Two weeks before the big eurovision final and right before the rehearsals start, I managed to finish my big review of the entries in their preview versions.
At some point somebody asked me in a comment who would get my full five-pointer out of these entries and the answer is that nobody got a rating of five.
No less than thirteen countries (one third of the line-up) got four points out of five possible, and for me that describes this year perfectly. It is a good year with many strong contenders but it lacks those complete standout, runaway victory-type of entries.
Which is arguably a good thing. With a bit of luck we could get a tight, nerve-wracking, intense voting sequence that will keep us in suspense up until the very last country has cast its votes. It has been ten years since we had a voting like that. It would be about time.
What about my thirteen four-pointers then? Well, they can be divided into a number of sub-categories:
I don't really believe that Estonia, Greece, Hungary or Malta will have any real chance of winning the big final, they just happen to ignite something in me. Nobody would be happier than me if I was wrong but I don't think I am.
The potential surprises
I was there to see Marie N win the 2002 final. I remember the sound of everyone's jaws dropping as Riva won for Yugoslavia in 1989. Sometimes the unlikely will happen and then Finland, Belgium, Ireland or France could break through to the audience in an unexpected way and start collecting points aplenty.
The gourmet entries
Italy's song is perhaps too slow, Norway is too modern and has too sharp edges and the Netherlands sounds more like a classy film soundtrack than a eurovision winner. Don't forget that sometimes quality stands out and wins through despite not being tailor-made for this contest. Think Molitva. Think Yohanna.
Denmark is the biggest favourite to win and has a most easily accessible formula with its singalong chorus and tin whistle. Ukraine has a very engaging performer and always knows how to tweak the last little drop of entertainment out of their songs.
Do I have to say something clever to sum this up now? Before any rehearsals have started or anything like that, I will just state that my dream winner - the one I think could be the best choice for the future of the contest - would be Norway, Netherlands or Italy. Sharp edges and hit potential for the win.
Ask me again in a week and I might have changed my mind completely. Bring on the rehearsals.