Norway, Ukraine and Russia

Norway – Fallen Angel by TIX

In case you were wondering, TIX bases his professional persona on the fact that he has Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), as chronicled in a mildly heartbreaking music video based on his childhood bullying incidents. He uses his C-list celebrity fame to spread awareness on Tourette’s, so I’d like to honor him by doing the same. TS is a movement disorder characterized by the combination of involuntary erratic rapid muscle contractions (movement tics), and verbal tics consisting of grunts and coughs, or more complex behavior such as repeating words (echolalia) or famously but rarely, the yelling of profanities (coprolalia). TS is considered a form of neurodivergence, an axis of diversity long ignored in the celebration of diversity that is classically Eurovision. So thank you TIX for your honesty and emotional bravery.

That said, I owe his honesty an honest review… except I can’t, since you might mistake it for coprolalia. What I will say is that I thought the song was boring, derivative, and repetitive (but not echolalia). One can only assume the Eurovision voters will diverge from TIX, and this fallen angel will fall to the bottom half of the finals.

Review by Scott Fabricant



Ukraine – SHUM by Go_A

I will admit I’m a bit rusty, but I remember a little behavioral ecology. An energetically costly signal is more likely to be an honest indicator of quality, right? In that case, Ukraine has A+ genes since honestly even watching this performance is a little exhausting. Like a whirling dervish, this folktronica forest rave keeps getting faster and faster. Like… like… supraventricular tachycardia? No, bad Scott, this is an ecology blog! Anyway, Go_A lives up to her name with an energetic quality beat that keeps going. Do I think she’ll win? Probably not the Eurovision finals, but possibly a fist fight against Putin. A+ genes!

Review by Scott Fabricant



Russia – Russian Woman by Manizha

I have no idea what Manizha is saying to me in Russian, but I am certain she is spilling some very hot tea, reading me good, and I’ve earned whatever acid she’s spraying. Her powerful verse crosses all language barriers for a full-throated assault on toxic masculinity and I am loving it. Coming out strong in an aposematically-red Rosie the Riveter jumper, her command of intersexual conflict would put ducks to shame. Douze points from me, but what I really want to see is her trash-talk Putin after Ukraine’s Go_A are finished with him.

Review by Scott Fabricant

San Marino, Cyprus and Austria

San Marino – Adrenalina Senhit

I love the way Senhit pronounces ‘adrenaline’ – ADRRRRRELANIIIINE. The rest is ho-hum: wailing pipes, stomping rhythm and a superfluous rap interlude.

Reviewed by Mariella Herberstein



Cyprus – El Diablo by Elena Tsagrinou

Lady Gaga rang…she wants her songs back! But plagiarism is not the controversy here…poor Elena has been accused of devil worship.

Sure, she has given her heart to the devil, but, to be honest, the lyrics are more a cooking recipe than satanic : ‘hotter than sriracha’, ‘Ta-Taco tamale’ and ‘All this spicy melts’.

Another trashy entry from Cyprus, good enough for a summer hit in Mediterranean Discotheques.

Reviewed by Mariella Herberstein



Austria – Amen by Vincent Bueno

I have been taking up powernaps, and Vincent’s labouring, vaguely pious and non-descript ballad is the ideal sedative. I do wonder if he will make friends with devil-worshipper Elana from Cyprus.

Reviewed by Mariella Herberstein

Finland, Israel and Spain

Finland: Blind Channel- Dark side 

Neo-pop punk metal dance track with a catchy chorus, gorilla/dog grunting and a dude hanging back whispering echoes to the lead singer. The hair styles are very 90s Nirvana/Silverchair, which I really like (90’s- early 00’s metal punk rock tragic here, don’t @ me), and the song ends with a very impressive scream (very similar to sounds I’ve often heard in the PhD offices), but no key change in sight. Are Blind Channel blind to the rules of Eurovision? You have to have a key change to get into the finals. 

I just read that they call their music a brand of ‘violent pop’ but I’m not sure if they realise how cute they all are with their eyeliner? Also, they wrote on their profile that if they were playing Mariocart, they’d pick Yoshi? ADORABLE. Can we sneak them into the country for a tour with our Finnish researchers next year, please?? 

Review by Georgina Binns



Israel: Eden Alene- Set me free 

Damn, what a queen! Eden is a powerhouse with a catchy middle eastern themed tune and a fantastic voice. I would have liked to have seen her ballet talents highlighted here, but this is an absolute banger, and with a key change! Eden knows what’s up! Her white outfit in this video is very striking against everyone else dressed so darkly, but is reminiscent of Kylie’s ‘Can’t get you out of my head’, which was frankly also a club banger back in the day- and if you ask DJ Merciless to play this song, she probably already has it lined up, so don’t even bother. 

I have a lot of feelings about the chosen lyrics, particularly the continuously repeated ‘Set Me Free’, which is a lovely sentiment, but a bit on the nose under current circumstances? Why do I always want to be so political about this? This is Eurovision, politics are not allowed! Anyway, it’s super catchy and I already can’t get it out of my head. 

Review by Georgina Binns



Spain: Blas Cantó – Voy A Quedarme 

Blas, how on earth do you get so much height in your fringe? I am truly impressed. Yeah, your voice is lovely and you can hit those high notes like a god-damn nightingale, but that quiff, seriously, what a dude.  

