Finland, Israel and Spain

Finland: Blind Channel- Dark side 

Neo-pop punk metal dance track with a catchy chorus, gorilla/dog grunting and a dude hanging back whispering echoes to the lead singer. The hair styles are very 90s Nirvana/Silverchair, which I really like (90’s- early 00’s metal punk rock tragic here, don’t @ me), and the song ends with a very impressive scream (very similar to sounds I’ve often heard in the PhD offices), but no key change in sight. Are Blind Channel blind to the rules of Eurovision? You have to have a key change to get into the finals. 

I just read that they call their music a brand of ‘violent pop’ but I’m not sure if they realise how cute they all are with their eyeliner? Also, they wrote on their profile that if they were playing Mariocart, they’d pick Yoshi? ADORABLE. Can we sneak them into the country for a tour with our Finnish researchers next year, please?? 

Review by Georgina Binns



Israel: Eden Alene- Set me free 

Damn, what a queen! Eden is a powerhouse with a catchy middle eastern themed tune and a fantastic voice. I would have liked to have seen her ballet talents highlighted here, but this is an absolute banger, and with a key change! Eden knows what’s up! Her white outfit in this video is very striking against everyone else dressed so darkly, but is reminiscent of Kylie’s ‘Can’t get you out of my head’, which was frankly also a club banger back in the day- and if you ask DJ Merciless to play this song, she probably already has it lined up, so don’t even bother. 

I have a lot of feelings about the chosen lyrics, particularly the continuously repeated ‘Set Me Free’, which is a lovely sentiment, but a bit on the nose under current circumstances? Why do I always want to be so political about this? This is Eurovision, politics are not allowed! Anyway, it’s super catchy and I already can’t get it out of my head. 

Review by Georgina Binns



Spain: Blas Cantó – Voy A Quedarme 

Blas, how on earth do you get so much height in your fringe? I am truly impressed. Yeah, your voice is lovely and you can hit those high notes like a god-damn nightingale, but that quiff, seriously, what a dude.  

And there’s nothing like a cute very young man with no shoes hugging his grandma, singing what I imagine is an ode to how much he loves his maternal old lady. I am going to relish in this lovely feeling before I read the English translation of the lyrics and what I hope remains this sweet and innocent ballad or regard for older women. 

Ok. “Of memories of your skin..”… “Just inches away from me…” ok… “I’m going to kiss you very slowly like the first time…” err.. “Just leave behind the fear..” right. Maybe it wasn’t his grandma. 

Review by Georgina Binns

Israel & Greece

Israel

Home by Kobi Marimi

Ok, Kobi can SING! He has this boy-band/Gregorian Chant thing going for him, and anyone that can harmonise with themselves will always be a winner for me. He is fast becoming Israel’s new ‘national sweetheart’- but he is far removed from last year’s crazy cat lady winner in terms of outrageousness. And to be honest, his lyrics about being someone and finally coming home is a little bit on the nose, especially when you think about that little political and religious ‘scuffle’ that Israel is currently in. But Eurovision isn’t about politics. It’s about sequins and wind machines and glorious key changes, and as a half German, half Israeli, English-born Australian citizen, I can guarantee that it’s all about rooting for your own country to win, and Australia the one o in the finals, so GO KATE!!

Review by George Binns

Greece

Better Love by Katerine Duska

Well, it’s not even in question as to why Greece made the cut for the finals this year. Katerine Duska is the result of Grace Jones and Katy Perry having a sensuous love baby together and then wrapping that baby up in pink tulle, flesh-coloured lycra and fake pearls superglued to its long fingers. The main question that I came up with is, have I been wearing tights wrong my whole life? Are the underpants supposed to be on the outside?? My mother taught me many things, but how to wear tights was obviously not one of them. Anyway, this song is pretty nice, and Katerine’s voice has this husky bedroom quality to it that had me captivated. Will she wear the flesh-coloured lycra on stage for the finals? I hope not..

Review by George Binns

Hungary, Israel and Malta

HungaryAWS: Viszlát Nyár

AWS will be shouting at us in Hungarian to the background of heavy metal music. The performance contains all the endearing metal characteristics:  brutal guitar riffs, relentless drumming and mid-pitch screaming. Whist true to the genre, AWS manages to squeeze in a Eurovision-style keychange – impressive. I think the bio description says it all: “The band wrote their Eurovision entry, Viszlát Nyár, themselves”

Review by Mariella Herberstein

IsraelNetta: TOY

‘Pam pam pa hoo, Turram pam pa hoo’ – no truer words have been sung at Eurovision. Admittedly, the lyrics are senseless (even Wonder Women can’t rescue them), but the song is catchy, poppy,  quirky and could be, dare I say it,  a winner! Not since Dana International (in 1998) was Israel the favourite for Eurovision, so I have high hopes for Netta – douze points from me!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Malta Christabelle: Taboo

Christabelle’s song is set in a dystopian future, where ruthless tyrants stage brutal fights and go ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (in that tyrannical fashion). Despite being savagely oppressed, Christabelle keeps her soul intact and travels to Lisbon for Eurovision. Sadly she does not make it through the Semi-finals, which will probably not bode well for her upon returning to Malta. End of story.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

Israel, Italy and San Marino

IsraelI Feel Alive by IMRI

IMRI (I really do not know if this is a name to be shouted or an abbreviation) is already a veteran at Eurovision – Kiev will be his 3rd appearance. Admittedly, the previous times, he was part of the backing singers. I can tell IMRI is determined to make this a success. This young man has oodles of energy and, according the video, oodles of well-groomed friends. Expect some excellent dancing on the night, but perhaps not so many points.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

ItalyOccidentali’s Karma By Francesco Gabbani

This catchy and smart number from Italy is the favourite to win, and rightly so. The song is a stylish homogenate of Italian one-hit wonders (I am getting some Adriano Celentano) and light-heartedly homogenises Eastern and Western philosophies.
Surely, any Eurovision entry that exclaims ‘Panta rhei’ deserves a spot in the top 10.

Shave off that ridiculous moustache and it’s ‘douze points’ from me!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

 

San Marino

Spirit of the Night by Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson

San Marino is a more recent addition to Eurovision (competing since 2008) and her strength is clearly driving around in circles. So it comes as no surprise that San Marino has recruited help in the guise of Jimmie Wilson. Regretfully, the outcome is an uneasy fusion of R&B with trashy Euro-disco. Even the key change seems insincere, and at Eurovision, that is saying a lot. Back to the racing track for San Marino this year!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Poland, Israel and Georgia

Poland
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Colour of your Life by Michał Szpak

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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

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Israel
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Made of Stars by Hovi Star

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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

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Georgia
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Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz

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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.

Review by Nansi Richards