Czech Republic and Georgia

Czech RepublicMy Turn, by Martina Bárta

Following a five year apathy-driven absence from the competition, the Czech Republic made their first ever finals appearance in 2016. This landed them a respectable (loosely speaking) 25th place, and the hopes of surpassing this effort now rest with the jazz sensibilities of Martina Bárta. Unfortunately this quasi-naked, touchy-feely, hair-centric piano ballad offers few surprises. The chorus does build to a reasonable hook, and it might be enough to squeeze through to a second final, though I don’t foresee a strong finish for the Czech Republic this year.  

Review by Tom White

GeorgiaKeep the Faith, by Tamara Gachechiladze

It’s difficult to get excited about an artist whose brief opens with the striking claim that she “…has taken part in a number of national and international festivals and creative events”. This lack of enthusiasm is not misplaced, and carries right through this year’s copyright-infringeriffic offering from Georgia. The central hook of ‘Keep the Faith’, along with much of the instrumentation, is lifted directly from Adele’s theme for ‘Skyfall’. That song did win an academy award, and it overlaid one of the best Bond films in years, so full points to Tamara for fine taste and sheer audacity if nothing else.

Review by Tom White

Poland, Israel and Georgia

Poland
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Colour of your Life by Michał Szpak

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Stringing together a range of clichés is a tried and true Eurovision song-writing strategy…. No smoke without fire, try to figure out who you really are, don’t be afraid of your destiny etc. etc……   and a full five-piece boy-band might actually have been able to carry this number. The appropriate suite of synchronised dance moves and earnest facial poses would, at least, have appealed to some segments of the audience. As it is, poor Michal has to work his fine cheek bones and pouty-lips five-times as hard all by himself! He also sports five-times as much hair.

Review by Nansi Richards

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Made of Stars by Hovi Star

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Anthemic in the best Eurovision tradition, Mr Star (apparently his real name) has a rather lovely voice. Appropriately attired for the night, he also has highly-sculpted hair, a long goth coat and a penchant for gesturing sky-ward. I think the distinction between stars and drones may have eluded the producers of the promo video though. One hopes this is not too easy a mistake to make in Tel Aviv. Possibly a bit gloomy for the big night and exuberant crowds.

Working in his favour, Mr Star received decidedly shabby treatment in Moscow on a recent Eurovision promo tour. Knowing how desperately President Putin longs for their approval, Eurovision voters quite like to thumb their noses at such unpleasantness. If this translates into points for Israel (as opposed to points off for Russia), Mr Star should at least make it through to the final.

Review by Nansi Richards

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Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz

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Both the band and the punters are justifiably mystified as to why this was Georgia’s entry this year.

These guys ooze obscure references and hipster disinterest. They’re way too cool for Eurovision. I’d be amazed if they even show up, frankly.

Review by Nansi Richards