Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5Written by Ewan Spence on April 29, 2015 | 16 Comments

Our discussions of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest entries continues in this week’s Juke Box Jury, welcoming back Donald and Andrew to discuss five more songs that are looking for a hit, might accept a maybe, but want to avoid a miss.

How did they get on? Let’s find out.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5
with Donald McNaughton and Andrew Main

Portugal: Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa, by Leonor Andrade.
Latvia: Love Injected, by Aminata.
Romania: De La Capat, by Voltaj.
Germany: Black Smoke, by Ann Sophie.
Greece: One Last Breah, by Maria-Elena Kyriakou.

ESC Insight will be continuing our coverage of Eurovision 2015  until we find our winner for the year. Keep up to date with the Insight Podcasts through the podcast’s dedicated RSS feed or  subscribe to ESC Insight in the iTunes Store and get the show automatically downloaded.

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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16 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5”

  1. Esceire says:

    Andrew confused Ann Sophie with Molly Sterling :P

  2. Esceire says:

    Portugal – I don’t mind listening to it but its not something I could see anybody voting for, considering the extreme lack of allies in SF 2 Portugal would have needed to send there best ever entry to have had any chance of qualifying and to be fair they have sent there best entry in quite awhile and imo are still chancels and i really can’t see anyone else coming last in SF 2. Biggest Miss of JBJ 2015 imo.

    Latvia – I don’t really like the song but from an objective view I can see its appeal and I think its a lock for the final, Juries will love it as she’s got a brilliant vocal and song is as original as anything else we have this year so a potential jury winner and i don’t see the tele vote being hit as badly. ( TBH Ewan she’s goings to be alone on stage because remember this is Latvia.) Im giving it a high Maybe! despite not liking it.

    Romania – I like it a lot, I think Romania could potentially get there best result since 2010. its a very radio friendly song along with a message that together and this is a guaranteed finalist and with a good draw I think its top 10 material.

    Germany – I love this song! But can’t decide on what will happen, could be top 10 could be bottom 5 i just don’t know so ill give it a MAYBE

    Greece – Its bland but the singer is incredible and i think that alone will insure Greece’s qualification but i don’t see top 10 and thats the first time in a long time we can say that about a Greek entry.

  3. HarrietKrohn says:

    Portugal – I’ve listened to it so many times now that I actually quite like it. But on first listen, it was nothing. It’s not something I don’t ever want to hear again, it’s not unpleasant or annoying, but I do wonder who would want to vote for poor Portugal. Miss, but a good one.

    Latvia – This one is different, which I like. However, I only enjoy parts of the song, while others are a bit … tiring or arduous (I’m so missing the proper English word here!). I like her reduced performance, I think it’s the right way to do it. I don’t see a top 5 finish, maybe not even top 10, but Aminata will give Latvia its best result in a long time. Which I admit is not saying very much. ;-D What I mean is she’ll get out of the semis and then not finish on the right side. Maybe.

    Romania – Finally a Romanian entry I can like! It’s a normal song, one that doesn’t scream Eurovision. It’s not my favourite song, but it’s credible and competent. I’m not sure if it was a good choice not to sing it in English, because I think the message about kids left behind alone when their parents search for better life somewhere else is one that could appeal not just to Romanias. But then, it’s also a very Romanian topic, so the native language is fitting. Not a top 5 contender for me, but likely top ten. Hit.

    Germany – Ah well. Hard to be objective here. Ann Sophie did beat all the other songs (but one), so it’s not like nobody wanted her. And if Andreas Kümmert says no, that’s not Ann Sophie’s fault. I’m glad we got “Black Smoke”, because to me it’s a much nicer song, sung competently, but maybe not performed too well. I wish Ann Sophie could get rid of some of here Lee Strasberg moves and be a bit more natural on stage. I have read and talked about this song so much by now that I no longer feel able to judge its chances. For me it’s a Hit, if only just.

    Greece – meh. The woman can sing, but I could harldy be less interested in what she’s singing. Again, nothing unpleasant or annyoing, but sooo boring. Will go through, but hopefully not finish on the left side of the table. Miss.

