Kyiv, or Kiev, amusing, well-presented show, and a good final after one semi looked a bit weak. Here were my thoughts on the final on the night..
1. Israel | IMRI | I feel alive:
No longer behind others, he now has his muscles upfront. Imri has a lot going for him – mostly above the waist it has to be said. Great production and commitment to this one, but the song’s not that special.
2. Poland | Kasia Moś |Flashlight:
Blondes in white gowns always a Eurovision speciality and she has a nice pair. Of lungs. She’s much better than the awful lyrics. Songs which rhyme “fire” with “higher” are ALWAYS “dire”. Modern cliche. Plodding and obv top marks from the UK.
3. Belarus | Naviband | Story of my life:
HAI! HAI! Jolly hippie folk, bonus marks for not singing in English. Dressed in white, happy, clappy, smiley, it’s just a bit annoying. Not awful, just annoying.
4. Austria | Nathan Trent |Running on air:
I can imagine Ed Sheeran destrying this song. Nathan’s quite cute, and has opted for the safe white-coloured outfit, and is likeable in an off-key sort of way.
5. Armenia | Artsvik | Fly with me:
Fond of rings I see. Precious! Sultry and moody, not a million miles away from Madonna’s Frozen, albeit more ethnic. Good singer, good song, and a drum n bass crescendo finale, the early song to beat in terms of quality. Excellent.
6. Netherlands | O’G3NE | Lights and shadows:
It’s the Beverley Sisters! (google them) OK, more buxom, and without the harmony abilities. The vaguely country-tinged feel won’t hurt it’s chances but it’s a bit MOR for me. Not bad as such, just a bit forced.
7. Moldova | SunStroke Project |Hey mamma:
genuinely fun, lively, catchy. Love the sax hooks and eurodance rhythms. Sounds like a chart hit circa 2015/16 which is pretty good for ESC. 3 Brides For 3 Brothers finale – 3 Bridegrooms for 3 Brothers would have been funnier. Fab!
8. Hungary | Joci Pápai |Origo:
Men with tight buns need attacking with scissors. At least those with tight hair buns do. I like the Adam Ant outfit, and ethnic sounds, but his voice is dull, the rap bits are better. Average.
9. Italy | Francesco Gabbani |Occidentali’s karma:
pre-contest fave, which I didn’t quite get. The gorilla-ist suit almost certainly lost votes, but Italians always have cool appeal, even when being upbeat like this. Good singer, good song, good performance and a real contender. One of the best entries.
10. Denmark | Anja | Where I am:
I’m off to Denmark in June and I hope to meet blonde Aussies myself. She’s like a taller, less Scouse, Sonia. She has a couple of good points that may appeal to some, though the song is OK the delivery is a tad off-key here and there.
11. Portugal | Salvador Sobral |Amar pelos dois:
Salvador, with medical problems, sings with gentle emotion and conviction, classy and understated, his sister’s song very La La Land or Randy Newman-ish and a sweet breath of fresh air to the contest. My immediate fave on one viewing, it was a total marmite song, the younger folks online loathing it. I loved it. Totally deserves to win, for him and for Portugal at long last.
12. Azerbaijan | Dihaj |Skeletons:
quite unexpectedly daring and adventurous for such an oil-rich dodgy-on-rights country. Bizarre! I like the darkness of the song and simplicity of the setting. The melody is low-key, and the horse head is distracting, but generally a good ‘un.
13. Croatia | Jacques Houdek | My friend:
Popopera schizophrenia, and a BIG vocal performance. Hideous outfit and novelty attempts ruin what is actually 2 very different, very decent versions of the same song. Either version would have been fine, and he has the vocal ability to carry it, but together it’s just a gimmicky mess.
14. Australia | Isaiah | Don’t come easy:
The only main singer who can claim to be “diverse” ethically isn’t actually from Europe. So much for the theme! Only 17, and a bit nervous in the semi, I was glad to see him through as he’s a good singer and the song is pretty good too. I think the obligatory “golden shower” in the background at a song climax is best-avoided for 17-year-olds though! Good effort!
