Eurovision 2017 Entry: Poland — Kasia Moś — Flashlight

March 31, 2017 0

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, 2017 0

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, 2017 0

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, 2017 0

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, 2017 0

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: 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…]

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…]

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…]

Will Belgium’s “City Lights” Shine Brightly?

March 22, 2017 0

Or is that just the youthful glow of teenagers onstage? After a string of failures-to-qualify in the late ’00s, Belgium began to turn to a perhaps unlikely source for representation: former contestants from The Voice. Young ones, too! Of the last five artists Belgium has sent to Eurovision, only one has been beyond their teen years at performance time. Blanche, a 17-year old former contestant on The Voice Belgique, will try to continue the success her fellow young’uns have had in the past few years. Is “City Lights” the right song to do it? At first glance this is a really great song. It sounds like it might be a ballad at the very start, but slowly adds layers and voices until it’s a fully-realized dance track. Right at the two-minute mark, all the voices except Blanche’s drop out, getting us ready for a final climb through the end of the song. The production value is spot-on, and I’m not sure where to even begin improving upon that before the contest. I am particularly interested, though, in hearing how this song plays live. It’s a great hanging-out-on-my-couch song, but might not have the right amplitude of energy for folks on […] [Read more…]

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