Czech Republic & Russia

Czech Republic

Friend of a friend by Lake Malawai

Can you feel it? !I am SO excited that I picked Czech Republic on a whim to review this year, because hipster indie pop bands that are dressed like The Wiggles are TOTALLY what I’m into right now.
Seriously, the base player in his red turtle neck looks exactly like Murray, who incidentally once came into the Sly Fox in Enmore whilst I was working once and told me he “really liked my popcorn”- if that’s not an innuendo, then I don’t know what is. Speaking of innuendos, Friend of a friend is full of them. Do you know what I mean? I particularly liked the part of the clip where the lead singer has a series of photos of him being manhandled into a police car, because it’s a metaphor for the youth of today being labelled as miscreant Millennials, which they probably are, right? The tune is catchy and annoyingly stuck in my head right now. The Czech Republic has been a part of Eurovision for the last 12 years, and have yet to win, but if any of the current judges are under the age of 25 then Lake Malawi might be in with a chance.
I give them 3 skinny leg jeans out of a possible 5.

Review by George Binns

Russia

Scream by Sergey Lazarev

WOOF, is there anything Sergey can’t do?! Racking up countless music and radio awards, adopting puppies, starting up a company that creates dog friendly pastries and cakes… and he can bloody sing! Like an angel! He gave me goosebumples. Scream is a beautiful song, and I can’t stop raving about his voice, it really is magic. The lyrics are a bit dodgy however, like most emo songs with beautiful melodies, it seems to be about loudly broadcasting feelings that you’re having, but lying about actually having them: “Tears won’t fall whilst my pride stands tall… but my eyes will be liars..”
I think we ALL can relate to that. I quite liked the video clip with the hero coming to rescue the princess troupe, and then dumping her on a small island covered in bryophytes (which he stomped all over, rude), but she was really quite pretty with glorious hair and didn’t say anything at all the whole clip, so why did he dump her there? I think men really should start addressing their feelings so we can all be supportive of them.
PS: a small child acts out killing a large dragon towards the end of the clip. Just in case that sort of thing upsets you.
SERGEY FOR THE WIN!

Review by George Binns

Estonia, Lithuania and Russia

EstoniaElina Nechayeva: La Forza

Call me Ishmael. A good review is a narrative, and a good narrative has 5 elements:

1. A great first sentence (why mess around? I just went with the best!)

2. A journey. Amongst other things, my first sentence was supposed to simply an allegorical search for the meaning of life, and subtly suggest certain flattering characteristics about myself, all of which have been ruined because I realised it is a cultural reference whose meaning may not be apparent to everyone, and explaining it has negated any beneficial effects. Anyway, we are going one better than a search for the meaning of life – we are on a quest to discover the meaning of Eurovision, one of the greatest mysteries in the universe! Yay!

3. Elegant, lucid, succinct prose.

Two other elements which will hopefully come to me soon, otherwise I’ll have to explain why I said “5 elements” and only listed three.

On to the business at hand. Elina from Estonia can sing! She sings like the Diva from 5th Element (see what I did? It’s called foreshadowing in case you are interested), but the real star of the act is the dress, inside of which Elina is propped. I don’t know why this wasn’t mentioned in the official notes, but her dress is so big that it covers 2.4 hectares, and is encrusted in 3 million individally thought-controlled, coloured LEDs. Yes, Elina was singing and controlling the lights on her dress at the same time. She and her dress are a flowing fiesta of colour and light. Darwin would have maintained it was sexual selection at work, and who am I to question the great man? Rumour has it that Elina will be part of Sydney’s Vivid festival this year.

Did I mention that she can sing? Her final note shattered the wine glass in my hand. My prediction? Next year, Eurovision will be held in Tallinn, and by next spring, everyone will be wearing those dresses.

It seems I’ve allowed myself to be carried away by all the excitement of the event, and unintentionally created a metaphor for THE DRESS, whose maker also got carried away, and we both ended up with something way too big to be fit-for-purpose. Sorry.

