Friday, April 21, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Czech Republic

I always root for the underdog and the Czech Republic is the biggest Eurovision underdog.   They have only made the finals once and have had the cruel distinction of receiving "nul points' in a semifinal.

I want the Czech Republic to succeed and I want them to succeed  spectacularly.

I don't think the Czech Republic will do so this year.

Martina Bárta  "My Turn"

I hate to dismiss this as a filler song, but it is.   This smoky jazzy ballad is going to be swallowed up on the stage in Kyiv and the Czech Republic doesn't have any friends who vote for it.  This is one of the few songs this year that I can say for certain has no chance of qualifying for the final.  

That said, this song is one that I personally love and "My Turn" has made me listen to more of her music.   She has been in jazz bands, plays the French horn, and just comes off as being cool.   She may not have voting success in Kyiv, but I would spend the money to see her in concert or buy one of her CDs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Iceland

Could a song be too cool to succeed at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Svala   "Paper"

Svala is a musical name in Iceland.  She has been active in the Icelandic music industry since the mid-80s and   She is currently a judge on the Icelandic verison of "The Voice" and she splits her time between Iceland and Los Angeles.

Svala brings that cross-continent vibe to Eurovision and I suspect the 80s style lighting and art pop fashions are choices that are not going to translate well to the viewing public.   I like the personal style she brings but I suspect they are going to be too niche to appeal to the wider audience.  This is not going to qualify when lesser quality songs will succeed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Moldova

I love it when Moldova sends a quirky song to the Eurovision Song Contest.   In a period where Eurovision is considered  is tending towards serious songs,, a goofy number from an obscure country is very nice.

Moldova has delivered this yet again with light, sax heavy Europop number.

SunStroke Project  "Hey, Mamma!"

I suspect that this will make the final because it is sug a silly upbeat number--you need to have a traditional "Eurovision" song.   This fits the bill.

Do I like this song?   Not really.   It's extrememly disposable and going to be great filler between other, better songs in the final

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Poland

English has become the lingua franca in the Eurovision Song Contest--there are only four songs sung completely in a language other than English.   That means we have a lot of non-native speakers in the contest, and this fact is demonstrated by the Polish entry this year.

Kasia Moś   "Flashlight"

Moś has gone to music school and has worked in the United States, yet this performance makes me think her grasp of English isn't particularly strong.   Much of the song is indecipherable to me, a native English speaker.  Moś also emphasizes the meter of musical phrases over the actual lyric in this song that underlines this point.   The full effect of her performance strikes me as a singer who does not know English.

Moś does have an interesting voice and an compelling stage presence and  think I would have liked this much more had this been performed in Polish because she could bring an understanding of a language that she does not have in English.

There is not doubt that Poland will make the final--the Polish diaspora throughout Europe will vote it through.  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Cyprus

God bless Cyprus.   They ran a national final in 2015 and they have been working their way through the finalzts one by one.  I will say that Cyprus is being extremely cost effective when choosing Eurovision entries.   Watch out for Doody next year.

Hovig came in fourth place in the 2015 Cypriot national final with the song "Stone In A River" and he is a singer of bog standard male pop music.

Hovig   "Gravity"

Because they are in the same genre, it's rather obvious to make direct comparisons to the Swedish entry this year.  In all regards, Hovig winds up looking like the worst entry.    No matter how much I personally dislike the Swedish entry, it is polished and professional.   Compared to Robin Bengtsson, Hovig looks likes he is singing at talent night at a local high school.

Cyprus is lucky that Greece is in the same semifinal, which gives it a chance to qualify for the final.   Otherwise I would say this is a sure non-qualifier.    It is a completely forgettable song with a singer who can't lift it out the mediocrity.  

Eurovision 2017: Greece

Compared to the Portuguese entry that precedes it in the First Semifinal, Greece's entry is manufactured and synthesized within an inch of its life.

Demy   "This Is Love"

Demy has a successful career in Greece, with two albums and a lot of Greek music awards.  So, I suppose that she can sing. 

But boy, this song stinks to high heaven.  The structure is terrible, the instrumentation is cheap sounding, and the lyrics are clichéd.

The only reason that the song will make it to the final is diaspora voting.   It certainly won't be for musical quality.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Eurovision 2017: Portugal

I am going to type words that I have been dying to type since I started following the Eurovision Song Contest back in the 1990s.

Portugal has sent the best song to Eurovision this year.

Yes, seriously.   Portugal has sent the best song to the Eurovision this year.

Salvador Sobral  "Amar Pelos Dois"

Yeah, it sounds old fashioned

Yeah, he's got a weird stage presence.

Yeah it's in Portuguese.

Yet "Amor Pelos Dois" has done something that no other song has done this year--it made me stop what I was doing and actively listen to the song.   Sobral's performance of a simple love song is extremely effective and is one of honest emotion instead of manufactured spectacle.  

If the team in charge of staging this song is able to recreate the magic in the national final performance, Portugal could have the best placing they have ever had in any Eurovision Song Contest.

Wouldn't that be awesome?