Come Together? Really, SVT? I mean… *insert all kinds of obvious comments here* Anyhew, all of this year’s songs have been selected, which means it’s time to (finally) start the countdown for the 2016 edition of our beloved Contest. I’ll be tackling the participating songs in alphabetical order, with on the menu today: The ‘A’ countries!
The Song: Ow Albania, why don’t you ever leave things the way they are at the time of selection? Why oh why does it always have to be revamped? We almost always end up with a worse version, and 2016 is no exception to the sad rule. Where are those lovely dramatic strings? Everything sounds so produced to death, it’s too sterile for its own good. Still sounds a bit like a Bond theme from the ’80s, which I don’t mind personally. Whether that’s a good thing in a 2016 Contest though… And I would have kept it in Albanian, just for that touch of mystery. In English it simply sounds clumsy.
The Voice: Albania usually sends accomplished vocalists to Eurovision (with the odd exception of course *glares at Elhaida Dani*) and Eneda Tarifa sure knows her way around the notes. I love the slight rocky vibe she gives to the chorus, kinda lifts the entire thing. Curious to hear what her English will sound like live though.
The Performance: Please, Albania, a nice straight-to-the-point performance like in FiK will do nicely thank you. Don’t go overboard.
In one line: I’m not shaken and only slightly stirred…
PERSONAL TOTAL: 60%
PREDICTION: Don’t see this qualifying in the revamped version. Pity.
The Song: It’s taking over me! Incidentally one of the few lines I actually recall after the first listen, and it describes what I feel when I hear this. Goosebumps all over the place. Quite different from the rest of the field. Not sure how I feel about the parlando intro – wonder if they’ll keep it in the live version, and how it’ll come across if used. The rest of the lyrics are rather fab, and completely speak to me – even with those oddly stressed syllables here and there. Easily the strongest song Armenia has ever picked for Eurovision. Fave bit: “Without even a single warning, I’m not who I was before. A chain reaction with no returning, Now watch me craving for more.”
The Voice: Can she sell this the way it comes across in the studio version? Because she slays it. If she manages to conveythe intensity we hear on stage, we’re in for an overwhelming three minutes. If she doesn’t however, this will die a most painful death. Given her experience, I’m rather banking on a nice surprise. But please, do something about that slightly annoying accent.
The Performance: Please, Armenia, no giant boxing gloves or apricot stones or the likes. Sell this the way it’s supposed to be sold: with dignity and power. *cue Swedish lighting department*
In one line: My heart goes ba-ba-da-bu-who-oh-oh.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 91%
PREDICTION: This can go really high or fall flat on its well produced ass. I’m going for the former and say this is top ten or even top five material. Wishful thinking, table for one?
The Song: After so much speculation, I’m actually a bit disappointed with this entry. It sounds like it’s contemporary enough, but at the same time this could have escaped from the soundtrack of Top Gun. It doesn’t sound like single material either, but more like an album track. I wonder if that’s got to do with the fact that the build-up comes to a halt after about 1.5 minute into the song. Or that those verses are totally non-present. Or that the title is repeated like 100 times over. I like the production and the atmosphere, but it’s a rather odd choice as an ESC entry.
The Voice: I suppose, as miss Im already has a respectable career Down Under, that the voice part will not pose any problems. Sure curious to see how she’ll keep things interesting enough until the end. And whether she manages to hit *all* of those notes. (comes back after a check on Youtube) Scratch that, the voice will be no worry at all – rather THE selling point here, actually.
The Performance: Who knows? The video was stylish enough. Just don’t bring any oversized street lights on stage. And please, live and breathe the song a bit more instead of imitating an ice sculpture.
In one line: Just a tad of Art but not a lot of Garfunkel.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 70%
PREDICTION: This should qualify from that rather weak semi 2, but I don’t see this threatening the top five on Saturday.
The Song: Diabetics beware, cause this is one sugarfluff of a song! The violins, the dreamy and naive lyrics: it all kinda works, I have to admit. It sounds like spring has arrived, and you want to skip in a meadow full of flowers to the sound of this enchanting little ditty. It’s not the most innovative or boundary breaking effort this year, but does bring a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to the table. And it’s in French! Nice to hear that not every country feels the need to desperately morph everything into English. Even though French is a bit of an add choice for a country that doesn’t have it as an official language… Still: Merci, chérie.
The Voice: Exactly what the song doctor prescribed. Zoe is so lovely, the Alizée slash Vanessa Paradis rendition really works for this song.
The Performance: Not too keen on the hippie vibe we got in the NF – I did quite like the LSD visuals, but the flowery headpiece and the dress are a touch of Woodstock too many. Will they keep the treadmill? Zoe looked quite uncomfortable at times, and a bit of dry ice could cause a moment we’d never forget. With only a bit of tweaking this could enter Yohanna territory though.
In one line: Enchanté, Zoé!
PERSONAL TOTAL: 78%
PREDICTION: I see this as a rather dark horse for the win, actually. Better make that a pink unicorn, come to think of it.
The Song: In an unsurprising turn of events, this sounds like it could’ve finished 8th in any of the 5 previous Melodifestivalen finals. Because of course the Azeri hired another bunch of Swedish composers for their entry. And of course this sounds like it has been written a while ago. It could in fact be Helena Papariozu’s ‘Survivor’ twin sister-song. Color me unimpressed.
The Voice: If she’s as good live as she is at lipsyncing in the video, we’re in for a cold shower.
The Performance: Will undoubtedly be slick, professional and totally sterile.
In one line: Not exactly a miracle (bet you didn’t see that one coming!).
PERSONAL TOTAL: 55%
PREDICTION: I would love this year to be the first time Azerbaijan doesn’t make the final, just to get them motivated again. It won’t do very well anyway.
- Armenia – 91
- Austria – 78
- Australia – 70
- Albania – 60
- Azerbaijan – 55