Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Romania

Ireland

Dying to Try by Brendan Murray

Rumour has it that, as a young child, Brendan Murray’s cheeks were pinched so vigorously by passing octogenarians that he required reconstructive surgery. They say he is paid entirely in crocheted doilies and lemon tea-cakes, and is banned from releasing a Christmas album amidst fears that it would induce a mass attack of the vapours across the British Isles.

With good looks and titanium-reinforced cheekbones Brendan Murray brings dollops of gorgeousness to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. His melancholy tune about struggling to maintain relationships has one of the most impressive key changes of this year’s line up, and has left women across Europe wondering why their daughters can’t find themselves a nice young man like Brendan. His eyebrows alone are guaranteed to get him as far as the semi-finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

IcelandPaper by Svala

Svala has been granted sabbatical leave from the Borg to represent Iceland this year. The song ‘Paper’, precisely crafted to suit the musical requirements of the assimilated masses, is unsurprisingly mediocre. Nevertheless you will vote for Iceland, resistance is futile. It’s robotic rhythms and synth melodies are perfect listening for the next time you are cruising through the grid on your light cycle. Keep an eye out for the key change goose-step late in the song – a well-timed and subtle build to… nothing at all. Clearly key-changes do not compute.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

PortugalAmar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

Salvador Sobral was orphaned on the streets of Lisbon as a child. Thankfully a flock of canaries took him in and raised him as one of their own. Years later he was discovered working in a mineshaft – cramped inside a small cage and entertaining the workers with his gentle melodies. Now a full grown man and successful performer, Salvador collaborates with his sister Luisa – who wrote this song and most definitely isn’t pissed about Salvador getting all the credit.

Surprisingly this song, ‘Amor Pelos Dios’ is one of the most coherent Eurovision efforts we have heard from Portugal since, well, ever! The orchestration is tasteful, the soft piano melody is whimsical, and the singing is, believe it or not, in key. Portugal, you have surprised us all and have done well! Maybe you should get Salvador and Luisa to look into your national debt problems, it’s not like they could do any harm.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

Romania

Yodel It! By Ilinca feat. Alex Flora

It’s Eurovision! Of course there is yodelling! I’m proud to say that Romania have inspired my latest tattoo. The phrase ‘Yodel It!” has been carved into my chest and sits nicely in between my “#YOLO” and “Frankie Says Relax” tatts.

Equal parts East 17, Aqua, and von Trapp family, Romania pairs a seductive yodeller in a leprechaun suit with a tone-deaf rapper to create this year’s abomination. Seriously it’s terrible. Me thinks the novelty value won’t float this boat very far and Romania are likely to sink early on in the quarter finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon

Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belarus

Armenia
Armenia

LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan

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Iveta is overcome by a LoveWave, the source of which is a dashingly handsome and hairy Ewin Mcgregor. Emotions have taken hold, and all Iveta can do is screech: uhhhhuhhhuuhhhhuuuhhh. The wailing is artfully amplified by the Armenian Duduk – an ancient, yet annoying reed instrument.  On the plus side, Iveta is sporting a blow wave, the like of which I have not seen since Farrah Fawcett. Also, Iveta has very well shaped eyebrows!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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Bosnia & Herzegovina
ba

Ljubav Je by Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala

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It’s been twelve long years since Deen graced the Eurovision stage with his oh-so-subtle pelvic thrusting, rhinestone-clad, mouth-gaping ‘In the Disco‘, replete with its concerning message about body image.

It may be best to think of ‘Ljubav Je’ as an opportunistic longitudinal study on the effects of aging on the human body. Dependent variables of interest could include hair quantity, hair location, voice pitch and surface area to volume ratio. The next measurement is due in 2028.

Not even France is entirely en français this year, so take this opportunity to drink for a song in a native language.

Review by Ingrid Errington

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Belarus
Belarus

Help you fly by IVAN

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Belarus has sent the love child of Ron Weasley and Kylo-Ren to Eurovision. This could be interesting, but sadly is not. IVAN extrudes a whiny metal ballad that could have been ripped off the back catalog of Scorpion  (remember ‘wind of change’?). While the screen display behind IVAN offers moments of distraction, the viewer is left wondering why he wants to help wolves fly?

Rumours have it that IVAN is planning to perform naked with real wolves – nothing less if he wants a chance to get into the finals.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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Iceland, Austria and Finland

Iceland
Iceland

Hear Them Calling by Greta Salóme

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As a final year PhD student, this song was a surprise because it’s remarkably accurate in its description of my past couple of weeks. Hearing whispers in the hallways even though nobody else is left working so late in my lab in the basement, stumbling outside to find it now cold and dark after a 13 hour day without windows. Then running to make my train because it’s the off-peak timetable and the next service isn’t for 20 minutes…

Perhaps it’s all those solvents; perhaps the ghosts of postgrads past.

Greta represented Iceland a few years ago paired with Jonsi, who seemed quite good but has now apparently moved onto other things. Rather like that super keen, sparkly-eyed undergrad volunteer that was helping out around the lab back in 2014, now I think of it…

Review by Ingrid Errington

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AustriaAustria-1

Loin d’ici by ZOË

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This dreamy eyed young forest fairy delivers a delicate, happy ditty about being ‘far from here’. The song and Zoe surely mean no harm and I have certainly sat through much worse from Austria (remember the bearded hipsters with the piano on fire from last year?). Austria will probably slip into the finales without anyone even noticing. I do hope the stage show will improve on the CGI toadstools in the background.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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Finland
Finland

Sing It Away by Sandhja

This poppy number from Finland is pure Eurovision gold and has my votes!!! Sandhja promises to sing away all your worries and troubles, and I for one, believe her. With her girl posse, she hangs out on playgrounds, wears sparkly sneakers and tells you that ‘there is no need to be carrying a frown’. Who cares that the music video featuring a masked rider on a horse and someone boiling water for a cup of tea, makes no sense at all….just ‘sing it away’!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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