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Best in Southern Europe in Eurovision 2018 Odds

Odds on Eurovision Song Contest 2018: Which country will be best in Southern Europe?

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The South-European countries to perform in the opening semi-final at this year’s Eurovision in May are Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus, while singing in the second semi-final will be Serbia, San Marino, Malta and Montenegro.

Macedonia has yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest and out of the many nations that compete every year, the potato-shaped country is perhaps in the worst form, having not made a final since 2012. Kaliopi, the singer that year, even returned in 2016 but failed to make the final. Last year’s ‘Dance Alone’, a fine blast of pop, failed to impress voters. ‘Lost and Found’, their entry this year, appears to be two different songs blended together. Vocally, Marija (who does all the work) seems pretty strong. At first, the song looks set up to be another so-so pop number, but then a reggae beat comes into the mix and the tune takes on a more summery vibe. The rest of ‘Lost And Found’ flits between these two elements – more mellow and then reggae. The chorus is typically pop and quite radio-friendly and there’s also enough of a hook to make it memorable.

Netta is a good singer and the Israeli entry will stand out a mile at the contest – the juries may find it too in-your-face to give many points, but if the early hype is maintained, Israel could push for the win this year. Saying that, there are more accomplished, polished songs in the running, while neutral listeners might find ‘Toy’ irritating rather than bombastically fun. The Hebrew lyrics might also seem confusing to those unwilling to look up the translation.

San Marino have made just the one final of the contest since debuting in 2008. With no Valentina Monetta in sight this year, changes were made to the selection process. There’s a good beat on this year’s entry and Jessika is a decent singer, but ‘Who We Are’ is a rather unremarkable entry into this year’s contest. Jenifer brings a bit of rap into it (‘Jeni B’) which jars in comparison to the rest of the song. In fact, the San Marino feels a touch more like a Junior Eurovision entry – the chorus has an uplifting feel, but does not have much of a memorable hook.

Fan reception has been very positive so far, and it’s likely Cyprus will return to the grand final with this summery tune. Perhaps nothing original and that goes for the music video too, but ‘Fuego’ is modern enough to garner votes from all corners of the continent. A twelve from Greece is pretty much in the bag already, and should the live performance impress, the juries may even appreciate it.

Eugent will be the first solo male to sing for Albania since 2007. 33-year old Eugent has performed for many years, and he gave a great performance of his self-penned tune ‘Mall’ (Yearning). In a change from what Albania usually gives us, this is a rather rocky number, with gentle, somewhat melancholic verses and a big chorus that is definitely the strongest element of the song.