Eurovision - Can anyone beat Russia?

Tonight over 200 million viewers will tune in to watch what is arguably the best ever Eurovision song contest writes Karl Fradgely.

26 countries vie for the title. 26 songs in a line-up that is undeniably the strongest for decades, a line-up that could see any one of 7 or 8 countries winning.

So who can realistically win tonight?

Russia - is no doubt the song to beat. Sensational visuals, mega star singer, world famous choreographers and money to burn. All of the ingredients are there but it is by no means a foregone conclusion. He can be beaten.

Australia is putting it up to Russia. Dami Im wowed in Semi Final two last thursday with a searing vocal. "The Sound Of Silence" has now charted in 19 countries including Ireland and UK which is a surefire indicator of a potential winner. If Australia does win ... before you ask ... next years contest will take place in Germany.

Ukraine. I make no secret of the fact that this is my favourite entry this year. Passionate and powerful vocals from Jamala and the song "1944" tells a dark and very personal story. It may be weird but it stands out in the line up and it will be no surprise if Ukraine wins for a second time.

Host nation Sweden - will be there or there abouts. Frans is a fresh new talent and his song "If I Were Sorry" is a Bieberesque track with a very modern feel. Here's the thing - young people will vote for this in droves. It was number one for 5 weeks in Sweden. They are the hosts and there is one other thing in their favour - they are the only Scandinavian country in the final and they will soak up votes from their neighbours. We could very well be back in Stockholm next year.

Italy. This is one of the best songs in the contest. Beautifully performed by Francesca Michielin it is a slow burner but there is the chance that will all the big, heavy handed productions going on all around a simple song could sneak through the middle and surprise.

The same applies for Netherlands. Country pop has worked for the Dutch in the very recent past and Douwe Bob's song "Slow Down" has a real dark horse feel to it. His early draw may hamper but this will do very well.

Armenia have a strong song and will close the show. Diva Iveta Mukuychan smashes the performance of "Lovewave" time after time and the 3D holographic effects in the middle of this are awesome. Dark horse for sure and could well be in the hunt for the win.

France have seriously upped their game and are in the running this year. Amir's song "J'ai Cherche" is toe-tapping, hand-clapping and sing along. There is alot of international goodwill towards France at the moment and it could swell the vote for him. France have not won in 39 years ... believe it or not!

One more to watch is Spain. very long odds on this which seems a bit silly to me as Barei is terrific live and this is a very modern summery pop song. She performs right after Russia which could be a good thing or a bad thing but we are certainly looking at Spain's best result in ages. "Say Yay" could bring us to Spain for the first time since 1968!

The new voting system makes predicting the result quite tricky as literally anything can happen. My heart says Ukraine ... my head says Australia and the bookies are still calling Russia as the winner. Whatever the result tonight is going to be an epic climax to what has been a Eurovision we will never forget.

See you all next year ..... wherever that may be!

More in this Section

Jenna Dewan announces her engagement to boyfriend Steve KazeeJenna Dewan announces her engagement to boyfriend Steve Kazee

Kristin Scott Thomas: I assumed feminism was sorted by my parents’ generationKristin Scott Thomas: I assumed feminism was sorted by my parents’ generation

Harry Styles wears black ribbon to Brits after Caroline Flack deathHarry Styles wears black ribbon to Brits after Caroline Flack death

Johnny Marr praises Billie Eilish ahead of Bond song performance at Brit AwardsJohnny Marr praises Billie Eilish ahead of Bond song performance at Brit Awards


Des O'Sullivan takes a look at Bill Wyman's Rolling Stones memorabiliaRolling Stones memorabilia going under the hammer

All ages can suffer from spots across their back but thankfully, there are many things we can do about them, says Jennifer RockThe Skin Nerd: back to basics to treat the pesky plague of ‘bacne’

Roz Crowley tests eight coffees ahead of Fairtrade FortnightEight of the best fairtrade coffees to try

Steel Panther give metal fans the chance to let their hair down and laugh at themselves, and the Cork audience is in party mood.Live review: Steel Panther at Cyprus Avenue

More From The Irish Examiner