12 points from The Parliament: Our picks for this year’s Eurovision entries

Here are our five favourites, along with Frans Timmermans’ choice for the top spot.
Singer Jerry Heil performs the song, Teresa & Maria, during the final of the Vidbir 2024, the national selection stage for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 in Kyiv

By Julia Kaiser

Julia is a reporter at The Parliament Magazine

29 Mar 2024

“There’s not enough silliness in the world. Eurovision helps to keep it balanced.” So said the late Terry Wogan, legendary Eurovision commentator for the BBC.  

This very silliness is about to start again: in less than two months, musicians from 37 countries will pack their flags, fold their extravagant costumes, and head to the stage in Sweden. Malmö is hosting the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, 50 years after Abba won with Waterloo.  

But the stories behind the songs seldom get media attention. To remedy that, The Parliament has taken a closer listen and selected five from this year’s contest – each containing more than just a catchy dance chorus or haunting melody.  

5.  Norway  

Let’s start with Sweden’s neighbour Norway. After Alessandra worshipped the Queen of Kings in her pop-inspired track last year, the country has returned to its roots with folk-rock band Gåte. Their entry, Ulveham, is based on an ancient ballad about a cursed young maiden who has to endure several trials before triumphing over evil. The message is about making your own choices, and for the first time in many years, Norway’s entry will be sung in Norwegian.  

Gåte have won Melodi Grand Prix in Norway with their song 'Ulveham' in Trondheim Spektrum
Gåte's singer Gunnhild Sundli.

At the time of writing, the bookies give Norway a two per cent chance of winning. But while Gåte are hardly the favourites, they will most likely qualify for the grand final. Either way, Ulveham is already a win for those goths in Europe who want more darkness at the party.  

4. Slovenia  

Slovenia has also mined its past for inspiration. Singer and harpist Sara Briški Cirman, better known by her stage name Raiven, will perform her ballad Veronika – a piece inspired by a 14th-century love story and sung in Slovenian.  

Slovenia
Singer and harpist Raiven (real name, Sara Briški Cirman) will perform her ballad Veronika – a piece inspired by a 14th-century love story.

It tells the tragic tale of Frederick, son of Prince Hermann II, who fell for the beautiful Veronika Deseniška. But Hermann did not approve of their love – and when he learnt they had secretly married, he had the pair imprisoned. Veronika was accused of witchcraft and, eventually, drowned.  

Raiven’s chances of bringing the trophy home are currently about one per cent – but the odds can always change.  

3. Netherlands 

We return to the present day with Europapa by Dutch rapper Joost Klein, which clocked up more than 1.2m listens on Spotify the day after its release. Former European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans very likely contributed to that number, calling it an ode to the successes of European integration.  

The Dutch contender sings “Welkom in Europa, blijf hier tot ik dood ga” (“Welcome to Europe, stay here until I die”). The song that at first sounds like a declaration of love to Europe and its open borders actually has a sad background – this time, it’s the artist’s own life story. Klein lost both his parents at a very young age. His father was his biggest inspiration, having taught him to keep an open mind.  

Joost Klein deals with the loss of his parents in his Eurovision-song
Joost Klein deals with the loss of his parents in his Eurovision-song

Yet the catchy chorus and energetic electronic section in the second part of the song make it a classic Eurovision dance track, with a chance of victory pitched at eight per cent.  

2. Ukraine  

A best-of list of Eurovision songs would not be complete without Ukraine. In February, rapper Alyona Alyona and folk-pop singer Jerry Heil won the national selection with their song Teresa & Maria

Singers Jerry Heil (L) and Alyona Alyona perform their song, Teresa & Maria, during the final of the Vidbir 2024, the national selection stage for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, Kyiv
Singers Jerry Heil (L) and Alyona Alyona perform their song during the final of the Vidbir 2024, the Ukrainain selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

Sung mostly in Ukrainian, we learn that “all the divas were born as human beings” in a song that Alyona Alyona says addresses everyone – no matter their origin, religion or sexuality. Can the duo score Ukraine’s fourth victory? Bookmakers currently give them a 12 per cent chance.  

1. Croatia 

“Rim-tim-tagi-digi-dim-tim-tim!” Our 12 points go to Croatia! The chorus is incredibly catchy and somewhat strange – so will have no trouble standing out. Singer-songwriter Baby Lasagna (real name, Marko Purišić) won the national selection, despite starting out as a reserve artist.  

The song’s name is nonsense, but the rest has meaning. Croatia is dealing with a wave of young people leaving the country in search of a better life, a point touched on with the lyrics: “Ayy, I’m a big boy now, I’m ready to leave, ciao, Mamma, ciao.” But Rim Tim Tagi Dim also refers to anxiety attacks and missing loved ones – or rather the cat – once abroad.  

Baby Lasagna cc Elizabeta Ružić
Baby Lasagna (real name, Marko Purišić) won the national selection - and might win Eurovision in May.

Whether it’s the song’s riff or the story behind it, bookmakers are convinced. Croatia tops their list, too. They currently give it a winning chance of 18 per cent.  

So Terry Wogan’s wise words still ring true: with songs like this, the contest will bring some much-needed silliness into the world.  

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