul and gospel flavour this year. Eurofans will inevitably compare this to Austria’s entry from 2018, which placed third with the juries. But this goes even higher owing to highly effective golden lights and “The Mamas” — John’s quartet of singers from the United States, Eritrea and Sweden. This is a showcase of diversity — and one with a spiritual feel.
Fun fact: Back in the day, John was a competitive runner, winning a total of eight gold Swedish-national medals. His focus has now shifted to music (though the physique remains). His song has already topped the Swedish charts.
Memorable lyrics: “I could be the sun that lights your dark. Is it too late for love?”
Slovenia: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – “Sebi”
The duo’s on-stage chemistry gives away the song’s meaning: this is all about the close connection between two people. It could be an intimate or familial relationship or just a friendship. Regardless of the nature of that bond, it’s deep and the pair will be damned if you can break it. For these two it’s very clearly a relationship of the romantic sort — and one showcased through intimate staging. The audience disappears as Zala and Gasper stare into each other’s eyes.
The rhythm and flow of Slovenian carries mystery and intrigue for non-native speakers. You feel it in “Ko so tvoje misli polne/ lahko poslušaš, kako mi bije srce/ ko težko je tvoje breme/ k meni se lahko zatečeš”. Unpack the meaning and you’ll discover a symbiotic relationship, where stress and strain pass from one to the other — as does the strength to carry on: “When your mind is full/ You can listen to my heart beating/ When your burden is heavy/ You can take refuge in me”
Fun fact: The duo first met on Instagram where Gašper stumbled across Zala and her covers. At the time, Gašper was searching for a vocalist for the song “Valovi”. Upon hearing Zala’s soft ethereal voice, he knew he had found the right singer. At first, Zala was credited as a featuring artist. However, as of April 2018, the duo as we know it today formed and signed a contract with Universal Music Slovenia.
Memorable lyrics: “You can’t always see the stars, just stay true to who you are”
Cyprus: Tamta – “Replay”
The Georgian-born singer is one of the biggest stars in Greece. So it’s only natural that she comes with one of the most radio-friendly tracks of the year.“Replay” hits you like a sledgehammer to the face first thing in the morning. The impact is immediate, intense and lasting. It was hard enough to think straight after the first listen and now five-hundred or so in it sends me wild every single time. Tamta has star power, stagecraft and presence. The song crackles with energy, purpose and promise. Cyprus used to be middle of the pack: now the she-wolf is firmly out of the closet. My mind is stuck on replay! In our interview here in Tel Aviv, Tamta revealed that she dislocated her vertebrae just a few weeks ago. She worried that she wouldn’t manage to dance at Eurovision. But our girl is now firmly back in her heels!
Fun fact: When Tamta moved to Greece from Georgia as a teenager, she earned a living by doing housekeeping work. A family she was housekeeping for encouraged her to audition for Super Idol, which helped Tamta secure permanent residency in Greece before placing second on the show. A star was born.
Memorable lyrics: “My heart beats like an 808, you need my love on replay”
Netherlands: Duncan Laurence – “Arcade”
Born Duncan De Moor, the openly bisexual singer competed on The Voice of Holland in 2014, joining Eurovision alumni Ilse DeLange’s team. Duncan and Ilse stayed in contact in subsequent years, and she later suggested he send “Arcade” to be considered for Eurovision.
The song uses the metaphor of an arcade to define love, which he refers to as a “losing game”. He compares addiction to video games as being similar to an addiction to love (“I spent all of the love I’ve saved, we were always a losing game, small town boy in a big arcade, I got addicted to a losing game”).
The first verse describes the feelings of hopelessness that come from a lost love – “a broken heart is all that’s left, I’m still fixing all the cracks, lost a couple of pieces when I carried it, carried it, carried it home”. As the song progresses, however, Duncan portrays himself as the author of his own heartache — “I saw the end fore it begun, still I carried, I carried, I carry on” — and resolves to move on. As he sings: “I don’t need your games, game over, get me off this roller coaster”.
The lyrics are incredibly powerful, and all the more so with Duncan’s commanding, earnest voice. It’s easy to see why this is so hotly tipped. Songs born of personal experience are often the most universal of all.
What’s up with the IKEA lamp that descends from the sky? It’s a symbol of hope, but also love that’s just out of reach.
Fun fact: While his song “Arcade” is slowly gaining traction in the Dutch charts, Duncan can already call himself a number one songwriter… in South Korea! He co-wrote a song called “Closer”. It was recorded by the K-pop duo TVQX and featured on their album New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love. The record debuted at the highest position in the South Korean charts.
