Eurovision 2017 YouTube Week #5: Pre-Party

April 13, 2017 0

There has been some shuffling in the standings for YouTube views for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest entries. Is it too early to declare a favorite? Trends The last couple weeks featured a few Eurovision pre-party events in London, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, and Riga, with Madrid hosting one this weekend. Despite these events, there wasn’t a major spike in viewership on the Eurovision YouTube channel. First Semi-Final Top Spots Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson is starting to run away from the rest of the field, with “I Can’t Go On” approaching 3 million views. If he hasn’t crossed that mark by next week, he’ll be very close. Belgium’s Blanche is still on track to hit 3 million, but it will be a couple weeks before “City Lights” reaches that milestone. Australia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia round out the top five for this semi, both in total viewers and views for this week. Big Moves Georgia finally dropped its new video for “Keep the Faith” and managed to pull itself out of the bottom of the rankings this week. Slovenia, which dropped its video for “On My Way” last week, has almost matched the number of views its previous video achieved in half the […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Belgium — Blanche — City Lights

April 12, 2017 0

Can Belgium find a way to help Blanche light up the stage at the Eurovision finals? Country: Belgium Song Title: “City Lights” Artist: Blanche First Semi-Final: Position 5 Last year’s entry: “What’s the Pressure” – Laura Tesoro (10th Place) Belgium’s on a good run with their last few entries in the Eurovision Song Contest – Loic Notet placed 4th a few years ago, and they managed to cling to the top 10 last year with Laura Tesoro’s “What’s the Pressure”.  Belgium seems to have a good finger on the pulse of what’s going on in pop music and filtering that into their entry.  They’re going to need it this year, as they’re in a very stacked semifinal.  With performance neighbors like Albania and Montenegro, does Blanche’s “City Lights” have the oomph it needs to guarantee a final slot? On a purely personal level, I really like this song.  It has a trance/trip-hop vibe that works, and Blanche’s flat vocal affect reminds me of Jem/Dido in a way that I haven’t seen at the ESC before.  The song’s structure feels unusual, too – it’s less verse-chorus-verse than chorus – bridge – chorus – bridge – chorus.  I wonder if the backing here is doing a little too much […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Czech Republic — Martina Bárta — My Turn

April 12, 2017 0

We want Martina Bárta’s “My Turn” to do well at Eurovision, but could a bad draw mean game over? Country: Czech Republic Song Title: “My Turn” Artist: Martina Bárta First Semi-Final: Position #14 Last year’s entry: “I Stand” – Gabriela Gunčíková (25th Place) The Czech Republic finally broke through the semi-finals last year, qualifying for the Eurovision Grand Final for the first time in five attempts. They even got jury love from a handful of countries, including 10 points from Croatia, in last year’s competition. Unfortunately, their entry did not connect with the home audience, resulting in nil points from televotes.1 Will Martina Bárta be able to keep the momentum going now that it is “My Turn”? I share Ryan’s optimism that this song could be a contender in Kyiv. Initially, I found myself troubled by the impatience of the song. The first verse has only two lines before moving on to the bridge, which creates the illusion that this song is a collection of hooks with nothing to hang on them. But upon further listens, I realized that’s part of the story — Martina Bárta is so eager to be the one to support the subject of her song that she’s rushing to take her […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Australia — Isaiah Firebrace — Don’t Come Easy

April 11, 2017 0

If Australia doesn’t earn a permanent spot with this entry, I don’t even know what the point of the contest is. Country: Australia Song Title: “Don’t Come Easy” Artist: Isaiah Firebrace First Semi-Final: Position #3 Last year’s entry: “Sound of Silence” — Dami Im (2nd Place) To celebrate the 60th edition of Eurovision, Australia — a country in which the song contest is routinely broadcast on TV to millions of viewers — was allowed to appear, and automatically qualified into the Final, during a “one-time participation” opportunity. In 2016, Australia was allowed to return for a second time, but forced to qualify through the semi-final rounds. No matter: they won their qualifying round, dominated the Grand Final jury vote, and despite landing in fourth place with televoters, very nearly ran away with the top prize. Will the third time be the charm for Australia, either in winning the contest or securing a permanent spot? This entry is another perfect example of why the EBU should just go ahead and grant Australia permanent member status instead of doing this one-year-at-a-time nonsense. 17-year old Isaiah Firebrace, winner of last year’s The X Factor Australia, is practically perfect in every way. So is this […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Australia — Isaiah Firebrace — Don’t Come Easy

April 11, 2017 0

If Australia doesn’t earn a permanent spot with this entry, I don’t even know what the point of the contest is. Country: Australia Song Title: “Don’t Come Easy” Artist: Isaiah Firebrace First Semi-Final: Position #3 Last year’s entry: “Sound of Silence” — Dami Im (2nd Place) To celebrate the 60th edition of Eurovision, Australia — a country in which the song contest is routinely broadcast on TV to millions of viewers — was allowed to appear, and automatically qualified into the Final, during a “one-time participation” opportunity. In 2016, Australia was allowed to return for a second time, but forced to qualify through the semi-final rounds. No matter: they won their qualifying round, dominated the Grand Final jury vote, and despite landing in fourth place with televoters, very nearly ran away with the top prize. Will the third time be the charm for Australia, either in winning the contest or securing a permanent spot? This entry is another perfect example of why the EBU should just go ahead and grant Australia permanent member status instead of doing this one-year-at-a-time nonsense. 17-year old Isaiah Firebrace, winner of last year’s The X Factor Australia, is practically perfect in every way. So is this […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Greece — Demy — This is Love

