63 years ago, Euro-vision was created to harmonise the continent after the Second World War and it worked a treat. Every time one of the great leaders of Europe went to push the big red button they would hesitate and cry “but what about Euro-vision, the beautiful music” and refrain from destroying the World via a nuclear apocalypse. Last year we were devastated to hear that the contest was cancelled due to the pandemic. Dozens of performers were unable to fulfill their dreams of performing in the final. Many of the artists have chosen to return this year, and Rotterdam has opened its doors and allowed the music world another chance to compete in front of one of the World’s biggest TV audience (as long as they have gone through the relevant testing and quarantine).

There are 39 countries this year, and after this week’s semi-final’s there will be 26 left to duke it out on Saturdays grand final. We have listened to every single entry, so you don’t have to, and have declared our top five (a top ten seemed a stretch). These are based on the studio versions so if these artists are dreadful at singing live, do not write in.

In alphabetical order, here are our five favourites:

Bulgaria: Victoria ‘Growing Up Is Getting Old’

Bulgaria are you mad! Maybe, but their entry and former The Voice contestant Victoria has co-written a beautifully crafted pop song that doesn’t rely on any gimmicks. She softly sings about her struggles with adulthood over a bouquet of tender strings. It’s an intelligent pop song that is not always heard on the Euro-vision stage and its only downfall is that is somewhat of a slow burner and may struggle to instantly win over the judges on a one-off performance.

RGM awards Bulgaria 12 points.

Ireland: Leslie Roy- ‘Maps

Lesley Roy chose to sing an up-tempo pop song ‘Story of my Life’ last year and this year she has held herself back to record a more grown-up record that showcases her pure vocal range. The modern production elevates this above many of the other entries and again it will be interesting to see if this translate to her live performance. This is a song about forging your own path and we would be amazed if this path doesn’t lead to the final.

RGM awards Ireland 9 points.

Italy: ManeskinZitti E Buoni’’

Maneskin are doing the business back home in Italia. The rock quartet have already topped the charts and with ‘Zitti E Buoni’ (Be Quiet and Behave) they top the charts of the judges as this is a classic rock song that you seldom hear at Euro-vision, which could favour the Italian outfit as a stand-out entry. Their lead singer Damiano oozes charisma and isn’t shy to make ‘sexy’ with the camera, they are a band who are certainly not scared to throw some swagger on stage and this track maybe the kick in the arse the contest needs.

RGM awards Italy 10 points.

Lithuania: The RoopDiscoteque

OK. This is the kinda camp-pop we all expect to hear, but it’s hard to not slightly fall in love with The Roop, think Fisherspooner fronted by Louie Spence and they just wants to tell us about the benefits of dancing alone (the perfect way to avoid Covid). We are of course onboard as dancing alone can benefit your mind and your body and watching the The Roop is a joy. Lithuania have a got themselves a worthy winner, it’s an infectious electro-pop anthem for the modern world and soon they will have you all dancing alone.

RGM awards Lithuania 9 points.

Switzerland: Gjon’s TearsTout L Univers

Gjon’s Tears returns with a rather down-beat affair. ‘Tout ‘L Univers (All the Universe) is a cinematic smash, and possibly the most cliché entry we have on our list. With all of the hallmarks that one would expect from the finals: soaring vocals, melodrama and a ballad. Though this isn’t Celine Dion (previous Swiss winner) this is a guy whose intensity keeps him away from the usual cheese that can be excepted from this genre. With the right stagecraft we can see Switzerland being the first French language song to win since Miss Dion back in 1988.

RGM awards Switzerland 10 points.

There you have it – our favourite picks for this year’s Euro-vision final. Sorry the UK ,but it’s another bland entry for us with James Newman and politically even Adele would struggle to get us across the line. Iceland were great last year but this year’s entry is slightly below par and apart from the amazing music video it just didn’t cut it. Currently at time of writing the bookies have Italy, France, Malta, Iceland and Cyprus as their best bets to win. Who will be right? Tune in to Saturday’s final May 22nd at 8pm on the BBC.

Check out a Euro-vision podcast that delves further than most would dare below: