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 ‘H’, ‘I’ & ‘L’ countries!
The Song: Another peace message from Hungary, this time wrapped in the same production Russia used for their 2015 entry. It sounds slick enough, and has been spiced up a notch compared to ‘A million voices’, but it still sounds just a bit too formulaic for my liking. I do think this should have a very broad appeal though. But it might not be catchy enough to go all the way…
The Voice: …luckily there’s Freddie to give the entire thing a bit more umph. While not everyone may appreciate his lumberjack-way of singing, I think it gives the song that touch it needs to be remembered. A bit of rocky shouting never did anyone any harm.
The Performance: Straight to the point, banking on light effects and personal power to sell this – I wouldn’t change a lot from that NF performance. The fact that Freddie is rather easy on the eyes sure doesn’t hurt either.
In one line: Boycrush of the year detected!
PERSONAL TOTAL: 69%
PREDICTION: At first listen I thought this would be very dangerous, and I’m gonna stand by my gut feeling for now. Ignore this at your peril.
The Song: As a song, this is not really all that impressive. All I remember are the two main lines (apparently, someone’s whispering & calling) and the fact that I thought the band Of Monsters And Men. Not the best review to give, I’m afraid. Still, a rather harmless little pop song, but would it be that highly estimated without the act?
The Voice: It’s no secret that Greta is a very capable vocalist, so no worries on that front.
The Performance: First things first: that fringe has got to die. A most painful death. Not too keen on the Loreen-like opening sequence either. Kinda digging the visual effects on screen, though the thing with the hands is a tad too basic to really make me drop my jaw. With a bit of tightening up this could work however, even though it all feels a bit like a desperate move.
In one line: Are they whispering ‘Clarice’?
PERSONAL TOTAL: 68%
PREDICTION: Borderline qualifier, right hand table in the final.
The Song: If there is one country you shouldn’t be copying, dear Ireland, it’s Denmark. While this would be an “okay” (read: expected) choice for them, I expect better things from you. Even with your recent attempts in mind. This is simply too light to make an impression. And those lyrics sound as if they’ve come straight out of a teenage girl’s diary. Color me underwhelmed.
The Voice: Surprising that Nicky got picked, and not one of the actual Westlife front vocalists. Nicky’s doing an okay job, but this nothingness of a song requires more powerful vocals to make it sound convincing enough, I’m afraid.
The Performance: I kinda like the first performance we’ve seen until now – leather jacket, light effects, powerhouse backing vocals. That would be the way to go I think. I expect some sunrises to grace the LED screens. Cause this entry needs an element of surprise, you know.
In one line: With my type 1 skin, I’m always opting for sunblock anyway.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 51%
PREDICTION: I don’t think this will hugely improve Ireland’s recent record in Eurovision. Perhaps some Westlife fans will get this to the final, but it’s surely doomed to be bottom five on Saturday.
The Song: Just a touch of Molitva at the start of the chorus there! Come to think of it, the entire thing bathes in a Molitva atmosphere. I don’t mind it very much, there’s always room for a more heavy handed ballad – it does loose me at the bridge, where the gospel vibe kicks in. I would have kept it more demure. And what’s with the endless repetitions of titles this year?
The Voice: Not the best singer in this year’s edition I feel, but I have yet to hear him sing the ballad version so who knows he might surprise me in Stockholm.
The Performance: I’m banking on a sea of stars. Just avoid drones, please.
In one line: Thanks for acknowledging I’m a star.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 65%
PREDICTION: In that fickle semi 2, I’m gonna give this the benefit of the doubt and call this a qualifier. Not counting on anything spectacular for Saturday though.
The Song: This is as Italian as it gets for me (I grew up with the likes of Laura Pausini reigning the charts in Belgium (yup, she really did)), but the good kind – much unlike their 2015 effort, which still makes me barf. Beautiful in all its simplicity and serenity. I’m not saying the addition of those 20 seconds in English are the greatest idea ever, but they do help to understand what she’s trying to convey through that sea of Italian words and syllables. Whether it’s instant enough to make an impact remains to be seen, but I’d like to believe this kind of demure beauty cannot be overlooked.
The Voice: Lovely, simply lovely.
The Performance: Not too many tricks, per favore. Let the song speak for itself.
In one line: Now THIS is a grande amore.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 82%
PREDICTION: This should be able to go top ten, if not top five or even end up with a medal. If this fails to have a live impact it’ll end up where Azerbaijan ended up in 2014…
The Song: Love at first sight…eum…hearing. The sparse sound effects at the start, the cool production, the build-up, the combination with the slightly desperate lyrics (especially in the opening lines and in the chorus, heartbreak 911): love it all. Not a real surprise, keeping in mind that my nr.1 from 2015 wrote this.
The Voice: He needs to nail that first verse, otherwise he’ll struggle to keep people’s attention early on. Other than that, I think he does a swell job in the second part of the song, bringing a bit of a rough vibe to the coolness of the song. I like that combo – though I do wonder what it would sound like if Aminata’d have sung it herself…
The Performance: Keep it as it was in the NF please. (And order me one of those jackets, tack)
In one line: My heart skips a beat for this.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 87%
PREDICTION: Something along the lines of their 2015 result should be possible, I think.
The Song: “Generic pop song wins in 2015? Then surely we must send something along the same lines in 2016!” Et voilà, the Lithuanian recipe. This slides off of me like water off a duck’s back (surely this deserves a “copyright Jinx Monsoon”).
The Voice: Donny is a capable singer. Too bad he doesn’t have his own sound.
The Performance: At least this year he won’t have a blindfold on. Or will he? Do I care enough to wonder?
In one line: I’ve not exactly been waiting for this.
PERSONAL TOTAL: 60%
PREDICTION: You never know with Lithuania, do you? I’ll say this qualifies and then ends up somewhere in the bottom third.
- Armenia – 91
- Latvia – 87
- Italy – 82
- France – 80
- Germany – 80
- Estonia – 79
- Austria – 78
- Georgia – 75
- Cyprus – 74
- Finland – 71
- Australia – 70
- Hungary – 69
- Iceland – 68
- Israel – 65
- Belgium – 63
- Bosnia & Herzegovina – 62
- Bulgaria – 61
- Albania – 60
- Lithuania – 60
- Czech Republic – 59
- Azerbaijan – 55
- Ireland – 51
- F.Y.R. Macedonia – 46
- Croatia – 42
- Belarus- 14
- Greece – 13
- Denmark – 10