"This year appears to be the year of the solo acts, with bands hard to be found among the 42 entries," says DW music editor Rick Fulker. "It's a bit tame. There's little provocative on offer - just a load of mainstream pop and rapturous ballads in best Eurovision form. Of course, though, the wind machines are at the ready, with wisps of long hair ready to blow as the standard accessory."
At a time when the image of a united Europe has been called into question nearly everywhere, when countries are threatening to go their own ways, there is no lack of unity in the 42 songs, with little differences in their style. As music editor Silke Wünsch writes, "I'll put it bluntly: It's all one pulp. A slow start, punched by a few drum beats, followed by the usual windswept chorus in mainly minor keys is what you can typically expect."
It was a hard choice for the editors.
"Russia stands out with its fantastic graphic lighting effects, but the song is mediocre," says Wünsch. "Latvia is equally striking with its daring electronic soundscape, but the song is weak and the voice even weaker. The Netherlands offers a soothing contribution with a down-to-earth song, performed with real instruments (that's become even more of an exception this year as previously). Estonia is sending a clone of the 80s star Rick Astley into the race: Despite his good voice, he's performing a run-of-the-mill song."
Fortunately, there are always a few outsiders. Here are the 10 choices - five each from our two Eurovision correspondents - who they feel stand out from the crowd. If that's enough to land them in the finale, only time will tell.