Ready the autotuners and prepare for a high energy rush that will leave you out of breath. Austria manages to squeeze two standard Eurovision entries into one – the beat and delivery are rapid and there is barely time for Pia Maria to gasp for air! Might this be the dance anthem amongst a field of moody ballades, we have been waiting for? According to one reviewer, it took them 15 minutes of continuous listening to actually like it. I am not sure I am game enough…
Review by Mariella Herberstein
Iceland – Systur: Með Hækkandi Sól
Three ladies (sisters, no less), three guitars, one dude on percussion and an excellent hat!!! That’s all it takes to deliver a very lovely, toe tapping lullaby, beautifully delivered by Systur. So far, so good, what could go wrong? Well, there seems to be a preponderance of touching melodies delivered by women with guitars this year, and I am not sure if Iceland can stand out sufficiently. Now, if Systur had another 3-4 sisters joining them on stage, that could make the difference…
Review by Mariella Herberstein
Italy – Mahmood & BLANCO: Brividi
Hey – we all know Mahmood….he came second in 2019 Eurovision. Back then the has very angry with his father. Now he is in love and is ‘naked with chills’. But seriously, it is actually a great song, has elements of a very classic love song with some edgy crescendos, some wholesome LBGTIQ+ content and an oversized white suit (which I hope will make it on stage). No wonder Italy is one of the three top favorites. Douze points from me!!!
Wow Italy, this was a shock but mainly because of my lack of experience with the Italian rock(ish) sound. The guitars sound great and combined with the voice and melody there definitively was some light head banging.
Although, it feels like the look is a bit forced maybe towards darker sounds, but not really getting it… did anyone else think of Marilyn Manson around the middle of the video? Drums and guitars have more of a 2010’s rock vibe with all the “The something” bands and the bass had a really cool Smashing Pumpkins flavour to it. A nice unexpected finding but also not really getting anything new or truly exciting here.
Well done Hooverphonic! Nice, short and catchy. But the real gold was hidden in the lyrics, the aftermath of a regretful one night stand, already intriguing isn’t it? Then, some fine notes of ironic humour and Johnny Cash references!!
With a really nice voice and melody, the band makes a clear point: if your one-night stand wakes up for the need of a cup of organic tea, then they are unworthy of wearing your Johnny Cash t-shirt, amen! Got lost somewhere in the middle of the video but the singing head on the floor totally pull me back to sing along! Dude, you’re in the wrong place!
Tamta tells me I need her love on replay and who am I to argue? With a wholesome penchant for welding and subjugation, Tamata clearly domineers Cyprus and frankly, anyone she wants to. The song is closely styled on Cyprus’ 2018 entry by Eleni…..remember…..she with the spray-on pants?): a pounding beat and only a hint of auto-tuning. If it worked last year, why not this year?
Zala and Gasper are a sweet duo. and may even outsweeten all other Eurovision contestants this year. They surely mean well, and wish no harm. Certainly, their minimalistic electropop song Sebi, does not hurt. Mind you, it does not really do anything and kind of leaves you a little bit peckish for Pringles. The aeronautical theme in the video is baffling, but instantly forgotten.
Mahmood is pretty angry with his father – that’s for sure! He has tried everything – he got an earing, a tattoo, and ripped his trousers. His last option is to perform at Eurovision and express his anger with mumble rap and autotuning. Hope it works out for you, Mahmood, I really do!
One might easily conclude that Italy’s entry is a happy, toe tapping ditty, probably about summer love or gelato or both. But the upbeat tune is in fact a grim commentary on war, terrorism and displacement. The main message is well illustrated in the video, let’s see what Ermal and Fabrizio dish up on stage. Will political commentaries go anywhere at Eurovision in the 21st century? Probably not…sorry Italy!
The title and bio pic is deceptive – no sign of Barbara Streisand anywhere in Laura’s performance. There is some staccato singing, a modern version of voguing and a combination of jazz trumpet and cello, leaving me utterly confused. Will Europe be as confused and erroneously allocate douze points?
Look, Spain has sent much, much worse to Eurovision and I am grateful for young and inoffensive Amaia and Alfred. Still, this sickly sweet, and slightly nasal number will send you to sleep at around 0’21”. While effective, this is somewhat elaborate for a sedative.
The UK has cloned Annie Lennox for Eurovision. Obviously, the real Annie declined politely, having seen the humiliation experienced by UK Eurovision entries (cue Engelbert Humperdinck and Bonnie Tyler). And it almost worked: short blond hair (tick), long, angular face (tick), string riff from Walking on Broken Glass (tick). Yet, CRISPR was unsuccessful in removing the highly annoying For eh-he-he-he-he-ver chorus. More humiliation awaits!
IMRI (I really do not know if this is a name to be shouted or an abbreviation) is already a veteran at Eurovision – Kiev will be his 3rd appearance. Admittedly, the previous times, he was part of the backing singers. I can tell IMRI is determined to make this a success. This young man has oodles of energy and, according the video, oodles of well-groomed friends. Expect some excellent dancing on the night, but perhaps not so many points.
This catchy and smart number from Italy is the favourite to win, and rightly so. The song is a stylish homogenate of Italian one-hit wonders (I am getting some Adriano Celentano) and light-heartedly homogenises Eastern and Western philosophies.
Surely, any Eurovision entry that exclaims ‘Panta rhei’ deserves a spot in the top 10.
Shave off that ridiculous moustache and it’s ‘douze points’ from me!
San Marino is a more recent addition to Eurovision (competing since 2008) and her strength is clearly driving around in circles. So it comes as no surprise that San Marino has recruited help in the guise of Jimmie Wilson. Regretfully, the outcome is an uneasy fusion of R&B with trashy Euro-disco. Even the key change seems insincere, and at Eurovision, that is saying a lot. Back to the racing track for San Marino this year!
Hip, trendy, upbeat, and in English. It is a shame Barei chose an entry in a language other than Spanish. Very disappointing. It has already caused quite a stir in Spain, and I must say, I agree. While the tune is catchy, and Barei’s image is edgy and cool, I feel the idea behind all the glitz is to distract the audience from the lyrics.
Not unlike many other young pop stars, she comes off as trendy but with little substance, the “fairy floss” of the music scene as it were. I’m not sure if it is because English is not her native language but the song does little to convey any deeper meaning other than to “sing with her lalalala”. I suppose some songs don’t have to be about much more, and it’s enough that they make you feel happy and are easy to sing. Perhaps that will be enough to get her over the threshold? The idea behind performing a song in English was for it to be appealing to a wider audience. Maybe the gamble will pay off.
Review by Giselle Muchette
No Degree Of Separation by Francesca Michielin
Francesca Michielin presents “Nessun grado di separazione”, “No degree of separation”. It is a lovely melody, reminiscent of Laura Paucini. The song is about a girl who lives in a drawer or a small box, isolated, protecting her heart and holding herself distant from life and one day finds the courage to leave her small, confined and safe space to experience the outside world, real life. With no degree of separation between her and the reality that surrounds her.
The video is somewhat too literal in its interpretation, with Francesca singing from within a neon “box”, but her vocals overcome the slight lack of originality of the visual concept. The music starts off soft and slightly romantic and builds up to a chorus conveying strength and courage. The message conveyed can be familiar to many people in different situations. Anyone can identify with the concept of feeling constrained and finding the courage to explore, to love, to take a risk. I feel Italy is a strong contender for the top prize this year.