A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ESC 2014 - Tobson top 37, part 2

There is no better way to end a year than to make your own personal ranking of all the songs taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest of the same year. Don't you agree? I was sure you would!

In my last post I ranked the songs placing 21 - 37 in my personal list - you can see them here.

So here we go - counting backwards down to first place in hope of seeing a surprise there.

20. San Marino
I must admit feeling touched when the Sammarinese made it to the final with this very nicely produced ballad. The airy arrangement makes it sound a bit better than it is, but I'd rather have that than the other way around.

19. Iceland
Energetic and colourful with a positive message, what is there not to like? It does get a bit too repetitive in the end but not more than the group can cover up with their good spirits.

18. Malta
Pretty much the serious equivalent of Iceland's entry. Would have needed a tighter performance in order to convince more people but still a good effort that feels genuine.

17. Israel
What could have been a real contender fell apart largely due to the very clumsy English lyrics and the  very poorly directed live performance in Copenhagen. Still this year's best non-qualifier.

16. Azerbaijan
A beautiful soft ballad with an intimate atmosphere and lyrics that really would have needed somebody more fluent in English to make them justice. Dilara is a real personality but she would have needed another song for the occasion. Or lyrics in her own language.

15. France
There is nothing wrong in not taking this contest seriously or participating just for a bit of fun. But what you absolutely must do is to believe in your own material. The French came across as smirking at their own act and then no catchy chorus in the world can save you.

14. Greece
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the Greek team discussed how they would stage their entry and decided hopping on a trampoline while singing would be a great idea. How to take a lightweight but fun dance track and ruin absolutely every chance of making a positive impression.

13. United Kingdom
I must admit I was taken by the hype for a while and thought this could be a potential winner. It isn't an outstanding song but benefits from a strong hook and an interesting chorus. The best UK entry in a long time but not spectacular enough to stand out among stronger candidates.

12. Italy
Italy - very much like France - has regularly had significant problems staging their eurovision entries properly. In this case a big singing star with an intriguing voice and stage presence managed to sing for three minutes without really going through the screen.

11. Norway
Soft and understated, given an emotional but slightly too insecure performance. Under different circumstances it could easily have been the ballad of the year, but that competition proved very stiff indeed this time around.

10. Belarus
I am surprised too but the Belarusian cheesecake proved to be the ear-worm of the year. Catchy and easy, silly in a good way, never trying to be anything more than it is. Which is most unusual for a Belarusian entry indeed.

9. Finland
Seriously impressive how a band of teenagers from a small city somewhere out there could collect themselves for the big occasion and make their little song grow immensely just at the time when it needed it the most.

8. Hungary
A good contemporary pop song perhaps scared a few off with its lyrics, dealing with the subject of child abuse. Personally I think the verses are a bit too long and slow, making the song feel a bit like it starts and stops between the powerful choruses, but yet another solid entry shows Hungary could probably win this contest any day rather soon.

7. Ukraine
Like in the old fairytale, where they make a delicious soup out of water and an old button, Ukraine always manages to take whatever they can find and turn it into a feast. Admittedly, the song in question is rather weak but what does it matter when the show number on stage is so perfectly put in place, making this three very enjoyable minutes. Ukraine will be sorely missed in Vienna.

6. Sweden
When you have a stylish and elegant but slightly cold ballad it is not a bad idea to ask a Sanna Nielsen to perform it. Suddenly it turns from being just another ballad into a contender.

5. Spain
Ruth Lorenzo is nowhere near as safe a bet as Sanna Nielsen is but as she managed to keep her vocals under control without overdoing her performance, this ballad also grew a couple of sizes in my estimation. And it made people in my social media feeds occasionally erupt into "The Rain! The Rain! The Rain!" for no apparent reason.

4. Armenia
Has there even been a build-up as long and slow and efficient as this one, waiting almost two minutes before unleashing a relatively short but most effective chorus? Sophisticated and very engaging. Had Aram Mp3 been a slightly stronger performer, this could easily have gained one or two placings still.

3. Poland
Nowhere near being sophisticated and that's the whole point. Some good old provocation can still be entertaining, especially when delivered to a song as hit friendly as this one. I loved Army of Lovers back in the day and this entry borrowed most of its aesthetic from them, to great success.

2. Netherlands
The moment I saw the Dutch performance in the semi final I felt sure this must be one of the top competitors for victory. Such an exquisite performance - understated and effective - and I marvelled at how well a song as quiet as this could work in the ESC. A most deserved second place.

1. Austria
The Queen of Austria was my favourite as soon as I heard the song for the first time and it didn't lose any of its magic. A touching performance from a touching performer who rightly turned into one of the biggest internet phenomenons of the year. Divisive, but I like my favourites like that. A bit of bite and a bit of crunch. And a fabulous final note.

Happy New Year, dear blog readers. All the best for 2015!

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