And there’s nothing like a cute very young man with no shoes hugging his grandma, singing what I imagine is an ode to how much he loves his maternal old lady. I am going to relish in this lovely feeling before I read the English translation of the lyrics and what I hope remains this sweet and innocent ballad or regard for older women. 

Ok. “Of memories of your skin..”… “Just inches away from me…” ok… “I’m going to kiss you very slowly like the first time…” err.. “Just leave behind the fear..” right. Maybe it wasn’t his grandma. 

Review by Georgina Binns

Romania, Australia and Estonia

Romania: Amnesia by Roxen

Amnesia is a song that deals with pressures of modern performance focused societies and the impossibility to achieve “it all” as the lyrics say. Comparison to the busy and ever more demanding world may lead to low self-esteem and feeling of inadequacy when the usually self-defined (but also exogenous) criteria of perfection are not met – something that almost anyone can relate to. The song is a surprisingly nice piece that keeps to its focal message without meandering too much. Overall style of the music video is something in between of emo kid style of 2000’s (imagine Arvil Lavigne around the time of ‘Sk8er boi’) and more modern version of emo style represented by Billie Eilish.

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Australia: Technicolour by Montaigne

First hearing of the song left me annoyed and made me consider insulting my future country of residence with a prickly critical review. Second time hearing the song I read the lyrics and changed my mind on most of my squeamishness; Aussie accent and elongated artsyish vocals had distracted me from a pretty nice message of the song. Further listening made me also grant that Montaigne can really sing. What finally made me box the compass with ‘Technicolour’ were the two lines in the lyrics “Everything is frustrating, Everything moves along faster than I can relate to” – my thought exactly! The song is weakened only by the shouted few lines right after the ones mentioned previously, and also maybe little bit due to the fact that the line “time to take off your cloaks” seriously sounds like Montaigne was urging us to take off our clothes!

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Estonia: The lucky one by Uku Suviste

Well, here’s a proper Eurovision contest song! Smells like nothing, tastes like nothing – did I just hear something?? A breakup song is always a dodgy choice for Eurovision since they tend to be monotonous and repetitious in character. My suspicion is that this one will be forgotten by the viewers in the midst of all the other performances and will not make it through semi-finals.

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Lithuania, Iceland & Croatia

Lithuania – Discoteque by The Roop

I picked Lithuania to review thanks to their catchy band name – The Roop. Apparently, it means “to shout”, in case you were wondering. I started watching their video, Discoteque, and was pleasantly surprised to hear some cool blues music, so I turned off my Spotify. 

The Roop are clearly students of signalling theory. Their clothes and set feature high contrast and bright colours, so I am pretty sure they are warning me about something, although I couldn’t quite decide what. The video is quietly humorous, I didn’t hear a single voice auto-tuner, and they looked like they were having fun. And just between you and me, they were singing about the only way I will ever dance!

Verdict: this disco doesn’t suck.

Review by Jim McLean



Iceland – 10 years by Daði og Gagnamagnið

Oh my…what a great electro-pop-gem Iceland has in store for us this year! This little ditty has my toes tapping. Dressed in Power Rangers pyjamas, Daði and his daggy crew combine possible the worst choreography with flat hair and keytars. I just love it –douze points from me! And the official video is super sweet!

Review by Mariella Herberstein



Croatia – Tick-Tock by Albina

Albina and her ponytail mean business – frankly she’s had enough…someone has given her bad loving and now she’s in a war zone!  All this anger is delivered in staccato, floating on a heavy base. The verse of Croatian thrown in at the end is a bonus! Still, no further than the semi-finales, I should think.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Eurovision is back!!!!

Friends of fine music! I am so excited that Eurovision has emerged from its COVID-induced slumber.

12 months ago, we were all geared up to go to Rotterdam for the 2020 Eurovision spectacular when the pandemic cruelly denied us and left us in musical limbo. But now, with the event on the horizon, smiles are returning and COVID cases all around Europe are falling….just a correlation??? Me thinks not!

What can we expect? Has this artistic hiatus propelled the entries to greater heights of song quality and delivery? Has the global existential crisis provoked philosophical insights and empathy for the struggles of humanity?

Not in the least!!! If anything, Eurovision went back in time (circa 1992) with an motley collection of retro-fixes and soap-bubbles. I simply love it!!!

So, join me and my team of Eurovision experts (Club Douze Points) for song reviews and insights!

We will crown the 2021 Eurovision festival with an evening at the Salisbury Hotel in Sydney (May 23 from 6pm) hosted by the NSW Queers in Science. Join us for some nibbles on the house and a lot of fun! Register here for literally no money at all!

Mariella & Club Douze Points

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

Georgia & North Macedonia

Georgia

Keep on Going by Oto Nemsadze

With a tip of the hat to the Leningrad Cowboys (only much, much less entertaining), Oto delivers the most guileless and earnest Eurovision entry this year – even his man bun lacks irony. Despite Oto’s commitment and devotion, the song is dreadful.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

North Macedonia

Proud by Tamara Todevska

Tamara’s power ballad in the style of Shirley Bassey will surely please audiences and judges alike. A massive voice, a key change, plenty of wind machining and a cello. What could go wrong? Extra bonus – should the next James Bond be a women, look no further for the title song!

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