Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #4 Written by on April 21, 2015 | 19 Comments

Reaching the half-way point of Juke Box Jury means that the Song Contest is getting ever closer, but there is still a simple question to ask our Jurors of the five songs we are examining this week… hit, miss, or maybe?

As always, feel free to leave your comments and discuss the songs in the comments!

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #4
with Elaine Dove and David Elder.

Belgium: Rhythm Inside, by Loic Nottet.
Azerbaijan
: Hour Of The Wolf, by Elnur Huseynov.
Australia
: Tonight Again, by Guy Sebastian.
Georgia
: Warrior, by Nina Sublatti.
Poland
: In The Name Of Love, by Monika Kuszyńska.

Don’t miss an episode of the Eurovision Insight podcast by subscribing to the RSS feed dedicated to the podcasts. iTunes users can find us in the iTunes Store and get the show automatically downloaded to your computer.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (facebook.com/ewanspence).

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19 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #4”

  1. HarrietKrohn says:

    Belgium – perhaps it really is a generational thing, but I really like it. (By the way, the two dots over the i in Loïc are there to tell you the word has two syllables – Lo-ic. ;-)) It screams Lorde a little too loudly maybe, but somehow I don’t care. It’s not my favourite and I’m a little worried about his chances to qualify, but I think he absolutely deserves to get to perform again on the Saturday. Hit.

    Azerbaijan – so you think whoever doesn’t like this song doesn’t like it because it’s from Azerbaijan? Well, the cap doesn’t fit and I’m not willing to wear it. I absolutely loved last year’s entry, and the one before that was really nice as well. This year though, I find the song to be utterly boring. It does nothing for me, absolutely nothing. I can acknoledge that it is a quality song, but I wouldn’t have missed a thing if I’d never heard it. It will however do well, because I know lots of people like this. Because it’s not really bad, I’ll give Elnur a Maybe.

    Australia – I still haven’t really come to terms with Australia being there in the first place (and being allowed to vote in both semis – so unfair, I want that too!), but I did make an honest effort to judge the song only on the song’s quality. It’s nice enough, and I agree it will get lots and lots of novelty points and do well, but somehow this feels very American, which I findsomewhat jarring. It’s not really my kind of music. However, the song does put me in a good mood and I have found myself humming it (not as much as Belgium, though). A good Maybe.

    Georgia – definitely the better of the two Warriors. At least she sounds like one, too, not as tame as Amber. It was not really instant with me, but now I really like it – although I’m not such a fan of Georgia in general. But when the song is good, the song is good. Hit.

    Poland – and the snoozefest continues. It’s even worse than Azerbaijan! Such a stereotypical, nondescript little ballad this is. Not exactly bad, and certainly sung competently, but that’s really all there is. Most of the times, when this song comes up in my playlist, I have to check what it is again, because I’ve forgotten. I can’t get the melody to form in my head now either. There are so many better ballads around this year that I don’t think Poland deserves a spot in the final this time. Miss.

  2. mk says:

    Belgium – I don’t think it’s a generation thing – I’m these guys age and I think Belgium is a HIT. And different and refreshing!

    Azerbaijan – I really love this song…It’s a HIT for me…Though I don’t think Elnur has any chance to win. The best case scenario – top 5. People are reluctant to vote for Azerbaijan and this was clear last year (after they no longer bought votes).

    Australia – from the 7 automatic qualifiers, I have only Italy placed higher than Australia. The song is good and it’s very North-American, meaning what I listen when I drive (the only time I listen to the radio!)…I think the singer is very good – but I’m not that musically skilled that I can identify any flaws (like Ewan :-)). I don’t think it’s a winner though – top 10. A HIT (though weaker than Azerbaijan)

    Georgia – not sure if I ever liked any of their songs in the past, but this year’s song is a HIT. I like it very much, I like the entire atmosphere of the video, her voice too.

    Poland – totally bland song. MISS. It might qualify based on sympathy votes and good position in the semifinal at the expense of a better song.

  3. Marc P. says:

    Belgium: It’s a strong, contemporary song – maybe a bit alienating for the older viewer – but broadly appealing nonetheless. Loic is certainly going to do a lot better than Axel. HIT.

    Azerbaijan: It reminds me quite a bit of last year’s entry. If they get the performance right they could be in the running to win, whereas if they screw it up, they can expect another bottom ten placing. MAYBE.

    Australia: It’s an okay song and Guy is an okay performer. The novelty vote will work in his favour. HIT.

    Georgia: As Elaine pointed out, this is so much better than Malta. This warrior at least has a little edge. MAYBE

    Poland: Ugh. MISS.

