Hola, mi bebébé… This track takes me back to my Oxford Street days.. The sleeveless white shirt, the tight faux leather pants, the underwhelming but sexy choreography… I was definitely low-key dancing in my seat, but would I get up and vote for Romania’s low-key entry to this year’s competition? No. Not without that much-needed key change, I wouldn’t. The beat was great, but I won’t be calling you, bebébé.
Review by Georgina Binns
Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra: Stefania
I was ready to already vote for Ukraine to win the entire Eurovision this year without even having heard their entry (Yes, political bias in Eurovision is real but unspoken), but WOW Kalush Orchestra has an absolute banger with Stefania!! The track leads with a harmonious Ukranian folk lilt and jumps right into some excellent hiphop rap that will have you out of your seat and looking for the nearest set of adidas sneakers – and just WAIT until the lead singer pulls out his traditional wood flute-thing…. honestly, I never thought I’d fall for wind-instrument player, but this nymph-voiced lad can GET IT. I think we all know by now how easy it is to win me over with some excellent harmonies, but coupled with some heartbreaking English translations such as “I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed” and a lullaby-dedication to his mum, and I’m ready to go into battle for this entry.
5 out of 5 molotov cocktails!! SLAVA UKRAINI!
Review by Georgina Binns
The Netherlands – S10: De Diepte
Goodness me, Stien has THE most beautiful voice! This song, De Diepte is about being young and lost in love, something we can all relate to. The video clip is confusing, because there’s a lot of motorbike riding and she gets on the back of this young man’s bike without a helmet, and I must be getting further away from ‘young’ because I was very worried for her? No wonder she looks so sad, maybe she asked him for a helmet and he wouldn’t give her one? You’re right to dump him Stien, even if he did give you an excellent moth neck tattoo. Tattoos are forever, and so is brain damage from motorbike accidents. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Oh dear, the UK is heading for the bottom of the pile again. The whole thing just does not make any sense…clearly, this is meant to be a slow love ballad that some music exec turned into a thumping dance mix. Poor James can’t conjure up a decent dance step and is out of breath just keeping up the tempo. Let’s hope the brass section can carry this through…
Oh, hello…the 80s are back!!! Fyr & Flamme are Denmark’s answer to Wham, just not as good. The two lads have found the left-over wardrobe from Miami Vice and deliver a bit of 3-minute fun with an astonishing lack of irony. I like it!
Elegant, powerful, joyful and relevant – Jeangu sings in English and Sranan Tongo about the colonial history of the Netherlands with resilience and could easily carry away a back-to-back win for the Netherlands. Not really a fate I wish upon the country – Ireland won back to back in the 90s after which it fell into a deep misery from which it is only now slowly emerging.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
I Didn’t Know by Serhat
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
Fairy Tail by Eneda Tarifa
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
Slow Down by Douwe Bob
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.