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…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Belarus — NAVIBAND — Historyja majho žyccia

July 29, 2017 0

NAVIBAND’s got plenty of spunk, but does Belarus have what it takes to push “Historyja majho žyccia” all the way to the Eurovision finals? Country: Belarus Song Title: “Historyja majho žyccia” Artist: NAVI Second Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Help You Fly” – IVAN (DNQ – 12th Place, SF2) There’s a inverse correlation between how much I enjoy the Belarussian Eurovision entry’s stage presentation and its chances of actually making the final.  Chainmail tank top?  DNQ.  Naked dude/wolf holograms?  DNQ.  Over-obvious butterfly theme?  Qualified1.  What I’m saying here is that Belarus has had a spotty history the last few years, and hasn’t seen the final since 2014, when everyone’s favorite twerpy hamster date got them all the way to 16th place.  Will NAVIBAND’s “Historyja majho žyccia” be the act to get them back in the Eurovision final spotlight? Let’s talk about this song.  Ryan loved it, and it has a lot of what initially drew me to watching the Eurovision Song Contest all those2 years ago.  There’s a great blend of traditional folk music from the country, mixed with enough pop polish3 to remind you that this is a competition, after all.  I really like the interplay between the two vocalists, as well as the fact […] [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…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Albania — Lindita — World

July 28, 2017 0

This year’s first entry might need some help to remain standing through the last day. Country: Albania Song Title: “World” Artist: Lindita First Semi-Final: Position TBD Last year’s entry: “Fairytale” — Eneda Tarifa (DNQ – 16th Place, SF2) Albania has had an up-and-down1 time in their thirteen Eurovision appearances. Almost half of their attempts have ended in the semi-final, with only two of the remaining qualifiers going on to finish in the top ten. The most recent of those successes was 2012’s “Suus,” notable for being Albania’s highest-ever finish at the Contest, and for earning Rona Nishliu the Barbara Dex [Worst-Dressed] Award.2 As the first entry announced for 2017, can Lindita take Albania back to the Grand Final, and look good doing it? Let’s start with the positives. Lindita has a great voice, strong and clear, and holds her own above an intense and dramatic rock orchestra. The song is structured well, and builds effectively towards the climax, a series of long notes that could be awesome if Lindita nails them. They’ve also translated the song into English, which is personally disappointing, but understandable given the desire to connect with as much of the televoting audience as possible. The new lyrics […] [Read more…]

In Memoriam: 2017 Selection Season

July 27, 2017 0

A look back at the songs and performances that didn’t quite make it to the Eurovision Song Contest stage in Kyiv. From national finals to weeks-long selection series, we’ve seen dozens of Eurovision hopefuls fall short of winning the right to represent their respective countries in Ukraine this May. Here are some of our favorite runners-up from the 2017 Selection Season. Armenia Anna Danielyan “Dancing on My Own” — Armenia’s Depi Evratesil process brought out a fascinating mix of singers trying to earn the right to be on the Eurovision stage. Anna strength wasn’t in making a strong first impression, instead building up throughout her performance to transfix the audience. Although her cover of “I See Fire” is equally enthralling, this version of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” might be better than the original. Anna was knocked out in the battle round, as her opponent made a first impression too strong to overcome. [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Ukraine – O.Torvald – Time

July 26, 2017 0

With controversy swirling, can Ukraine capitalize on home field advantage? Country: Ukraine Song Title: “Time” Artist: O.Torvald Last year’s entry: “1944” — Jamala (1st Place) Ukraine captured victory in 2016, despite coming in second place in both the jury and televoting components, and thanks in part to an assist from a new voting system. (Under the voting system used in 2015, jury favorite Australia would have taken home the trophy.) Instead of trying to figure out who would host on behalf of the Aussies, we’ve spent the last few months wondering whether Ukraine and Russia could figure out a way to co-exist. (Spoiler alert! They have not.) Can O.Torvald cut through the geopolitical and bureaucratic noise to represent their country well at the Grand Final? I like rock at Eurovision, and I like several parts of this entry, but I’m not as keen on it as Mike was. In particular, there are some structural issues in the last third; the bridge starts at 1:54 with eight or nine seconds of silence, losing the momentum out of the second chorus. If they want to provide contrast and build tension, they could do so in half that much time. The next thirty […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Germany – Levina – Perfect Life

July 25, 2017 0

In which Germany tries to get up off the mat. Country: Germany Song Title: “Perfect Life” Artist: Levina Last year’s entry: “Ghost” — Jamie-Lee (26th Place) Let’s not sugarcoat this: Germany has been AWFUL in the last couple of contests. They were one of two countries1 to earn the dreaded nul points in 2015, and ended up on the wrong side of the tiebreaker to land in last place. I know the EBU said last year’s voting changes were to better generate suspense, but wouldn’t be surprised if two countries — one of them a major funder — getting nul points wasn’t also a major factor. Those changes led to Germany scoring more points (11!) in 2016 than they would have under the old system — but they STILL ended up in last place. Can Levina help Germany break out of this major slump? Ah geez. It feels like I’m kicking Germany when they’re down, but as Ben pointed out over two months ago, it feels like this song is destined for the bottom of the pile.2 I enjoy Levina’s voice, and she’s proven to have strong and compelling live vocals, if not much stage presence. This song is just […] [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: France – Alma – Requiem

July 24, 2017 0

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…]

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…]

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