Eurovision 2016 Entry: Montenegro — Highway — The Real Thing

April 19, 2016 0

Montenegro’s first two Grand Final appearances came in 2014 and 2015. Can they keep the momentum rolling in Stockholm? Country: Montenegro Song Title: “Real Thing” Artist: Highway First Semi-Final: Position #15 Last year’s entry: “Adio (Goodbye)” – Knez (13th Place) Montenegro has only qualified twice for the Grand final since it began participating as an independent state in 2007. Unfortunately, neither of those qualifications were in 2012 or 2013, two years in which I really appreciated their entries as the pinnacle of Eurovision kitsch. On the bright side, both of those Grand Final appearances have been the past two years, and last year’s entry was legitimately good! Can Montenegro capitalize on the momentum in Stockholm? This entry hasn’t changed since it was first released, which is too bad BECAUSE IT’S TERRIBLE. For starters, Highway just does not play the kind of music that Eurovision fans appreciate; hard rock has won the contest before, but I think we can all agree that Lordi is the exception that proves the rule. Most of the team here actually ranks Montenegro as the worst song in the first semi-final, behind San Marino, who desperately added a disco track (!!!) to their entry to make it more palatable. But at […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Romania — Ovidiu Anton — “Moment of Silence”

April 18, 2016 0

If Romania makes it to Stockholm, will Ovidiu Anton’s “Moment of Silence” make the finals? Country: Romania Song Title: “Moment of Silence” Artist: Ovidiu Anton Second Semi-Final: Position 12 Last year’s entry: “De La Capat”  – Voltaj (15th Place) Romania is usually one of my favorite nations to watch in the Eurovision Song Contest, because they know how to bring the drama.  Sure, last year’s entry went for a different, more personal sort of drama, but you can always count on Romania to bring some sort of theatrics.  After selecting Ovidiu Anton to represent them in Stockholm with “Moment of Silence”, let’s take a moment to re-assess their chances of taking the crystal microphone from Sweden at this year’s contest. I enjoyed the staging this song was presented with in the Romanian National Final, but every subsequent live performance I’ve seen since then has been more and more…casually styled, for lack of a more elegant term.  Ovidiu certainly has the live vocals to pull the song off live, but I hope that by the time they get to Stockholm they’re doing a little more than just showing up to perform with the backing track.  Then again, I hope they just get to the stage – […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Estonia — Jüri Pootsmann — Play

April 18, 2016 0

If the jury rewards Estonia’s powerful songwriting for “Play”, will that be enough to get Jüri Pootsmann to the Eurovision final? Country: Estonia Song Title: “Play” Artist: Jüri Pootsmann First Semi-Final: Position #13 Last year’s entry: “Goodbye to Yesterday” – Elina Born & Stig Rasta (7th Place) The Marcel Bezencon awards are a part of the Eurovision Song Contest that gets relegated to the behind the scenes coverage of the competition. The three awards highlight artistry, song composition, and the favorite of the press. Estonia’s “Play”, co-written by last year’s rep Stig Rasta and performed by Jüri Pootsmann, should be in the running for the composition award: Unfortunately, the Marcel Bezencon awards do not have much bearing on how a particular entry does at the Contest. Romania’s 2008 entry won the composition award but finished in 20th. Last year’s winner, Norway’s “A Monster Like Me”, finished in 8th. In fact, “Euphoria” is the only Contest winner to receive the honor of best composition. I mention all of this because I am concerned there is not enough love for this song in the Eurovision fandom. The bookies have Estonia as 12th in the first semi-final while the video on Eurovision’s YouTube channel is only […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Russia – Sergey Lazarev – You Are the Only One

April 15, 2016 0

Sergey Lazarev’s “You Are the Only One” is the current favorite to win Eurovision, but will people want to vote for Russia? Country: Russia Song Title: “You Are the Only One” Artist: Sergey Lazarev First Semi-Final: Position #9 Last year’s entry: “A Million Voices” – Polina Gagarina (2nd Place) You’re not even reading this. You’re either looking at the photo up there or watching this video for the dozenth time today. We’re all friends here: let’s watch Sergey Lazarev’s video for “You Are the Only One” together: Before you hit the replay button again, let’s chat a bit about Russia and their Eurovision chances this year. Spoiler: they are quite good. I hesitate to say they have this locked up for a few reasons: Acknowledging this is the favorite and we should accept this pop music cold war between Sweden and Russia is super boring for our purposes here at telESCope. This is Russia we are talking about, which is still openly hostile toward the membership of a significant portion of the Eurovision fanbase. Is that fanbase willing to hold its nose while sending televotes Russia’s way? Sergey Lazarev’s health may be a concern. He needs a break before landing in Stockholm. Despite these caveats, […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Latvia — Justs — Heartbeat

