United Kingdom, Denmark, The Netherlands

United Kingdom – Embers by James Newman

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…

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Denmark – Øve Os På Hinanden by Fyr Og Flamme

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!

Review by Mariella Herberstein



The Netherlands – Birth Of A New Age by Jeangu Macrooy

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.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Greece, Hungary and United Kingdom

Greece
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Utopian Land by Agros

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Greece has had a tough couple of years: ongoing financial instability, continuous arrival of refugees and now this! Agros dishes up an annoying ethno-urban melange that goes nowhere. It starts off with pesky fiddles that always sound a half-tone off and some Balkan wailing. It’s downhill from there: a simplistic chorus interspersed with rapping (admittedly in Greek). Even the robots back in 2002 (S.A.G.A.P.O.) were more inspiring.

The video alludes to Pheidippides’ heroic run by from Marathon to Athens reporting the defeat of Darius’ Persian forced by Miltiades. And indeed Argos’ 3 minute song does feel like a 42 km run!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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Hungary
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Pioneer by Freddie

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Hello Hungary!!! Look, I like this a lot (to be honest, I like everything Hungarian), despite the ridiculous hair, the rustic shirt, the superfluous whistling, possibly illegal use of a buddhist monk look-alike drumming and backing singers wielding light sabers. Go Freddie!!!

Review by Mariella Herberstein

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United Kingdom
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You are not alone by Joe and Jack

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With a free-pass into the finals one would hope the UK would take some risks, but in instead they inflict upon us the visually and aurally indistinguishable Joe & Jake. In a clear attempt to tap into the fanbase/profits of the now-defunct One Direction and the now-adult Bieber, we’re dragged through three minutes of being ‘in this together’, ‘ready forever’, and ‘your parachute when you fall’. If you listen carefully, you can hear the gears of the autotuner groaning under the weight of melodic mediocrity.

Review by Tom White