Georgia’s entry could be best described as an acoustic wall of drums, ethnic pipes and high pitch wailing that persist relentlessly for the full three minutes, coupled with possibly the most incomprehensible lyrics of the competition (‘life is love – thing is known – like in dream’). The flowing gowns could do well with heavy wind machines on stage though! Worst case, it makes it into the finales.
Victor is the youngest entry from Greece at Eurovision ever! He wrote this song when he was 14 and that is exactly what it is – messy emotions, drama, wooden lyrics, homogenous melody and somewhat devoid of rhythm. Despite a great voice and possibly the most excellent pairing of school uniform shorts with high lace up Doc Martins, what I would say is: no more than the semis.
Sudden Lights are a proper indi band performing a complex, delicate, lyrically sophisticated song that playfully pitches the vocals against an instrument heavy background. No key-change, little chance of wind machines, no crescendo, limited scope for on stage shenanigans and no catchy chorus for the in-house audience to sing along to. You know what that means…. exit in the semis.
Entirely pleasant to listen to, with a wonderful voice. The lyrics didn’t shout out to me, and I couldn’t detect much depth to them. He looks like a lovely chap, and I wish him all the best. This song however doesn’t have the necessary flamboyance and pizazz to rock Eurovision.
Review by Louis O’Neill
Georgia – Circus Mircus: Lock Me In
DJ Casper meets Run DMC, with cameos from other genres. A very welcome guest appearance from a sesame street puppet added to the experience. It’s a pity that this group didn’t make it in the circus realm, because unfortunately the music realm doesn’t seem to be a good match either. The costumes made up for the weak lyrics. Hoping for some extravagance in their performance on the night, with a nod to their circus past.
Review by Kiara L’Herpiniere
Moldova – Zdob şi Zdub & Advahov Brothers: Trenulețul
Hey Ho! Folklore and Rock’n’Roll!!! This performance is high energy, led by a masterful combination of accordion and violin. When the music is this good, and your feet are tapping this much, you don’t need to worry about the lyrics having a deeper meaning. This certainly makes me want to use the Maldovan train network, for an experience like this, I would pay top dollar. The song was great, the rhythm was catchy, the energy was contagious, and I love the sudden halt when the ticket inspector entered. Very much looking forward to seeing their stage presence, and hoping the carpet makes an appearance. Go Moldova!
This is the perfect sleep music including low frequency delta waves. People on the tubes like it, not sure Eurovision will, though! ‘Nice’ might just not be enough when the stakes are high and glitter.
Evoking an orienteering theme, Lesley’s soul is a map and her heart is a compass and boy can she run! She is literally running the length of Ireland (dressed in green – very en pointe). The violine to electropop transition is very well done, and even when the dense soundcloud swallows up Lesley’s voice she keeps going. Hope she gets there.
Get ready for high drama – Samanta and her army of blond and brunette ponytails are reclaiming power! While the melody is rather annoying, the song is indeed empowering encouraging everyone to crown themselves. No longer content with being a song writer, Samanta wants to be a Queen! Not sure Eurovision is ready for that, though.
With a tip of the hat to the Leningrad Cowboys (only much, much less entertaining), Oto delivers the most guileless and earnest Eurovision entry this year – even his man bun lacks irony. Despite Oto’s commitment and devotion, the song is dreadful.
Tamara’s power ballad in the style of Shirley Bassey will surely please audiences and judges alike. A massive voice, a key change, plenty of wind machining and a cello. What could go wrong? Extra bonus – should the next James Bond be a women, look no further for the title song!
Political statements are not new to Eurovision. The Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia have all had a go at Russia along the years. Why, Portugal even started a political coup to the sound of ‘E Depois Do Adeus’ by Paulo de Cavalho in 1974.
Similarly, Madam Monsieur are making an unambiguous statement about plight of asylum seekers (the orange life jackets are a sure give away). However, unlike leather clad Ruslana, with her thumping performance or Jamala’s ear piercing assault, France’s mercy is lost in elegant subtlety. Definitely no where near the top 10.
Not unlike the goddess Athena, who burst forth from Zeus’ forehead, Yianna ’emerged from a musical family of professional singers’. In young years, she embarked on the heroine’s journey that took Yianna to foreign lands (USA), where she faced hideous beasts (mostly Celine Dion) to reluctantly return home (Cyprus Music Awards). And just like Odysseus’ return to Ithaca, no one really recognises Yianna but for the housekeeper. The song? A tragedy!
Following a five year apathy-driven absence from the competition, the Czech Republic made their first ever finals appearance in 2016. This landed them a respectable (loosely speaking) 25th place, and the hopes of surpassing this effort now rest with the jazz sensibilities of Martina Bárta. Unfortunately this quasi-naked, touchy-feely, hair-centric piano ballad offers few surprises. The chorus does build to a reasonable hook, and it might be enough to squeeze through to a second final, though I don’t foresee a strong finish for the Czech Republic this year.
It’s difficult to get excited about an artist whose brief opens with the striking claim that she “…has taken part in a number of national and international festivals and creative events”. This lack of enthusiasm is not misplaced, and carries right through this year’s copyright-infringeriffic offering from Georgia. The central hook of ‘Keep the Faith’, along with much of the instrumentation, is lifted directly from Adele’s theme for ‘Skyfall’. That song did win an academy award, and it overlaid one of the best Bond films in years, so full points to Tamara for fine taste and sheer audacity if nothing else.
Stringing together a range of clichés is a tried and true Eurovision song-writing strategy…. No smoke without fire, try to figure out who you really are, don’t be afraid of your destiny etc. etc…… and a full five-piece boy-band might actually have been able to carry this number. The appropriate suite of synchronised dance moves and earnest facial poses would, at least, have appealed to some segments of the audience. As it is, poor Michal has to work his fine cheek bones and pouty-lips five-times as hard all by himself! He also sports five-times as much hair.
Review by Nansi Richards
Made of Stars by Hovi Star
Anthemic in the best Eurovision tradition, Mr Star (apparently his real name) has a rather lovely voice. Appropriately attired for the night, he also has highly-sculpted hair, a long goth coat and a penchant for gesturing sky-ward. I think the distinction between stars and drones may have eluded the producers of the promo video though. One hopes this is not too easy a mistake to make in Tel Aviv. Possibly a bit gloomy for the big night and exuberant crowds.
Working in his favour, Mr Star received decidedly shabby treatment in Moscow on a recent Eurovision promo tour. Knowing how desperately President Putin longs for their approval, Eurovision voters quite like to thumb their noses at such unpleasantness. If this translates into points for Israel (as opposed to points off for Russia), Mr Star should at least make it through to the final.
Review by Nansi Richards
Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz
Both the band and the punters are justifiably mystified as to why this was Georgia’s entry this year.
These guys ooze obscure references and hipster disinterest. They’re way too cool for Eurovision. I’d be amazed if they even show up, frankly.