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

Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania

Ireland
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Sunlight by Nicky Byrne

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Former Westlifer Nicky Byrne – better known as Ireland’s second sexiest man 2014 – is carrying the hopes of the Republic this year with the pop-ballad ‘Sunshine’. It’s pretty standard fare, but there’s the hint of a foot-tapping groove, and I enjoy the irony of an Irishman singing about sunlight (note the lack of location-shots in the accompanying video). It’s an outside chance.

Review by Tom White

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Bulgaria
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If Love Were a Crime by Poli Genova

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If love were a crime, then Poli Genova would be in jail for beating that lyrical conceit to death. She’d be sharing a cell with her weird necktie thing, which is surely committing a fashion crime. Otherwise, this entry is totally forgettable generic Eurotrash; here’s hoping the song doesn’t make bail or the finals.

Review by Scott Fabricant

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Lithuania
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I’ve Been Waiting for This Night by Donny Montell

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I specifically want to review the music video version, because honestly that party looks pretty dope. As in, all the dope they probably lit up before filming. I think I just saw a girl blow a handful of popcorn at the camera while over in the corner people are stroking each other’s furry coats. Neither is a euphemism. Feelingly clearly overwhelmed by all the sensory stimuli in their current drug-addled state, the singer and his lyrically mandated date roam the streets, wave sparklers in each other’s faces, blow smoke in each other’s mouths, and eat kebabs as come-down munchies. So, another night in King’s Cross Lithuania I guess.

Oh you wanted me to review the song? It’s decent I guess. Typical bubblegum boy-pop. It’s pretty catchy, like crabs in a King’s Cross nightclub. He’ll do alright for himself, on the scoreboard and the afterparty.

Review by Scott Fabricant