A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
There is always some matter to discuss or just a song I want to share
Very welcome - I hope you'll like it here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Tobson's Big ESC 2019 review, part 5

What is the only thing that could be better than a semi final? Two semi finals, of course. The new semi proved a success in many ways but it soon became crowded and making your way through to the final became almost impossible.

The 2007 semi final in Helsinki stands out as a real televisual nightmare, a show that never ends and when it finally does it is with a result unlikely to make anyone happy. Meanwhile ten countries were pre-qualified with no sort of quality control what-so-ever. Had the two semi finals system been introduced already in 2007, the EBU would have saved themselves a fair share of viewer outrage and Andorra would have made it to the final.

Apart from Andorra's injustice, it seems the semi final system finally landed with the viewers once the semi was split in two. Suddenly the viewers started engaging with the new formula and the semi final results  seem to have become less arbitrary since 2008.

If you want more of my reviews you will find them in part one, two, three and four.

Leonora / Love Is Forever

Songwriter Lise Cabble represented Denmark three times before. Not only has she got a victory under her belt, she never placed lower than 5th. This time she has brought along Anna Rossinelli's formerly unknown Danish cousin, a former figure skater, equipped with a pleasant and happy little ditty. In our troubled times, few lines will sit worse than "Don't get too political" but possibly Europe will be in a good enough mood to overlook that.

You never know for sure, but Denmark is good at charming its way into the final. My bet is that the trick will work again but you can not be too sure. Anyway Lise Cabble is most probably set for landing outside the top five for the first time.

My grade: 3/5

John Lundvik / Too Late For Love

Once Melodifestivalen was over, I was ready to bet everything I own that Sweden would win in Tel Aviv, secure a seventh win and bumble their way onto the top of the winner table alongside Ireland. Maybe I am not as sure anymore but this is a compelling piece of gospel flavoured pop - a better performed version of Austria 2018 if you so wish - with a chorus you can easily hold on to on a first listening. This is the song most people can like at least a bit and that can carry very far, not least with the jurors.

Yes, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Perhaps not as obvious a winner as I thought at first but clearly one of perhaps four really strong contenders for victory.

My grade: 5/5

Paenda / Limits

In general, Austria have done most things right ever since selecting Conchita - what's an embarrassing nul pointer on home ground between friends? - and has provided an interesting range of entries lately. Last year they won the jury voting in the grand final. I wish I could say that success will stay with the Austrians as I really like Paenda and her low-intense presence and personable sound. Unfortunately her entry takes forever to develop into anything and when it finally does it is most probably too little and too late for most.

No. It would be a big surprise (positive, but still) if Austria would hop out of an envelope this time around.

My grade: 2/5

Roko / The Dream

Jacques Houdek is back in town after his low-key, toned-down and quietly tasteful entry of 2017 where he sang a duet with *checks notes* himself. As you do. Now he is the songwriter as well as the artistic coach for young Roko. The boy can certainly sing but is he too polite and unremarkable to fill this bombastic belter with the drama needed?

Borderline. I doubt this Jacques Houdek tribute act will stand out enough to make a mark, unless the same rainbows and unicorns used in Kyiv are unleashed again.

My grade: 1/5

Michela / Chameleon

Another one of those nifty and updated pop songs that clearly picked up a thing or two from Eleni Foureira last year. After Cyprus and Switzerland, Malta remains a bit of a question mark. This clearly is a good number - catchy and personable and not too obvious. But will it gel with young Michela? Will they be able to pull this off on stage? And the more I hear it, the more I realise that this is a pile of bits and pieces that don't really fall into any sort of coherent song in the end.

Yes, I think it is. Hardly a contender for a top ten placing, but Malta will be happy just to qualify. It's been too long.

My grade: 3/5

Jurijus / Run With The Lions

Lithuania is always a tricky one to predict. My rule of thumb has often been that if I like their entry, they will fail. And when it is dull or bad, it will qualify with ease. That should be very good news to Jurijus, who was one of the kissing backing singers in Vienna 2015, who isn't really doing anything wrong. Unfortunately the song he's been set up with is a really lean effort, another of these songs that could be washed ashore at almost any national final after being rejected elsewhere. Pleasant for as long as it goes on, then instantly forgotten.

No. How snoozy can you get before Europe votes you out? Jurijus is about to find out.

My grade: 1/5

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. Jurijus from Lithuania looks and acts deceptively like younger and thinner David Brent from the wonderful original "The Office"-series. guess this will be released on Juxtaposition records later.

  2. I voted Croatia so much higher, only for the reason of typical Eurovisionness and cheesyness of lyrics.

    While Sweden is awesome, the song rubs me the wrong way for some reason. There was so much hype about it here in Sweden during Melodifestivalen but I couldn't get on board. It was Arvingarna all the way for me. :P