Love this song. The story is heart-touching. I love the way TIX has cinematized the reality of his life in this song. It makes me sad for him and happy at the same time. The lyrics, sounds, rhythms, and his voice are superb! I am not a critic but it encourages me to write up some words for Norway. The story represents his life. It is inspiring. The disorder is not a burden for him, it is his CROWN. This song is the appropriate answer to the people who bullied him. The song tells how diverse Eurovision is! It absolutely fits in this Eurovision and deserves to win. It is not only lovely but also powerful.
The appeal or prayer that Blas showed in this song is brilliant. His voice and gesture dazzled me though I did not understand his native language. It reminds me of my grandma and makes me emotional for her. I think diversity is definitely something that reaches everyone’s heart in their very own way. The song is really very touching. I love the line “I am going to stay and I promise to love you more than yesterday” which is heart-stopping.
In case you were wondering, TIX bases his professional persona on the fact that he has Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), as chronicled in a mildly heartbreaking music video based on his childhood bullying incidents. He uses his C-list celebrity fame to spread awareness on Tourette’s, so I’d like to honor him by doing the same. TS is a movement disorder characterized by the combination of involuntary erratic rapid muscle contractions (movement tics), and verbal tics consisting of grunts and coughs, or more complex behavior such as repeating words (echolalia) or famously but rarely, the yelling of profanities (coprolalia). TS is considered a form of neurodivergence, an axis of diversity long ignored in the celebration of diversity that is classically Eurovision. So thank you TIX for your honesty and emotional bravery.
That said, I owe his honesty an honest review… except I can’t, since you might mistake it for coprolalia. What I will say is that I thought the song was boring, derivative, and repetitive (but not echolalia). One can only assume the Eurovision voters will diverge from TIX, and this fallen angel will fall to the bottom half of the finals.
Review by Scott Fabricant
Ukraine – SHUM by Go_A
I will admit I’m a bit rusty, but I remember a little behavioral ecology. An energetically costly signal is more likely to be an honest indicator of quality, right? In that case, Ukraine has A+ genes since honestly even watching this performance is a little exhausting. Like a whirling dervish, this folktronica forest rave keeps getting faster and faster. Like… like… supraventricular tachycardia? No, bad Scott, this is an ecology blog! Anyway, Go_A lives up to her name with an energetic quality beat that keeps going. Do I think she’ll win? Probably not the Eurovision finals, but possibly a fist fight against Putin. A+ genes!
Review by Scott Fabricant
Russia – Russian Woman by Manizha
I have no idea what Manizha is saying to me in Russian, but I am certain she is spilling some very hot tea, reading me good, and I’ve earned whatever acid she’s spraying. Her powerful verse crosses all language barriers for a full-throated assault on toxic masculinity and I am loving it. Coming out strong in an aposematically-red Rosie the Riveter jumper, her command of intersexual conflict would put ducks to shame. Douze points from me, but what I really want to see is her trash-talk Putin after Ukraine’s Go_A are finished with him.
Having finished last in more Eurovision finals than any other country, Norway’s people cry out for a hero to save them. That hero is nascent supergroup KEiiNO. Their people’s pleas, echoing across the void, wake the champions from cryopreservation in Narnia. Christina Ricci, Lanky Mr Tumnus, and Vin Diesel deliver a rousing electropop track that is surprisingly multi-faceted and catchy. Though undoubtedly jealous of the other’s nekomimi battlemorphs, Vin Diesel’s bridge of Sámi vocals to a backdrop of tribal drums and Aurora Borealis delivers the killing blow to the Anonymous antagonists. The heroes return to suspended animation, awaiting the day they are next needed. Though unlikely to add a fourth Eurovision victory for the Vikings, the track should present a stirring live performance, and place Norway in the upper rankings.
In an alternate universe, George Calombaris has gained 3 feet in height, swapped his apron for a satin suit that changes colour every five seconds, and conquered San Marino, transforming the mountainous microstate into an urban disco dystopia. Construction workers and police crump and twerk together on a futuristic crosswalk that can only be described as the McDonald’s reboot of Blade Runner. Tall George beams his image from his impregnable fortress on Monte Titano, encouraging vulnerable women to call him any time for nonsensical self-help platitudes, accompanied by an uninspired Casio stock bassline. At this year’s Eurovision, will San Marino “be a hero, be a rainbow and sing na na na”? Yeah, but nah. Just nah.
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.
Germany’s offering this year starts with some promise, but it’s unfortunate that promise doesn’t really belong to them… I’m calling plagiarism. Here is Levina. Here is Sia and David Guetta (who themselves borrowed fairly heavily from the stalky number from The Police…) Apparently it’s the year for it – check out Tom White’s review of Georgia.
