A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tobson's Big ESC 2018 review, part 4

The person in charge of sequencing the running order has a great deal of power, that is for sure.

When the draw was abandoned in 2013, the new system was promised to guarantee a better show: similar styles would be spread out and so would geographical and cultural neighbours. Something the producers have not always managed to live up to.

In the semi finals, however, it is unlikely that the producer can make or break an entry just by giving it a certain spot. If the audience likes something, they will vote for it regardless. Last year's first semi proved quite convincingly there are no safe spots anywhere. The final is a different story altogether but let's deal with the last semifinalists first.

Iriao / For You

A beautiful and intriguing piece of folklore presented by a country that always seems to find new areas to explore and almost never takes the easiest route in this contest. Maybe a bit lacking in dynamics to be a real points magnet but its musical merits alone should be enough to assure it some success.

Borderline but I hope it will. There is something very likeable about men singing in harmonies like this.

My grade: 3/5

Gromee feat Lukas Meijer / Light Me Up

Given recent events, it is hard not to think of Avicii here and label this entry Avicii-light. Musically it is not a bad effort and it has some good hooks in the chorus, but it also feels very lightweight and the performance in the national final was a complete and utter visual mess that needs to get sorted out.

Borderline. Relies far more on televote love than most. If the Poles around Europe are awake and alert, then this one will make it, but they were not as eager to vote as expected last year.

My grade: 2/5

Christabelle / Taboo

Flashback to a kind of entry that used to be really popular a couple of years ago, with a slightly aggressive-sounding female vocalist in an almost contemporary soundscape. I liked this when it won in Malta, then it grew off me surprisingly quickly. Now it just feels repetitive and dated and heard before.

No, unless the viewers at home get lost in nostalgia. I'd say that's unlikely.

My grade: 1/5

AWS / Viszlát nyár

I am not going to pretend to be a connoisseur of heavy rock but I'm delighted to see other genres than "eurovision-rock" take part at the ESC. This is heavy, hard, noisy and with more than a fair share of angst in it. It almost hurts when you hear it and I'm very happy about this glimpse into a musical landscape I seldom venture into.

Yes. This must make it. We need something as different and refreshing as this in the final.

My grade: 3/5

Laura Rizzotto / Funny Girl

Another vaguely Bond-esque number by a performer with a sense of drama. Or so I hope. While this song is one of my personal favourites - I absolutely love the lyrics - the video clip is pretty much standing in the way of the song, making it feel a lot less engaging than it is when I only hear it. This one needs a firm injection of some sort of action in Lisbon.

Yes, I hope so. But it could equally well end 11th. Or - if the staging is poor - it could even crash and burn close to the end of the result.

My grade: 4/5

Benjamin Ingrosso / Dance You Off

Somehow this evolved from being a competent, visually stunning but slightly boring first semi qualifier in MF to something very different. Surprising that Sweden enters exactly the same thing two years in a row - a contemporary number where visuals are more important than the actual content - but this song keeps growing and growing.

Yes. And also the winner of this semi.

My grade: 4/5

Vanja Radovanović / Inje

Sometimes having all the right components is still not enough. Montenegro has a convincing performer, a solid ballad performed in their own language and quite a lot of emotion and passion soaring through their entry. And yet no matter how many times I listen, I can never remember what it sounds like once it is over. That can't be a good thing.

No, unless Europe hears something I can't hear. In a way I wish they would.

My grade: 2/5

Lea Sirk / Hvala ne

A Slovenian babe with an attitude it all it takes for me. I am totally sold here. The beat, the idea, the ice cold lack of a proper chorus. I'm convinced. Not that Slovenia has a great track record when it comes to convince the people who are voting, though.

Yes. I want this to qualify. (Maybe I don't really expect it to qualify but I'm not giving up just yet.)

My grade: 4/5

Mélovin / Under The Ladder

I'm struggling here. There are so many good bits and pieces here and Mélovin is an engaging performer and yet things don't click into place for me. Extra plus for energy and conviction but the tempo changes are weird. And what is he even singing about? Confusion all around.

Qualifier: Yes, of course. Ukraine are brilliant at this and we are likely to get a stunning package in the end. Last year is long forgotten.

My grade: 2/5

Maybe you also want to read parts one, two and three of this review? And maybe you also want to see when I blog my way through every Eurovision entry ever (in Swedish) over here?

1 comment:

  1. So I think those will qualify from this semi (the strongest imo btw) Romania, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine,Hungary,Russia, Poland and the last space will be between Denmark and Latvia with hopefully Denmark as qualifier....