Posted in Eurovision Song Contest

EUROVISION 2016: Thoughts on all 43 entrants (Part 1)

The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 will begin in exactly  a month (May 10-14).  Now, for those of you who don’t know what Eurovision is, let me explain. Eurovision is an annual TV song competition organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956. The show attracts millions of viewers from all over the world (though it is not popular in North America at all). The participants are EBU members (i.e. United Kingdom’s BBC) that select a song to represent their country.

However the EBU is not exclusively European, and any country along the European Broadcasting Area (EBA), which covers parts of Northern Africaand the Middle East, can join. That is the reason why Israel had been participating in Eurovision since 1973. Things got even messier last year when Australia was allowed to participate. Australia was supposed to be a “one-year guest”, but they are back and that just tells you how innovative, cool, and crazy this contest can get.

Eurovision is not only about the music, therefore don’t expect Daft Punk participating for France or Adele waving the British flag. Eurovision is also about the mini-tours along Europe, media attention, and most importantly the extravaganza on stage.  Last year’s winner, Måns Zelmerlöw from Sweden performed while interacting with a 3D cartoon guy.

That’s Eurovision for you.

There are forty-three countries participating this year. The host country, Sweden, is directly qualified to the final alongside France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK; the so-called “Big 5”. And technically they are the big five countries. Imagine what a FIFA World Cup would be without without them. The rest of the countries have to qualify through the semi-finals. Since 2008, there’s been two semi-finals with ten countries qualifying from each.

Now here are my comments for the forty-three participating countries in this year’s contest.

From Semi-Final 1

FINLAND

Every year there is at least one gay/bar disco diva song and Finland’s Sandhja sings it along the way this year.

GREECE

Not terrible. The introduction is quite mesmerizing, but the rapper brings you down from that cloud and the boring voices from the showgirls don’t help. Nobody would want to dance with them, next…

MOLDOVA

Generic Europop song and it doesn’t bring anything exciting.

HUNGARY

Another Imagine Dragons pseudo-rock clone. The singer, Freddie, does not have a bad voice but the music is weird. However, this one is a favourite to qualify.

CROATIA

Not bad at all. This is the 2010s version of a ‘Balkan ballad’ and in English. Nina definitely needs those visuals on stage and she will win. The lyrics are not special but this girl can sing.

THE NETHERLANDS

I cannot explain you the prevalence of country-pop songs representing the Netherlands. Is this what Nashville would sound like on weed? Next year, I’d nominate Kacey Musgraves with a pro-420 song.

ARMENIA

I can’t really understand the lyrics but she seems to sing OK. However, I will give credit to the production behind this song and the music video. And of course despite all those futuristic sounds, you have to hear the traditional Armenian duduk.

SAN MARINO

Due to the lack of Sanmarinese singers, the tiny enclave of San Marino has to import them and they thought it was a perfect idea having the Turkish Justin Bieber of the 1970s performing a disco number in English! This is definitely the worst song of the competition. But c’mon, we need horrible things in the contest too. And there are 35 songs to go!

RUSSIA

I originally posted the following message on YouTube: “I guess if this is what Putin approved for Eurovision, it must be good. Somehow your subconscious tells you this is good”. And then I received a bunch of pro-Putin and anti-Obama messages —some of them in Russian— and that was the end of the conversation. But hey, this one is the favourite to win.

CZECH REPUBLIC

There are some quality songs in the contest and this is one of them. Gabriela Guncikova probably has the best vocals of this year’s contest. Czech Republic is yet to make it to the final, so this could be their year.

CYPRUS

This is a strange mix. The verses are post-grunge/alternative rock but the chorus screams Eurovision pop. It’d be interesting to see where it goes.

AUSTRIA

You never know what you are getting from Austria. They brought us Queen Conchita Wurst, and a terrible rap in some Upper Austrian dialect back in 2012. This year they have a cheerful seeking-paradise song, “Loin d’ici” (Far away from here), which is entirely in French, douze points à l’Autriche!

ESTONIA

A bit bluesy, a bit folky, and a touch of britpop. This is actually a good song. Estonia is pretty good coming up with these types of music and Juri, the singer, has good vocals too.

AZERBAIJAN

Another generic entry, sounds like everything you would hear on Top 40 radio anywhere in the world.

MONTENEGRO

A very odd choice for the Balkan country and this one is not Eurovision friendly at all. Dubstep, synthpop, and industrial rock smashed-up and put it all back together. It’s a no. But the song is not too horrible

ICELAND

This is my favourite entry of this semi-final. The only bad thing about this song are those horrible backing vocalists. Greta has a nice voice and she could perform all by herself. The theme of the song is quite enigmatic, Greta is being called by spirits, voices in her heard, or aliens “coming home”. Great lyrics, of course we’re talking about Iceland, the land that gave us Björk and Sigur Rós.

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Ok, this song features strings, two balladists and one rapper. Will that be Kendrick Lamar’s next move? I hope he can do something much better than this

MALTA

If one of your nightmares is “Christian EDM”, this is what it sounds like! Otherwise, enjoy. I guess

Based on my thirteen-years experience with Eurovision and the betting odds, the ten countries that will qualify from this semi-final are, in order of likelihood: Russia, Croatia, Malta, Iceland, Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Hungary, and Czech Republic.

click here to check the rest of the entries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s