15. Greece | Demy | This is love:
Something for everyone here, as Graham comments, there’s the beautiful girl dressed in white (natch) and 2 semi-naked muscle-bound dancers gyrating in paddling pool water. And who hasn’t done that! No? Just me then. A jolly dance number which could have done well in the right year. Judging by the production, the right year being 2008.
16. Spain | Manel Navarro | Do it for your lover:
“Mon-El” says Graham (UK presenter) of the lead singer as I miss-hear him. Sorry, MY Mon-El (see Supergirl TV show) is in a different league, and this one has no super-powers. Actually he’s trying engagingly hard to be cool surfer ballad-dude Jack Johnson about 10 years on, only not as tuneful, or as good a singer. Pity, as I want to like it more than I do.
17. Norway | JOWST | Grab the moment:
Graham not fond. He’s clearly lost the plot! One of the top 2 in semi 2, and a very “current” sound to it, the melody structure is very current (under-stated good but not in-yer-face hooks) – I suspect it will underperform in the popular vote, sadly.
18. United Kingdom | Lucie Jones| Never give up on you:
For an Ex-X-Factor she’s a very good singer and performer. Writer Emmelie must have not made the finals in Denmark so I assume she went to the BBC who are desperate to get a “name” songwriter these days. I’ve heard it many times, and it’s still forgettable, a rent-a-ballad-eurosong. About as playing-it-safe as you get…
19. Cyprus | Hovig |Gravity:
Rag’n’bone Man clone, (you older folk refer to google, he’s huge) this is a great-sounding song that would fit into the 2017 music scene well. Hovig also sings it very well, gives a great performance, and looks pretty easy on the eye. Compare this to the blandness of the UK entries year after year and don’t wonder why the UK flops.
20. România | Ilinca featuring Alex Florea | Yodel it!:
Frank Ifield must be so happy, he can make a yodelling comeback! (youngsters refer to google, he was huge). It’s not a patch on The Lonely Goatherder. Where’s a singing nun when you want one! They look great, make a lovely pair, and he’s not bad either. She can belt it out, he can rap, but y’know, yodelling? No excuse! Not forgiven!
21. Germany | Levina | Perfect life:
Everyone’s lying on the floor these days! Loic Nottet did it best (Belgium goodie of last year or 2). Someone’s ripped her sleeves off! How rude! It’s OK. Decent. Not bad – not great. Chunders along nicely down the middle with an unremarkable vocal.
22. Ukraine| O.Torvald | Time:
Making very sure they don’t have to fork out for the contest next year. Unremarkable rock. Nice production actually, the band are good, but the song is nothing to write home about. Unless you’re writing to Vladimir so he can have a laugh….
23. Belgium | Blanche | City lights:
Very Lorde, very now, takes a couple of listens to register properly, especially with her 17-year-old nerves, but it’s really good as a pop record. Credible and typically-understated melody as kids so love in these disruptive times.
24. Sweden | Robin Bengtsson | I can’t go on:
Funktastic, the Swedish hitmaking pop scene continues to prosper worldwide, and they never fail to use ESC as an opportunity to show off their songwriting and production talents. Totally the opposite of the UK. Very Bruno Mars/Justin Timberlake styled, polished performance, this would fit nicely into music charts worldwide.
25. Bulgaria | Kristian Kostov |Beautiful mess:
He’s very self-assured for a teeny 17-year-old, a great vocal on a good pop ballad, he even manages to rise above his “fashion tips from will.i.am” sleeveless outfit. I’d have a word with the tailor..
26. France | Alma |Requiem:
ooh, French just sounds so classy in song, and the 60’s miniskirt dress is a welcome change from the evening gowns in white. Spinning Tardis’ on stage. What is the plural of Tardis? Tardises? Tardisii? Not as good as it could have been and everyone will be making a cuppa by now anyway.
Who do you want to win, and why?
Portugal, it’s the best song, the best vocal performance, the most emotion, and Portugal have waited long enough for the win – we (the UK) moan about not winning (for 20 years now) year after year, and they go for 53 without a whinge!
Who do you think will win, and why?
Portugal. It’s one of those “Oh my word!” moments on first viewing, either OMG I love it, or OMG I hate it. Those that love it will REALLY love it.