Memorable lyrics: “Small town boy in a big arcade. I got addicted to a losing game”
Greece: Katerine Duska – “Better Love”
Greece has internally selected the Canadian-Greek singer Katerine Duska. The “Better Love” lyrics are powerful, and don’t shy away from the intensity — and dare we say “madness” — that comes with love. Katerine speaks of all-consuming feelings — the “burning feeling inside” — and learning to deal with the heat. Yes, there’s pain, but there’s also gain. Sometimes you have to burn to be reborn.
The theme works on multiple levels. For some the song will no doubt reflect the sensation of diving into an intense relationship. For others the text may resonate for invoking the adversity within a relationship. At times she’s “holding on for dear life” and she simply can’t hide it. There’s even a case to be made for tensions stirred by those outside the relationship. As she sings: “Let them look, don’t know, don’t care, go deep with me.”
She brings those themes to life by singing in front of a giant Faberge egg (which some have compared to a condom) and with an LED lotus flower. The picture we see is in full bloom — but of course it had to come through the dirt.
Fun fact: When Katerine was 16, her family upped sticks from Canada and returned to Greece, where her parents are from. Upon finishing school she started a law degree at the University of Athens. But it wasn’t to be. She didn’t want to work in an office and music’s allure was too strong.
Memorable lyrics: “I can’t hide it, I won’t fight this yearning feeling inside”
Israel: Kobi Marimi – “Home”
This year’s home contestant sings of a man’s search to find his place in the world. Wearing all black and looking like a very classy waiter, he serves drama and vulnerability — and a very big voice. A former actor, Kobi said that being overweight prevented him from attempting to sing publicly. But after shedding the pounds he found the drive and strength to put himself out there, ultimately winning The Next Star for Eurovision and securing his spot here in Tel Aviv.
Fun fact: Kobi has a colourful CV. In order to fund his studies, he undertook a whole range of side jobs. Whatever job you need done, chances are Kobi is your man. Need someone to watch the kids? He’s worked at a nursery. Fancy some dessert? He was employed by an ice cream shop. Prefer something stronger? He was a host at a cocktail bar. Need a movie recommendation? He was a cinema cashier.
Memorable lyrics: “You pulled my heart, I took it in – It made me someone, I am someone”
Norway: KEiiNO – “Spirit in the Sky”
The group consists of Tom Hugo and Alexandra Rotan, as well as Sami joiker Fred-René Buljo. The song was inspired by the Sami tradition of spirit animals — beings that exist to protect each of us. In the song they sing that the northern lights are dancing — a reflection of natural beauty, but also the innate goodness of the universe.
Fun fact: The song tackles the issue of people fighting for the right to be respected and loved for the person they are. KEiiNO’s fight for equal rights doesn’t begin and end on stage. Fred-René Buljo haslong been involved in the Sami rights movement. He was formerly a member of the Sami Parliament, first as a deputy from 2013 to 2016 and then as an MP from 2016 to 2017.
Memorable lyrics: “He lå e loi la. Show me the light!”
United Kingdom: Michael Rice – “Bigger Than Us”
Michael rose to fame winning the first series of UK talent show All Together Now. He’s since received praise from international stars including Jamie Bell of Billie Elliot fame. The song was written by this year’s Swedish contestant John Lundvik.
Fun fact: When handed £50,000 after his win on TV show All Together Now, he decided to launch The Waffle & Crepè Shack on Oxford Road in Hartlepool. On opening his business, Michael said “It was just a spontaneous idea, I went to bed after seeing a video on Facebook of someone making a crepe on a food stall and I just thought I could do that”. Not just an extremely talented singer then!
Memorable lyrics: “Cause I can feel the universe, when I’m feeling you breathe”
Iceland: Hatari – “Hatrið mun sigra”
Iceland’s much talked0-about group Hatari don’t consider themselves a pop act — instead they definie themselves as an art group that’s about much more than music. They even have a graphic designer and a video editor as part of their group. This is the darkest form of dark — PVC, leather, whips, chains, and a globe that looks like a grenade ready to explode. Their song is called “hatred will prevail” and rails against fake news, corrupt politicians and the dissolution of a united Europe. They sing about the vision they want to prevent.
What’s up with Hatari? Are they an edgy techno group? Leather-clad BDSM hotties? Political provocateurs? Beloved children’s entertainers? Art school kids taking the piss? Or all of the above? The strength of both the group and their song “Hatrið mun sigra” is due to that ambiguity. Hatari is what you need them to be. They promise to be one of the big highlights of Eurovision 2019, both on and off the stage, but at the centre is a really decent song, with a pure schlager core. There’s music in their message.
