Almost there!! Three more to go in part 14 – tomorrow on the menu: final predictions and a full ranking!
4. ITALY – Mahmood – Soldi
The Song: The Italians keep surprising us with different kinds of winners in San Remo and it’s completely understandable how this one won the competition over there. The lyrics are so painful yet beautiful, the way they are constructed is raw and efficient and they hit the mark with every single line – it comes straight from the heart and it’s hard to miss. Even if there’s not a word of English in sight, you can hardly miss the point can you? There’s a lot of words here, as per usual in the Italian entry, but they’re cut up nicely by the sparse yet highly effective chorus that doesn’t need more than a couple of claps and a repeat of the title (and essence of the song) four times over. There’s nothing even remotely plastic about this and it is brilliant.
Standout line: “Being alive it’s not easy when you lose your pride” Ain’t that the sad truth.
The Voice: Your typical nasal Italian sound and it makes for a couple of difficult moments in the live versions we’ve heard, like this one, but it doesn’t matter in an entry that’s all about how raw life can be.
The Performance: Mahmood is about as confident as the Swiss performer, but it’s a different kind of confidence – it doesn’t come from years of training, it stems from survival and it is ever so powerful. Powerful enough to hypnotize, say, an entire arena and/or continent, even. So please, RAI, leave the theatrics or clumsy decorations at home.
In one line: Money, money, money – must be funny – in the rich man’s world
WILL IT GO TOP TEN? I want to say ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ but it depends on the mood Europe is in on Saturday night. I do have a tiny bet on him winning though.
5. SPAIN – Miki – La Venda
The Song: You know, I’ve found this annoying for a good part of the season because I’ve only watched it with one eye and/or listened to it with one ear while I was busy doing other things. But now that I sat down with full attention for reviewing, I don’t mind it half as much as I thought I did. Where I thought it was a bit of a silly tune, it’s actually…well, still silly but the good kind of silly – as in ‘see the joy in life, silly!’. The fact that I finally payed attention to the lyrics might have contributed to that, yes. It’s still a bit too much on the campfire side of things for me to shower it with hearts, but I don’t mind it for bringing a different vibe to the competition.
Standout line: “You rock because you love yourself” And don’t you forget it.
The Voice: With all the moving around it gets a bit hard for Miki to really keep on giving the right energy until the end of the song. His color of voice isn’t exactly my gig, but his dynamic suits the song well so it doesn’t matter that much either way.
The Performance: I’m hoping for something a bit more focused in Tel Aviv, the performance in Operacion Triunfo was a bit on the random side. And Miki should really dare to ooze some sexual energy – his Instagram is full of pictures of his bare torso (six-pack included), that schoolboy energy (and ditto outfit) from the NF should remain in Spain and be replaced by something that’ll make every woman and rainbow-inclined man in Europe shiver in their boots/pumps/*insert relevant footwear here*
In one line: Don’t throw away that blindfold just yet, Miki.
WILL IT GO TOP TEN? This could be that fun entry that sneaks its way into the top ten yes. The last time they were into the single digit figures dates all the way back to 2003, this could just be the year it changes.
6. UNITED KINGDOM – Michael Rice – Bigger Than Us
The Song: First things first – how ironic is it that this, quite a decent attempt for the UK, has to compete against one of its co-writers who packs a much more convincing and coherent song in the same gospel niche? It’s almost like rain on your wedding day, or a free ride when you’ve already paid! (copyright You-know-who (not the Harry Potter one, no.)) So yeah…it’s gospel, and quite a typical version as well. So it’s not gonna get any kind of huzzahs and hurrahs from me – but at least it’s an OK ambassador in its genre, so I guess that’s something.
Standout line: “Bigger, bigger oh, it’s bigger” Maybe you need to say it a couple times more, I don’t think I got the message. (Also: size doesn’t matter, haven’t you heard?)
The Voice: Honestly, I think he’s much better than the song – which is a bit of a shame really. I feel like he needs something a bit more challenging, to make his talent shine a bit more. I can certainly see/hear how he managed to win the show ‘All Together Now’.
The Performance: There’s only so much you can do with this kind of song, I’m afraid – and I’m afraid it won’t be enough to really get Europe sold on it. So all will rest on Michael’s shoulders to get Europe voting, any kind of trickery here would only give it a desperate kind of feel.
Tomorrow: final predictions & a full ranking!