Six Eurovision acts you just have to look out for

Who will be the next winner of the Eurovision Song Contest set on May 14th in Stockholm?

Six Eurovision acts you just have to look out for
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Eurovision is now just a heartbeat away with 26 countries set to compete in the Eurovision 2016 final at the Globe Arena in Stockholm on Saturday. 

Of course, here at The Local we'll be cheering for Frans Jeppsson Wall. But here are a few words on some of the most performers who are already starting to grab global headlines.

Russia and Ukraine duelling for the top spot

Bookmakers are closely watching the Russian-Ukrainian duel between Sergei Lazarev, who will sing “You are the only one”, and Ukraine's Jamala, who will sing “1944”, a song inspired by her great-grandmother's stories. Jamala's song recounts the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin. Political leaders in Moscow and Crimea protested against this song choice for, they say, bashing Russia for its annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

Belarus getting (sort of) naked with wolves 

Belarusian competitor Ivan, tall and thin with long blond hair, was forced to put his clothes on after rehearsing naked while flanked by a wolf named Shakira. Eurovision, which prohibits the presence of animals on stage and requires contestants to be clothed, has forbidden him from appearing naked. Ivan has agreed to always wear his clothes and he has also agreed to use a holographic image instead of a real wolf.

France singing in English. What?

French-Israeli performer Amir Haddad has also been given favourable odds for his song 'J'ai cherché' (I searched), which despite the title will be partly in English, a move which is highly unusual for Francophone entrants. With a range and tone often compared with Enrique Iglesias, Amir was a 2014 finalist in the French version of The Voice, the international television singing competition. Amir, 31, could become the first French performer to win the Eurovision contest since 1977. He's got great teeth too, being a dentist and all in his day job.

Glitter and lace from Austria. In French. Quoi?

Set to appear in a lace gown and a floral tiara, 19-year-old Austrian Zoe Straub, a former student at the French school in Vienna, will be singing 'Loin d'ici' (Far from here), in French. Her song choice should delight Andre Vallini, France's minister of Francophonie, who protested against Amir Haddad's decision to sing a small part of his song in English. By the way the national language in Austria is German. Go figure.

Singing from down under 

Australia will participate as a special guest for the second year running. Competitor Dami Im was born in South Korea, and moved to Brisbane, Australia, with her family when she was nine. A classically trained pianist, she learned how to speak English by listening to pop songs. Dami entered the spotlight in 2013, when she took the Australia X-Factor crown. Her astonishing voice and transformation into a fully-fledged pop performer has won the hearts of the Australian public and press.



Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Cornelia Jakobs, Sweden's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, burst into tears and jumped onto presenter Mario Acampas, after shooting through to the final on Thursday night.

Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Jakobs was emotional at the press conference after her victory, telling the story of her progress from an “largely unknown” indie artist to the Eurovision stage. 

“There are a lot of feelings right now in this little body, an extremely large amount of feelings that can’t really fit in, so they’re exploding,” she said, before beginning to cry. “But I’m so happy and overwhelmed by all the support I’ve got from all these fantastic countries.” 

When the time came to pick lots for which half of the final she would appear in, she leapt onto Mario Acampas, the presenter asking questions at the press conference, wrapping her legs around his waist and clasping herself tightly to his torso. 

He then walked her over to the bowl where the lots were lying. 

“I want you to choose the second half,” she said to him. “Imagine that I have a pistol here and on the count of three I’m going to shoot you if you don’t choose.”

He refused to pick for her so she took one herself and got the second half. 

Jakobs, with her song, “Hold me closer”, was the clear favourite to go into the final, and will go through alongside Finland’s The Rasmus, and his song Jezebel, Serbia’s Konstrakta with “In corpore sano”, as well as entries from Belgium, Czechia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Estonia, Australia, and Romania. 

You can see her performance on Thursday in the video below. 

In the final, she will meet the other favourites, which include Ukraine, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

The final will be shown on Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT at 9pm on Saturday.