Australia, Lithuania & The Netherlands

Australia

Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke

In reviewing this song, I have to make a declaration that may influence my impartiality – I am a massive fan of Katie Miller Heidke. My fandom though is not for what you might think as It is not driven by her pop music career as such but rather the wonderful enigma that she represents. I would bet that if you challenge a group of people to judge the personality of Katie Miller Heike, from a photo or a general conversation, they would be unanimous in judging her as a diminutive timid female. In turn if you were to guess her appearance from her voice alone you might be forgiven for thinking she was a demonstrative operatic diva.

In reality Katie to me is a tour de force and her diminutive appearance masks an immense inner strength that manifests itself through the power of her voice. Her songs are also an enigma in that she frolics among the garden of octaves like a playful child but the lyrics tackle the complexities of adult life. In zero gravity we have her delightful canary-like trills that would be at home among a garden of blossoms under a bold blue sky. If you listen carefully though the song is about being out of control. Katie suffered a traumatic birth with her son and it was so physically debilitating she lost her voice. Like many women the excessive lack of sleep sent her in a spiral towards postnatal depression. This song then is essentially an ode to those who are stricken by a sense of losing oneself. I actually believe this is the best song Australia has written for Eurovision and no matter what happens I hope this song propels Katie towards international stardom.

Review by Matt Bulbert

Lithuania

Run with the lions by Jurij Veklenko

Doe-eyed countertenor Jurij was voted Lithuania’s favorite son-in-law back in 2017, and his mission now is to win the hearts of Europe’s grandmothers, a powerful lobby group, no doubt.

With a song safe enough for a primary school dance, lyrics generated by a platitude app and handsomely coiffed hair and beard, Jurij will have to beat back invitations to afternoon tea for the rest of the year, but will probably not go far in Eurovision.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

The Netherlands

Arcade by Duncan Laurence

Duncan has a broken heart – fair enough, we have all been there, darl. But now he wants us to get him off this rollercoaster and carry him home. Not sure why he is making this mess our problem. Come on, Duncan!

Also, this is the favorite according to the bookies- place your bets, folks!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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

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

Serbia, San Marino, Albania and the Netherlands

Serbia
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Goodbye (Shelter) by Sanja Vučić ZAA

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I think the full orchestra is largely ornamental here but it’s a gutsy song with oo-ooo-ooo BVs that amp up the soulful feel nicely. Is it OK to channel Amy Winehouse yet, though? Too soon??

Review by Nansi Richards

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San Marino
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I Didn’t Know by Serhat

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San Marino is probably most famous for a defunct car race that occurred in Italy. Being used to this level of anonymity, one might have thought that the citizens of the Most Serene Republic (look it up) would shy away from the brutality of Eurovision competition. But no! They have Serhat, a man who seems to think to that singing isn’t necessary at a song contest. If this is an attempt to raise San Marino’s profile, I’d say it is a failure, perhaps they should get the Italians on the phone and ask about the race.

Review by Matt Bruce

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Albania
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Fairy Tail by Eneda Tarifa

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Eneda Tarifa manages to pull off a reasonable impression of a James Bond theme song. Unfortunately for Eneda, this isn’t a movie soundtrack, it’s Eurovision and this number doesn’t quite hit the heights required to pull in the douze points. Soaring finale, nope, memorable key change, nope, culturally inappropriate costume, nope. Sorry Albania, no grand final for you.

Review by Matt Bruce

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The Netherlands
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Slow Down by Douwe Bob

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This year the Dutch have dispensed with their (unintentionally) entertaining , yet ultimately  unsuccessful dalliance with novelty acts. Here we have a boy band meets James Taylor ditty from Douwe Bob and his two mates. A bit dull really, perhaps the Dutch should stick to whatever  they are good at for Eurovision [I can’t think of anything at the moment, insert your own thoughts here]. Either way they seem to be stuck in the second division for now, but at least they could have some more fun.

Review by Matt Bruce