In the weeks leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, I’ll be reviewing each of the 37 entries competing this year. Today I’m looking at Switzerland, who are drawn twelfth  in the second semi-final with ‘Hunter of Stars’ by Sebalter

 Switzerland Flag

Switzerland: Sebalter – Hunter of Stars

They say having a lot of neighbours gives you an instant advantage at Eurovision, but landlocked, multi-lingual Switzerland are clearly the exception that proves the rule. Their run of failure this century has been staggering, particularly in the past seven years, which has seem them qualify precisely once (in 2011) – only to wind up dead last in the finals. If not for their illustrious history with the contest (first winner ever, second winner Celine Dion) you’d wonder why exactly they bothered persevering with it at all.

Switzerland: Sebalter - Hunter of Stars | Eurovision 2014If Switzerland have a problem, it seems to be a bit of a lack of identity. There’s nothing you could ever really describe as a typically ‘Swiss sounding’ entry. They’ve veered from radio-friendly rock (Lovebugs, Sinplus) to powerballads (Paolo Meneguzzi) disco-pop (Michael von der Heide) and novelty records (DJ Bobo) all to no avail. They’re on the MOR bandwagon again this year with ‘Hunter of Stars’ by Sebalter – an appealingly hummable country-pop confection replete with handclaps, fiddles and whistling.

There’s something about this entry that comes across just that little bit too eager to please. There’s a certain point wherein ‘jaunty’ just becomes irritating, and this is right on the borderline. However, he’s proving to be an appealingly energetic performer who brings what could be quite a boring song to life. I think a lot of people will enjoy this, though I’m not sure how many will like it enough to actively pick up the phones.

Aside from Switzerland’s dire record, there’s also the issue that Malta are also in this semi final with a considerably stronger song in a similar genre. Switzerland have a better draw, but I still think any potential vote split is more likely to work more in Malta’s favour. That said, in 2011 Belgium and Cyprus both made it through with soundalike performances, and although I don’t think it’s a major contender, in this case Hunter of Stars is probably broadly accessible enough to slip over the line if the performance looks and sounds good enough. Very much on the bubble, but I’m giving them a pass.

Prediction: Qualifier