Slovenia and Moldova

SloveniaLea Sirk: Hvala, ne!

Hi, my name is Scott. I’m a former member of the behavioural ecology lab before my career took a left turn and I went to medical school. Now, as a first-year medical student, I’m going to try and apply my brand new medical knowledge to diagnosing Eurovision contestants! Ok, let’s start with Slovenia.

Upon first observation of the patient, I notice she has a very unusual style of staccato movements with rigidity and tremor. Parkinson’s perhaps, but she lacks the hallmark slow-movement bradykinesia. Or maybe she’s just trying to dance with a bad case of ataxia.

Actually her movements seem very frenetic… hmm, perhaps a psych consult may be needed? The ever-shifting patterns of the floor beneath her mirror the typical hallucination patterns of an LSD trip. Later, she starts rap-battling with what appear to be homunculi representing facets of her personality. Either she’s tripping balls or I need to read more Freud and Jung!

That said, it’s always protocol to rule out organic brain disease before diagnosing psych conditions. The flashing lights are a classic epilepsy trigger, but maybe her flapping arms are really a case of asterixis, a common sign of hepatic encephalopathy wherein liver damage harms the brain. I can’t be sure about her, but this song is driving at least one of us to drink.

One thing that stands out is the pseudobulbar vaguely-lyrical noises emanating from her vocal cords. Laryngeal edema perhaps, or polyps? Hmm, I may need to draw some blood tests.

But wait! Something I overlooked! Her hair has a strange miscoloured streak going through it. That’s called poliosis. Usually it’s just a benign quirk of hair, but maybe, just maybe… I’ve got it! She has Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada Disease. It all makes sense! The disease also causes nerve palsies, which explains her dancing, hearing loss and tinnitus, which explains her singing, and eye damage, which explains her fashion choices. Sadly, the prognosis isn’t very good. Luckily, she’s already wearing a body bag.

Review by Scott Fabricant

 

MoldovaDoReDoS: My Lucky Day

Hello again, Scott here. So I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to diagnose people at a distance, some ethics thing called the Goldwater Rule (which is actually why no one has yet given an ICD-10 code to President Trump), so I guess I’m going to have to brush off my behavioural ecology skills and return to my roots. Ok let’s go!

Here we see the rare and endangered Moldovan Cool Ranch Doritos… sorry, that’s DoReDos, in their natural habitat of the coastal cliffs. How these delicate diurnal creatures will adapt to being in the artificial environment of the Eurovision stage, with a photoperiod of 12 hours of dark and 12 hours of strobe lights and disco balls remains to be seen.

Given that it is in fact the female who is large and colorful, I deduce that DoReDos are likely some type of arthropod. It is of note that the female is red and yellow, so I assume she is poisonous. Her large frilled hat she deploys seems very effective at startling predators. She also has slices of citrus fruit in her hair; are these food rewards to potential mates, or is she using the citric acid to defend her eggs?

Multiple male suitors sing and chirp to get her attention. This is what we refer to as lekking behaviour. The males compete with each other, trying to best woo the female with rhythmic droning vocalizations. While its known that talk is cheap, we assume this singing behaviour is costly and therefore an honest signal because… reasons?

However, further natural history observations reveal that the males appear to be cooperative breeders. They’re helping each other into the finals! The only other known species that engages in cooperative lekking is the Long-Tailed Manakin. Are Manakins and Doritos sister taxa? Or is this a case of convergent evolution? As always, more research is needed (but not by me, I have to get back to studying).

