Two semis, 37 entries and only 2 entries that managed to earn 5 stars/hearts. How about (spoiler alert) doubling that in one go? Time for the first batch of Big Five (plus one) and unlike in previous years they actually seem to care #colormeamazed. Happy reading!
The Song: Confession time: I have been absolutely positively OBSESSED with this song ever since the French NF. The sound is very ‘now’ and instantly hummable, and the entire thing is really clever in set-up. The play on Mercy/merci is only underlined by those (admittedly borderline cheap) final thirty seconds, and the lyrics are very touching. One could argue they’re squeezing money out of a serious problem, one could also be less cynical and give them the thumbs up for putting a pan-European social problem in the spotlights in such a way that it really makes you think twice. Pity it could get lost in translation as (contrarily to what the French might think) not everyone in Europe actually speaks French. But hey.
Standout lyrics: The entire set of lyrics, basically.
The Voice: Those low verses in the NF-rendition were a bit too fragile for my liking. Thank heavens Madame redeemed herself in that catchy chorus. Here’s hoping it’ll all go smoother in Lisbon.
The Performance: That understated NF-performance (black turtlenecks, no visual tricks) only underlines the message, seems like the way to go in Lisbon. The only thing that didn’t cut it are those pictures on screen in the latter part of the song. Too schmaltz for a non-schmaltz concept. It’s good to want to give refugees a voice, giving them a face as well feels a bit forced. Side note: those arm movements in the NF-performance that the audience gladly mimicked reminded me of the Mhysa-scene in Game of Thrones (yes, I am slightly obsessed). Mhysa means Mother. (Silly) Coincidence?
In one line: Makes this year’s slogan ‘All Aboard’ sound even more awkward.
Why it will do well: It leaves everyone teary eyed.
Why it won’t: It leaves everyone stone cold.
Biggest competition: Cynicism.
Pre-Contest status: It all depends on how it comes across. I can see this winning the whole thing, then again I might be blinded by my unconditional love for it.
PERFORMER: Michael Schülte
SONG: You Let Me Walk Alone
The Song: In theory this is something I should love cause it’s got a lot of things that tick my boxes: a melancholic feel, sad lyrics and a symphonic chorus that’s kinda catchy. But somehow it makes my skin itch and it’s all down to the essence of the lyrics, which are a bit too in-your-face for comfort. By which I mean that this feels more like a guilt trip than an ode.
Standout lyrics: “But you will never know cause you let me walk this road alone” – The essence of my doubts above.
The Voice: Much like the lyrics the vocal rendition makes it all feel a bit on the pushy side – it’s fine in the majority of the song, but the way some words and lines in the chorus are emphasized (‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’, ‘loving’, ‘true’) simply does not sit well with me. Like, at all.
The Performance: Suppose it’ll be the NF-performance all over again, minus the projected lyrics perhaps – which might actually be a good thing, keeping the ‘pushy’ feeling in mind. But then again, nothing is going to save this for me.
In one line: I just can’t free my mind, it’s making me uneasy.
Why it will do well: Others seem genuinely touched by this.
Why it won’t: It’s not exciting enough (in any way) to get people voting.
Biggest competition: Feelings.
Pre-Contest status: I might be too biased to judge this correctly. Can’t see this tickling the top ten, but I somehow don’t see it repeating Germany’s disastrous results from the past years either.
PERFORMERS: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro
SONG: Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente
The Song: The start of this really reminds me of hits by Manu Chao (such as Clandestino, Bongo Bong and Me Gustas Tu), and that laidback vibe makes for a nice yet somewhat confronting juxtaposition with the heavy lyrics. Much like with the French song the essence of trying to shake Europe’s conscience might get lost in translation though, even if some lines and words might be recognizable. It’s still a very effective plea for world peace though, and the build-up of the song makes for a very touching three minutes. Even in the three minute version yes, which feels a bit heavier due to an overload of words.
Standout lyrics: “E non esiste bomba pacifista / and a pacifist bomb doesn’t exist” – You’d think mankind would have learned that by now 😦
The Voice: The live version is, as per usual with Italian performers, a bit more raw than the studio version and it might take some getting used to – especially Fabrizio’s rocky vibe might be a bit heavy handed but luckily Ermal’s there to provide a bit of balance. The Italian passion’s there though, and how can anyone resist that?
The Performance: Don’t know if they need to change much from their performance in San Remo – except for those pictures, a criticism along the lines of my comments for the French song.
In one line: Me gustas tu.
Why it will do well: The musicality and emotions seep through and touch people.
Why it won’t: People don’t get it.
Biggest competition: Google Translate.
Pre-Contest status: Haven’t got a freaking clue. Could literally end up anywhere. Except bottom five perhaps. Damn, did I jinx it now?
France, Slovenia, Sweden, Italy
Croatia, Latvia, Armenia, Ukraine, Greece, Belgium, Estonia
Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Norway, Czechia, Lithuania, Russia, Netherlands, Israel, Georgia, Hungary
FYROM, Albania, Moldova, Poland, Finland, Azerbaijan, Romania, Austria, Malta, Australia, Serbia, Ireland
San Marino, Denmark, Belarus, Montenegro, Iceland