A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tobson's Big ESC 2017 Review, part 5

For the second year running we had a very late change in the lineup of the second semi. Last year Romania was kicked out due to a smaller mountain of unpaid bills. This year the EBU basically folded themselves double in order to keep Russia in the running, despite all sensible indications pointing towards them never fully intending to take part in Kyiv. For my review, I kept Russia in its place, just for comparison and to ponder what could have been.

Tijana Bogićević / In Too Deep

The second semi starts pretty much like the first semi ended: with a perfectly fine and perfectly contemporary pop number. It is slick, it sounds good, it is well sung - by one of Nina's crazy background singers from Düsseldorf 2011. It has pretty much everything anyone could ask for, except for any kind of profile or anything that would set it apart from anything else. Good and credible but too generic. Will need some really extraordinary and explosive staging in order to stand out.

Borderline. There are so many of these radio-friendly, tailor-made for the commercial airwaves-type of songs in the lineup. Why would anyone remember this one in particular?

My grade: 3/5

Tijana Bogićević / In Too Deep (Serbia 2017 preview)

Nathan Trent / Running On Air

Ever since their last comeback in 2011 - and especially since Conchita's impressive victory - it seems like Austria would actually have a pop scene where quality stuff is being made. Quality stuff that could compete on an international level. Nathan Trent is surely the most charming male performer in the running but while his song sounds bang-up-to-date, it takes a disappointing turn in the chorus which is far from as strong as it should be.

Borderline. Nathan will really need to knock Europe over in order to make up for the slightly weaker chorus. Far from impossible.

My grade: 3/5

Nathan Trent / Running On Air (Austria 2017 preview)

RUSSIA - not participating
Yulia Samoylova / Flame Is Burning

After many weeks of plot twists, Russian tv decided not to broadcast the 2017 ESC, rendering themselves ineligible for participation. This entry has been most revealing in many ways. It has showcased how naïve the EBU as well as many fans are in these times of information wars and propaganda machinery. It has also shown an alarming degree of ableism among ESC fans, quickly concluding how anyone confined to the use of a wheel chair could not possibly knowingly be part of a political scheme. Like Yulia was some poor vegetable, unable to understand the world around her. Instead of performing in Kyiv, she will headline a concert in Crimea on the day of the final. Oh well.

Would this have qualified?
Borderline. The song is really weak - as is the performance - and it's highly debatable whether it would have been enough. But that's also a highly hypothetical question. Russian tv never intended to compete with this entry. It was designed to be shark feed and nothing else.

My grade: 1/5

Yulia Samoylova / Flame Is Burning (Russia 2017 preview)

Jana Burčeska / Dance Alone

After four consecutive semi final failures, FYR Macedonia has internally selected one of their best entries ever. Swedish Joacim Persson has co-written no fewer than three entries in this semi, which must be a record. What really set me on fire here was the fantastic video clip, which is captivating and heartbreakingly sad. If the same amount of emotion can be communicated in the live version, then this could be the republic's best showing to date. But on the other hand - no other country has been so consistently effective in ruining their songs on stage.

Borderline. It all comes down to Jana's vocal performance and the staging of this number. Also, the single edit lacks some of the emotional depth of the version used in the video clip. But it is my own personal second favourite of the lot this year.

My grade: 4/5

Jana Burčeska / Dance Alone (FYR Macedonia 2017 preview)

Claudia Faniello / Breathlessly

The Maltese clearly have determination. This is the kind of ballad they have failed with multiple times in the last ten years or so and yet they plunge headlong into competition with yet another version. Claudia tends to over perform more than a bit but is otherwise a good singer and through no fault of my own, this entry has grown on me. Just like Poland it has some really clunky and unfortunate lyrics here and there but the chorus is lush and luxurious. I fear it won't help much in the end.

No. A better starting position could have helped but this one is very unlikely to pass. It's pleasant for as long as it goes on but will be forgotten as soon as it is over.

My grade: 2/5

Claudia Faniello / Breathlessly (Malta 2017 preview)


  1. FYR Macedonia - it will all depend on her ability to sing the song live and the staging. Otherwise it going to fail miserably.

    A question - Do you intend to finish your review before rehearsals start drag it a bit during the rehearsals?

    1. My ambition is definitely to review all songs before their first rehearsals. Hey ho, who needs to sleep...? :)

  2. I think you underestimate the power of Malta's jury shenanigans... hopefully you are right though!