EDITORIAL – Hello Europe this is Australia calling. I am Kyriakos Gold and this is a very special edition of EuroPop. In partnership with oikotimes.com – one of the top fan sites for the Eurovision Song Contest – and JOY 949 Australia’s only LGBTI radio station, we will review this year’s Eurovision entries. Over the next two episodes we will review the 2 semi-finals song by song… in our third special we will review the 6 pre-qualifying countries… and give our 12 points to our favourite 5 tracks in true Eurovision style… Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or go to joy.org.au/europop
1. Finland – Sandhja – Sing It Away
The competition starts with Sandhja. Sandhja is a Finn with roots in India. She is a singer and songwriter of urban pop. It’s a nice enough pop song that doesn’t make your ears bleed. Sandja looks like the love child of JLo and Pink… while the video is something between shameless and game of thrones. I don’t see how this would make it through to the final, in fact… winter is coming.
2. Greece – Argo – Utopian Land
The band is mainly inspired by hip hop sounds; at the same time, their music resonates with folklore (Pontian) tunes and traditional instruments such as the lyre, all elements of ancestral legacy for most of the band’s members. This is a folk hop song… WTF you ‘ll say what is folk hop… silly…it is well it is when folk meets hip hop and YOU are right it doesn’t work.This song is about the refugee journey, and It talks about Utopian land but unless we get a bit of proper rapping and intensity in the performance this is going to be a short journey.
3. Moldova – Lidia Isac – Falling Stars
Totes basic pop song, average video. Nothing special Moldova, apart from Lidia’s resemblance to Paris Hilton. Maybe if Lidia was to also make a sex tape she could get some extra points. I am not sure what to expect from the performance on stage, as Moldova has in the past put on quite a show. No points from me, have a listen tell me what you think on facebook and twitter at europoptv.
4. Hungary – Freddie – Pioneer
Freddie will represent Hungary… Freddie became famous in his home country Hungary in 2014 after participating in the talent show Rising Star. I can tell you that the girls will love him, the gays will adore him. The song is good enough, and apart from Freddie, it seems like there will be to be a drum on stage. Let me think, it’s not science… a good looking boy, a good enough song and a massive drum? A say it makes it to the final.
5. Croatia – Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse
OK this one is a good one. Nina Kralic is from Croatia, and she is a superstar in her country. She has won the voice and she is super fresh. This is a beautiful song and Nina’s voice brings almost a folk element that always does well with the Balkan entries. It’s a yes from me.
6. The Netherlands – Douwe Bob – Slow Down
Douwe Bob will represent The Netherlands with the song Slow Down he is 23 and in 2012 he was voted best singer-songwriter in his country. The song is a mix of contemporary sounds with 60s themes with a deep personal meaning in the song – his words here – “it’s a protest song against society’s demands on people these days”. Not my cup of tea but I can see why people may like it.
7. Armenia Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave
I absolutely LOVE this song. Armenia is such a strong player and this year is going for the top 5. Iveta sounds and looks amazing and when you listen to the song, he Jazz training shines through. The song takes you on a journey it really, really takes over you. One of my favourites. Douze points.
8. San Marino – Serhat – I Didn’t Know
Serhat is a dentist from Turkey that decided to become a singer. Although the song is not as painful as tooth ache, it’s quite dated and I think it is a contender for the last spot. You can fast forward if you can. I will pretend didn’t know…
9. Russia – Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
If Sergey doesn’t win, he will come second. The song is very good written by true Eurovision legends, Dimitris Kontopoulos and Philip Kirkorov. I can’t say that it feels original but it is backed by the Russian PR super machine that seems to really want the contest next year somewhere in mysterious Russia. The video is very high tech, and I am expecting a truly spectacular performance.
10. Czech Republic – Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand
This is a lovely song. The song is like it popped straight out of a fairytale, and it has a real potential to present very well on stage – or it can be a real flop. My prediction is that it will make it to the final.
11. Cyprus – Minus One – Alter Ego (Cyprus)
I can guarantee you that this year Cyprus will get 12 points from… Greece not because it is tradition, but because it is actually pretty awesome track. They sound like the killers, a rock track with very slick video production. What works for Cyprus is that there is not that many rock tracks this year. Cyprus is going to the finals.
12. Austria – ZOË – Loin d’ici
This is a catchy anthem-like dance track that is sang in language by 19 yo Zoe. You would think Austria would go with German but no no… it is in French. It’s cute, a little repetitive though and kind of dated. It would be an amazingly forward entry in the 90s but not in 2016. Let’s see how it will look on stage, that may just tip if off to the last positions of the grand final.
13. Estonia – Jüri Pootsmann – Play
Juri is 21 but he sounds amazing. He won idol and he is presented like an Estonian James Bond, well more like James Bond’s son as he is a little young. This is a different full of soul track that with the combination of Juri’s distinctive bass-baritone voice will stay with you, but will not be your favourite.
14. Azerbaijan – Samra – Miracle
Samra has a great soulfoul voice that compliments a very contemporary pop song. Simple tune but catchy without being too repetitive. If the Azerbaijan Eurovision history is an indication, this will come with a beautiful performance with a very Christina Aguileira ending…. I see this in the top 10 but I do not see a miracle.
15. Montenegro – Highway – The Real Thing
I am sorry, but is not the real thing. The Montenegro entry has no beginning middle or end. Did I say it doesn’t end? Listen to 30 seconds to satisfy your curiosity and fast forward it. This will be at the bottom of the list. That’s all.
16. Iceland – Greta Salóme – Hear Them Calling
When euphoria meets only teardrops with a splash of country… you get this year’s Icelandic entry. The song ticks a lot of boxes in Eurovision terms, it looks like it will come with some powerful graphics but I don’t think it will make the top 10. Good chances to make it to the final.
17. Bosnia & Herzegovina – Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala – Ljubav Je
Dalal, Deen, Ana & Jala are internationally respected artists with more than 150 regional and international awards.
Well the song is different… it starts with a beautiful cello theme that reminds of past beautiful Balkan melodies then it combines a bit of ethno pop with a rap bridge. In fact it is that bridge that goes nowhere. Really nowhere… It’s like a bridge in the desert.The song will get points from the Balkan countries due to language, geography and popularity of the artists. But it is definitely at the bottom of the list. A real mish mash. Less is more guys.
18. Malta – Ira Losco – Walk on Water
When Malta does Eurovision, it does it right. The song cheats you to think it will be a ballad like tune and it quickly builds to an almost anthemic chorus. Great production. It reminds you but it doesn’t take you back to your club days, like a sweet nostalgic sound of the European summer. Ira is massive in Malta, and Eurovision royalty she almost won 2002 in Tallin. 14 years later, she is in my top 5.