France copies their most recent Eurovision success with Alma’s “Requiem”, but misses the soul that made it work. Country: France Song Title: “Requiem” Artist: Alma Last year’s entry: “J’ai Cherche” – Amir (6th Place) When it comes to France in the Eurovision Song Contest, I’ll take a Sebastien Tellier or a Twin Twin over a Patricia Kaas any day. France has some truly weird pop1, and the ESC is the perfect place to give that singular voice a place to shine. Alas, they usually use their given slot for the balladry that also tends to be a hallmark of their nation. The last few years, we’ve seen some English creep into their songs, in what seems like a slight indication that they’re starting to realize that they can’t just send another entirely-in-French song if they want to win, and it’s served them well – did they learn anything from their 6th place finish last year with this year’s entry? Well, sort of. This definitely feels like France is trying to capture the same level of success they achieved at last year’s competition by copying the various elements of last year’s entry (same songwriter, mostly uptempo number, similar instrumentation, English chorus that feels a little […] [Read more…]
The United Kingdom is trying to play nice with Eurovision by promising to “Never Give Up on You”, but will that feeling be reciprocated? Country: United Kingdom Song Title: “Never Give Up on You” Artist: Lucie Jones Last year’s entry: “You’re Not Alone” – Joe and Jake (24th Place) The United Kingdom has finally wised up to using an alum from The X Factor as their Eurovision representative, with series six contestant Lucie Jones beating out a bunch of other alumni for the chance to represent the Union Jack in Kyiv. Will Europe “Never Give Up on You”, UK? How to answer this question… I don’t think Europe will give up on this entry, but I don’t imagine this song attracting much attention in the first place. Lucie Jones does a fine job delivering the song, and I can understand how she has booked so many theater gigs. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to the song. The lyrics aren’t quite cliche, but there are no clever turns of phrase or sophisticated rhymes happening either. The chorus doesn’t have a strong hook, allowing the song to wander off and get lost. Even with repeat listens, I still find myself hoping that the beat will drop after […] [Read more…]
Or perhaps to take your lungs, but either way you’ll enjoy yourself. In Azerbaijan’s first six appearances at Eurovision, it seemed they could do no wrong. Five top-five results, including one win and one runner-up, gave way to a finish near the bottom in 2014. Since then they’ve somewhat recovered, but not to top-ten form. Is “Skeletons” the song that can get the Azeris back to the top of the standings? There is so much to like about this entry! I have been on board since the opening bass chord, which does such a great job of drawing attention and setting the tone, and to which I verbally responded “YESSSSSSS.” This is probably what it would look like if Stranger Things and Eurovision had a baby together, and I am completely here for it, even if I’m not entirely sure what it’s about.1 The aesthetic manages to be both slick and grimy, which sounds like a terrible combination, but somehow Azerbaijan is pulling it off. Sonically I have no improvements or suggestions to make, but visually speaking, I’m gonna need some awesome Thriller-type costumes or holograms. What I do NOT want is a typical “band stands around and fake-plays […] [Read more…]
Two Eurovision legends are at it again. Oh, and Jimmie Wilson. Valentina Monetta is the patron saint of Eurovision among the Sammarinese. When she takes the stage in Kyiv in May, her four performances will account for half of San Marino’s entries, and will tie the record for the most Eurovision appearances. She’s also the only San Marino participant to ever qualify through to the Final — on her third try, with “Maybe” in 2014. “Spirit of the Night” marks a different milestone for another Eurovision legend, providing Ralph Siegel with his TWENTY-FIFTH Eurovision songwriting credit.1 This is a duet so I should probably mention the other vocalist. Jimmie Wilson is an American singer whose previous credits include the Michael Jackson-produced Sisterella, and a German production of “Hope! — Das Obama Musical.”2 Will all of this experience lead to San Marino’s second-ever appearance at the Grand Final? This entry is a Hot Mess, and I mean that in the most loving way possible. The first two verse/chorus sections start out nicely, both fun and energetic, and the video has a pink-and-green club aesthetic that could translate well to the Eurovision stage. All of a sudden, what should be an accessible […] [Read more…]
