A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tobson's Big ESC 2018 review, part 2

There is always something to be unhappy about. The fans are in general not fond of the fact that the running order is sequenced by a producer instead of the result of a draw. They would want things to be more random.

However, as the songs were revealed for this year's contest it turned out the first semi seemed way stronger in most people's minds compared to the second semi. This was seen as deeply unfair. Maybe people would want the draw of the semis to be less... random.

This is just the way it happens. It should be no job of a producer to decide what is good and what is bad in order to create a balance between semis. We just have to live with it, I suppose. And these are the final nine songs of the first, stronger semi.

Eye Cue / Lost And Found

An ambitious entry co-signed by one of the country's most prolific hitmakers - a daring mix of different styles and tempi and sounds all joined together in a three-minute experiment. Would deserve a spot in the final not least because of its sheer nerve and its bravery but that is not how it works.

No. There are bit too many sudden turns in this entry and the televoters will lose interest before they realise what an interesting piece of music this is.

My grade: 3/5

Franka / Crazy

Croatia did pretty well since their comeback two years ago but still nowhere near living up to their potential. This year they internally selected a real pop starlet who revitalised her own career lately. Her entry falls into the popular "Could have been a Bond track"-category and this is a classy piece of craft. Only not engaging enough to break through.

No. In the second semi it would have qualified but while the song sounds good - and Franka is a solid performer - it lacks that last piece of sparkle needed to turn it into a vote magnet.

My grade: 3/5

Cesár Sampson / Nobody But You

This one puzzles me as it is quite highly rated by fans. I tend to like Austria way more than most and defend their songs to the bitter end. All I see and hear this year is a decent but pretty anonymous attempt at gospel, performed by somebody who is not exactly burning through the screen.

No. I don't think it will be enough when placed against a whole bunch of stronger contenders in this semi.

My grade: 1/5

Yianna Terzi / Oneiro mou

I must applaud Greece for going back to their roots. I love the sound of this as well as the general atmosphere in this entry. Yianna has an enchanting voice and presence and the whole thing brings in an air of older traditional Greek pop that I loved in my youth. I should love this to bits and yet I am not blown away. I don't know what is missing but if I don't get blown away by this, how could I expect anyone else to be?

Borderline. It will depend very much on the staging but I'm afraid this could turn out to be a flop in the voting.

My grade: 2/5

Saara Aalto / Monsters

Some of my initial doubts have blown away. Not all of them, mind you. I still fear some decisions taken concerning styling and choreography and I still doubt Saara's ability to keep her calm when it matters the most. However, this entry is very much helped by its spot in the running order.

Yes. This is the right song at the right time. Catchy, contemporary and with the right sort of climax.

My grade: 4/5

Sevak Khanagyan / Qami

Another piece of carefully written etno performed in the country's own language. Well sung and with a nice climax towards the end but still lacking something to make it dramatic enough. Having Greece coming so close before it could also be a really bad thing for the Armenians.

Borderline. Probably yes - Armenia is good at making its way into the final - but it is far from sure. It would be pretty interesting if both Armenia and Azerbaijan would miss the final the same year. Is that when time breaks and the universe melts?

My grade: 2/5

Zibbz / Stones

Switzerland never made a name for themselves as a European stronghold for rock music - maybe for a cause - but these siblings moved across the big blue water and made careers for themselves over there. They represent their own homeland with quite some gravity and energy. As a rock song, this is not half bad and far more engaging than any Swiss entry has been for many years.

Borderline. Which is a good thing for Switzerland. On a good day, they could grab an 8th place and a spot in Saturday's line-up. But then they better not mess up live.

My grade: 3/5

Ryan O'Shaughnessy / Together

I saw the really cute video clip and fell headlong both for it and this melodic and uncomplicated little song. It was a nice gesture of the RTÉ to make a clip like this - it is not gay baiting when a straight performer decides to show an lgbt storyline in a clip, folks - and this is clearly the best Irish entry for year and years. And yet...

Borderline. Probably no. In Lisbon, there will be no clip and everything comes down to how interesting you can make this look on stage. I would be very happy to be positively surprised here.

My grade: 4/5

Eleni Foureira / Fuego

This is where my mixed emotions kick in. The final could definitely do with a commercial pop song like this, but doesn't it sound very much like a track Helena Paparizou would have left off her 2006 album or so? Slightly dated, slightly unsurprising. And how well can Eleni sell this on stage?

Yes. The advantage of being the last song out will help. But we are hardly bound for Nicosia in 2019.

My grade: 3/5

Find part one of this review here.


  1. It's the time of the year again, and it is nice to read your personal yet professional views on the songs this year.

    In this article and in many other review's this year people have pointed out a good song that might struggle in the actual contest if it not made interesting enough on stage. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, for the second year in a row, the contest was won by a song that in itself would be enough to captivate the voters?

  2. The dancers in the video are going to Lisbon for Ireland, what ever the result can't help but feel the dancers will have had a hand in it weather its really bad or really good.

  3. Well I am rather sure both Armenia and Azerbaijan is making it. Sadly I can see both Belgium and Austria being out. Finland is very borderline. Switzerland definitely out. Lithuania might be a nice surprise snd are Europe really goibg to vote for opera? The rest I more or less agree with you on