Eurovision 2017 Entry: Belarus — NAVIBAND — Historyja majho žyccia

March 29, 2017 0

NAVIBAND’s got plenty of spunk, but does Belarus have what it takes to push “Historyja majho žyccia” all the way to the Eurovision finals? Country: Belarus Song Title: “Historyja majho žyccia” Artist: NAVI Second Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Help You Fly” – IVAN (DNQ – 12th Place, SF2) There’s a inverse correlation between how much I enjoy the Belarussian Eurovision entry’s stage presentation and its chances of actually making the final.  Chainmail tank top?  DNQ.  Naked dude/wolf holograms?  DNQ.  Over-obvious butterfly theme?  Qualified1.  What I’m saying here is that Belarus has had a spotty history the last few years, and hasn’t seen the final since 2014, when everyone’s favorite twerpy hamster date got them all the way to 16th place.  Will NAVIBAND’s “Historyja majho žyccia” be the act to get them back in the Eurovision final spotlight? Let’s talk about this song.  Ryan loved it, and it has a lot of what initially drew me to watching the Eurovision Song Contest all those2 years ago.  There’s a great blend of traditional folk music from the country, mixed with enough pop polish3 to remind you that this is a competition, after all.  I really like the interplay between the two vocalists, as well as the fact […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Georgia — Tamara Gachechiladze — Keep the Faith

March 29, 2017 0

Will Georgia need to do more than “Keep the Faith” to get Tamara Gachechiladze to the Eurovision Song Contest final? Country: Georgia Song Title: “Keep the Faith” Artist: Tamara Gachechiladze First Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Midnight Gold” – Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz (20th Place) Georgia was one of the surprises at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, qualifying with the rock song/art installation/awesomeness that was “Midnight Gold.” This year, Georgia decided to open up their process to a national final format, which could have gone better. With 25 songs1 competing for recognition, the field was rather watered down and getting to the end became a slog. Tamara Gachechiladze kept the faith and ended up winning the jury vote while finishing second in the televote. How does this song stack up now in a field of 43 contestants? Sorry, Ryan, I’m just not that enthusiastic about this track. The staging and Gachechiladze’s dress is a little too reminiscent of Conchita Wurst’s ensemble in 2014, to the point where it feels almost copy-cat. Although her voice is beautiful and powerful, the song itself is heavy handed in Candide-like optimism and not really what I signed up for with Eurovision.2 As of this writing, the […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Albania — Lindita — World

March 28, 2017 0

This year’s first entry might need some help to remain standing through the last day. Country: Albania Song Title: “World” Artist: Lindita First Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Fairytale” — Eneda Tarifa (DNQ – 16th Place, SF2) Albania has had an up-and-down1 time in their thirteen Eurovision appearances. Almost half of their attempts have ended in the semi-final, with only two of the remaining qualifiers going on to finish in the top ten. The most recent of those successes was 2012’s “Suus,” notable for being Albania’s highest-ever finish at the Contest, and for earning Rona Nishliu the Barbara Dex [Worst-Dressed] Award.2 As the first entry announced for 2017, can Lindita take Albania back to the Grand Final, and look good doing it? Let’s start with the positives. Lindita has a great voice, strong and clear, and holds her own above an intense and dramatic rock orchestra. The song is structured well, and builds effectively towards the climax, a series of long notes that could be awesome if Lindita nails them. They’ve also translated the song into English, which is personally disappointing, but understandable given the desire to connect with as much of the televoting audience as possible. The new lyrics […] [Read more…]

In Memoriam: 2017 Selection Season

March 27, 2017 0

A look back at the songs and performances that didn’t quite make it to the Eurovision Song Contest stage in Kyiv. From national finals to weeks-long selection series, we’ve seen dozens of Eurovision hopefuls fall short of winning the right to represent their respective countries in Ukraine this May. Here are some of our favorite runners-up from the 2017 Selection Season. Armenia Anna Danielyan “Dancing on My Own” — Armenia’s Depi Evratesil process brought out a fascinating mix of singers trying to earn the right to be on the Eurovision stage. Anna strength wasn’t in making a strong first impression, instead building up throughout her performance to transfix the audience. Although her cover of “I See Fire” is equally enthralling, this version of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” might be better than the original. Anna was knocked out in the battle round, as her opponent made a first impression too strong to overcome. [Read more…]

Russia’s “Flame is Burning” for Julia Samoylova

March 24, 2017 0

Now can we try not to start World War III with it? Bear with me for a moment, folks, while I try to briefly recap the dumpster fire that is Ukrainian-Russian relations right now specifically as it pertains to Eurovision; you’ll have to look elsewhere for broader geopolitical news.1 Last year, Ukraine competed with a song Russia felt violated the no-politics-at-Eurovision rule and should have been banned. That didn’t happen, and Jamala’s “1944” took home the prize despite failing to win either with the juries or in the televote. Russia felt this was the result of a political conspiracy to keep them from winning, and various members of the delegation have been vocal about their displeasure ever since. Earlier this month, shortly after Russia announced they’d be represented by Julia Samoylova, Ukraine announced that she would not be able to enter the country because she illegally toured in Crimea in 2015. The EBU tried to broker a peace, suggesting that Samoylova could compete live via satellite, but Ukraine said “nope, that’s still illegal” and Russia said “you’re weird, no thanks.” So we’re not entirely sure if Russia will send Samoylova, or anyone, to the Contest this year. Until the EBU/Eurovision […] [Read more…]

