Eurovision 2017 Entry: Poland — Kasia Moś — Flashlight

March 31, 20170

Can Poland put together back-to-back strong finishes for the first time ever? Country: Poland Song Title: “Flashlight” Artist: Kasia Moś First Semi-Final: Position #11 Last year’s entry: “Color of Your Life” — Michał Szpak (8th Place) Last year’s Polish entry was a big hit with Eurovision viewers, surprisingly so (at least for me). Only Russia and Ukraine earned more points from the televoting portion of the contest, and Michał Szpak earned a top-ten finish despite an extremely poor showing — seven points total — with the juries. Only two other times has Poland managed such a strong finish; 2014’s memorable “My Słowianie” had delightful staging, but ended up in 14th place. Can Kasia Moś get to the Grand Final and buck Poland’s trend of being just sporadically decent? Ben wasn’t very impressed with this song in the First Listen round of reviews, and I have to agree. I love me a dramatic Eurovision ballad, but “Flashlight” promises more than it actually delivers. I think I get what the songwriters were going for, but when you’re limited to three minutes onstage, your slow burn can’t take a full sixty seconds to produce any flame at all. Musically speaking, the chorus is the strongest […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Hungary — Joci Pápai — Origo

March 31, 20170

Can Hungary keep building on the good thing they have going and make it to the ESC finals? Country: Hungary Song Title: “Origo” Artist: Joci Pápai Second Semi-Final: Position #8 Last year’s entry: “Pioneer” – Freddie (19th Place) It’s not easy to pin down what a “Hungarian” song sounds like at the modern Eurovision Song Contest.  In the past 7 years (since they sat out 2010), we’ve had your standard Eurodance tracks, a remix of an indie rock track1, folk songs, and, in last year’s entry (Freddie’s “Pioneer”), something that felt like it straddled those various lines.  That did well in its semifinal, but got a little lost in the stronger field at the final, finishing in 19th.  Can Joci Pápai’s “Origo” bring the momentum they need to get further up that final chart? I love this song and really hope it manages to resonate with the Eurovision audience.  Joci’s delivery and the song’s style reminds me a little bit of Sting’s “Desert Rose”, but melds together folk music, pop, and a little bit of rap in a way that I look for in the competition.  There’s a real beauty to the melody line of the song and its delivery is strong. Having watched […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Switzerland — Timebelle — Apollo

March 30, 20170

Can Switzerland take advantage of an easier semi-final and get back to the Grand Final? Country: Switzerland Song Title: “Apollo” Artist: Timebelle Second Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “The Last Of Our Kind” — Rykka (DNQ – 18th Place, SF2) Switzerland has had a rough decade at the song contest. Since 2007, they’ve finished a round in last place twice as often as they’ve qualified through to the Grand Final.1 In both 2015 and 2016, they failed to qualify AND ended up at the bottom of their semi-final round. Clearly something is not working with their selection process. This year’s selection, “Apollo” by Timebelle, crushed the competition, earning 48% of the popular vote, with the runner up earning only 18%. Can they ride that success into the Grand Final for the first time since 2014? Mike had a couple of suggestions for this song: one, to clean up some clunky metaphors in the lyrics, and secondly to deal with some possible sound issues. Neither of these seem to have happened. The lyrics are the same, from what I can tell. I’ve listened to several different live renditions, and in each case the verses sound a little flat, particularly when compared […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Finland — Norma John — Blackbird

March 30, 20170

Will “Blackbird” allow Finland to swoop out of its current Eurovision slump? Country: Finland Song Title: “Blackbird” Artist: Norma John First Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Sing it Away” – Sandhja (DNQ – 15th Place, SF1) Finland has found itself in a Eurovision slump, failing to qualify for the Grand Final in its last two attempts. That’s not an indication of song quality: 2015’s entry was a punk rock song that celebrated accessibility, and last year’s song found itself in the unfortunate position of sounding a lot like Spain’s entry.1 How will “Blackbird” by Norma John fare in semi-final? Here’s the deal. Finland was fourth to choose their song this year, so at the time I was filled with optimism that the songwriting and delivery were going to be elevated, with this song setting the tone. I think that prediction came to pass, but unfortunately left Finland in the dust. “Blackbird” isn’t in my personal top ten, not because I dislike it but because there are so many other songs in the field I like more. What Norma John have going for them is that the song is so different from most of the rest of the field. Norma’s vocals are the strongest […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube Week 3: San Marino is Beating Sweden?!

March 30, 20170

The big question coming out of this week’s Eurovision YouTube views: could San Marino be on its way to the Grand Final again? Trends Overall viewership is down from last week, with all 43 entries attracting 6.3 million views versus 8.6 million. I would wager interest is leveling off until some of the national final performances are replaced with music videos and the semi-final running orders get announced. Ten videos have more than a million views each, with a couple approaching the 2 million mark. First Semi-Final Top Spots Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson managed to slide into the overall top spot this week. “I Can’t Go On” added 470,000 views — the third-most watched video this week — and will likely surpass 2 million views by the end of the day (if it hasn’t already). Last week’s leader, Belgium’s “City Lights” by Blanche, added 362,000 views and is also creeping up toward 2 million, sitting at 1.9 million watches. Australia joined the million view club, thanks to an addition 148,000 views since last Wednesday. Big Moves Sweden and Beligum claimed the one and two spots, respectively, in weekly views. Third place went to Armenia’s “Fly With Me” by Artsvik, which scored another […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Belarus — NAVIBAND — Historyja majho žyccia

March 29, 20170

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, 20170

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, 20170

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, 20170

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…]