Albania, Austria and Belarus

AlbaniaWorld by Lindita

Thank you Albania! Thank you for sending Lindita to Eurovision. Gone are the wailing flutes and fiddly Çiftelijas! Instead, Lindita belts out a Bond-esque number with the obligatory key change. And boy, can she hold a note! The song is dull, but with the right stage show, Lindita might find herself in the top half at the end of the evening!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

AustriaRunning On Air by Nathan Trent

Back in 2014, Conchita was Rising Like a Phoenix, while young Nathan here is Running On Air! Both are sporting exceptionally groomed facial hair (Conchita’s is clearly better!). Still, Nathan seems like a nice lad, and he does a good job with this happy, toe tapping number! Definitely the finals for me!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

BelarusStory of My Life by Naviband

Life is super happy in Belarus! You get to wear embroidered linen shirts, run through forests and exclaim: hey, hey, heyaheyahey! And why are young Artem and Ksenia so happy? It is Belarus’s 800th birthday – what better way to celebrate than Eurovision? Maybe deliriously happy is not your thing, but I like it and predict the finals for Belarus.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

Serbia, San Marino, Albania and the Netherlands

Serbia
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Goodbye (Shelter) by Sanja Vučić ZAA

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I think the full orchestra is largely ornamental here but it’s a gutsy song with oo-ooo-ooo BVs that amp up the soulful feel nicely. Is it OK to channel Amy Winehouse yet, though? Too soon??

Review by Nansi Richards

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San Marino
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I Didn’t Know by Serhat

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San Marino is probably most famous for a defunct car race that occurred in Italy. Being used to this level of anonymity, one might have thought that the citizens of the Most Serene Republic (look it up) would shy away from the brutality of Eurovision competition. But no! They have Serhat, a man who seems to think to that singing isn’t necessary at a song contest. If this is an attempt to raise San Marino’s profile, I’d say it is a failure, perhaps they should get the Italians on the phone and ask about the race.

Review by Matt Bruce

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Albania
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Fairy Tail by Eneda Tarifa

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Eneda Tarifa manages to pull off a reasonable impression of a James Bond theme song. Unfortunately for Eneda, this isn’t a movie soundtrack, it’s Eurovision and this number doesn’t quite hit the heights required to pull in the douze points. Soaring finale, nope, memorable key change, nope, culturally inappropriate costume, nope. Sorry Albania, no grand final for you.

Review by Matt Bruce

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The Netherlands
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Slow Down by Douwe Bob

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This year the Dutch have dispensed with their (unintentionally) entertaining , yet ultimately  unsuccessful dalliance with novelty acts. Here we have a boy band meets James Taylor ditty from Douwe Bob and his two mates. A bit dull really, perhaps the Dutch should stick to whatever  they are good at for Eurovision [I can’t think of anything at the moment, insert your own thoughts here]. Either way they seem to be stuck in the second division for now, but at least they could have some more fun.

Review by Matt Bruce