A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Tobson's Big ESC 2019 review, part 3

Since 2013, the running order is no longer the result of a draw. Someone involved in the production instead sequences the songs in order to make a smooth presentation and - hopefully - "good tv".

In many ways it was a good decision. When there are 26 songs, the viewers need a good running order to make it through. When the seventh standard ballad invades the stage - this happened more than a few times when we had a proper draw - few viewers enjoy themselves and start reaching for the remote control. Sequencing is a good thing when done well.

However, since 2013 the same person - Sweden's Christer Björkman - has done the sequencing on at least five occasions and maybe that is beginning to shine through. Should there be a clause saying that the responsibility for the running order cannot be held by the same person too many times?

If you want to check out my opinions on the other songs of this semi, you find them in part one and part two.

Hatari - Hatrið mun sigra

One of the problems with the ESC is that it is a contest and most people taking part in it would like to be liked and appreciated and voted for. A lineup where everyone is constantly on their best behaviour can be a bit dull. Lucky break then that Iceland is back to form, ready to shake things up with this warning from the future where everything dear to us is broken down and hate will prevail. This contains more sharp edges than we've seen for years and this is likely to offend as many as it will please.

Yes, absolutely. It must be. Had the live singing been better in the chorus, this could even have been a potential winner.

My grade: 4/5

Victor Crone / Storm

Victor Crone was a delightful sidekick to Behrang Miri in Melodifestivalen 2015 and I have found myself wondering whatever happened to him after that. I never thought he would show up in Estonia, defending the worst kind of washed-up and bleak radio pop of the kind certain commercial radio stations can never get enough of. What a shame. And how terribly disappointing it is seeing Stig Rästa writing something like this when we all know what he is capable of.

You never know as a large section of the audience really enjoys stuff like this. Or why would they listen to those radio stations in question? Still, my gut feeling tells me this is just too forgettable to go anywhere. It's a no from me.

My grade: 1/5

Conan Osiris / Telemovéis

Portugal finally scored their first victory in 2017 and now an unusually large part of the fandom think they could be heading for a repeat run. Talk about getting your mojo working! This is a very experimental track with musical influences from here and there and everywhere, suggestively performed by Conan and his dancer. Maybe it is absolutely brilliant but this one keeps flying well over my head. I'd love to love Portugal but to me this is just three minutes of posing and an attempt to make yourself more interesting than you are. I hear the qualities but the final package is not my thing.

Yes. I bet all its fans out there are right in some way. It should be in the final and will be in the final. Then it is anyone's guess how well it will work there.

My grade: 2/5

Katerine Duska / Better Love

Iceland finally found their way back on track and so did Greece, apparently. After several years of half-hearted attempts - it must be hard to keep focus while your government first dismantles your public broadcaster, then revives it again - we finally get a focus and contemporary entry, radio friendly and with hit potential. The only problem here is perhaps that it is so much of a radio song that it won't shake audiences enough to get the highest points but this one should have some solid scoring ahead of itself anyway.

Yes. Clearly. One of the best songs in the running.

My grade: 4/5

Serhat / Say Na Na Na

Isn't the last place usually reserved for something really good and therefore we could be pretty sure that whoever gets that spot is a sure qualifier? Wrong. That's not how it works. Sometimes the last spot is also a way to keep something unappealing out of sight for as long as possible, to ensure viewers will stay tuned until the end and not zap to another channel. In San Marino's case, however, that can still work to their advantage. A man in his 50's with a message that everything will be good if you sing a happy tune is pretty ridiculous. But after many competitors taking themselves Very Seriously Indeed, this could come across as a very happy and unpretentious closing point. If you don't know what to vote for by now, maybe Serhat will feel like your man.

I am going to say yes. The happy and lightweight factor could very well be just enough for San Marino to conquer the tenth place. It would be sweet if they did.

My grade: 2/5

UKRAINE (Not participating)
Maruv / Siren Song

It's hard to keep this contest as unpolitical as the EBU would want it to be and even harder when some active participants find themselves at war. The winner of the long Ukranian national final found herself humiliated on live television and then blackmailed by the national broadcaster: if she didn't publicly severe ties with her (Russian) management and record label, she would be disqualified. She refused and the plan backfired spectacularly as all other NF participants refused to take Maruv's place. NTU pulled out of the contest altogether.

A really stupid move as this would have been this year's game changer and the entry that would have blown the likes of Cyprus, Switzerland and Iceland out of the water. Sexy and catchy, yet with a very dark undercurrent of menace, it would have troubled and enthused the masses. A great loss for the contest but if the NTU is going to keep bullying their own participants in this way there is no need for them to come back at all.

Why are so many of the songs pulled out of the competition like that brilliant? Broadcasters could pull out with their Piero Esteriore-entries instead.

My grade: 5/5

If you want to agree or disagree with me, please leave a comment or send me a tweet. All the preview clips can be seen here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tobson, thanks for the reviews, I am really enjoying reading them once again. I am very intrigued by Iceland, I agree the chorus could be sung better but I think this is a very complete and standout package. As you've said before marmite acts cannot be down voted by the public so I think they'll get a high score, but what are your thoughts on the jury side? My feeling is that juries really won't go for this, if they somehow do I think they could come close to the win if you factor in the publicity storm they may generate as ESC approaches.