  4. Esceire says:

    I personally think its an absolute disgrace that Poland have been given the Pimp slot, Its clear that the EBU are trying to kill two birds with one stone by putting Poland last and then putting Slovenia between POL and CYP the two most forgettable songs this year to ensure they both qualify, Polands song is probably the weakest ballad of the year but unfortunately its going to qualify based on sympathy and diaspora scoring a total of around 75 points or so when roughly about 5 points were for the actual song.

  5. Kevin says:

    Great to see this back! And just like last year I disagree with a lot of what you are saying. Let’s say that keeps it interesting.

    BELGIUM – Fantastic song and one of the most modern sounding ones. Probably in my top 5. It sounds a lot like Lorde, but because he’s a guy I think he can get away with it. I’m really curious about what the stage will be like. If they sell this well I think it can finish in the top 5. Possibly even win. I think this will be the Benelux entry you all underrated this year.
    HIT

    AZERBAIJAN – I love the song and I think Azerbaijan will be back in the top 10. I don’t think it will win because it sounds too old-fashioned/Eurovision to me. I don’t understand why it being Azerbaijan stops it from winning. That just makes no sense to me. It might stop it from winning the OGAE vote, but I really don’t think the average viewer will care that it’s Azerbaijan. I think on average Azerbaijan did better than they deserved just because it’s Azerbaijan. By the way, I don’t fully understand how betting works, but isn’t Sweden a huge frontrunner at the moment?
    HIT

    AUSTRALIA – Another great song. I think this will do really well. I don’t think he sings this badly enough for it to stop it from winning. If Ell and Nikki can win… I think it’s one of the few songs that could actually be a hit (the other ones being Sweden, Estonia and Belgium) so in that sense I wouldn’t mind it winning.
    HIT

    GEORGIA – I like it and I think it will qualify, but I don’t think it will finish in the top 15. It doesn’t sound very modern to me to be honest, but perhaps I’m missing something.
    MAYBE

    POLAND – Pretty boring, like many ballads are for me this year. I do like the melody in the chorus. I think it has a chance to qualify.
    MAYBE

  6. Stephen Colville says:

    Belgium – Miss
    Azerbaijan – Maybe
    Australia – Maybe
    Georgia – Hit
    Poland – Hit

    Best of the lot is Georgia. I think it has an outside chance of victory.

  7. Kate says:

    BELGIUM–Maybe you should get a younger person in to review these songs 🙂 I often listen to this because I agree with Ewan on his opinions (Eurovision folks who like metal are a rare breed). However, this year you guys have been really strange. For a person who claims to want things that are modern and pushing boundaries, I think you have been highly critical of many of the songs that fit this. I think this song is complex, interesting, and has a great chorus.
    HIT

    Azerbaijan- Probably one of the best ballads, but I feel like I cannot judge as generally ballads are not my thing. To me the best Azerbaijan entry was their first and I have never liked the blandness since. This is a bit less bland, but its still just so not country representative in anyway. Also, for my good friend Sam Ross’s sake, I really hope they don’t win. Getting a visa was such a nightmare last time!
    HIT

    Australia-I like this song, its a fun one, makes you dance and smile. But it is not in my top five. I admit I really hope they do not win. I think will go top ten.
    HIT

    Georgia-My favorite song this year! It will not win, but it is so great. Love the dark pop feel. <3 <3 <3. Also, the music video is amazing. I worry about Nina though, people tend to not like strong women (look at poor Mia or Aurela Gace, two of my absolute favs who did not qualify).
    HIT HIT HIT

    Poland- I like the chorus, but I think the verses fall down. Really cannot get into it. I don't know what will happen here, but I just do not think this will capture the audience.

    MAYBE

  8. Esceire says:

    Belgium – I like it, its not one of my top 10 but i turn it every now and then but i would never have it on repeat. Chances? well I think it will do what Latvia did in 2005 or what Ireland did in 2011 and just sneak into the final but once in the final it will shine and come top 10 because in the semis its mostly adults who are voting and like the results of this weeks JBJ show adults won’t be to fond of this sort of music especially when there is another 15 or so then can vote for but in the final when children can vote its top 10!. HIT

    Azerbaijan – Im just going to say it, This is my favourite song this year! i absolutely adore it and never get sick of listening to it and i find that choir quite haunting ( in a good way) especially in the climax and that key change uhhhh i just can’t get enough of it , imo this is Azerbaijans best entry since 2012 and maybe even better than that who knows but as for its chances? well certain qualifier and in the final if the stage presentation is good enough its a lock for top 3 because another fact you must remember is that Elnur won the voice of Turkey which means all the Turkish viewers will know him from around Europe and vote for him if they already didn’t have a reason to >:), HIT x1000 😛

    Australia- I like it, like Belgium its not in my top 10 but i listen to it every now and then. I have a feeling the EBU want Australia to win because if they pay the amount of money that the other “BIG 5” are paying then it will lower price for the semi final countries to pay meaning more countries could return, Plus the EBU will get more or less a chance to decide the venue of next years contest. The song how ever i don’t think would be a good winner so therefor i hope it doesn’t win but I still predict top 10 so…HIT 🙂

    Georgia – I like the revamp but its just not my kind of song so I can’t give a valid opinion of it, I think it will qualify quite comfortably and in the final just miss out on top 10 …MAYBE

    Poland- . . . . . im not going to waste much on this basically, its bland,weak,old fashioned and it will literally rob the spot in the final of a country FAAAAR more deserving of it just based on diaspora and sympathy and running order. In the final its finishing last without a doubt unless Switzerland qualifies ( >:) ) soooo… based on that I should give it a maybe but like Ewans verdict on Norway I simply cannot give it anything other than a MISS!!!

