Following the whirlwind of the good, the bad and the Russians; the Eurovision Song Contest has selected the first 10 national candidates to take their microphones at Eurovision 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. These finalists include dancing grannies, prancing cellists and Jedward (sorry). For those of you watching in the UK live on BBC3 (or BBC iPlayer) you had to endure some of the worst Eurovision coverage for a long time; sorry.
We already know that there are six finalists confirmed for the finals of the Eurovision because the hosts Azerbaijan join the five biggest European contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and their Eurovision contributions are already available on Infobarrel.
The Albanians debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and appeared in the final on 5 occasions and on every occasion has chosen its entry into the event through a public festival and contest called Festivali i Kenges. They have never made a considerable impact in the finals with the highest placing being 7th for their debut.
The winning entry from their festival this year will be sung in Albanian and Rona Lishliu's performance of Suus is a big ballad offering which is not always quirky enough to gain many points from the minor nonpolitical scores.
What you can expect: High scores going to, and coming from; Greece.
Rona Nishliu - Suus (One's Own)
Being knocked out in the semi-finals is an annual occurence for the Cypriote entries into the Eurovision Song Contest, but for Eurovision 2012 they are singing in, rather than watching; this years event being hosted in Azerbaijan. When they do reach the finals, then end up languishing around the middle of the table although they have had some good results (fifth on 3 occasions) and some poor ones (last with 4 points).
They have never had a nil point, so we can only be hopeful of a good result from Cyprus' second Eurovision Song Contest final appearance in 8 years. Ivi Adamou will be performing the pop track La La Love which was selected from 3 entries into a national contest.
What to expect: A maximum "douze points" to be exchanged with Greece and nil points to be exchanged with Turkey.
Ivi Adamou - La La Love
Being the first representative from Scandinavia, Denmark is one of the countries that has tasted the gold of winning the Eurovision Song Contest and the wooden spoon of last place. The benefit of having close ties with its Scandanavian partners always usually pays off for the country and it is common to see the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix appearing in the top half of the final table and coming off two strong years in the top 5 anything is possible.
This year's entry is Soluna Samay with Should've Known Better a relatively stripped down track with obvious pop influence but more acoustic. She has released a number of albums across the last decade but very few of them have become home to hit singles; this one though is something I would expect to hear as a background track on a TV show like Glee.... or sung by a mature Miley Cyrus.
What to expect: High scoring for Denmark from Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Soluna Samay - Should've Known Better
They may be skint but Greece thinks that it can afford to win this year's Eurovision Song Contest and be able to host in 2013. For many years this would not have been a problem as Greece was almost always an "also ran" at the bottom of the Eurovision final table. Since the introduction of semi-final events in 2004 though Greece has had a coincidential turn around in fortunes and has ended up in the top 10 every year since as well as winning the contest in 2005.
It would not have been surprising if Greece pulled out during the course of the build-up to Azerbaijan because of its political turmoil, but they have come prepared to do well with this year's pop entry from Eleftheria Eleftheriou; Aphrodisiac.
What to expect: An exchange of high points with Cyprus and Turkey
Eleftheria Eleftheriou - Aphrodisiac
Rarely a contender, Hungary represents the fight from the Eastern Bloc countries vying for some winning ways in the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Compact Disco is this years entry for Hungary's MTV channel and the soft-pop track is called Sound of Our Hearts and would not sound out of place on a Gary Barlow album.
What to expect: A lower half of the table finish.
Compact Disco - Sound of our Hearts
(Please - anyone but Jedward)
Don't get me wrong. The quiffs were entertaining, their music is bearable and if you saw their celebration of being in the final you can say they are energetic; but if Jedward were to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Azerbaijan the British would never hear the end of it, they would probably end up as surprise guest acts to close the London 2012 Olympics and we would have to put up with them on the TV ...... again.
They are though a popular choice with the audiences that are likely to be voting in the Eurovision finals on Saturday and the Irish record of Eurovision results was exceptional in the 1990's, but they need something to bring them back up to the point they were, having slipped down to mid table over the recent decade.
Jedward's track Waterline is a typical choice for them with lots of energetic choreography, switching of parts and lines and some rather strange, futuristic Roman gladiator outfits. The mind boggles but it's probably going to bode well for the Irish act in Baku on Saturday night.
What to expect: High scores exchanged with the UK
Jedward - Waterline
Although usually mid-table, Iceland have been known to bring the occasional year of brilliance to the Eurovision Song Contest and this year's almost electronic-ballad entry might actually do well. Originally entitled "Remember Me", Greta Salome & Jonsi's offering Never Forget is something I could imagine being used in a production like Lord of the Dance and it has a strangely twilight mix of electronic, stringed and traditional elements.
What to expect: I would like to say a lot, the figures generally say not much.
Greta Salome & Jonsi - Never Forget
Moldova is one of the more recent countries to join the Eurovision Song Contest and the 2012 Eurovision in Baku will be only their 7th final. Being a mid-table Eastern Bloc country, they have failed to get through to the final on one occasion after submitting a jazz number for the contest. This years event will be attended by Pasha Parfeny, who is associated with Moldova's 2010 entry from SunStroke Project.
The song itself entitled Lautar actually refers to the Romanian word for a group of traditional musicians. The song itself is rather bizarre and you can almost see the way it was constructed using a traditional Lautari band and a modern accompaniment to make it into a pop song.... it should not work, but it does.
What to expect: High points exchanges with Romania.
Pasha Parfeny - Lautar
Although they will be trading high scores with Moldova in this years Eurovision Song Contest final, the Romanian entry will need to have some political allies in order to match their current high of third place a few years ago. Mandinga will be supplying the Romanian hopes for the 2012 Eurovision with a performance of Zaleilah which crosses house and mainstream pop to create an usually catchy song that even managed to sneak in some bagpip action right at the beginning.....
It has peaked in the Romanian charts (at #1) and Moldovan charts (#2) so it is fair to assume that there will be high scoring between the two as there usually is. The song is quite catchy, although not quite as likely to win as Jedward....
What to expect: High scoring to Greece; High scoring from Moldova
Mandinga - Zaleilah
Proving that even the iron curtain has a sense of humour, you would think Vladimir Putin had drunk too much Vodka when he picked the Russian Eurovision Song Contest entry. Far from the days of the Iron Curtain though the many members of Buranovskiye Babushki have appeared in Russia's Eurovision Song Selection contests on several occasions. The age range of the performers runs from 56 to 86 and with one exception they all go on tour, quite impressive when even the likes of Adele have to take a break.
The song is crazy, it's absolutely nuts and it really does not show my thoughts about life in Russia; but this is the reason that Eurovision exists, for countries to come together in a celebratory hatred for Jedward....
What to expect: Anything.