Alas, Levina doesn’t quite follow through with her suggestion that ‘Perfect Life’ might be another perfect banger of a pop anthem, as it rather fizzles at the chorus and never quite recovers. Indeed, in the official video, we see her start to dance a few times before realising her tune doesn’t really lend itself to that sort of thing. Whoops.
A catchy, cheerful number with lyrics that, for reasons you can’t put your finger on, don’t quite pass as native English (“So when it’s all or nothing, I put my nerves in the coffin”), as well as a pithy refrain about Grabbing the Moment. Tick, and tick. Also, this is the first use of (ostensibly) live sampling/looping that I recall from the ESC stage. Honestly, I’m surprised it wasn’t someone building layers with a cello, but this will do. A troop of back-flipping Scandinavian dancers wouldn’t go astray on the night, though I fear he might prefer his Kylo Ren-ish masked DJ buddies instead – what a lost opportunity.
J’ai cherché, Amir – an ambassador for France and an advocate for dental hygiene
We have Bono, Madonna, Pink and now the newest member to the one named artist – Amir. Amir recalls watching Eurovision with his family as a kid betting on the outcome. He hopes his family will back him this year. To be honest they will earn more money betting on the runners up than backing this number. It surely will attract the shortest of odds to win this year’s Eurovision competition.
The French tend to treat this competition as something they are obliged to do being part of the European Union and all. Usually the French just do their thing and do not care about the opinions of those pesky lesser European nations. But not this year! I feel a wave of change and a sense they are finally hungry for victory and will do anything to achieve it. My evidence to support this claim:
The chorus is in english – WHAT! I hear you exclaim in complete disbelief? Its true! And it is not forced, it is not even weird but in fact it’s close to brilliance!
The tune sticks in your head like a limpet sticks to a rock in the intertidal zone – it has one of those annoyingly catchy clapping sequences, a nice ‘woo-oo-oo’ (I like nothing more than a good bit of onomatopoeia in a song) and, a beat that will propel people from their seats to dance.
The only people that will not get up and dance to this number will be those transfixed by how damn good looking this guy is. It hurts even my eyes. And he is not even vacuous! Damn it! He is a self-proclaimed mega-geek who loves all the latest new gadgets and by all accounts comes from a wholesome family albeit a family of gamblers.
One of the secrets to his manly beauty is his ridiculously good teeth. Not surprising considering he used to be a dental surgeon. Apparently he just woke up one day and decided he had enough of filling everyone else’s cavities and it was time to fill his own deep cavity with musical love; and a few croissants I suspect.
The song is a motivational anthem. It is about staying true to your dreams. Based on his own rags to riches story to some extent – a kid that dreamed of being on the big stage to a dental surgeon to the Voice finalist to the winner of Eurovision – Aesop could not have written a more epic saga.
His message of gender equality. His video shows two kids from the ghetto on a road to success a girl who makes it to the Olympics as a kickboxer and boy that becomes a professional ballet dancer – I secretly hope they are his back-up dancers.
Verdict: I am going to make a big call – this will win Eurovision this year. I do not have to listen to anything else – over and out!
Review by Matt Bulbert
Icebreaker by Agnete
Icebreakers. They’re the latest hot (as it were) target for national science program funding. The UK and Australia are both in the process of commissioning a new icebreaker for a cool half billion each, then making the absurd decision to let the general public name it in an effort to capture hearts and minds.
Will Norway’s new Icebreaker pull it off? Or just get stuck, prompting a month long, multi-national rescue operation during which everybody on board is left telling the same jokes over and over because there hasn’t been anything new to talk about in weeks? And what sort of stroby magic will the lighting designer do with that half-time chorus? Time will tell.
Review by Ingrid Errington
Apparently two entirely separate Norwegian songs got together and entered Eurovision this year. Neither of them were particularly spectacular to begin with and joining forces certainly didn’t improve things. Agnete opts for wearing snowflakes rather than having them flying around her head like other entrants (Austria). It may be less distracting for her but it’s a bit on the dull side for the audience. Someone is thrashing around behind her in a glass box to give us something else to look at though. This is probably meant to be a block of ice. Hmmm….
Review by Nansi Richards
Heartbeat by Justs
If the real Mr Timberlake shows up on the night (and if Latvia gets through to the final), this abbreviated version will really struggle to shine. Justs builds himself up to some pretty rock-vocals but it makes for a slightly odd mash-up with the trance-beat of this song. He really means it though. The lighting crew was clearly out of ideas, hit the auto-pilot button and took a well-earned break. Heartbeat? So much potential imagery to work with here. Wasted!