Netherlands, Serbia and Romania

NetherlandsWaylon: Outlaw In ‘Em

Waylon seem to be a proper band. Solid vocals, tight playing, this puts them at an immediate disadvantage at Eurovision. Their brand of Dutch-Americana might not be too bad with a couple of pints of NEIPA down at your local on Friday night. Eurovision, however, demands more of performers than competent musicianship (this is hardly required!). No soaring key changes and all the wind machine will do is blow away the atmospheric stage smoke. Sorry lowlanders, another year in the second division for you, I’m off for a pint.

Review by Matt Bruce

SerbiaSanja Ilić & Balkanika: Nova Deca

Bald guy with a long beard, women in matching outfits with an appropriate amount of hair for wind machine awesomeness, a drummer with lots of chains and Einstein playing (smoking?) some sortof pipe. Looks promising….…. Nope, boring song.

Review by Matt Bruce

RomaniaThe Humans: Goodbye

Adi, Alin, Alex, Alex, Corina and Cristina (must be confusing at band practice) could be the Romanian Brady Bunch, but they aren’t, they’re The Humans (not sure what that implies about the rest of us). “Goodbye” is a pretty standard Eurovision power ballad, likely to get lost in a lukewarm porridge of mediocrity. There is however one hope, that the creepy horror movie mask people from the video make it onto the stage. At least then we can imagine that it might turn into some sort of horror movie version of the Brady Bunch (Un Foarte Brady Halloween?). Otherwise this one isn’t going anywhere near the final.

Review by Matt Bruce

Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Romania

Ireland

Dying to Try by Brendan Murray

Rumour has it that, as a young child, Brendan Murray’s cheeks were pinched so vigorously by passing octogenarians that he required reconstructive surgery. They say he is paid entirely in crocheted doilies and lemon tea-cakes, and is banned from releasing a Christmas album amidst fears that it would induce a mass attack of the vapours across the British Isles.

With good looks and titanium-reinforced cheekbones Brendan Murray brings dollops of gorgeousness to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. His melancholy tune about struggling to maintain relationships has one of the most impressive key changes of this year’s line up, and has left women across Europe wondering why their daughters can’t find themselves a nice young man like Brendan. His eyebrows alone are guaranteed to get him as far as the semi-finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

IcelandPaper by Svala

Svala has been granted sabbatical leave from the Borg to represent Iceland this year. The song ‘Paper’, precisely crafted to suit the musical requirements of the assimilated masses, is unsurprisingly mediocre. Nevertheless you will vote for Iceland, resistance is futile. It’s robotic rhythms and synth melodies are perfect listening for the next time you are cruising through the grid on your light cycle. Keep an eye out for the key change goose-step late in the song – a well-timed and subtle build to… nothing at all. Clearly key-changes do not compute.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

PortugalAmar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

Salvador Sobral was orphaned on the streets of Lisbon as a child. Thankfully a flock of canaries took him in and raised him as one of their own. Years later he was discovered working in a mineshaft – cramped inside a small cage and entertaining the workers with his gentle melodies. Now a full grown man and successful performer, Salvador collaborates with his sister Luisa – who wrote this song and most definitely isn’t pissed about Salvador getting all the credit.

Surprisingly this song, ‘Amor Pelos Dios’ is one of the most coherent Eurovision efforts we have heard from Portugal since, well, ever! The orchestration is tasteful, the soft piano melody is whimsical, and the singing is, believe it or not, in key. Portugal, you have surprised us all and have done well! Maybe you should get Salvador and Luisa to look into your national debt problems, it’s not like they could do any harm.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

Romania

Yodel It! By Ilinca feat. Alex Flora

It’s Eurovision! Of course there is yodelling! I’m proud to say that Romania have inspired my latest tattoo. The phrase ‘Yodel It!” has been carved into my chest and sits nicely in between my “#YOLO” and “Frankie Says Relax” tatts.

Equal parts East 17, Aqua, and von Trapp family, Romania pairs a seductive yodeller in a leprechaun suit with a tone-deaf rapper to create this year’s abomination. Seriously it’s terrible. Me thinks the novelty value won’t float this boat very far and Romania are likely to sink early on in the quarter finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon