Grammatical issues notwithstanding, John Lundvik’s “Too Late For Love” is a safe, straightforward dance ballad from this Euro-powerhouse. It’s true to recent form for Sweden, and to be honest if you played any of their last dozen entries over a clip of slow-motion rain I doubt whether viewers would be able to differentiate them. The strategy is effective enough having secured a top 10 finish for most of the last decade (we don’t talk about Bergendahl), but it doesn’t make for compelling listening. Get weird Sweden!
An incongruous county-blues guitar hook kicks off this gloomy electronic piece from Romania’s Ester Peony. In the great tradition of edgy alternative bands there is no hint as to what the title “On a Sunday” actually refers to, but the song carries the usual theme of love and the tremendous price it extracts from us all (are we thinking of the same thing?). The real star of the accompanying video is Ester’s husky companion, whose glossy coat, playful eyes, and regal attitude steal the show. I would very much like to scratch it behind the ears and rubs its belly, and I do hope Romania leans heavily into the canine theme for the live show, since the song and human performers are otherwise forgettable.
Having finished last in more Eurovision finals than any other country, Norway’s people cry out for a hero to save them. That hero is nascent supergroup KEiiNO. Their people’s pleas, echoing across the void, wake the champions from cryopreservation in Narnia. Christina Ricci, Lanky Mr Tumnus, and Vin Diesel deliver a rousing electropop track that is surprisingly multi-faceted and catchy. Though undoubtedly jealous of the other’s nekomimi battlemorphs, Vin Diesel’s bridge of Sámi vocals to a backdrop of tribal drums and Aurora Borealis delivers the killing blow to the Anonymous antagonists. The heroes return to suspended animation, awaiting the day they are next needed. Though unlikely to add a fourth Eurovision victory for the Vikings, the track should present a stirring live performance, and place Norway in the upper rankings.
In an alternate universe, George Calombaris has gained 3 feet in height, swapped his apron for a satin suit that changes colour every five seconds, and conquered San Marino, transforming the mountainous microstate into an urban disco dystopia. Construction workers and police crump and twerk together on a futuristic crosswalk that can only be described as the McDonald’s reboot of Blade Runner. Tall George beams his image from his impregnable fortress on Monte Titano, encouraging vulnerable women to call him any time for nonsensical self-help platitudes, accompanied by an uninspired Casio stock bassline. At this year’s Eurovision, will San Marino “be a hero, be a rainbow and sing na na na”? Yeah, but nah. Just nah.