Bulgaria – Kristian Kostov – “Beautiful Mess”

March 24, 2017 0

Kristian Kostov’s entry for Bulgaria at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is anything but a “Mess” After the rough time they had in the contest towards the second half of the 2000s, I was happy to see Bulgaria back in the competition at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and even happier that they sent a banger like Poli Genova’s “If Love Was A Crime” to end up in 4th place.  Does this year’s entry, Kristian Kostov’s “Beautiful Mess”, have what it takes to keep that momentum up? My first impressions of this song were just okay (as I was hoping for something a little more uptempo like last year’s entry), but as far as the ballads in this year’s competition goes, this one really keeps growing on me.  There’s a modern flair to the backing track that really reflects what’s going on in pop music right now, and everything neatly wraps up in the 3 minutes they’re allotted (unlike some of the entries this year that just abruptly stop). I don’t have any live footage of Kristian performing to compare against, but if it’s close to this recording, I think Bulgaria has another trip to the finals in their future. […] [Read more…]

Artsvik asks Armenia to “Fly With Me”

March 24, 2017 0

Armenia had the earliest Eurovision selection series, but saved its entry “Fly with Me” by Depi Evratesil’s winner Artsvik for last. We’ve been waiting quite a while1 for Armenia’s Artsvik to reveal her Eurovision entry. Would it be a Beyonce-level power ballad? Would it be a conceptual art installation like last year’s “LoveWave“? What does “Fly With Me” have in store for us? It’s a little from column A and a little from column B. Woo! Although the song does not have as many vocal demands as some of her performances during Armenia’s selection process, I think this song does a good job of showcasing how powerful Artsvik’s voice can be. I’m also surprised to see her doing choreography in the video as she did exactly none during Depi Evratesil. The combination of sound and visuals seems to be pulling from all the threads of what has made Armenian entries very successful the last several years. As for what to work on in the meantime, I’ll be curious to see how much of the video concept transfers to the stage performance. If the concept is mostly unchanged, the choreography will need to tighten up while also expanding a bit to […] [Read more…]

Does Iceland’s Eurovision Entry Look Good on “Paper”?

March 24, 2017 0

Does Svala’s “Paper” have what it takes for Iceland to make the cut to this year’s Eurovision final? It’s been stated here many a time, but Iceland is one of my favorite nations to root for in the Eurovision Song Contest, even though nothing’s quite measured up to 2014’s stellar “No Prejudice” from Pollaponk in my eyes. That’s one place where that seems to be aligned with the rest of Europe. Iceland has just missed the finals every year since then, even with last year’s “Hear Them Calling”, which I thought had a great live presentation. It feels like the last few years, the songs Iceland has sent have been all chorus, no verse, which leaves them feeling a little thin when compared to the field as a whole.  Does Svala’s “Paper” have what it takes to at least get them back in the final?   From what I’ve heard of the Eurovision field as a whole this year, I really dig this song – there’s an icy coolness from the backing and Svala’s vocals that helps it stand out.  The whole song has sort of a CHVRCHES vibe, which is more than welcome by me, and its rhythm feels […] [Read more…]

Azerbaijan’s “Skeletons” Are Here to Party

March 23, 2017 0

Or perhaps to take your lungs, but either way you’ll enjoy yourself. In Azerbaijan’s first six appearances at Eurovision, it seemed they could do no wrong. Five top-five results, including one win and one runner-up, gave way to a finish near the bottom in 2014. Since then they’ve somewhat recovered, but not to top-ten form. Is “Skeletons” the song that can get the Azeris back to the top of the standings?   There is so much to like about this entry! I have been on board since the opening bass chord, which does such a great job of drawing attention and setting the tone, and to which I verbally responded “YESSSSSSS.” This is probably what it would look like if Stranger Things and Eurovision had a baby together, and I am completely here for it, even if I’m not entirely sure what it’s about.1 The aesthetic manages to be both slick and grimy, which sounds like a terrible combination, but somehow Azerbaijan is pulling it off. Sonically I have no improvements or suggestions to make, but visually speaking, I’m gonna need some awesome Thriller-type costumes or holograms. What I do NOT want is a typical “band stands around and fake-plays […] [Read more…]

Valentina Monetta Brings “Spirit” to San Marino

March 23, 2017 0

Two Eurovision legends are at it again. Oh, and Jimmie Wilson. Valentina Monetta is the patron saint of Eurovision among the Sammarinese. When she takes the stage in Kyiv in May, her four performances will account for half of San Marino’s entries, and will tie the record for the most Eurovision appearances. She’s also the only San Marino participant to ever qualify through to the Final — on her third try, with “Maybe” in 2014. “Spirit of the Night” marks a different milestone for another Eurovision legend, providing Ralph Siegel with his TWENTY-FIFTH Eurovision songwriting credit.1 This is a duet so I should probably mention the other vocalist. Jimmie Wilson is an American singer whose previous credits include the Michael Jackson-produced Sisterella, and a German production of “Hope! — Das Obama Musical.”2 Will all of this experience lead to San Marino’s second-ever appearance at the Grand Final? This entry is a Hot Mess, and I mean that in the most loving way possible. The first two verse/chorus sections start out nicely, both fun and energetic, and the video has a pink-and-green club aesthetic that could translate well to the Eurovision stage. All of a sudden, what should be an accessible […] [Read more…]

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