Review by Scott Fabricant

Slovenia, the Netherlands & Ukraine

Slovenia

On my way by Omar Naber

There is a slight chance that the Slovenian entry this year is pure genius in disguise, although the odds are on it being just awful. Omar delivers a rendition of the Phantom of the Opera, minus the mask and with more shouting. It sends shivers up my spine, but not in a good way. At the end of the video, Omar cries, and so did I.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

The Netherlands

Lights and Shadows by OG3NE

Three determined young women, sisters, no less, harmonise their little hearts out for the Netherlands! The sound is incredible -almost as if I had heard it somewhere else before. Indeed, it is ‘Hold on’ by Wilson Phillips anno 1990. But before we allege ‘plagiarism’ let’s analyse the evidence: Wilson Phillips only had two sisters – OG3NE has three sisters, and two of them twins! Wilson Phillips had rubbish hair – OG3NE have magnificent manes! Obviously, the similarity of sound is just a freak coincident. I think Europe will like this!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

UkraineTime by O.Torvald

Channelling the walking dead, O. Torvald is hoping for a back-to-back win for the Ukraine. They need not have bothered. Still, the heavy guitars, piles of rubbish on stage and cacophonous signing might stand out against other more waxed contestants and be rewarded by rebellious points from neighbours in fear of imminent invasion.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Australia, Slovenia and Macedonia

Australia
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Sound of Silence by Dami Im 

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Welcome back to Eurovision! I am your loyal American correspondent, Scott. First on the European agenda is the Australian entry by Korean-born Dami Im. After last year’s subliminal messaging by Guy Sebastian, Australia is in fact doing Eurovision night again and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be reverse-colonizing Europe’s borders …again. This year, Australia opts for a more ironic theme with Dami’s “Sound of Silence”.

This rousing powerful ballad is anything but silent, and Dami’s pipes are more than a match for Europe’s finest. In classic fashion she stands on her own, eschewing gimmicks and backup bands in favour of her own talent and fashion sense, although in modern Australian tradition she does bring along a piece of man-candy. Is he contact-juggling his own body? The song itself has a catchy if redundant lyrical hook, a deep beat, and a moving bridge. Needs more wind machine. I doubt it’ll win, but my hope is that it places high enough and draws enough advertising dollars that we can do tonight thrice. We may be here on this blog as neutral and objective scientists, but when it comes to Australia I will always have the journalistic objectivity of Fox News.

Review by Scott Fabricant

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Slovenia
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Blue and Red by ManuElla

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America has a proud tradition of country music, deep fried oreos, and casual racism. While 2016 has demonstrated that Europe is certainly not lacking in the latter, I do feel as though the Eurovision song contest, long dominated by bubblegum pop with a dark horse streak of Scandinavian metal and electrotrash, would really benefit from some country soul. Here to save our souls is Slovenia.

All good country music is about break ups, and this song is no exception. I think. It might actually be about finger painting in primary colours, as the singer’s faux-Tennessee accent is almost as impenetrable as Fort Knox, but her yodelling game is on point and that’s really what country music is about. Her slick-but-pointless costume change is a welcome flourish, and I appreciate how the white-to-red swap against a blue stage background pays homage to her source material (USA! USA! USA!). Ultimately she’s no Taylor Swift, but the novelty of her entry (and the high power of her wind machine) will propel her into the finals. While she’s unlikely to win, I do hope she spurs a mini Lordi Effect and we hear more banjos in Eurovision future.

Review by Scott Fabricant

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Macedonia
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Dona by Kaliopi

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What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual, of course. What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Trilingual. And a person who only speaks one language? An American! Naturally I have no idea what Kaliopi is singing about (donut donut donut…), but that in no way hampers my enjoyment of this song. After a beautiful opening sequence of Kaliopi walking through a fancy hotel blinged out in high end robes, the production budget suddenly runs dry (much like the broader Macedonian economy).

We are unexpectedly transported to the magical land of 1980’s green screen as Kalopi is projected with all the choppy finesse of a high schooler with Photoshop into a gorgeous theatre that she probably doesn’t have the talent to get into the old-fashioned way. She does keep singing after this point, a suitably 80’s ballad with suitably 80’s bangs, but frankly I’m too bored by her and distracted by the CGI to pay attention. Honestly I think she missed her true calling; if/when she fails at Eurovision, she should try her hand at being a surfer, as her wetsuit pleather pants and surfs-up dance routines would really make waves on the Australian market. Just don’t come by boat.

Review by Scott Fabricant

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