Fun fact: Hatari owns the company Svikamylla ehf. (Entrapment Inc.). Its website describes the entity as a “transnational private holding company” whose aim is to “bring an end to neoliberal capitalism as well as managing real estate, loans, imports and exports”. During their national final Söngvakeppnin, the members of Hatari were seen holding bottles of an unknown soda drink, which was revealed to be their own brand called Soda Dream — not to be confused with the controversial SodaStream, the Israel-based maker of home carbonation products.
Memorable lyrics: “Life’s purposeless confusion, the void will swallow all!”
Estonia: Victor Crone – “Storm”
What makes “Storm” different to the manufactured dance tracks that have graced the Eurovision stage in years gone by is its absolute sincerity. Behind every note there is pain that Victor invites us to understand through his lyrics. He tells us “all my life I’ve wondered why, I keep fighting all the tides” and “I’ve tried to find the meaning of what’s left behind, they say it’s life itself but I (feel) it might, it might be all wrong”.
This is a man who is searching and the journey has not been easy. Who hasn’t felt that “a storm like this, can break a man like this” after a difficult experience? Victor isn’t afraid to admit that he’s had these dark moments. But more importantly he wants to remind us that “when it all calms down, we’re still safe and sound.”
Fun fact: In his spare time, he enjoys playing the classic video game Counter-Strike. It’s a multiplayer first-person shooter, in which two teams play, one plotting a terrorist attack, the other working to counter the attack. Good for sharpening reflexes and thinking strategically.
Memorable lyrics: “Even if the sky falls down, we can turn it all around”
Belarus: Zena – “Like It”
Teen dream supreme! Belarus’ 16-year-old queen displays pure pop professionalism. Zena the warrior princess hits the stage like a seasoned performer — and you can’t ignore the pops of sound, colour and attitude. She sounds great, she looks great and she channels an unforgettable urban graffiti girl about town in Minsk. The outfit pairs a crop top with graffiti slogans with co-ord shorts and thigh high lace up boots. The MailOnline is calling! She’s joined on stage by backing dancers who bust out break dancing moves while Zena herself focuses on nailing the vocal. The screens are cast in bright colours that reflect the lively nature of “Like It”.
Fun fact: At sixteen years and eight months, ZENA will be this year’s youngest participant. But she’s got plenty of professional experience. She even voiced Moana for the Belarusian version.
Azerbaijan: Chingiz – “Truth”
If you scroll through Chingiz’s Instagram you’ll learn two things very quickly: He likes to work out and he loves dogs. But he’s also a fan of flamenco music, and prior to Eurovision dabbled in the sizzling genre, strumming his guitar (often after a workout or play session with pups). He sings about a woman who has cheated on him — so naturally has a pair of robot arms operating on his broken heart.
Fun fact: Chingiz won an Azeri Idol-style show at 16, before competing in New Wave 2013 and performing a duet with Russian 2015 representative Polina Gagarina in one of the rounds. He also competed in the 2011 Azeri national selection for Eurovision, losing out to Ell & Nikki, who won Eurovision that year.
Memorable lyrics: “Gotta remember, she is a killer with that freaking perfume – girl it’s too soon”
Read ’10 facts about Chingiz’.
France: Bilal Hassani – “Roi”
Singer and popular YouTuber Bilal Hassani will represent France after winning national final Destination Eurovision. He will perform his song “Roi”, co-written with France’s 2018 act Madame Monsieur, in the grand final.
Bilal is the child of French-Moroccan parents and performed on The Voice Kids in France as a 15 year-old. He experiments with the blurred lines between gender and has drawn inspiration from the 2018 Top 2 in Netta and Eleni Foureira.
Fun fact: Bilal spent many of his school vacations visiting his father, who works overseas in Vietnam and Singapore. Growing in love with Asian music and culture, it was during these vacations that Bilal challenged his perceptions of the masculine “norm”, including seeing men with makeup without it being associated with sexuality.
Memorable lyrics: “I never listen to what they say – you will never remove my crown”
Italy: Mahmood – “Soldi” (Money)
Musically, linguistically, emotionally — there is nothing else like this at Eurovision. Mahmood takes us on a proper journey. There’s heartache and sorrow and a bit of anger. But there’s also a strange sense of joy and the sense of a young man on the move. Classical but contemporary, structured yet structureless, this is a unique song with a very big heart.
