||Montenegro - Rambo Amadeus - Euro Neuro (English)
Music/Lyrics: Rambo Amadeus/Rambo Amadeus
Eurovision 2012 kicked off with one of its more unusual entries. Montenegrin broadcaster, RTCG, knew what they were getting when the asked Rambo to write their song. There is a message somewhere but it gets lost in the assault on the rhyming dictionary.
||Iceland - Greta Salóme & Jónsi – Never Forget (English)
Music/Lyrics: Gréta Salóme/Gréta Salóme
Iceland continued its run of strong entries with Greta and Jónsi’s highly likeable ballad. Greta’s violin playing evoked memories of Alexander Rybak three years earlier, but nothing should be stopped just because it may have been done before. It would have been a shock of historical proportions had this not made the final.
||Greece - Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac (English)
Music/Lyrics: Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström, Dajana Lööf/Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström, Dajana Lööf
In what must have been a first, the Greek final was held in a shopping centre. Aphrodisiac is typical of recent Greek entries; catchy, high energy pop performed by a good-looking singer.
||Latvia – Anmary – Beautiful Song (English)
Music/Lyrics: Ivars Makstnieks/Rolands Ūdris
Only the writers know what they were trying to create, but what they gave us can’t be taken seriously. To do so would be to miss the point. It would be seen as ridiculous lyrics wasting a decent tune. Enjoy it for what it is and it is funny and entertaining.
||Albania - Rona Nishliu – Suus (Albanian)
Music/Lyrics: Florent Boshnjaku/Rona Nishliu
Rona gave us easily the classiest song of the entire contest, enhanced by the intense red background. There were reasons to doubt it would qualify for the final, never mind finish fifth overall. It’s great for the contest that a song like this can prove so popular.
||Romania – Mandinga – Zaleilah (Spanish/English)
Music/Lyrics: Costi Ionita/Elena Ionescu, Dihigo Omar Secada, Costi Ionita
The Romanians added some colour and jollity to the evening with their ethnically flavoured, up-tempo ditty. The instruments looked like toys from some angles!
||Switzerland – Sinplus – Unbreakable (English)
Music/Lyrics: Gabriel Broggini, Ivan Broggini/Gabriel Broggini, Ivan Broggini
The brothers Swiss and their song were the first to be chosen for Baku. They said they didn’t mind this as it gave them plenty of time to make their rock song perfect. Not perfect enough it seems.
||Belgium – Iris - Would You? (English)
Music/Lyrics: Nina Sampermans, Jean Bosco Safari, Walter Mannaerts/Nina Sampermans, Jean Bosco Safari, Walter Mannaerts
Iris was chosen by Belgian broadcaster, VRT, to sing both songs in the national final. Predictably, the public chose the wrong one! Undaunted, Iris’ voice gave a suitably innocent feel to her song of doubt, Would You?
||Finland – Pernilla - När Jag Blundar (Swedish)
Music/Lyrics: Jonas Karlsson/Jonas Karlsson
For the second time in the history of their participation, the Finns chose a song sung in Swedish to represent them. Pernilla co-wrote and performed her melodic ballad. A shame there was no place in the final for her.
||Israel – Izabo – Time (Hebrew/English)
Music/Lyrics: Ran Shem-Tov, Shiri Hadar/Ran Shem-Tov, Shiri Hadar
Breaking the mould of what could be considered a typical Israeli entry. Time is a throwback to 1970’s psychedelic rock and is off-beat without being crazy. Most people thought it would reach the final but……
| San Marino
||San Marino - Valentina Monetta - The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh - Oh Oh) (English)
Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Timothy Touchton, José Santana Rodriguez
It really is time that Ralph retired! The fuss over the lyrics was probably intended and Valentina embarked on a massive Facebook campaign and a fairly extensive tour of competing countries. However, nothing was going to save her or the ‘song’.
||Cyprus - Ivi Adamou – La La Love (English)
Music/Lyrics: Alex Papaconstantinou, Bjorn Djupström, Alexandra Zakka, Viktor Svensson/Alex Papaconstantinou, Bjorn Djupström, Alexandra Zakka, Viktor Svensson
Cypriot broadcaster, CyBC, chose Ivi to sing all three songs up for selection as the island’s entry. The song was chosen by national juries and the presence of a lot of fans on those juries was evident when the most stereotypical song of the three won.
||Denmark - Soluna Samay - Should've Known Better (English)
Music/Lyrics: Chief 1, Remee/Chief 1, Remee, Isam B
The Danes seem to specialise in bland, AOR songs which do better than they deserve. It’s melodic enough but never quite moves off the starting blocks. It did finish low down in the final, but being in the final at all was over-achieving!
||Russia - Buranovskiye Babushki - Party for Everybody (Udmurt/English)
Music/Lyrics: Viktor Drobysh, Timofei Leontiev/Olga Tuktareva, Marry S. Applegate
Just when Engelbert Humperdinck thought he had the title of ’Oldest Singer to Perform in the Contest’ in the bag, the Russians chose a group from the local OAP home. Simple sing-along is the order of the day. Had it won, the reputation of the contest would have taken one of its biggest knocks together with a huge dent in its credibility.
||Hungary - Compact Disco - Sound of Our Hearts (English)
Music/Lyrics: Behnam Lotfi, Gábor Pál, Attila Sándor, Csaba Walkó/Behnam Lotfi, Gábor Pál, Attila Sándor, Csaba Walkó
Not just the sound of our hearts, but the sound of the 1980’s, too. The lead singer looked nervous in the semi-final but, perhaps buoyed at being there, was a lot more assured in the final and he gave it everything.
||Austria – Trackshittaz - Woki Mit Deim Popo (German)
Music/Lyrics: Lukas Plöchl/Lukas Plöchl, Manuel Hoffelner
Perhaps afraid of causing unwarranted publicity, the EBU wrongly allowed the group name to stand and also let the lyrics pass as acceptable. While rap has been in the contest before, it was never like this! Woki Mit Deim Popo is ‘in your face’ in a way that certain sections of today’s youth seem to love, but it does have a sense of humour.
||Moldova - Pasha Parfeny – Lăutar (English)
Music/Lyrics: Pasha Parfeny, Alex Brashovean/Pasha Parfeny
Pasha’s song and performance may have been positive, but his chances weren’t, or at least, didn’t seem to be! However, a couple of favourable draws and a memorable presentation gave Pasha a much better showing than was merited.
||Ireland – Jedward – Waterline (English)
Music/Lyrics: Nick Jarl, Sharon Vaughn/Nick Jarl, Sharon Vaughn
Just when you thought it was safe to watch the contest again, Jedward were back, this time with a water feature! As happened a year earlier, their backing singers worked non-stop. Even when Jedward put down their mics for a quick shower, there was no noticeable change to the vocals.