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: Croatia — Jacques Houdek — My Friend

April 6, 2017 0

How on Earth is Croatia’s Jacques Houdek going to perform “My Friend” on the live Eurovision stage? Country: Croatia Song Title: “My Friend” Artist: Jacques Houdek Second Semi-Final: Position #12 Last year’s entry: “Lighthouse” – Nina Kraljic (23rd Place) After a lengthy hiatus–preceded by an even lengthier drought in qualifying for the Grand Final–Croatia returned to the Eurovision Song Contest last year with the perfectly pleasant “Lighthouse.” That song managed to sneak into the top 10 of its semi-final but didn’t quite catch on in the full field, ending up in 23rd place. Has Croatia learned what works and what doesn’t over the last several years? … Croatia, honey, let’s chat. I think I understand what Croatia is trying to do here. They’re using the runner-up from their last national final, though that was back in 2011.1 “My Friend” is verrrrrry Eurovision-y, with its message of “Love Love Peace Peace” and a swelling arrangement. None of this is objectionable, it just isn’t very interesting. What is interesting are the vocal choices. Switching between English and Italian seems like an exercise in racking up technical points in a competition with a different scoring mechanism than the Contest. What I am most concerned about: how […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube Week #4: Running Order and New Videos

April 6, 2017 0

Will new videos boost viewership numbers for some of the underperforming countries on the Eurovision YouTube channel? Trends We have a running order! The playlists have been adjusted accordingly by Eurovision, though no significant changes in viewing behavior have emerged yet. Three videos have dropped since last week’s check-in: Slovenia’s Omar Naber introduced us to a pop-and-lock matador for an updated version of “On My Way” Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov has a video for “Beautiful Mess”, though it hasn’t been added to the Eurovision YouTube page at the time of this writing. Croatia’s “My Friend” will get you Eurovision bingo in about 30 seconds. Slovenia’s video is the only one to have been placed in the Eurovision semi-final playlists. Our numbers will include views of the old video up until Friday, when the new video dropped. Croatia’s new video is on the Eurovision channel, but the old video is still in the playlist. Both videos’ views are counted for this week’s total, but once the new video is added to the playlist, the number of views for the old video will be locked. Bulgaria is not on the Eurovision channel yet, so numbers only include the lyric video. First Semi-Final Top […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Austria — Nathan Trent — Running on Air

April 5, 2017 0

A throwback sound may not be enough to get Austria back to the Grand Final. Country: Austria Song Title: “Running on Air” Artist: Nathan Trent Second Semi-Final: Position #2 Last year’s entry: “Loin d’ici” — ZOË (13th Place) After a string of failures to participate or qualify, Austria has been on fire the last few years at Eurovision in both good and bad ways. In 2014, Conchita Wurst surprised everyone by rising like a phoenix during semi-final week and taking home the Grand Final win. The very next year, the Makemakes set a piano on fire and ended up tied for last place with the dreaded nul points. Last year in Stockholm, ZOË surprised many by making the Grand Final stage, instead of expected qualifiers like Iceland and Greece. Can Nathan Trent buck his country’s trend and perform on the contest’s final evening? I don’t want to like this entry, but Trent’s voice is ridiculously smooth, and as Ben pointed out, it checks a bunch of boxes from the early/mid-2000s Jason Mraz playbook. Based on a couple of live videos, I have no concerns about his ability to nail the song itself. His performance, though, both in the music video and […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Latvia — Triana Park — Line

April 5, 2017 0

Is Triana Park’s “Line” too one-dimensional to take Latvia to the Eurovision Song Contest final? Country: Latvia Song Title: “Line” Artist: Triana Park First Semi-Final: Position 18 Last year’s entry: “Heartbeat” – Justs (15th Place) For the past few years, Latvia’s reigned as the alt-pop kings of Eurovision.  Aminata’s “Love Injected” and Justs’ “Heartbeat” (written by Aminata) set the standard for Latvia as a nation that was finding a way to blend pop songcraft with more experimental structures and melodies.  It’s definitely been a better tack for them to take than being the “Cake to Bake” people again.  This year’s entry, Triana Park’s “Line”, seems to follow in those same footsteps – does Latvia face decreasing returns by going to the same well again? Like Mike, I’m digging the college radio approach Latvia’s taken the past few years with their entries, but this one doesn’t quite do it for me.  I like the build of this, but there’s not much to this song beyond its hook of “tell me babe oh where we draw the line”.  I’d love for there to be just slightly more to the song, even if it totally earns the breakdown it builds up to. Triana Park’s got a clearly defined […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Moldova — SunStroke Project — Hey Mamma

April 4, 2017 0

Will Epic Sax Guy be able to get Moldova its first trip to the Eurovision Grand Final in four years? Country: Moldova Song Title: “Hey Mamma” Artist: SunStroke Project First Semi-Final: Position 12 Last year’s entry: “Falling Stars” – Lidia Isac (DNQ – 17th Place, SF1) Moldova has been lost for the last few years at Eurovision. Either the songs are a misfire (2014’s entry, which Ryan still disavows) or end up with a bad draw in the running order (2015’s pyrotechnic stripper cops opening up that year’s first semi-final). Perhaps sending an act that has made it to the Grand Final before — and became an instant gif sensation — will pull the former SSR out of its slump? I will almost always root for Moldova, but I have to admit I think this song may be on the bubble. The song has been placed in position 12, so it’s pretty much in the middle of the running order between Poland (eh) and Iceland (eh). While neither of those songs should overshadow “Hey Mamma”, I don’t think they necessarily complement the track. This track is also interesting in that the instrumentation is minimal to the point that this song is almost a capella. The saxophone is […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Slovenia — Omar Naber — On My Way

April 3, 2017 0

Slovenia seems on their “Way” down the wrong path for Eurovision glory. Country: Slovenia Song Title: “On My Way” Artist: Omar Naber First Semi-Final: Position 17 Last year’s entry: “Blue and Red” – Manuella (DNQ – 14th Place, SF2) Slovenia doesn’t have a great record in the last decade or so of the Eurovision Song Contest.  Of those entries, the one that did the best, 2011’s “No One” (which placed 3rd in the final!) I literally could not recall or bring to mind.  This is because my brain already reserved that space for Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”1.  I loved 2015’s “Here For You”, which finished 5th, but that one got lost in the shuffle when the final show rolled around.  I’m saying their entries tend to be a little off from whatever the rest of Europe tends to think is going on, including last year’s “Blue and Red”, which went hard on the whole country-twang thing when the frontrunners were all more modern ballads.  Does Omar Naber’s “On My Way” right the ship at all? Oh, man, you guys, I do not have a lot of positive things to say about this one.  Mike had the same unimpressed reaction, but this entire song reminded me of […] [Read more…]

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