Hungary, Israel and Malta

HungaryAWS: Viszlát Nyár

AWS will be shouting at us in Hungarian to the background of heavy metal music. The performance contains all the endearing metal characteristics:  brutal guitar riffs, relentless drumming and mid-pitch screaming. Whist true to the genre, AWS manages to squeeze in a Eurovision-style keychange – impressive. I think the bio description says it all: “The band wrote their Eurovision entry, Viszlát Nyár, themselves”

Review by Mariella Herberstein

IsraelNetta: TOY

‘Pam pam pa hoo, Turram pam pa hoo’ – no truer words have been sung at Eurovision. Admittedly, the lyrics are senseless (even Wonder Women can’t rescue them), but the song is catchy, poppy,  quirky and could be, dare I say it,  a winner! Not since Dana International (in 1998) was Israel the favourite for Eurovision, so I have high hopes for Netta – douze points from me!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Malta Christabelle: Taboo

Christabelle’s song is set in a dystopian future, where ruthless tyrants stage brutal fights and go ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (in that tyrannical fashion). Despite being savagely oppressed, Christabelle keeps her soul intact and travels to Lisbon for Eurovision. Sadly she does not make it through the Semi-finals, which will probably not bode well for her upon returning to Malta. End of story.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

Denmark, Malta and Ukraine

Denmark
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Soldiers of Love by Lighthouse X

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As the piano starts and a serious, well-groomed man stares intensely at the camera you get the feeling that Soldiers of Love by Lighthouse X may develop into something special. Excitement builds by the time the second and third singers start and you begin hoping for some classic boy band magic. But then, for me, confusion sets in. The song choice and hairstylist felt they were stuck in the 90s, but costume and dance moves seemed modelled on more contemporary male groups. Lighthouse X’s casual style of dressing (looking the same without being identical) and less scripted choreography left me feeling like I was watching what happens when One Direction loses another band member, develops a pseudo-social conscience and ages 10 years.

Despite this, there is nothing offensive about the song, the band or the set. And there is enough fist clenching earnestness to hold everything together. Throw in a well timed key change, some bursts of fire and some golden confetti and it all feels very Eurovision. Overall, it’s good enough to make the grand final, but not spectacular enough to stand out.

Review by Fran van den Berg

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Malta
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Walk on Water by Ira Losco

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No touch’ touching – that is, being unbelievably close to someone and acting like you are going to touch them but not actually making contact makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Given that, Malta’s entry Walk on Water sung by Ira Losco left me squirming in my seat. While Losco stands and delivers her catchy dance tune, a man in black emerges from the shadows to dance around her, showcasing an exemplar of no touch touching.

Is repeatedly singing “I feel like I can walk on water”, while evidently failing to do so in the official clip reflective of delusions of a Eurovision win? Definitely so, but Losco’s powerful voice, plunging neckline, sequined dress, and a dancer with rather impressive animalistic gyrations will mean that Malta will probably be swimming somewhere near the top of the Eurovision pool this year. I just wish that the dancer spent less time invading Losco’s personal space.

Review by Fran van den Berg

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Ukraine
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1944 by Jamala

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After an understandable absence from the Eurovision stage in 2015, Ukraine has returned in a big way, with Jamala singing 1944. This song details the plight of the Crimean tartars out of their lands by Joseph Stalin in 1944, near the end of World War 2. This song was seen as controversial by the Russian as it believed Ukraine to be taking a swing at them and trying to gain supporters to the current Russian-Ukrainian war. But the judges deemed it fine as Jamala made mention that it details her family’s personal history during the Crimean war.

But is it worthy of this attention? Well maybe, although Jamala does not move her body on the stage, her arm movements and her intense voice, draw in the listener to the song. Nice Middle Eastern Flavours, as well as a chorus sung in Crimean tartar, which will surely impact on the Ukrainian voters. But as to the wider European and worldwide audience, the message and presentation are lost in the lack of physical movement and there is no hook.

It will definitely attract a lot of sympathy votes, but I do not think it will be enough to reach the Top 10 on the scoreboard.

Review by Nicole O’Donnell

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