A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tobson's Big ESC 2017 Review, part 7

Today rehearsals began in Kyiv and I am rushing to get this series done. The whole idea of reviewing songs based on the preview clips is guessing all the things you don't know and try to put together a beautiful puzzle although at least half the pieces are missing or only exist in theory.

When the rehearsals begin for real, the game of guessing and hoping and expecting is through. Here goes with some more guessing and hoping as well as some more songs that are really difficult to predict.

Brendan Murray / Dying To Try

My biggest disappointment with this song was that Ireland - this nation of song - felt the need of getting a Swedish song instead of employing local songwriters. I'm slowly getting so fed up with every other song in the ESC being written by Swedes that I am slowly losing my wits and my mind but that's the subject for some other blog post some other time. At first I thought this sounded by a song written for but left out of Agnetha Fältskog's 2013 album, then I realised that's not such a bad thing after all.

Yes. If boyband boy Brendan can manage all the higher notes, this should sail through to the final relatively easily.

My grade: 3/5

Brendan Murray / Dying To Try (Ireland 2017 preview)

Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson / Spirit of the Night

Valentina competed three years in a row, then vowed to stay away from the ESC for a long, long time. We can now deduct that a long, long time equals two years for her. Long enough, I suppose. She joined forces with an American musical theatre actor and together they seem to be aiming at acting out their very personal idea of what goes on in night clubs these days. Maybe this is what clubbing is like in San Marino? There is some sort of 1980's vibe, vaguely reminiscent of "Flashdance", in here somewhere but in spite of a never-ending cavalcade of key changes my interest fades terribly quickly.

Not a chance. Repetitive and only half a song. Or the sketch of a song.

My grade: 1/5

Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson / Spirit of the Night (San Marino 2017 preview)

Jacques Houdek / My Friend

From one duet to another as dear Jacques from Croatia decided to step out on the big ESC stage and duet with himself. Part of him is a pop star, half of him is a local Pavarotti and when the two meet words fail me. The pompous song is crowned by equally pompous lyrics, with a fake Einstein quote as the cherry on top. Maybe it could have worked better had Jacques been at least a tiny bit likeable, but I find it very hard to warm to this. Where's the mute button?

Borderline. Never underestimate the outright ridiculous as people will remember it and easily mistake it for being good. But if there was any justice...

My grade: 1/5

Jacques Houdek / My Friend (Croatia 2017 preview)

JOWST / Grab The Moment

Back to the order of the day with a piece of pretty contemporary pop, well grounded in current trends and far from unthinkable on a commercial radio station close to you. JOWST is perhaps a new Kygo in the making and this is above all a strong and most functioning verse. However, the whole song works a lot better when you only hear it. The stage presentation is a bit beige and anonymous and I am not sure anyone can afford that in a semi final as even and close as this one.

Borderline but I'd say the risk is really big that Norway makes another early exit. The song is clearly better than that but then JOWST & Co need to step up their game a bit.

My grade: 3/5

JOWST / Grab The Moment (Norway 2017 preview)

Timebelle / Apollo

Switzerland has had a bit of a bumpy ride lately and has ended last in their semi for the last two years. Maybe their songs were not the worst but in both cases they were anything but memorable and you can't blame neither juries nor Europe for not voting for them. This year they found a much better song - one that worked up a certain amount of fan following too - but the question is if they didn't fall into that same old trap again. While this is catchier and better sung, it still remains to be seen whether it is good and original enough to make anyone vote for it.

I am afraid not. It is a good song, but still too polite to attract heaving scoring from anywhere. At least it shouldn't place last, if that's any kind of consolation.

My grade: 1/5

Timebelle / Apollo (Switzerland 2017 preview)

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