2019 Eurovision Finales

Welcome to the Eurovision finales!  Last year’s winner, Netta opened the finales with the now traditional parade of all finalists, interspersed with dancing flight attendants (why?) and previous Israeli participants including winner Dana International (that’s better).

Reminiscent of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, hosts Bar, Erez, Assi & Lucy instantly sedated the audience with canned jokes and voting instructions.

Malta kicked off the singing, dressed in white Michaela’s energetic performance was good enough for 16th spot.

Next up was Albania’s Jonida with excellent ear wear., but the wailing was just too much – 17th.

The Czech Wiggles, dressed in primary colours, wowed the audience with a happy go lucky tune that took them to a respectable 11th place.

Germany’s S!isters was painfully off key and inharmonious – 3rd last was a generous outcome.

Sergei from Russia (all in white) sang to his own mirror images and liked what he saw…and apparently so did Europe – 3rd place.

Sporting excellent suspenders and sitting on a giant chair, Denmark’s Leonora stared down the camera and jumped into a respectable 12th place.

Disco was back with Serhat – San Marino’s answer to Barry White…incidentally dressed all in white. The audience loved it – not so the judges – 20th

North Macedonia’s Tamara smashed out her power ballad. Best (and only) green dress of the evening – 8th place

Sweden somehow made it to 6th place, but I can’t remember a thing.

And we were back to all-white outfits with Slovenia – Zala & Gasper’s on stage performance included intense stares at each other – not much more. An inexplicable 13th place.

Cyprus turned up the beat with Dominatrix Tamta, wearing chandelier bloomers. Why she was joined on stage by Zoro remains a mystery. – 15th place

Hunched over his mini-piano, Duncan from the Netherlands forewent all gimmicks and let his heart ache say it all – and Eurovision loved it – 1st place! Amsterdam, here we come!

Greece was up next with possibly the most confusing onstage show (why were the ladies fencing?). I was clearly not the only one confused – 21st place

Dressed for a school formal, Israel’s Kobi played to an ecstatic home audience and burst into tears – but to no avail, 23rd place.

Norway’s trio, dressed in black, made the most of onstage fog and guttural singing – an excellent 5th place

The UK’s Michael Rice started off-key and never made it back – an unsurprising last place

Novelty act Hatari from Iceland challenged Eurovision with their BDMS performance … enough conformity for a key change, though – 10th place

Stormboy, Victor from Estonia was next with lovely teeth. The most remarkable aspect of the performance was his sensible black slacks (possibly with drawstrings) – 19th place

16 year old Zena from Belarus was far less sensible – thigh high stiletto boots, open flames, and breakdancing – second last

The audience just loved Azerbaijan’s Chingiz , ably assisted by two onstage dentist robots – a deserved 7th place.

France’s Bilal sent a strong message of inclusion (dressed in white of course), but was not included in the top 10 – 14th

Italy’s Mahmood had the audience clapping along to his angy, but catchy ditty. Best red embroidered silk shirt of the evening – 2nd place

Serbia’s Nevena offered us one very good leg (the other one was apparently rubbish) and a highly annoying voice – 17th place

Underwear model Loca from Switzerland dirty danced his way into 4th place! Switzerland’s best performance since Celine Dion in 1988!

Australia was up next with a bit of pole dancing and popera – 9th place (I feel a bit seasick now)

Spain closed out the show – wearing his best black t-shirt, Miki worked the stage, but with little success – 22nd place

The intermission re-animated ghosts from Eurovisons past – performances from Conchita Wurst, Mons, Eleni, Verka Serduchka, …but get this…they sang each others songs…so wild!

Madonna was up next, wearing an eyepatch but vocally flat with a bizarre stage show…. I am still confused. Where was Gal Gadot ?????

The voting brought the usual shenanigans – awkward country reps calling through the points, geopolitical tactical voting (12 points to Russia from all countries at risk of invasion) with the occasional surprises (Norway’s 12 points did not go to Sweden, but to the Czech Republic).

The judges votes tuggled Sweden, North Macedonia, Italy, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands. But it was the public vote that propelled Duncan from the Netherlands into first place!

Thank Darwin, it is all over for this year – see you next year in Amsterdam!

Mariella for Club Douze Points

Serbia & Spain

Serbia

Kuna by Nevena Božović

Kruna is a nondescript composition tortured by Nevena in a whiny and slightly nasal voice. Regrettably, Nevena can turn up the volume, and does so with gay abandon. Make it stop please!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Spain

La Venda by Miki

You know that final song the DJ plays at 3am to clear the dancefloor of drunken buffoons? Well, this is it! Delivered with the confidence often found in people with curly hair, Spain’s sunny boy, Miki is having a great time. And why not – La Venda will inevitably be on rotation in clubs on Ibiza this summer … around 3am.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Azerbaijan, Croatia & Estonia

Azerbaijan

Truth by Chingiz

I am not sure Azerbaijan is doing Eurovision right. Chingiz delivers a surprisingly entertaining and danceable pop number that could be enjoyed twice, perhaps even three times. No wailing, no ethno-sounds and no key-change. I might even forgive the chest rug – definitely in the top 10!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Croatia

The Dream by Roko

Roko had a dream – he found the cast off scores from the Phantom of the Opera, turned them into a shouty and overly dramatic yet soppy ballad with which he bombed out of the Eurovision semis. Someone send Andrew Lloyd Webber a shredder!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Estonia

Storm by Victor Crone

Hobby meteorologist Victor has a simple message: a modest song with inane lyrics that will be over in 3’02” and forgotten by 3’23”. Thank you Victor.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Israel & Greece

Israel

Home by Kobi Marimi

Ok, Kobi can SING! He has this boy-band/Gregorian Chant thing going for him, and anyone that can harmonise with themselves will always be a winner for me. He is fast becoming Israel’s new ‘national sweetheart’- but he is far removed from last year’s crazy cat lady winner in terms of outrageousness. And to be honest, his lyrics about being someone and finally coming home is a little bit on the nose, especially when you think about that little political and religious ‘scuffle’ that Israel is currently in. But Eurovision isn’t about politics. It’s about sequins and wind machines and glorious key changes, and as a half German, half Israeli, English-born Australian citizen, I can guarantee that it’s all about rooting for your own country to win, and Australia the one o in the finals, so GO KATE!!

Review by George Binns

Greece

Better Love by Katerine Duska

Well, it’s not even in question as to why Greece made the cut for the finals this year. Katerine Duska is the result of Grace Jones and Katy Perry having a sensuous love baby together and then wrapping that baby up in pink tulle, flesh-coloured lycra and fake pearls superglued to its long fingers. The main question that I came up with is, have I been wearing tights wrong my whole life? Are the underpants supposed to be on the outside?? My mother taught me many things, but how to wear tights was obviously not one of them. Anyway, this song is pretty nice, and Katerine’s voice has this husky bedroom quality to it that had me captivated. Will she wear the flesh-coloured lycra on stage for the finals? I hope not..

Review by George Binns

Armenia & Albania

Armenia

Walking out by Srbuk

If Billie Eilish were born in Armenia, she would probably be Srbuk in a few years. Srbuk’s voice promises a determined woman who does not take rubbish from anyone. Disturbingly, the lyrics and video quickly reveal that she surrounds herself with morons that push her about – I am sure Billie would not put up with that sort of shite. Watch out for the key change and crescendo, which Srbuk nails. A contender for the finals!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Albania

Ktheju tokës by Jonida Maliqi

There is no doubt that this song is in the wrong contest. First of all, it’s in Albanian – amazing, isn’t it? Even France is starting to partially sing in English and that’s saying something! And then these sounds, what on earth is this? A wide variety of percussion, offbeats, vocals whose melody and intonations are classic Eastern Europe, not to mention the singer’s deep, warm and penetrating voice… Fortunately, the simplistic structure catches up a little bit: a single verse of three sentences and that’s it, after that we just have to repeat twice the sequence “pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus” and that was the game! Conclusion: obviously too good to win….

Review by Jean Bienvenu

Belgium & Moldova

Belgium

Wake up by Eliot

A baby face, a baby voice, and some massive drums. Add a minimalist choreography and you have an idea of what the performance of ‘Wake up’ by the Belgian Eliot brings to the table. The lyrics say “Don’t want your lies, I need truth”, so here it goes: I am not that impressed. We came to expect great things from the country that invented french fries and Belgian beer, and I must say that the quality of this performance is more in line with Brussel sprouts to be fully honest. Belgium hasn’t been the winner in Eurovision since 1986, 14 years before Eliot was born, and I don’t think he is here to change that tradition.

Review by Bruno Buzatto

Moldova

Stay by Anna Odobescu

The performance by Anna Odobescu starts with her playing a white piano inside a large white house, but that only lasts exactly 9 seconds, after which the drama starts building up. She argues with her lover, he drives away in the rain and throws a tantrum over it. The melody is ok, and Anna’s voice is beautiful and powerful, but I can’t say the story told by the lyrics and the performance is original: it’s basically all about couple dramas where nobody knows how the argument started in the first place, but they are still trying to be “togetheeeeeer, foreveeeeeer”. Well, I guess this next level cliche might become trendy as a new ‘vintage’ theme? 

Review by Bruno Buzatto

Australia, Lithuania & The Netherlands

Australia

Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke

In reviewing this song, I have to make a declaration that may influence my impartiality – I am a massive fan of Katie Miller Heidke. My fandom though is not for what you might think as It is not driven by her pop music career as such but rather the wonderful enigma that she represents. I would bet that if you challenge a group of people to judge the personality of Katie Miller Heike, from a photo or a general conversation, they would be unanimous in judging her as a diminutive timid female. In turn if you were to guess her appearance from her voice alone you might be forgiven for thinking she was a demonstrative operatic diva.

