EDITORIAL – Hello Europe this is Australia calling. I am Kyriakos Gold and this is a very special edition of EuroPop. In partnership with oikotimes – 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
We get the review express from Australia thanks to our partnership with Kyriakos Gold. The podcast will go live during the weekend. Stay tuned for details: http://joy.org.au/europop
1. Latvia – Justs – Heartbeat
The song Heartbeat, is written by last year’s Latvian Eurovision representative Aminata and it is electro GOLD. Sexy, (did I say sexy) sound… and sexy look … Justs looks like he came out of the twilight saga and the song makes you feel like you are about to… well live forever. 12 points from me. What an explosive start to the second semi-final!
2. Poland -Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life
Michal defeated one of the hot favourites, Edyta Górniak, the former Polish representative in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Don’t ask me how. It is a mystery. The young singer has a great voice, and a boring song. Strangely the song is rating well with the bookies. They must know something I don’t.
3. Switzerland – Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind
Nice enough song, – as her PR calls it a triumphant mega-ballad – but Rykka sounds bored. In her video she is barefoot, with a big white dress looking like new age Barbie. Rykka is from Canada… but she is no Celine Dion… This is one of the songs that will totally depend on the stage performance.
4. Israel – Hovi Star – Made of Stars
Hovi Star is one of Israel’s most recognised and beloved singers with a marketable look and a brilliant voice BUT he won’t be this year’s golden boy. While the song has a fairly good melody and beautiful instrumental parts, it peaks too late. It may get some votes from the ones that won’t switch off to facebook or twitter half way. Sorry Hovi… more like a falling star.
5. Belarus – IVAN – Help You Fly
Alexander Ivanov aka IVAN is the guy that wants to dance naked with wolves on the Eurovision stage. He is kind of game of thrones with long hair and all Belarusian. I could give you some complex music analysis about the song but I will make it easy. It is an average pop track with a catchy chorus. That’s it. You can get on social media during this track unless of course, he does get naked. Winter is coming (again).
6. Serbia – ZAA Sanja Vučić – Goodbye (Shelter)
A soulful power balad with Serbia’s version of Amy winehouse. Sanjia was extraordinary stage presence, and a very good song that manages to deliver seamlessly a pop sound with great ethnic instrumental beds. I see this in the top ten. Thank you Serbia.
7. Ireland – Nicky Byrne – Sunlight
Do you remember Westlife? Well if you do, you may remember Nicky Byrne. He is older… with classic handsome Irish looks and a nice enough pop track that would play easily on commercial radio. In terms of the semi-final while Nicky is aging well, I don’t think he will impress with his stage presence. I am also not so sure about the song, that is what I call a “filler song”.
8. FYR Macedonia Kaliopi – Dona
Kaliopi is no stranger to the competition. She made the finals in 2012 with the rock sounds of Crno I bello. She has a powerful voice, and comes with a power balad but her sound is a little dated – and I cant see how this will make good TV. She is popular in the Balkans that may get her votes, but I don’t see the song going far.
9. Lithuania – Donny Montell – I‘ve been waiting for this night
This is a strong pop song, with a familiar face. Donny represented his country in 2012. Our grown up boy looks like he has done his homework this time and is looking quite fresh… only problem is that this year we have too many pop songs – and he has no point of difference… He could of course pass to the finals if he dances naked with wolves but I think that idea is already taken. Good luck Donny.
10. Australia – Dami Im – The Sound of Silence
OK, my comments should come with the disclaimer that I am Australian and that I work for SBS – the broadcaster that hosts Eurovision in Australia. If you are going to watch the second semi-final, you should do it for this song. Dami’s song is AMAZING and she is a superstar. A power ballad with unique sound, and for us that know Dami, she will come with an equally powerful stage performance. I would be surprised if Australia is not in the top 3 – and my prediction is that as we go closer to the competition, she will start climbing the bookies charts too. Aussie aussie aussie!
11. Slovenia – ManuElla – Blue and Red
Slovenia is sending a Leann rimes – country like song to Eurovision but somehow I don’t think they can well… fight the moonlight as well as Leann… Why Slovenia? I get it that Blue and Red is referring to your flag but this is more like stars and stripes and no. No points from me.
13. Bulgaria – Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime
You will love this song from the first second. Poli strikes with a fresh – modern track with seamless musical references to ethnic sounds. The song has an excellent all round rhythm, and crescendos really well. I see it definitely in the final. Most likely in the top 10. If this is presented well on stage, it can hit the top 5.
14. Denmark – Lighthouse X – Soldiers Of Love
Lighthouse X is a pop group with a mission: Making the world a slightly better place through the power of music. Yawn. Yet another lukewarm pop song. Saying that Denmark is known to do well with lukewarm songs. So I don’t know, I just don’t know. Next!
15. Ukraine – Jamala – 1944
Ukraine is the dark horse of this year’s competition. Once you see Jamala on stage, and put the lyrics in context, you can suddenly see Ukraine breathing heavily on Russia’s back and almost touching the top spot. Jamala performs amazingly an electro folk track. Powerful tune and very powerful lyrics. Different song, brilliant performer. Can’t wait to see it on the big stage. Top 5. Douze points.
16. Norway – Agnete – Icebreaker
A different trance – pop track. What will stay with you is the tempo change as the verse is actually faster that the chorus. And the tempo change is what makse this track sound different than a club anthem from 10 years ago. Agnete looks very hunger games, and I wonder how she will present on stage. After all Eurovision is TV… not radio. I think this has potential.
17. Georgia – Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
Although I like the title for obvious reasons, with an indie sound from 20 years ago, I think this year Georgia will compete for the last spot. You can get on facebook easily or tweet away during this (facebook.com/kygoofficial or twitter @kyriakosgold) You have exactly 3 minutes till the next song.
18. Albania – Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale
This is an interesting one, I like the mystical sound of the track in Albanian, that matches the title fairytale. However the English version somehow doesn’t hit the mark. Interesting sound, well produced and a good voice but something goes wrong during the baking of the cake. I don’t think it will do well, unless Eneda casts a spell on stage. Stranger things have happened.
19. Belgium – Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure
19 year old Laura is a singer, dancer, actress, presenter… but that doesn’t mean a thing. When I listen to the pop, funk and soul vibes of her track I go back to my first Mardi Gras 20 years ago when we thought we reinvented disco. Although it is an uplifting enough song that will bring the second semi-final to a nice close , I don’t think the song is good enough. It’s a little cheesy and I can’t see how this will look fresh on stage. Paw paw.