Estonia, Lithuania and Russia

EstoniaElina Nechayeva: La Forza

Call me Ishmael. A good review is a narrative, and a good narrative has 5 elements:

1. A great first sentence (why mess around? I just went with the best!)

2. A journey. Amongst other things, my first sentence was supposed to simply an allegorical search for the meaning of life, and subtly suggest certain flattering characteristics about myself, all of which have been ruined because I realised it is a cultural reference whose meaning may not be apparent to everyone, and explaining it has negated any beneficial effects. Anyway, we are going one better than a search for the meaning of life – we are on a quest to discover the meaning of Eurovision, one of the greatest mysteries in the universe! Yay!

3. Elegant, lucid, succinct prose.

Two other elements which will hopefully come to me soon, otherwise I’ll have to explain why I said “5 elements” and only listed three.

On to the business at hand. Elina from Estonia can sing! She sings like the Diva from 5th Element (see what I did? It’s called foreshadowing in case you are interested), but the real star of the act is the dress, inside of which Elina is propped. I don’t know why this wasn’t mentioned in the official notes, but her dress is so big that it covers 2.4 hectares, and is encrusted in 3 million individally thought-controlled, coloured LEDs. Yes, Elina was singing and controlling the lights on her dress at the same time. She and her dress are a flowing fiesta of colour and light. Darwin would have maintained it was sexual selection at work, and who am I to question the great man? Rumour has it that Elina will be part of Sydney’s Vivid festival this year.

Did I mention that she can sing? Her final note shattered the wine glass in my hand. My prediction? Next year, Eurovision will be held in Tallinn, and by next spring, everyone will be wearing those dresses.

It seems I’ve allowed myself to be carried away by all the excitement of the event, and unintentionally created a metaphor for THE DRESS, whose maker also got carried away, and we both ended up with something way too big to be fit-for-purpose. Sorry.

Review by Jim McLean

 

LithuaniaIeva Zasimauskaitė: When We’re Old

When I see pop singers “playing” the piano I am often sceptical about who actually pressed the keys, but there is absolutely no doubt that Ieva played the whole song. It’s just a special piano, and pressing one key produces all the chords I reckon. Well, around the 40-45 seconds mark you see she got some assistance, but it was mostly he work, surely. The short bio states that she took lessons until she was fifteen, so there you go. Her voice is nice to listen to, and the song itself is very original, it’s about a topic no other song I can remember ever touched — eternal love. More specifically though, it seems to describe how love is powerful and can last forever when you live in a snowy country. Maybe it wears off more slowly due to the low temperatures?

Review by Bruno Buzzato

 

RussiaJulia Samoylova: I Won’t Break

When I was watching this video I had trouble focusing on anything other than the fact that Julia’s right eye sits so much higher on her face than her left eye! But thankfully only about 70% of the video is entirely about on her face. Well, that’s not entirely true, sometimes you see landscapes IN her face, which is, ugh, interesting? And then in the end you see her face in the landscape — on the top of a mountain, more specifically. With a waterfall. And a rainbow. And the moon too. In any case, Julia is not just a pretty face. The song? Sorry I didn’t pay much attention, and honestly, I’m not watching that again, am I?

Review by Bruno Buzzato

Switzerland and Estonia

Switzerland
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The Last Of Our Kind by Rykka

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Switzerland, after a recent string of poor Eurovision performances, has gone back to their last (1988) winning formula: a Swiss-Canadian female pop singer, belting out a ballad in a white dress. Unfortunately, finding another Céline Dion has proved evasive. This year’s entry, Rykka, singing The Last of our Kind, falls flat, both literally and figuratively.

The song is generic, and once finished is quickly forgotten. Although meeting the required key changes that define Eurovision ballads, the lack of energy or anything to ‘push the boundaries’ leaves the audience quickly forgetting the song. Overall, it left me revisiting old videos of Céline Dion in a drop-waist skirt and white power jacket and reminiscing of the glory days of Switzerland Eurovision past.

Neutrality, both in the song and Switzerland’s political position will cost The Last of our Kind a spot in the grand final.

Review by Fran van den Berg

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Estonia
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Play by Jüri Pootsmann

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Starting pensively with a heavy baseline, Estonia’s Play sung by Jüri Pootsmann promises something special. Unfortunately, sometimes even the best promises don’t deliver. A deep voice, and well cut suit are not enough to transform this song above the mundane.

The set design, with red and black silhouettes, and billowing graphics evokes a James Bond theme. However, the overall effect of three aggressive-looking spliced images of Jüri only serves to leave one feeling slightly uneasy. Despite the Bond-like graphics, musically the song does not have any of the power or intrigue that befits a Bond theme song. Throughout, the song never develops, and one is disappointingly left wondering when the Eurovision magic will emerge.

This will not be the year for Estonia, with nothing more than mid-way performance in the semi’s feeling eminent.

Review by Fran van den Berg