  9. Another selection and unusually for JBJ, more good-uns than flops!

    BELGIUM: for me personally this is a HIT – it is sung amazingly live, he is transfixing to watch and it is totally off-the-wall and like nothing else this year. It has the wow factor BUT I am not sure how it will go down at Eurovision. It is a definite grower but I am not sure how well it will work as a one time listen, so it is a MAYBE for Vienna. Listening to your panel, it just shows how fans opinions differ – I am sure a lot of fans had the total opposite view of Axel last year, David!

    AZERBAIJAN: HIT – the far eastern state are back on form after last year’s dire effort by someone who showed how singing English phonetically doesn’t work. This is one of the best ballads this year but Elnur has yet to show he can sing this live well ALL THE WAY THROUGH. If he nails it every time, this is a top 5 and vying for the win. We haven’t seen how this would be staged – possibly the simpler the better…

    AUSTRALIA: HIT – this fully deserves its current favourite status, especially after last weekend’s live performances. Every Aussie fan is downplaying this song at the moment – lord knows why as Guy sings this superbly, it’s so catchy and it has lots of audience participation potential. It will have the crowd going and viewers will remember this earworm all the way through the Final until voting time. This will be there or thereabouts when the final jury gives their votes. I get the feeling you reviewed this before EiC as I think that Guy nailed that and the Dutch chat show performance too.

    GEORGIA: HIT – I have loved Warrior since I watched the Georgian NF and Nina gives so much attitude in her vocal performance. I only hope that she has something amazing planned for the end of her SF to wow the viewers to match her video and her amazing beauty. I want this to qualify well and take Georgia to the upper reaches of the Final scoreboard but staging will be everything.

    POLAND: MISS – a ballad and not a great one live. I am disappointed with the live vocals by Monika which are nowhere near as good as the studio version and this will kill it, as the actual song itself isn’t that great and is well down the list of female soloists for me. Closing the SF with this will leave one night with a bit of a damp squib…not going to qualify, might even be at the bottom, given it being after one of the favourites Slovenia.

    I wonder if you’ll ever have a show where I give 5 hits? Or 5 misses!

  10. John Lucas says:

    Belgium – Wow, really surprised by the negative response to this. To me this *is* a modern pop song. It does a great job of taking the Lorde sound and translating it into something contest-friendly by marrying those brooding, finger-snapping, Royals-esque verses to a big walloping Sia-esque chorus. I’m fascinated to see how this is staged, because if they get it right I genuinely think it’s a dark horse. HIT

    Azerbaijan – With no malice whatsoever towards Azerbaijan as a country, I defy anyone to hum the verses to this. The hook is great, but it doesn’t feel like anybody took the time to write anything around it. Strong on the surface, but lacking depth. This is a likely top ten for me but not in real contention. MAYBE

    Australia – A very, very strong contender. Totally modern, the Bruno Mars comparisons are apt, but unlike Denmark last year who sounded like they’d sent a tribute act, this sounds like a song the actual Bruno Mars could plausibly have a hit with. It also feels very organic to Guy Sebastian, whose experience and star quality really comes through. Dangerous. HIT

    Georgia – I personally prefer the other Warrior, but I do think this will do better. She’s a very commanding presence, the song is high-impact. It does feel a bit mid-table though. I expect this to either be just within the top ten on Saturday or just outside it. MAYBE.

    Poland – I think this is very pretty in a languid sort of way, and with the running order and the narrative I do think it’s a likely finalist. However, it’s just too polite to stand out in the wider field. A big shame – the mooted entry from Doda would have really given this year a kick, whereas this fades into the background. MAYBE.

  11. Shai says:

    Belgium – Modern, yes.Accessible,not really. In a contest where you need 3 minutes to impress and get to the people, so they will vote for you, it doesn’t do the work. It took me at least 5 listening to come to the conclusion that I might like it.That’s not a good thing for something that need to be instant. HIT for me but a MAYBE for the contest.

