Does Ireland’s Eurovision entry still have a pulse, or could Can-Linn and Kasey Smith’s “Heartbeat” be DOA?
Song Title: “Heartbeat”
Artist: Can-Linn featuring Kasey Smith
Semi-Final: Second, Position 9
Last year’s entry: “Only Love Survives” – Ryan Dolan (26th Place)
When you’re the winning-est country in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest (with 7 wins, including a 3-year streak), there’s got to be a lot of pressure to keep up that standard of quality. With the exception of Dustin the Turkey1, Ireland’s best quality is the consistency of its Eurovision entries. Its understanding of what works and what doesn’t seems to have been its undoing lately. Last year’s entry felt like too many separate parts of a good Eurovision entry put together. As Mike noted in his First Listen, it seemed like Ireland was headed down that way again.
The main point of the promo seems to be “We’re sending a GIRL to Eurovision this year.” Which is nice, but I think the only advantage it has over the live performance we saw earlier in the year is its lack of unnecessary Irish step dancers.2 One thing that hasn’t been made clear to me is this: If the person singing is Kasey Smith, who are Can-Linn? If they’re not appearing on stage/in the promo, why not just list Kasey Smith as the performer? I don’t think that question will dissuade voters for the song, but it does make the question of who’s performing a little tricky to understand in my head.
This song may sneak through to the final based on instrumentation and position in the performance order alone. As Mike noted, there’s elements of at least three past winners of the competition (“Only Teardrops”, “Fairytale”, and “Running Scared”) in the song, and the general “trust in me” theme is nice. There are enough touches of Irish music to remind the listener what country’s entry they’re listening to3. As far as the lineup goes, Ireland’s surrounded by Lithuania, Finland, and Belarus. Of those four, I think Ireland’s driving pop and Finland’s Killers-esque rock will reap the most benefit of being better than the less-than-fan-favorites they’re surrounded by. I don’t think it’s a lock for one of the top five vote-getters of Semifinal 2, but “Heartbeat” has enough of a pulse to get through to the grand final.