April 15, 2016 0

My heart beats in deep appreciation for Latvia, but will Eurovision fans feel the same about Justs? Country: Latvia Song Title: “Heartbeat” Artist: Justs Second Semi-Final: Position #1 Last year’s entry: “Love Injected” – Aminata (6th Place) The first time I heard Love Injected, I fell instantly in love, and Aminata remained my favorite performer throughout the 2015 contest season. This year, it took me a little while longer to warm up to “Heartbeat” (also penned by Aminata). The Latvian contigent is obviously happy with the song, as they’ve not made any changes since the original release. Can Latvia make it to the finals, and potentially even bring the contest back to Riga? First of all, I don’t think there’s any doubt Latvia will qualify easily out of the second semifinal. There’s no one else in the contest who is writing songs quite like Aminata, which is partially what catapulted her so far up the leaderboard last year, and Justs has a great voice that perfectly fits this song. I’m not thrilled with his stage presence; at the recent Eurovision in Concert appearance, Justs was as physically awkward as ever. But the entire crowd knew “Heartbeat” and sang right along with him. That’s a very good […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Slovenia — ManuElla — Blue and Red

April 14, 2016 0

Slovenia is jumping on the Taylor Swift breakup bandwagon. Will Eurovision fans get on board, or will ManuElla be singing a different tune come May? Country: Slovenia Song Title: “Blue and Red” Artist: ManuElla Second Semi-Final: Position #11 Last year’s entry: “Here For You” – Maraaya (14th Place) After initially releasing their official video by replacing live performance audio with a studio-recorded track (something we’ve seen far too much of this year), Slovenia is one of the few entries so far to make actual changes to their song. The changes are pretty simple; they added some intro vocals and tweaked a note here or there throughout the choruses. I wasn’t a big fan of this entry a few weeks ago; did these tweaks help at all? I have a theory: the only reason the US will never be invited to join the Eurovision Song Contest is because Europeanish countries wouldn’t be able to send these generic pop/country knock-off songs with impunity. To be clear, I am not against country as a genre in the contest! I’m just saying, if you’re going to steal something, do it well. The Dutch entry from 2014 is a great example. I was too swept up in Conchita-mania to appreciate […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: FYR Macedonia — Kaliopi — “Dona”

April 14, 2016 0

Can FYR Macedonia (and Kaliopi) beat the odds against them and make the Eurovision final with “Dona”? Country: FYR1 Macedonia Song Title: “Dona” Artist: Kaliopi Second Semi-Final: Position 8 Last year’s entry: “Autumn Leaves”  – Daniel Kajmakoski (DNQ – 15th Place, SF#) FYR Macedonia is always in a tough spot when it comes to Eurovision.  As a smaller nation, they don’t have the support of their negihbors to guarantee an entry will make the final, even when the performance is good.  And yet, when compared to countries in similar positions (San Marino and Montenegro, looking at you guys), FYR Macedonia at least seems to be trying to send something they think can make it through to the finals.  After hiring a former R&B group to be backup for their entry last year, they’ve gone back to the drawing board and sent the only singer who’s cracked the finals, Kaliopi.  How does her entry this year, “Dona”, stack up now that the running order is set? I give this song massive points for completely being in a non-English language, but it’s a bland ballad in a semi-final that’s already pretty full of those.  Kaliopi definitely has stage presence (and the live vocals to pull […]

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Eurovision 2016 Entry: Armenia — Iveta Mukuchyan — “LoveWave”

April 13, 2016 0

Let’s revisit Iveta Mukuchyan’s entry for Armenia, “LoveWave”, as the Eurovision final draws closer. Country: Armenia Song Title: “LoveWave” Artist: Iveta Mukuchyan First Semi-Final: Position 7 Last year’s entry: “Face the Shadow”  – Genealogy (16th Place) With a few exceptions (like last year’s entry and the year they didn’t participate because of the tensions with Azerbaijan when they hosted), Armenia tends to do well in the Eurovision song contest.  They also tend to be one of the more forward thinking nations – Aram MP3’s “Not Alone” brought dubstep elements into the contest, and was a long-time favorite leading up to the final competition in 2014.  Is their entry this year, Iveta Mukuchyan’s “LoveWave” of the same standard? There’s been no modification to this entry since it was first introduced, although I’m not sure any modification is really necessary on this.  Like “Not Alone”, this feels like it’s bringing in some modern pop elements to what could otherwise be a standard ballad.  I like that it feels like this has a non-traditional song structure, even if I find the song itself a little bland.  It’s not my favorite entry this year, but I also feel that’s likely my own personal taste rather than that of […]

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