Germany and Norway

GERMANYPerfect Life by Levina

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.

Review by Ingrid Errington

NORWAYGrab The Moment by JOWST

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.

Review by Ingrid Errington

France, Norway and Latvia

France
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J’ai cherché by Amir

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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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

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Icebreaker by Agnete

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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

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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

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Latvia
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Heartbeat by Justs

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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!

Review by Nansi Richards