With the best running mascara of the competition, Albina dishes out big emotions of loss and family. The video is in a dramatic black and white with colourful flashbacks to better times of happy family life. All this delivered in her native language inclusive of the typical wailing and bagpipe sounds we all so detest. The whole family (mum, dad, brother, sisters) will be on stage in Liverpool….possibly a first for Eurovision. Still no further than the semis for me!
Armenia: Future Lover by Brunette
Sporting impressive cornrows and plaits the length of the country, Brunette delivers a song in two parts. The fragile Brunette with her delicate and ethereal sounds wanting to be good, do good, look good, gives way to badass Brunette street rapping with her cold heart, cold hands and fire in her veins. Both Brunettes are an uneasy union, but it could work on stage. It is a shame the song limps to the finish, rather than set off the much-promised volcano.
Cyprus: Break A Broken Heart by Andrew Lambrou
Andrew, who could be a werewolf, howls his way through breaking a broken heart, with an impressive vocal range and a decent helping of autotuning. Most of us are probably struggling with the grammatical proposition – is the heart already broken and is it being broken into even smaller smithereens, or is it so broken that it can’t be broken again, or do two acts of breaking the heart actually heal it??? And at that point, we have reached the three minutes and the song is over and already forgotten.
Rosa Linn, the love-child of ‘First Aid Kit’ and ‘The Lumineers’, delivers a charming folk song, with an catchy chorus and tap-along beat. With surprisingly cogent lyrics (‘get out of my heart’) – this is definitely not your typical Armenian entry… I love it… and the adorable beanie she is wearing! Top 10 for me!
Review by Mariella Herberstein
Cyprus – Andromache: Ela
Reminiscent of the Sirens who transfixed Ulysses with their song, Andromache’s Ela is seductive, alluring and dreamy, without losing Cyprus’ signature Eurovision pop (the trashy kind of pop). The bookies have Andromache wearing white on stage (a pretty safe bet, tbh), and in the top 15.
Review by Mariella Herberstein
Denmark – REDDI: The Show
Girl band, REDDI, lure you into a a slow piano start with a sudden, yet not entirely unexpected, transition to a high-energy rock rendition reminiscent of the 80s. What’s not to love? Empowered women, guitar solos, high kicks, wild drumming and an excellent hat!!! Unfortunately, the song is not very lovable… still hoping REDDI will make it through to the finals.
If Billie Eilish were born in Armenia, she would probably be Srbuk in a few years. Srbuk’s voice promises a determined woman who does not take rubbish from anyone. Disturbingly, the lyrics and video quickly reveal that she surrounds herself with morons that push her about – I am sure Billie would not put up with that sort of shite. Watch out for the key change and crescendo, which Srbuk nails. A contender for the finals!
There is no doubt that this song is in the wrong contest. First of all, it’s in Albanian – amazing, isn’t it? Even France is starting to partially sing in English and that’s saying something! And then these sounds, what on earth is this? A wide variety of percussion, offbeats, vocals whose melody and intonations are classic Eastern Europe, not to mention the singer’s deep, warm and penetrating voice… Fortunately, the simplistic structure catches up a little bit: a single verse of three sentences and that’s it, after that we just have to repeat twice the sequence “pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus” and that was the game! Conclusion: obviously too good to win….
I recon these are the horse people from Game of Thrones – only more dressed, which is an odd thing to say for Eurovision! Anyway, the hair and the baseline are great! Yes, there is a bit of wailing, but it is a delicate kind of wailing. So, I think Armenia is onto something good here….finals or extras in the new GOT season?
And so the romance between Eurovision and Australia continues! After two top 10 positions, will Isaiah clinch Eurovision victory for Australia??? He certainly has the best eyebrows of the competition. In an eyebrow-off with Ireland’s Brendan Murray, Isaiah would win without batting an eyelid. But can the eyebrows make up for a fairly boring song, sung well admittedly, but still boring? I am tempted to say: Yes! Why not! Bring on the finals for Australia!!!!
So, I had fairly low expectations, here – Belgium is pretty mediocre at Eurovision (and possibly in general). But to my surprise, Blanche delivers a catchy, atmospheric, yet languid number. Following her accountancy degree, Blanche has had extensive training as a ventriloquist and you can barely see her lips move. Her onstage performance includes striding.
Iveta is overcome by a LoveWave, the source of which is a dashingly handsome and hairy Ewin Mcgregor. Emotions have taken hold, and all Iveta can do is screech: uhhhhuhhhuuhhhhuuuhhh. The wailing is artfully amplified by the Armenian Duduk – an ancient, yet annoying reed instrument. On the plus side, Iveta is sporting a blow wave, the like of which I have not seen since Farrah Fawcett. Also, Iveta has very well shaped eyebrows!
Review by Mariella Herberstein
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Ljubav Je by Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala
It’s been twelve long years since Deen graced the Eurovision stage with his oh-so-subtle pelvic thrusting, rhinestone-clad, mouth-gaping ‘In the Disco‘, replete with its concerning message about body image.
It may be best to think of ‘Ljubav Je’ as an opportunistic longitudinal study on the effects of aging on the human body. Dependent variables of interest could include hair quantity, hair location, voice pitch and surface area to volume ratio. The next measurement is due in 2028.
Not even France is entirely en français this year, so take this opportunity to drink for a song in a native language.
Review by Ingrid Errington
Help you fly by IVAN
Belarus has sent the love child of Ron Weasley and Kylo-Ren to Eurovision. This could be interesting, but sadly is not. IVAN extrudes a whiny metal ballad that could have been ripped off the back catalog of Scorpion (remember ‘wind of change’?). While the screen display behind IVAN offers moments of distraction, the viewer is left wondering why he wants to help wolves fly?
Rumours have it that IVAN is planning to perform naked with real wolves – nothing less if he wants a chance to get into the finals.