Since 2000, France, Germany, Spain and the UK have all directly qualified for the final (with Italy joining this notorious group in 2011) . This is regardless of whether their entries soared to the top of the leader-board or been given a "wooden spoon" so massive that even Mary Berry is jealous.
Yes, controversy never fails to shy away from this group, with many citing that they are "paying their way to the final." Since 2000, just one of the Big Five has won the Eurovision Song Contest (Germany in 2010), and has resulted in the withdrawal of Turkey. The topic of whether the "Big 5" should exist is a topic for another blog, however.
The question is, has each country capitalized on the fact that they've got a free ticket to the final, or have they squandered it and sent Englebert Humperdinck again?
France: Madame Monsieur- 'Mercy'
A somewhat controversial choice from France, as many tipped "Eva" to win Destination Eurovision. However, I absolutely LOVE this song. It'll bring something very different to Eurovision, and the key to winning Eurovision is not following the tide. The song encapsulates a lot of emotion and really displays a powerful message; I'll be very interested to see what they do with it on the Lisbon stage.
How will it do at Eurovision? I feel that this will bring France another strong result, and may even scrape the top 10.
Germany: Michael Schulte- 'You Let Me Walk Alone'
Germany has had some varying results in the past few years, with big names such as Cascada falling flat and being the most recent country to get "nul points" in the grand final (along with Austria in 2015). This song, however, is at no risk of nul points in my opinion, but won't set the scoreboard alight. The performance and song are lovely, but it sounds like any other acoustic song and doesn't really go anywhere. We won't be seeing Eurovision in Germany in 2018.
How will it do at Eurovision? Unfortunately, I can't see this breaking the bottom 10. I really like the song, but it's very forgettable and sounds like an Ed Sheeran demo track in some places... sorry!
Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro - 'Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente'
YES, YES, 1,000 TIMES, YES. This is a high quality, classic song from Italy, and I can see why it took San Remo by storm this year. Italy has a habit of entering songs in a completely different lane to everyone else, and it is really refreshing to see them continue to do this. All I can say against this song is the staging needs to really emphasize the quality of the song, as currently I don't feel it does necessarily do this.
How will it do at Eurovision? Italy is a real dark horse this year. They may not be the "favourites" to win (but what do the bookies know anyway?), but I'd definitely keep my eye on Italy. It could either be middle of the pack or surprise everyone and be top 5 on the night; it's very up in the air at this point.
Spain: Alfred and Amaia - 'Tu Canción'
My god, is this insipid. The power couple of this year really wants you all to know HOW MUCH they love each other. At first I really liked the song, but then I grew sick of it. It's too "sweet." I can see the appeal, and it is a nice song, but nice doesn't win Eurovision.
How will it do at Eurovision? Despite my disparaging words toward the song, the presentation is sure as hell going to win votes. It is very voter friendly, and the couple's dynamic makes up for a rather pedestrian song. Potential top 10.
United Kingdom: SuRie- 'Storm'
Last but hopefully not least, it's my home country. SuRie won Eurovision; You Decide in January to a very mixed response and much like France, it wasn't what Eurovision fans first had in mind for the UK entry. Asanda was pipped to win the final, and nobody gave a thought for SuRie; not even me in my review of all the entries. But her win is proof that no matter what the song, live vocals are everything, and boy can she sing. The song has had a revamp, but I'm unsure whether voters will take to it. It all really depends on Eurovision week. Regardless of the result, compared to previous entries, "Storm" is a huge improvement.
How will it do at Eurovision? Honestly, I don't know. I doubt we will win, but who knows? The BBC may have another trick up their sleeve. At this point however, I feel that it's safe to say we won't be hosting next year. However, kudos to the BBC for showing growth in the past two years and making more effort to wanting to win. Just keep going!
Ultimately, from this review, we ponder the question: will we have a Big 5 winner? Probably not, but France and Italy are big contenders for the top 5.