Review by Jim McLean

 

LithuaniaIeva Zasimauskaitė: When We’re Old

When I see pop singers “playing” the piano I am often sceptical about who actually pressed the keys, but there is absolutely no doubt that Ieva played the whole song. It’s just a special piano, and pressing one key produces all the chords I reckon. Well, around the 40-45 seconds mark you see she got some assistance, but it was mostly he work, surely. The short bio states that she took lessons until she was fifteen, so there you go. Her voice is nice to listen to, and the song itself is very original, it’s about a topic no other song I can remember ever touched — eternal love. More specifically though, it seems to describe how love is powerful and can last forever when you live in a snowy country. Maybe it wears off more slowly due to the low temperatures?

Review by Bruno Buzzato

 

RussiaJulia Samoylova: I Won’t Break

When I was watching this video I had trouble focusing on anything other than the fact that Julia’s right eye sits so much higher on her face than her left eye! But thankfully only about 70% of the video is entirely about on her face. Well, that’s not entirely true, sometimes you see landscapes IN her face, which is, ugh, interesting? And then in the end you see her face in the landscape — on the top of a mountain, more specifically. With a waterfall. And a rainbow. And the moon too. In any case, Julia is not just a pretty face. The song? Sorry I didn’t pay much attention, and honestly, I’m not watching that again, am I?

Review by Bruno Buzzato

Azerbaijan, Germany and Russia

Azerbaijan
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Miracle by Samra 

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The chorus line of this song ‘Gonna take a miracle’ seems to betray a lack of confidence in Azerbaijan’s ability to take home the Eurovision crown. Why so skittish Azerbaijan? Alongside a growling synth track underlying some sick beats Samra brings the goods with her powerful voice, finely sculpted eyebrows and a delightful slathering of sass. In other words, don’t fuck with Samra.

Azerbaijan’s Eurovision dreams could not be in more capable hands. She seems like the kind of woman who can run in heels and manage a fledging online start-up company to fiscal stability. And if there isn’t a place for her in the Eurovision hall of fame, perhaps there’s one in local government or middle management.

Review by James O’Hanlon

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Germany
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Ghost by Jamie-Lee

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After the young, black-haired, pixie-faced 2014 Eurovision champion Lena failed to bring home the goods again in 2015, Germany has decided to shake things up by sending another young, black-haired, pixie-faced songstress, this time wearing a fascinator. The Eurovision powerhouse that is Germany is likely to do well this year, but will the fascinator and eclectic accoutrements carry Jamie-Lee to victory? Probably not.

In my opinion Jamie-Lee simply doesn’t take quirky fashion far enough. It’s as if she was heading to a cosplay convention but didn’t have time put together a decent costume.

Which brings me to my prediction for Eurovision 2017- ‘Furries’ are about to hit the scene in a big way. Whole bands of them! Imagine the Spice Girls, but instead of band members dressing as brit-culture-stereotypes we get purple wolves and fluorescent yellow fennec foxes. Mark my words, 2017 will be the year the Furries hit Eurovision.

Review by James O’Hanlon

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Russia
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You are the Only One by Servey Lazarev

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If you have a LAN party coming up then Sergey Lazarev’s ‘You are the Only One’ could be the soundtrack to which you frag your nearest and dearest. Russia seem to have taken a retro angle by bringing us a song that sounds eerily like the soundtrack to a 1990’s video game.

 Filling you with equal parts enthusiasm and the soulless shame that comes with enjoying any pop-song, ‘You are the Only One’ is a solid effort with one major drawback – Sergey simply doesn’t take his shirt off enough. With all the money and time that has apparently been invested into chest waxing and sit-ups this seems like a lost opportunity. Does Russia want to win Eurovision or not??? As my grandfather always used to say, the sun got nowhere to shine till you get them guns out son!

Review by James O’Hanlon