About Mike McComb
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv

Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Semi-Final Allocation

July 31, 2017 0

Hooray! There’s finally some structure to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, as the 43 competing countries have received their semi-final assignments. Kyiv, Ukraine was buzzing Tuesday morning as the Eurovision Song Contest held the 2017 semi-final allocation draw. In this process, the 37 countries competing in the two semi-finals were placed in pre-determined bowls based on previous voting history, then randomly assigned either the first or second half of one of the semis. Make that 36 countries: Switzerland requested and received placement in the second semi-final. Also, the Big 5 countries–France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom–along with host country Ukraine learned which semi-final in which each country will vote. Germany also requested and received placement in the second semi-final. Here is how the allocation shook out: Eurovision Song Contest 2017 First Semi-Final Half Country Artist Song First Albania Lindita Halimi Botë (World) First Australia First Azerbaijan Dihaj First Belgium Page Blanche First Finland Norma John Blackbird First Georgia Tako Gachechiladze Keep the Faith First Montenegro Slavko Kalezić Space First Portugal First Sweden Second Armenia Artsvik Second Cyprus Hovig Second Czech Republic Second Greece Demy Second Iceland Second Latvia Second Moldova Second Poland Second Slovenia These 18 countries will compete in […] [Read more…]

Slovenia’s Omar Naber is “On My Way” Back to Kyiv

July 28, 2017 0

Omar Naber won over the jury in Slovenia’s national final. What is our first impression of his song “On My Way”? It isn’t all that unusual for Eurovision alumni to pop up every now and again. However, in this case, Omar Naber has the unique distinction of representing Slovenia for a second time in the same host city as his previous participation. Omar Naber performed “Stop” for Slovenia in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, which also took place in Kyiv, Ukraine. Unfortunately, he placed 12th in that year’s semi-final, so he did not advance to the Grand Final stage. This year, he will perform the song “On My Way”, which won Slovenia’s EMA contest this past Friday. …. Eh? I’m not finding much to get excited about with this track. There isn’t much to the stage performance aside from the switch from black and white to color. There isn’t much story in the song and the lyrics need another pass, which probably won’t happen at this point. And don’t get me started on that unearned key change. If anything, this is a safe but unremarkable entry. Which is a shame, since I’m a huge Slovenia fan and there were some […] [Read more…]

Artsvik asks Armenia to “Fly With Me”

July 24, 2017 0

Armenia had the earliest Eurovision selection series, but saved its entry “Fly with Me” by Depi Evratesil’s winner Artsvik for last. We’ve been waiting quite a while1 for Armenia’s Artsvik to reveal her Eurovision entry. Would it be a Beyonce-level power ballad? Would it be a conceptual art installation like last year’s “LoveWave“? What does “Fly With Me” have in store for us? It’s a little from column A and a little from column B. Woo! Although the song does not have as many vocal demands as some of her performances during Armenia’s selection process, I think this song does a good job of showcasing how powerful Artsvik’s voice can be. I’m also surprised to see her doing choreography in the video as she did exactly none during Depi Evratesil. The combination of sound and visuals seems to be pulling from all the threads of what has made Armenian entries very successful the last several years. As for what to work on in the meantime, I’ll be curious to see how much of the video concept transfers to the stage performance. If the concept is mostly unchanged, the choreography will need to tighten up while also expanding a bit to […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: United Kingdom – Lucie Jones – Never Give Up on You

July 24, 2017 0

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…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube Week 2: Favorites Emerging

July 23, 2017 0

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…]

This Week in Eurovision: Latvia, United Kingdom, and Finland

July 22, 2017 0

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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I Just Can’t with Sweden’s “I Can’t Go On”

July 20, 2017 0

The Swedish Pop Music Industrial Complex has struck again with “I Can’t Go On” by Robin Bengtsson. Yay? I try not to hold grudges, but for some reason music competitions make that goal more difficult.1 In last year’s Melodifestivalen competition, Robin Bengtsson performed a song called “Constellation Prize.” There was nothing about stars, astronomy, or even astrology in the track: it should have been called “Consolation Prize” and therefore is unforgivable.2 Anyway, Bengtsson returned to this year’s MelFest with “I Can’t Go On” and a performance including using a good chunk of the backstage area and treadmills. Take a listen: Not to get into a whole thesis about pop music and rape culture, but this song has a squick factor that makes me not comfortable. It doesn’t help that this sounds like a milder version of “Blurred Lines” and that this Robin gives off a strong Robin Thicke vibe. The Swedish public may also be aware of something not being right about this song, as it was only the third favorite out of the twelve entries in the Melfest final. Thanks juries? I’m starting to get concerned with what Sweden is spitting out for its Eurovision entries. Seeing last year’s Melfest winner […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: San Marino — Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson — Spirit of the Night

July 20, 2017 0

If the “Spirit of the Night” is willing, Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson could be making a run for San Marino to reach the top 10. Country: San Marino Song Title: “Spirit of the Night” Artist: Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson Second Semi-Final: Position #10 Last year’s entry: “I Didn’t Know” – Serhat (DNQ – 12th Place, SF1) Let’s play a little inside baseball. When San Marino surprise-dropped their entry last month, my immediate reaction to the telESCope team was the following: This was followed by a flurry of posts about her updated Facebook page and links to every story I could find, an unexpected deluge which I hope didn’t inconvenience the rest of the team on a quite Sunday morning. It wasn’t until an hour or so later that I realized that I should probably listen to the song? As is often the case with San Marino’s entries, the first impression is usually “oh… oh, dear… well… hmmm…” I think this is more the effect of their songwriter-in-residence Ralph Siegel, who has never said no to a key change, tone change, or style change in his songs. One of the major critiques that has been consistent with his submissions (five of the last six for […] [Read more…]

Hungary Chooses “Origo” by Joci Pápai for Kyiv

July 20, 2017 0

Hungary’s A Dal 2017 wrapped up Saturday with the jury narrowing eight entries to four and the home audience making the final decision. The finale of Hungary’s A Dal 2017 changed up the format we’ve gotten used to these last few weeks. After the final eight acts performed, each jury member selected their four favorites, awarding 10-8-6-4 points to their selections. The four acts with the most points would move on to the superfinal, where the winner of the home vote gets a ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. Here’s how things shook out on Saturday’s show: Gabi Toth opened the show with “Hosszú idők”. Although she ranked on three of the four judges’ lists, her 12 points were not enough to move on to the superfinal. With no help available from the home audience, the surprise run of “Kalendor” by Soulwave came to an end. No points were awarded by the judges. “See it Through” by Gigi Radics managed to pull an upset, sneaking into the superfinal with 14 points. Somewhat surprising, Eurovision veteran Kallay Saunders Band received zero points from the judges for “17.” Leander Kills, the only survivor from the first heat, received eight points from one […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube Week #6: Standings

July 20, 2017 0

Now that the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is down to 42 participants, what countries are the top ten for YouTube views? We’re in the homestretch of wild speculation season April, which means we can pretty much lock in what the YouTube favorites are for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. With rehearsals beginning a week from Sunday, what can we glean from which videos are at the top of the list? The Favorites Sweden — “I Can’t Go On” — Robin Bengtsson 3 million views Belgium — “City Lights” — Blanche 2.7 million views Bulgaria — “Beautiful Mess” — Kristian Kostov 2.1 million views San Marino — “Spirit of the Night” — Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson 2 million views FYR Macedonia — “Dance Alone” — Jana Burcesca 1.87 million views France — “Requiem” — ALMA 1.74 million views Serbia — “In Too Deep” — Tijana Bogicevic 1.69 million views Australia — “Don’t Come Easy” — Isaiah Firebrace 1.51 million views Armenia — “Fly With Me” — Artsvik 1.39 million views Azerbaijan — “Skeletons” — Dihaj 1.32 million views Now, there are some caveats to this list. First, Italy’s Francesco Gabbani’s Vevo video for “Occidentali’s Karma” (which has been available since February 9) is approaching 100 million views. The abridged Eurovision version […] [Read more…]

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