If you think there’s a formula for Eurovision – the world’s campest gay singing tournament – then this batch of semi-finalists may hold some suprises.
From leaping around the stage in sparkly suits to a laid back tune and from the oldest contestant in the European contest ever – a 95-year-old – to, possibly, the first lesbian kiss, there is plenty of variety.
Tonight (16 May) 10 more entrants will be chosen for the final to join those countries which qualified from the first semi-final (Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine).
All the semi-finalists will then go through to the big day on Saturday (18 May) when around 100 million people around the world will tune in to watch the cultural phenomenon that is the Eurovision Song Contest.
These are our favourite songs to look out for tonight.
Latvia: Here We Go
An energetic start to the night is provided by PeR (Please explain the Rhythm). They leap about the stage, bare chested covered in sparkly suits. All week they have been spotted around Malmö in dazzling costumes and had this message: ‘To all of our gay fans, stay in fashion you’re dominating it.’
Per also means ‘spank’ in Latvian!
Republic of Macedonia (FYROM): Pred da se Razdeni (Before the Sunrise)
The songs starts so ordinarily until larger than life Esma strolls on stage wailing in an amazing red dress to steal the show. She has been a photo favourite for fans in Malmö!
Finland: Marry Me
Probably the campest spectacle sees Krista in a wedding dress and pink shoes surrounded by masked characters who change costume to bridesmaids dresses. This song is so gay, there has even been a gay homage to it and she has been interviewed by Gay Star News. And then there is the lesbian kiss to finish…
An alternative to the camp disco is ByeAlex with his super chilled Kedvesem. He takes a similarly relaxed view about his gay friends and fans about according to his manager: ‘Alex doesn’t discriminate against anyone, he doesn’t regard gay people as better than straight friends or straight friends better than gay friends. He just likes people who like his music.’
From the writer of last year’s winning song Euphoria is a duet reminiscent of the 2011 Azerbaijan winner Running Scared and even has the same firework waterfall at the end.
It is currently regarded as the potential surprise winner by the press at the arena.
Switzerland: You and Me
The band had to change their name from Heilsarmee (German for Salvation Army) as both political and religious content aren’t allowed in Eurovision. They opted for TAKASA (The Artist Known As Salvation Army). The band is made up of six Salvation Army members and has the oldest contestant in Eurovision history, 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer.
Romania: It’s My Life
The most hilarious moment is saved for last with Cezar in a vampire-like costume belting out the disco number in falsetto. A moving platform elevates him high on the stage and with dancers in very skimpy outfits, it is certainly eye-catching.
Some of the other contestants had these messages when GSN asked why their LGBT fans should pick up a phone and vote for them.
Iceland’s EyÃ¾Ã³r said: ‘This song is about life and is a love song to life. Gay people are thankful for themselves and their life. They should find some connection to it.’
Israeli diva Moran told us: ‘All my staff are gay, I really like the gay community, my best friends are gay. In Israel I do a lot of shows at gay clubs. You should just vote, I really love you.’
Gianluca from Malta told GSN: ‘I hope that everyone enjoys the song and I hope you like our video. Being gay or not, does not really matter. It’s a song for everyone to sing along and let’s have fun together.’
And finally, Valentina from San Marino told us to: ‘Be yourself and believe in what you feel while listening to my song and fly with me.’
The second semi-final in Malmö, Sweden starts at 9pm (CET) and will be streamed live on the official Eurovison site.