The most loved song in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest at this point seems to be the Swedish entry Hero by 1999 winner Charlotte Nilsson, now Perrelli. The song has all the recipes to score well, it's uptempo, has a glamorous singer and even has a keychange at the end! However, the last few years have shown that this kind of song is not really scoring as much as many fans would have hoped for. Belgian superstar Kate Ryan had a similar song in 2006 and didn't even make it to the final of the contest in Athens! Have times changed? Do songs have to be different from what most people expect to be a typical Eurovision song?
Travelling east from Sweden, we notice that its neighbour Finland follows a totally different strategy: after winning with Lordi in 2006, Finnish TV viewers think that rock might be the secret combination to win the hearts of televoters in Europe. This year, Teräsbetoni, a heavy metal band who mostly appear half-naked on stage, will represent the country with Missä Miehet Ratsastaa, a thundering rock-song. But is rock really the key to success?
Finland's brother-nation Estonia decided that only an entry with lots of gimmicks is something Europeans want to see in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Kreisiraadio, three popular comedians, will perform Leto Svet in a unique mix of Serbian, German and Finnish! Ireland will play the gimmick card as well sending Dustin - the country's best-known turkey - to Belgrade while Spain sends Rodolfo Chikilicuatre with his extravagant Baila El Chiki Chiki. There is even a news update every day about Rodolfo on Spanish TV and people expect the song to become the biggest summer hit this year. But will it be successful in Belgrade?
Other countries - such as Germany and Russia - think that a middle-of-the-road pop-song is the best way to charm viewers. Both songs wouldn't feel out of place on an international music-channel and both acts are among the most popular in their native countries selling millions of CDs and performing in front of tenthousands of fans. But will they also capture the interest of people outside their own country?
Only on 24th of May we'll know who stole the hearts of the European audience!