Mahmood, who was born in Italy to an Egyptian father, sings of how money changes dynamics within a family. His victory in Italy’s Eurovision selection became a national talking point, with right-wing members of Parliament questioning his victory over the fact he has North African roots. His fellow singers have defended his participation, with Ermal Meta saying, “Music has no passports.”
Fun fact: Mahmood is obsessed with Pokémon, which has become an important part of his artistic expression. On the cover of his first album “Gioventù bruciata” the singer wears a shirt with a picture of Rayquaza, a legendary Pokémon from the third generation of the video game series. Pokémon also appears in the lyrics of “Gioventù bruciata“. Mahmood sings: “Giocavo in macchina con la Nintendo e i Pokémon / E ti lamentavi se non volevo più parlare” (I used to play in the car Nintendo and Pokémon / And you complained if I didn’t want to talk anymore).
Memorable lyrics: “I’ve got no time to clear things up because only now I found out what you are”
Serbia: Nevena Božović – “Kruna” (Crown)
Nevena’s song is about much more than a fancy piece that rests upon one’s head. The crown she references is a symbol that love means everything to her. Nevena’s beloved is her King, her world, her universe.
The verses describe her complete infatuation with her significant other. His face is the one thing that can warm her soul and in his absence the nights become long and cold. The English lyrics in the pre-chorus highlight how love in general knows no linguistic boundaries, weaving its way across cultures, borders and people. The pre-chorus — “Everything for you, I give myself to you” — also allow for an international audience to understand the song in an instant.
A classic Balkan ballad, the song draws energy and dynamism from some very atmospheric staging that includes a gorgeous augmented reality effect of a swirling starscape filled with smoke. Amidst all the drama and visual chaos, Miss Bozovic keeps her crown firmly on her head.
Fun fact: 2019 will be Nevena’s third time on a Eurovision stage. Nevena was part of Moje 3, the girlband who represented Serbia at Eurovision 2013 in Malmö. She, alongside Sara Jo and Mirna Radolovic, finished 11th in the semi-final with the iconic “Ljubav je Svuda”. In 2007, Nevena represented Serbia at Junior Eurovision in the Netherlands with the song “Pisi Mi”. She finished third, Serbia’s best result at the contest.
Memorable lyrics: “Just let everybody know that I am yours forever”
Switzerland: Luca Hänni – “She Got Me”
Swiss singer Luca Hänni has been internally selected to represent Switzerland. He will perform “She Got Me” in the second semi-final. He won Season 9 of German Idol and has since scored two Number One albums in his native Switzerland. Luca’s Instagram page is flush with beautiful pictures of Switzerland.
Fun fact: After finishing school, Luca began an apprenticeship for bricklaying. When things didn’t work out so well on the labouring front, he turned to music as a passable backup plan. He gave up bricklaying for good in 2012 following his success on German Idol, which he won.
Memorable lyrics: “When she poured out a little spice, she got the whole place on a vibe”
Australia: Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”
To infinity and beyond. Perched atop a precarious platform, Kate models a fabulous gown and fabulous crown, serves expert handography, and transports us to another galaxy. With limited mobility, you might forgive her not being able to emote to her fullest, but Australia’s girl turns it out. The scene starts looking down on planet earth, with Kate and backing dancers floating weightless above them. Gradually she floats away, breaking free of the planet’s atmosphere and escapes into deepest space. It’s symbolic of her fight against postpartum depression and the lightness that came with victory.
Fun fact: Not only is she a singer, songwriter and actress – she also recently wrote the musical version of one of Australia’s biggest international films, golden-globe nominated Muriel’s Wedding. The film itself heavily features Eurovision winner ABBA’s music.
Memorable lyrics: “You’re so heavy, I have got to let you go”
Spain: Miki – “La venda”
Spain is bringing the “fiesta” to Eurovision 2019 with Miki and his party anthem “La venda” (The Blindfold). A spirited punch in the face that’s driven by good vibes, it’s an extremely danceable song with an empowering and uplifting message behind it. The “La venda” lyrics call on people to leave prejudice behind, and to embrace the beautiful life that comes after that. Bias and hate — and by extension xenophobia, homophobia and misogyny — are “the blindfold” that limit us. After it falls, we can embrace true happiness. Olé!
Fun fact: Prior to Eurovision, Miki was a singer in Dalton Bang, a six-piece Catalan cover band. They perform hits all the way from the seventies to the present day and have toured most of Miki’s home region of Catalonia.
Memorable lyrics: “The blindfold fell and you will be just as you wanted to be”