In reality Katie to me is a tour de force and her diminutive appearance masks an immense inner strength that manifests itself through the power of her voice. Her songs are also an enigma in that she frolics among the garden of octaves like a playful child but the lyrics tackle the complexities of adult life. In zero gravity we have her delightful canary-like trills that would be at home among a garden of blossoms under a bold blue sky. If you listen carefully though the song is about being out of control. Katie suffered a traumatic birth with her son and it was so physically debilitating she lost her voice. Like many women the excessive lack of sleep sent her in a spiral towards postnatal depression. This song then is essentially an ode to those who are stricken by a sense of losing oneself. I actually believe this is the best song Australia has written for Eurovision and no matter what happens I hope this song propels Katie towards international stardom.

Review by Matt Bulbert

Lithuania

Run with the lions by Jurij Veklenko

Doe-eyed countertenor Jurij was voted Lithuania’s favorite son-in-law back in 2017, and his mission now is to win the hearts of Europe’s grandmothers, a powerful lobby group, no doubt.

With a song safe enough for a primary school dance, lyrics generated by a platitude app and handsomely coiffed hair and beard, Jurij will have to beat back invitations to afternoon tea for the rest of the year, but will probably not go far in Eurovision.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

The Netherlands

Arcade by Duncan Laurence

Duncan has a broken heart – fair enough, we have all been there, darl. But now he wants us to get him off this rollercoaster and carry him home. Not sure why he is making this mess our problem. Come on, Duncan!

Also, this is the favorite according to the bookies- place your bets, folks!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Poland & Iceland

Poland

Fire of Love (Pali się) by Tulia

I fear that – just like the UK – my Eurovision is fading!  Perhaps I am in need of some Euroglasses, preferably rose tinted.  Or better yet, rainbow coloured, both for the symbolism, and to bring some colour back to the music video by Polish band Tulia.

I was drawn to this entry by the photo – brilliantly colourful, traditional costumes, Rapunzel hair, bucolic setting. I should have been warned by the expressions on their faces! The video is black and white. I strongly suspect it is an extended joke, but if so, the humour entirely escaped me, as did the music. Let’s hope it makes more
sense to Polish speakers.

Fun fact: “polish” is the only word in the English language that is pronounced differently if it is capitalised.

Review by Jim Mclean

Iceland


Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari

If you are sick of the stock standard music and want to shake things up, the Icelandic band Hatari is where you will find yourself. Their music is not something you will find playing through the speakers as you roam a shopping centre. With their fusion of techno, punk and rock, you will not be left unsatisfied. The sandpaper vocals combined with techno vibes opens the flood gates to exploring BDSM in society.

The song “Hate Will Prevail” is a bloodbath of hatred to burn down capitalism. In Iceland, Hatari are known as tricksters who take pranks to the extremes. From pranks stating they were going to split up, all the way to starting an Icelandic music review website to review only their music, they never cease to attract attention. But their most recent stunt to challenge the Israel prime minister to an Icelandic trouser wrestling match has been the most controversial. If Israel’s PM wins the match, he acquires the Westman Islands, but if Hatari win, they get to form a liberal BDSM colony within the borders of Israel. Regardless of the quality of music, it is clear they strive to achieve their one true goal, “we want to uncover and destroy the everyday routine for it is a scam”.

Review by Braxton Jones

Denmark & Montenegro

Denmark

Love is forever by Leonora

Hello, it’s Scott again, your friendly American correspondent. I’m so excited to peer over the wall to see what Eurovision has in store for us this year. My first review is for Leonora from Denmark. I love her. I love her voice. I love her lyrics, and how she simplifies all conflict in a way only a bland white European pop star could. I love her hair. I love that adorable giant Ikea chair of a stage prop, it really highlights the emptiness of our wilting capitalist society. I love the way her undead stare peels away all pretenses.

As she summarizes the zeitgeist of 2019 so perfectly: “Travel the world to see the ruins of what has been. Learning our history, but still, we don’t take it in. Don’t get too political.” And such a boppy tune! Love is Forever, she cheerfully reminds us, and forever is a whole lot longer than any land claims west of the Jordan River. I’m confident this postmodern classic will sail past any entry that bores viewers with protest, or substance, or self-awareness. Leonora has no time for politics, she’s here to make Eurovision great again.

Review by Scott Fabrican

Montenegro

Heaven by D mol

Montenegro’s entry is a high-minded character study in how the concept of heaven varies between whomever envisions it. For the song’s writer, heaven is watching a jumbled collection of sweet literal nothings elevated to national champions. For the stage director, heaven is the essence of simplicity, embodied by angelic white robes and a complete lack of attempted choreography. For the music video director, heaven appears to be a laundry detergent commercial. For me, heaven is a Eurovision final without this song. I’d make a Pascal’s wager on it.

Review by Scott Fabricant