Hello, it’s Scott again, your friendly
American correspondent. I’m so excited to peer over the wall to see what
Eurovision has in store for us this year. My first review is for Leonora from
Denmark. I love her. I love her voice. I love her lyrics, and how she
simplifies all conflict in a way only a bland white European pop star could. I
love her hair. I love that adorable giant Ikea chair of a stage prop, it really
highlights the emptiness of our wilting capitalist society. I love the way her
undead stare peels away all pretenses.
As she summarizes the zeitgeist of 2019 so perfectly: “Travel the world to see the ruins of what has been. Learning our history, but still, we don’t take it in. Don’t get too political.” And such a boppy tune! Love is Forever, she cheerfully reminds us, and forever is a whole lot longer than any land claims west of the Jordan River. I’m confident this postmodern classic will sail past any entry that bores viewers with protest, or substance, or self-awareness. Leonora has no time for politics, she’s here to make Eurovision great again.
Montenegro’s entry is a high-minded character study in how the concept of heaven varies between whomever envisions it. For the song’s writer, heaven is watching a jumbled collection of sweet literal nothings elevated to national champions. For the stage director, heaven is the essence of simplicity, embodied by angelic white robes and a complete lack of attempted choreography. For the music video director, heaven appears to be a laundry detergent commercial. For me, heaven is a Eurovision final without this song. I’d make a Pascal’s wager on it.
Germanys entrant Michael Schulte started his career playing covers on youtube, and he possibly should have stayed there. He has a pleasing, clear voice, and the piano accompaniment gives the performance heart, but I feel like he doesn’t have the oompf to win this competition. Then again, Eurovision does have a long running obsession with lustrous hair, so Schultes thick curly locks may give him the edge he needs.
Well, the odd’s aren’t in Montenegros favour. In fact they come in right about last alongside San Marino and Slovenia. But that doesn’t mean that this year’s entrant Vanja Radovanović doesn’t have a lot to offer. His entry has an eery overtone and tells a story of love and loss in a snow swept landscape. The natural vistas and accompanying ballroom string orchestra (not to mention the giant chess set) give the entry a sense of drama and suspense. I look forward to the full length movie feature.
Call me a pushover, but I was instantly charmed by Alexander Rybak’s profile photo, where he wears a plain t-shirt and an earnest smile. His entry “that’s how you write a song” is just as sweet, and follows the story of a young boy who writes to ask Alexander advice on how to write a song (surprisingly enough). The catchy beat will definitely appeal to the tweens in the audience and his open, friendly demeanour is hard not to like. The video is simple but includes people from all walks of like, so I give him extra points for community spirit.
The UK are perennial underachievers at Eurovision and that was before Brexit, I’m not sure that the British voters realised what the Eurovision implications would be. This year’s entry Lucie Jones is, wait for it …… Welsh, she is from Cardiff, a bit of Wales that voted to stay so perhaps she should play on this a bit. The song is a rather breathless effort, it you are watching the broadcast I recommend it would to be a good 3 minutes and 14 seconds to make another drink or load the dishwasher.
Slavko Kalezić seems to split his time more or less evenly between the hairdresser, the gym and wherever you get manscaping done in Montenegro. He wants to take you to space so you can be as one, where he will, presumably, unleash some more of his thinly veiled innuendo.
The backup dancers in this number wear skivvies, dance with their hands in their pockets and drive Volvos. One of those things isn’t true. National stereotypes aside, Robin Bengtsson should do pretty well, I Can’t Go On is the kind of generic urban offering that seems to be quite popular these days and stands out against a procession of Euro-ballads. Finals for me.
So, I love anything astronomical, and Lidia serves up swirling galaxies on a bed of Balkan disco beat. I predict this will be on rotation at Club Med all around the Black Sea this summer (sadly Moldova has geographically been denied access to the Black Sea). Just a word of warning: listening to this more than three times will open a black hole in your heart!
Review by Mariella Herberstein
The Real Thing by Highway
Is this the real thing? Oh….that is quite disappointing then. The best thing about this performance is the dancer: a resolute, if not slightly angry young woman who, like I, seems to be quite disappointed with this entry from Montenegro.
Review by Mariella Herberstein
If I were sorry by Frans
Where was the Swedish Tourist Board when this video was made? Sweden has never looked so derelict. Frans will attempt to win Eurovision glory back to back for Sweden, but I don’t know if teenage emo with a bit of ‘meh’ will win over the voting grandmothers of Eurovisionland. Even if Frans is not sorry, I surely am!