Ones to Watch at this Year’s Eurovision Song Contest

image: photography by sarah louise bennett for eurovision press

How do you measure the perfect Eurovision song? Is it something that makes you joyous? Feisty? Or even makes you laugh? Or are you somebody that measures it off the performance rather than the song? 

I want something big – something with a good beat that will somehow take over the European club scene throughout the summer. A song that will make me feel like how I felt in 2021 after watching Maneskin for the first time. It was a performance that stood out amongst the traditional songs you associate with Eurovision- the love ballads, the novelty acts (I’m looking at you Verka Serduchka), and the generic pop songs that will eventually find themselves featuring on Love Island months later.

That’s what you need to do in Eurovision – stand out. It is a long event for everybody involved, so acts that go outside of the norm are the ones you remember. When you think of Eurovision, you think of acts like Conchita, Lordi, and Loreen – who won not only from their songs, but their ability to command the European stage. No matter what your perfect Eurovision song is, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest promises just that and more. 

Thanks to last year’s winner Loreen, this year the competition is taking place in Malmo in Sweden, exactly fifty years after ABBA won the competition with Waterloo. Let’s take a look at some of the acts that we at That Fangirl Life are loving during the build-up to the big day.

🇨🇭 Switzerland – The Code by Nemo

Before the semi-finals, there is already a clear favourite to win this year’s competition. With their song, The Code, Switzerland’s Nemo currently holds a 2/1 chance of winning. Nemo’s vocal range is clearly the drawing factor- mixing pop-rap, D&B, and operatic technique that makes the song truly unforgettable. The 24-year-old sites their relationship of self-discovery of their non-binary selves for both the song and the performance itself, using metaphors of computer coding.  From the tech rehearsals, Nemo holds an almost Mika-ish stage presence without being gimmicky, which is a big part of the magic. 

🇭🇷 Croatia – Rim Tim Tagi Digi by Baby Lasagna

It’s time to bring back weirdness to Eurovision, and Croatia’s Baby Lasagna promises exactly that.  Reminiscent of Finland’s entry last year Cha Cha Cha, Rim Tim Tagi Digi utilises the nonsensical Europop that Eurovision used to be fiercely known for. The song itself is about becoming an adult and moving away from home. Traditionally, Croatia has been known as a place where many of its young people leave the country for more opportunities- with the song discussing the effects of the people and traditions that are left behind. A mix of traditional folk with heavy metal instrumentation, the song promises to be stuck in your head for months. I cannot wait to see how the song translates onto the Eurovision stage. 

🇳🇱 Netherlands – Europapa by Joost Klein

Have you ever heard of a song made more for Eurovision? Joost Klein definitely understood the assignment here, embracing the Eurovision novelty and high-camp aesthetic. Very different to the Netherlands’ most recent winner, in 2019 with Duncan Laurence’s Arcade, Europapa tells the story of an orphan as he travels throughout Europe to find himself, with various references to different countries in Europe. Despite this, the song is sung entirely in Dutch. There has been a significant increase in Eurovision entries singing in their native language – after seeing the success of acts such as Maneskin in recent years – which I, for one, am entirely supportive of. Eurovision is supposed to be a celebration of different cultures, which Joost and Europapa entirely engulf.

As well as this, the song takes inspiration from the surrealist 90s, especially seen in Joost’s comically large shoulder pads. Europapa is the perfect techno-pop track that is sure to sweep the European clubbing circuit.

🇫🇷 France – Mon Amour by Slimane

Another powerful love ballad is expected for France this year, with Slimane’s, Mon Amour. A pure and stripped-back performance only highlights Slimane’s strong vocals, which has brought an increased interest towards the Voice France winner in the polls. The song addresses a former lover, with Slimane’s melodious voice projecting his pain and confusion over the lover’s intent, finalising in questioning their relationship as a whole (Translation – ‘You don’t hear my pain / What are we gonna do about it? / Do you love me? / Or not?’)  In recent years, France has increasingly struggles in its accessibility to the wider Eurovision voting, with each year being a slow ballad in its native language. Few have stood out and climbed the table – such as Barbara Palvin’s Volia in 2021. Will the predictability help or hinder France’s chances this year?

🇮🇪 Ireland – Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug

Imagine if Chappell Roan and Regan MacNeil (the vomiting-possessed girl from The Exorcist) had a baby. That is exactly what Ireland’s Bambie Thug brings to the table with their electro-metal-pop entry, Doomsday Blue. The song promises to bring dark boogies and witch screams to Eurovision. In a recent Gay Times interview, they have stated “my stuff is hyperpunk avant electro-pop. We all it grit pop or rot but recently I’ve been coining the term ‘Ouija pop’, and they are certainly bringing that to the Malmo this year. Their song is blends aspects of love and betrayal with various witchcraft references throughout (‘Avada Kedavra, I speak to destroy / The feelings I have, I cannot avoid / Through twisted tongues, a hex deployed you’). This blend of anarchy and melancholy emphasises the risk Ireland has taken with its entry this year – which has come up through the odds dramatically this past week. I truly hope that Bambie Thug and Doomsday Blue is the remedy for Ireland’s poor performance this past decade. 

Will you be watching? Follow the Eurovision action this week in preparation for the Grand Final on Saturday 11 May.

Listen to the full Eurovision 2024 playlist!👇🏼

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