We’re at part 2 of this year’s previews already, only a couple more to go *cough* Up today: the next three participants of semi 1. Happy reading, and don’t forget to vote in the individual polls!
SONG: A Matter Of Time
The Song: I suppose it was just a matter of time before we got another Bondesque attempt after Conchita’s ESC-victory, and the likes of Adele and Sam Smith flying high in the charts worldwide with their 007-tunes. We should have seen it coming this time round, as one of the videos that was used when Sennek was announced for Lisbon was one of her singing Tomorrow Never Dies. Or given the fact she wrote the song with Alex Callier, famous for writing symphonic pop that made his band Hooverphonic Big in Belgium. At first hearing the verses were a stretch too long for a three minute song, and it could have done with another repeat of the chorus. But it ‘echoed echoed’ in my own head afterwards anyway, so I suppose it’s just a matter of time before Europe experiences the same effect.
Stand-out lyrics: “Sometimes it feels like it’s meant to be broken” – Why would you go and jinx it like that? Why?
The Voice: As Sennek isn’t really a household name in the Belgian music scene it’s hard to decide whether this luscious melody suits her. From what we’ve heard so far, she is a technically accomplished singer. So it’s really a matter of getting the feeling of the lyrics across, and it’s a matter of anxiously awaiting how well she’ll be able to connect (I’m looking at you, Blanche). Crossing fingers she’ll work on her English accent though, as the way she pronounces certain words is a bit distracting at times (ex. ‘combination’ and especially ‘why’ which sounds like high).
The Performance: If Alex Callier has a say in the staging as well, we can all be less worried than in other VRT-years. As a coach in The Voice he always managed to get the mood right, crossing fingers he’ll know how to translate this one to the ESC stage.
In one line: Not sure if we should be shaken or stirred.
Why it will qualify: It echoes echoes its way into Europe’s hearts.
Why it won’t: Europe’s neither shaken nor stirred.
Biggest competition in this semi: Croatia.
Pre-Contest status: It’s the first really decent entry in this semi, so it’s got that going for it. Plenty to go though. Gonna be careful, and label it an Uncertain Qualifier for now.
PERFORMER: Mikolas Josef
SONG: Lie To Me
The Song: Probably one of the catchiest choruses in this edition, which goes hand in hand with one of the catchiest musical intermezzo’s. Moldova 2017 has A LOT to answer for. The rest of the song doesn’t really live up to the catchy bits, sadly. The rap-like verses are OK enough but rather difficult to follow, and the entire thing could have done with a tad more excitement towards the end. But still a HUGE improvement for Czechia, they finally managed to come up with something that is memorable and actually stands a chance. In the words of Paula and Ovi: it’s a miracle.
Standout lyrics: “Plenty motherfuckers wanna eat my spaghetti” – I’m more of a penne guy myself.
The Voice: Was that live version in the Ukrainian final actually live? Did he sing along to a backing track? If it was really live, color me impressed – I was expecting something way more carcrashy than that. If it wasn’t completely live, I’m very curious to hear how they’ll cover the different vocal layers. And if he really is that confident as he was back then.
The Performance: Mikolas sure oozes confidence, which is a huge selling point. Very curious to see how this’ll be staged – by which I indeed mean: will or won’t he have a tiny backpack? No really: staging will make or break this. Just one thing: camel-she-better-don’t.
In one line: Hips don’t lie.
Why it will qualify: Mikolas seems like a real vote magnet.
Why it won’t: He’s been lying to us and actually doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Biggest competition in this semi: Fun, upbeat, chick magnet… Israel it is.
Pre-Contest status: Almost certain qualifier and probably giving Czechia its best result. Which isn’t thàt difficult, but anyway.
PERFORMER: Ieva Zasimauskaité
SONG: When We’re Old
The Song: This type of song rarely shows up in Eurovision, so it makes for nice variation. It’s the kind of modest ballad with emo lyrics that often manages to get to me, and this is no exception. Very undecided if the lyrics are laying it on too thick, and if the musicality of it all shouldn’t have been amped up just a bit more. But it’s still very endearing.
Standout lyrics: “I’m not afraid to grow old if I have your hand to hold” – *reaches for tissues*
The Voice: Much like the song, Ieva’s vocal capabilities leave me Natalie Imbruglia aka Torn (copyright for that one: Shangela Laquifa Wadley on AS3). Totally adore the fragile vocals at the start of the song, which only enhances the emotional atmosphere. But the first chorus in the live versions I’ve seen puts her weak spots in the spotlights, and it’s hard to recover from that for the remainder of the song. One could argue it only helps to underline the fragile nature of the song, but too much of something is (as we all know) bad enough.
The Performance: Of course she’s sitting down and of course there are pictures of couples in the fall/winter of their lives. Pretty much nothing else they could do, right? WRONG! Just a bit more creativity would be nice, thanks. And a change of shoes, cause those flats are horrible.
In one line: I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING!
Why it will qualify: It’ll have Europe in tears before her three minutes are up. Plus, it stands out between two fan favorites.
Why it won’t: Even though it’s on early in the show, it could easily be a toilet break for a majority of the audience.
Biggest competition in this semi: Difficult – Armenia perhaps?
Pre-Contest status: This could literally land anywhere. But I’m labeling it as a borderline non-qualifier for now.