    Azerbaijan – The chorus is strong and memorable. The verse is just the opposite. I remember the chorus but I can’t remember the verse. After EiC we know he can sing this live, but during the same concert he was singing most of the song with closed eyes, as if he was singing to himself than to the crowd. At Eurovision this means you are not making contact with the audience at home. HIT(but with a very small question mark)

    Australia – I tend to agree with Ewan that he tests his vocal range to its limit. But I think most of the audience will not notice this. What they will notice is the uplifting nature of the song and how catchy it is – HIT

    Georgia – I think it’s bit shouty and can get a bit messy with the staging – MISS

    Polland – Bland and uninspiring and that pimp slot is, at this moment, my WTF moment of this semi. – (a huge )MISS

  12. PurpleKylie says:

    Ugh, of course the schlager fanboy would hate Belgium

  13. Fatima says:

    I was taken aback by the attack on Belgium, which is very much at odds with the reviews on other Eurovision sites. I was very surprised that Ewan of all people completely missed the influence of Lorde. I didn’t like it at the very first, but now I think it has a ‘mighty’ feel to it, rather like Conchita last year.
    There is going to be a huge roar in the hall when he gets to the quiet bit after the first chorus. Definitely qualifying. And I am both a schlager fanboy and older than Ewan, Elaine and David.

  14. Ewan Spence says:

    I think attack is too strong a word – passionate might be better. Speaking for myself, I tend to avoid reviews on other sites UNTIL I’ve done the Juke Box Jury recordings (it’s not always easy) and I don;t mind being at odds with the rest of the world. The mighty issue is one, but RLAP worked out the gate – if it takes time to appreciate, Loic might not be as successful.

  15. Ewan Spence says:

    Martin, given the way the songs are selected for each show… unlikely!

  16. Frances says:

    A plea re Australia.
    Could we please have a bit more Ben Gray (See his Wipe 2015 on Vimeo) and a bit less Mother Grundy about our participation?
    The Comments above indicate that the fans are responding to the song and the singer with open minds. Thanks for that. Some broadcasters though are still making us feel uncomfortable. At this stage, what’s the point?
    There are Aussie fans of ESC who have always ‘got’ Eurovision, who’ve understood what an impressive annual feat it is, and who’ve stuck with it through and despite Wogan, our Woganised media’s view and the times when the Contest itself has seemed to have lost its way. Because we ‘get’ it.
    If SBS had sent an awful piece of kitsch or some sort of novelty that showed that they didn’t understand or respect the contest, there would be some grounds for the begrudging. But they didn’t. They sent a decent song and a credible performer. Rose to the occasion.
    We’ve accepted a gracious invitation graciously. Can we now request some ‘Building Bridges’ welcome from the commentariat, please?
    It’s starting to sour a much-loved occasion for long term Aussie fans. And none of us wants to lose our connection with the fabulous event that it Is. Just asking……..

  17. Eurojock says:

    Azerbaijan – From the video version a top 5 contender but Elnur’s live performances have been vocally inconsistent and quirky to say the least (check out his 2008 Eurovision outing – I don’t know if he was meant to be dressed as an angel or an eagle chick). I am not sure he can reign himself in to give the type of performance needed for what is a strong but essentially conservative ballad. Also, his English is heavily accented like last year’s performer from Azerbaijan and this could count against him.
    Poland – The song is moderate and dated but the video tells Monika’s story well. I thought the 18th semi slot and the Polish expat vote might help it scrape through, but from the evidence of EIC the live vocal is not that great and it might be difficult to make Monika’s delivery from a wheelchair visually engaging.
    I also don’t get why the jury was so down on Belgium. It’s surely one of the best songs in this year’s competition – maybe too good to do very well.
    If Australia will pick up votes just by dint of being there, as the jury suggests, then Guy Sebastian could be a contender. But is soul a genre that will go down well with the audience and juries East and West? And America may have elected a black president, but is Eurovision ready to elect a black/mixed race winner?
    Georgia’s is a powerful song and Nina gives a very good live vocal performance, but the song does run out of ideas before the 3 minutes are up. I agree some voters might find her a bit too strong/scary (compare what happened to Israel/Moldova last year) although I have this down as a comfortable qualifier and mid table finalist.

  18. Ben R. says:

    I showed a recap video of the entries to my friends (FYI: I’m 16 and live in America) and Belgium received unanimous praise (so did Albania, Azerbaijan and Cyprus but pointing Belgium out for purpose of this comment). It’s a polarizing entry, but it appeals to young voters, who know and can vote in droves. Loic’s live performances are also strong and have been presented well- his newest one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzi9HtWD88g

    Personal opinion may vary (it does little for me, honestly) but to make a bet on results, you can’t discount Belgium out of a run for the top 10.

  19. Borza says:

    A disappointing review of Belgium calling into question the age of the panel. It was obvious Loic (due to his performances on youtube) was a great avant garde artist who brought something unique to Eurovision. If the panel could not recognize this was a very strong modern innovative song then time to get some new people!

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