Now that we have week-to-week data and all 43 songs available, which Eurovision entries are the movers and shakers and possible favorites in Kyiv? First Semi-Final Top Spots Last week’s leader, Blanche from Belgium, maintained her lead this week, having the most viewed video on the official Eurovision YouTube Channel with more than 1,537,000 views as of Wednesday evening. However, Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson has closed the gap considerably, with “I Can’t Go On” racking up 1,507,000 views. In a distant third is Australia’s Isaiah, with “Don’t Come Easy” clocking in with almost 892,000 views. Big Moves Sweden pulled in the most views of all the entries this week, with more than 678,000 trips on the treadmills. He narrowly beat out Armenia’s Artsvik, whose video for “Fly With Me” debuted this past Saturday but managed to pull in more than 633,000 views in just a few days. Belgium also managed to attract half a million clicks this week alone. You in danger, girl Georgia may need to keep the faith, or at least get the real video posted ASAP. The national final performance of Tamara Gachechiladze’s song is currently the least watched of all of this year’s videos with just over 90,000 […] [Read more…]
At least it’s not a turkey? Not the feathered kind, in any case. Several countries have had a poor decade at Eurovision, but perhaps none moreso than Ireland. In the past eleven years, the Irish have failed to qualify five times, and made it to the finals but finished last on two more occasions. (Ironically, most of this happened AFTER they sent a puppet turkey to protest poor finishes.) The only bright spot was Jedward’s 2011 entry, “Lipstick,” which managed to crack the top ten. Can Brendan Murray right the ship? In a word? No. It’s not bad, I guess, but it’s not interesting either. Murray’s vocals are nice, but his voice is too thin for the accompaniment, which sounds like it belongs to a completely different, and more soulful, song. The key change comes way too early, and can best be described1 as unearned. There’s literally zero buildup, just “Oh hey, here’s something different for you!” And it’s slow. Sloooooooow. I don’t have anything terrible to say about this entry, or Brendan Murray. He seems nice, if not very charismatic. I’m just bored by this whole package. Excellent staging can go a long way to saving an otherwise mediocre […] [Read more…]
Aziz Ansari brings almost too much energy to a spotty episode of SNL.
This week in Eurovision: Latvia’s Supernova begins while the UK and Finland make their choices. Supernova Sunday will feature the first installment of Latvia’s Eurovision Song Contest selection series Supernova. This week’s episode will be the first of two backstage and audition episodes. 22 acts will take part in this year’s competition in the hopes of keeping Latvia’s recent streak of success alive. You can watch the LTV livestream at 20.25 CET / 2:25pm Eastern. Eurovision: You Decide The United Kingdom will be the first of the Big 5 to choose their Eurovision act. On Monday, we will find out the six acts that will compete for the ticket to Kyiv. BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce Show will start the announcement at 10.30 CET / 5:30 Eastern. Then on Friday, those six acts will perform on Eurovision: You Decide. This year will feature a panel of three judges as well as an audience vote to determine the winner. The judges will be Bruno Tonioli from Dancing with the Stars, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and reality competition consultant CeCe Sammy. The show will air on BBC 2 at 20.30 CET / 2:30pm Eastern. UMK Finally, Finland will make its Eurovision selection with Uuden […]
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The Rock more than earns his Five-Timers Club robe in the SNL Season Finale.
Will Artsvik’s “Fly With Me” soar to the top of the Eurovision leaderboard, or will Armenia fail to launch? Country: Armenia Song Title: “Fly With Me” Artist: Artsvik First Semi-Final: Position 16 Last year’s entry: “LoveWave” – Iveta Mukuchyan (7th Place) Armenia has taken part in the Eurovision song contest for just over 10 years now, and there seems to be a pattern to how well their entries do: while they’ve only missed the finals twice (once in 2011, when Emmy’s “Boom Boom” finished 12th in its semifinal, and when they sat out 2012 due to political ~drama~ with Azerbaijan, who was hosting), how well they do in the finals is directly connected to how close their song follows typical pop structures. If they go too far off course, they’re likely to place lower in the finals. How does this year’s entry, Artsvik’s “Fly With Me”, look to fare? So, I’m going to be up front and just say that having watched this entry multiple times over the past few weeks, I just plain don’t get it. I recognize it as a song, but it is so far from the structure of what I consider a “Eurovision song” with some semblance on choruses and verses that I can’t […] [Read more…]