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The Popbitch Guide To Eurovision 2015

20/05/2015 10:34 BST | Updated 19/05/2016 10:59 BST
Nigel Treblin via Getty Images

Eurovision can be a confusing thing. If it's not Balkan astronauts moonwalking around the stage while rapping in Montenegrin, it's Nordic monsters rocking out, Romanian vampires warbling in falsetto or chipmunks taking human form and representing the UK. But don't worry. We're here to help you through it.

It's the Eurovision's 60th birthday this year, and though it hasn't quite pulled out all the stops for this milestone edition (this year's line-up is actually relatively tame) there is still enough weirdness in it to make it worth your while.

There's Eduard Romanyuta - a kind of Moldovan Vanilla Ice, who is bouncing about the stage with the muckiest cops we've seen since that George Michael video.

There's Nadav Guedj - Israel's self-styled "King Of Fun" (a 16 year old who has entered a song so toe-curling it makes One Pound Fish look like a lost Lennon-McCartney track in comparison).

Then there's Daniel Kajmakoski (who looks like Dapper Laughs' new Eastern European pop 'character'); Knez (the lovechild of Ron Jeremy and Steve Brookstein); and, of course, the big flagship act for this year: Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät.

PKN are four Finnish punks with various learning difficulties who have entered the shortest Eurovision entry to date (just 85 seconds of raw, thrashing punk) and who are adding some much needed variety to the proceedings.

Still, as easy as it is to be snarky about Eurovision, there is a lot of genuinely well-crafted pop going on there too, so we at Popbitch decided to afford it the respect that such effort deserves. We analysed hundreds and hundreds of Eurovision entries since 2000 to see if there is any sort of scientific formula for success, and - more importantly - see if any of this year's entries adhere to the winning (or losing trends).

The Key: Surprisingly - given its smiley, bright reputation - most of the songs which have won Eurovision since 2000 have been in a minor key. Even the upbeat, pacey numbers have chosen to make use of the more solemn-sounding keys, and D minor has romped home to victory markedly more times than any other. (Which is good news for Greece...)

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The Beats: Winning and losing tempos are quite varied field, but there does seem to be one notable pattern in them. Faster songs do tend to fare a little better than the slower and mid-tempo ones. Upbeat tracks like Satellite, Wild Dances and Anyway That I Can all had tempos of 170+bpm; whereas the fastest loser in the last fifteen years tapped out at 138bpm (Waldo's People, 2009)

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Singer-Songwriters: Do too many cooks spoil the broth when it comes to Eurovision? Or is it helpful to have a team of professional honing your entry? Going from the hard data, it seems that three is far from a magic number - it having been the number of writers responsible for six losing entries since 2000. It's much better to cap it off at two - as eight winners in fifteen years have had a duo on writing duties.

If you want to learn more about this sort of thing, we have compiled a more in-depth look at how music theory affects an act's chances in the Popbitch Guide To Eurovision 2015 (a free download for both iPhone and Android *cough cough*).

But most viewers don't care about rhythm speeds and tonal choices and stuff like that. The question that is important to so many is this: Just how badly is the UK going to embarrass itself this time?

Well, the masochists among us won't be disappointed. Between the weird battery rucksack that Bianca has to strap to her dress in order to make the stage lights work, and the racially dubious scatting that Alex does in the dance break, there is plenty that could go horribly wrong.

However, we are by no means the worst entry in there.

Eurovision wouldn't be Eurovision if there wasn't a pair of narcissistic egomaniacs blasting out a duet at each other - and Lithuania has duly obliged by sending two beautiful camera hoggers. Meanwhile San Marino has a sort of kiddie N-Dubz thing going on, with a song that can't make its mind up between wanting to be family-friendly R&B or a modern clap-along church hymn.

We just have to cross our fingers that they make it through their semi-finals, otherwise - with a song in C Major, paced at 120bpm and written by the guy behind the theme tune to Jim'll Fix It - we might be facing a very disappointing evening.

For more on this year's Eurovision, top gossip and to sign up to the Popbitch weekly mailout, go to the Popbitch website.