April 11, 2017 0

Greece falls back on a Eurovision standby with Demy’s “This Is Love” – will Europe love it enough to send it to the finals? Country: Greece Song Title: “This Is Love” Artist: Demy First Semi-Final: Position 10 Last year’s entry: “Utopian Land” – Argo (DNQ – 16th Place, SF1) Last year, for the first time since 2004 (when semi-finals were introduced), Greece missed the Eurovision finals.  That’s a pretty big deal – no matter how much I’ve thought their songs have been overrated, it always seemed inevitable that Greece made the finals because they had the voting bloc to back them up.  With that potentially no longer the case, that’s definitely got to leave them feeling desperate to get back into the good graces of the voting viewers.  Is Demy’s “This Is Love” enough to get them there? If you’re trying to get into the Eurovision finals, there are worse ways to try than sending a generic Eurodance ballad.  This is almost a little too generic – this feels like it would soundtrack a Mary Kay or Payless commercial 2-3 years ago1.  Mike seemed to feel similarly about it in his first listen, and I wouldn’t say my ardor for this song has grown any since it […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Portugal — Salvador Sobral — Amar Pelos Dois

April 10, 2017 0

A brother and sister duo may provide Portugal with their first Grand Final appearance of the decade. Country: Portugal Song Title: “Amar Pelos Dois” Artist: Salvador Sobral First Semi-Final: Position #9 Last year’s entry: None Portugal holds the record for most appearances in the Eurovision Song Contest without a win, and the past few years have been particularly terrible on that front. Since 2000, Portugal has skipped the contest entirely four times and failed to qualify into the final another eight times. Of the five times they’ve gone to the Grand Final, their average placement is 17th, but they haven’t gotten there at all since 2010. After a break last year, the Portuguese are sending a song written by Berklee College of Music alum Luisa Sobral and performed by her brother Salvador. Will Eurovision viewers feel the love for these two, and send them to perform on Saturday? Ben recently described this song as “a beautiful, delicate flower that will be curbstomped by the competition.” I agree that it’s beautiful and delicate, but I’m not so sure about the last part. Last year, ZÖE not only qualified into the Grand Final, but finished 13th, well above where many of us predicted […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Romania — Ilinca feat. Alex Florea — Yodel It!

April 10, 2017 0

It feels like Romania has what it takes to “Yodel” their way to the final, but can Ilinca and Alex Florea crack the Eurovision top 10? Country: Romania Song Title: “Yodel It!” Artist: Ilinca feat. Alex Florea Second Semi-Final: Position 6 Last year’s entry: “Moment of Silence” – Ovidiu Anton (DNQ – It’s Complicated) Romania always seems to bring the drama to Eurovision, whether it’s an opera singer, holograms and circle pianos, or a song that’s about social issues like migrant workers.  And then last year, they were the drama, when Ovidiu Anton was denied the chance to perform in the second semifinal when Romania was forced to pull out due to non-payment of debts to the EBU.  They’re back this year, with a song that brings enough energy to make up for last year’s last-second benching, Ilinca and Alex Florea’s “Yodel It!”: I’m slightly confused by the crediting of artists here1, but overall I like this song.  It’s upbeat and energetic, even if the yodeling reminds me a LOT of “Cowboy Sweetheart”2 at times.  I find the lyrics more than a little generic – it’s very “Love Love, Peace Peace” in tone and message, but there’s more than a little truth in that joke and Eurovision […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Estonia — Koit Toome & Laura — Verona

April 7, 2017 0

Can Estonia avoid the tragedy of absolute last place with “Verona”? Country: Estonia Song Title: “Verona” Artist: Koit Toome & Laura Second Semi-Final: Position #18 Last year’s entry: “Play” – Juri Pootsmann (DNQ – 18th Place, SF1 – Absolute Last Place) Estonia has nowhere to go but up after finishing in dead last in last year’s Eurovision semi-finals. Although “Play” is a fantastic song, poor staging choices and a lackluster performance completely sunk that entry. Can “Verona” by Koit Toome & Laura reverse the Baltic country’s fortunes? Hmmm, welllll……. Okay, here’s the thing. Estonia has been sending rather somber entries the last few years. Though the tempo and tone sounds a little upbeat, “Verona” has the same doomed romance vibe as 2015’s “Goodbye to Yesterday” by Elina and Stig. Though this track is radio friendly, the song is still kind of a downer. There hasn’t been much traction for this song on YouTube, but that could be a function of the video not being overly interesting and the song available on Spotify. The advantage here is that both Koit Toome & Laura have Eurovision experience. Toome represented Estonia in 1998 while Laura was part of the group Suntribe, which participated in 2005. Although the Contest […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Netherlands — O’G3NE — Lights and Shadows

April 7, 2017 0

These sisters should enjoy more lights than shadows on their way to the Grand Final. Country: Netherlands Song Title: “Lights and Shadows” Artist: O’G3NE Second Semi-Final: Position #7 Last year’s entry: “Slow Down” — Douwe Bob (11th Place) After failing to qualify into the Grand Final between 2005 and 2012, Netherlands has come roaring back with three top-eleven finishes in four years. They’ve been good enough over this span, including finishing second with the excellent “Calm After the Storm” in 2014, that we can almost even forgive them for #DressGate2015.1 Can a trio of sisters capture that country-music momentum to waltz into the Grand Final once again? Mike did a great job of recapping all the things — and there are a LOT of things — going on with this song. What he sees as over-production, though, I see as appropriately accessorizing a successful Eurovision entry.2 I particularly enjoy how clear their voices are in the recording, and that the trio maintains one cohesive sound instead of reverting to the standard soloist-with-backing-harmony setup. Viewers who find the studio version a little too in-your-face might be heartened to hear how live performances sound. Whether it’s less processing, different mics, or perhaps a combination […] [Read more…]

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