  4. You know how I wondered last time if I listened to a JBJ and got 5 hits or 5 misses? This is going close but not in a good way…

    Portugal: MISS. Is it possible to produce a winning song in Portuguese ever? Will they finally give up and put some English in? This is pleasant enough but it goes nowhere, no real chorus, no climax – someone who sounds a little bit like Christine McVie and tries to look like Stevie Nicks should really do better. We need to lose 7 songs from SF2, only six now…

    Latvia: MISS. She sounds a bit like Bjork, it’s all very ethnic and tribal but her waving her arms about is not very impressive staging. It will either make you think ‘I love her voice’ or ‘urgggh’ – I agree with Ewan with respect to his comments about the staging with her and a choreographer dancing around that table. I don’t think even that would get Latvia top half but it would get them into the Final and gaing a MAYBE from me.

    Romania: MISS. This will be the end of this country’s 100% qualification record. The back story is intriguing but no-one who votes will know it or understand it from the lyrics. The band look as though they should power out some hard tunes but it’s all a bit tame, all one level – there are ten better songs in their SF and I can imagine the ten envelopes being opened and everyone then thinking “Where’s Romania?”

    Germany: MISS. Ann-Sophie has a cocky stage presence, she can sing live okay but I don’t think that will be enough to get Germany anywhere near challenging for the win or even top half. Her attempt at being Amy Winehouse doesn’t work and she is almost shouty at times. All in all, she is trying too hard, probably because the song itself doesn’t have a strong chorus. In a parallel universe, Andreas accepted the challenge and Germany are currently one of the favourites to win with ‘Heart Of Stone’ – that would have been a definite HIT.

    Greece: MAYBE. So close to five misses! This just struggles into MAYBE territory because she sings “One Last Breath” superbly, she puts a lot of emotion into it, she looks great and I think that will be enough to push Greece into yet another Final, mainly because it is in the weaker SF1 and only six go. This will languish down the bottom of the Final board but I think that the Greek delegation will be okay with that.

    You need to get five of the good ‘uns together next time, Ewan! By the way, can you ask one of your pundits who on earth is B-J-ork? lol

  5. John Lucas says:

    Portugal: Why did this song win Festival da Canção 2015, you ask? Go back and watch her performance – this is a song that works *far* better live than on record. The Portuguese have actually done a really nice job polishing it up too, giving it a richer, fuller feel with the backing vocals. It doesn’t have the most obvious hook and I don’t think it’s anywhere approaching a sure thing, but a total write off? No – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this flying under the radar and sneaking into the finals. MAYBE. (Also Portugal were back last year. Come on guys – is Shakin’ Suzy so quickly forgotten?)

    Latvia – I actually think a more static performance suits this song better. The focus needs to be entirely on her performance. She’s a beautiful girl and has great body language when she performs, and if they can create a real sense of intimacy with the staging this could be a real standout. HIT.

    Romania – There are a lot of duos this year but not so many full bands. With a great slot in the semi and a motivated diaspora this is as safe a bet for the finals as I can imagine. Once there – yeah, about 12th sounds right. MAYBE

    Germany – This makes me think of Lena and also of Nina Zilli, who had a similar Winehouse-lite pop-soul vibe. What Ann Sophie lacks that Nina and Lena had in spades is personality. This won’t be the worst performance on the Saturday night, but it may well turn out to be the most forgettable. MISS.

    Greece – This is so painfully by-the-numbers that the only reason I can see it qualifying is “it’s Greece”. There are a lot of interesting songs in Semi One and I’ll be really saddened if one of them misses the finish line behind this. However, “it’s Greece”. MAYBE.

  6. Andy says:

    Why do they keep referring to this as Portugal’s return? Do we not remember “Quero ser tua?”
    I do agree, though, this song, while pleasant, is quite forgettable.

    I LOVE the Latvian song! It is so modern and sensual and intriguing – much like the amazing Belgian entry.

    I find the Romanian song to be boring and a bit trite.

    Also, I LOVE the German song! I think this contemporary and gets you moving. It also is anthematic – and who doesn’t like a good breakup anthem?

    It’s rare that I agree with Ewan’s selections, but I do regarding Greece. It is boring and safe.

  7. Donald says:

    Good spot John Lucas re the Portugal comment by Ewan. I picked it up when I listened to the recording last night. We should have spotted it especially since I did JBJ last year when Suzy was one of the six I reviewed.

  8. Kevin says:

    PORTUGAL – I don’t like it and I can’t see it qualifying at all. I actually think she doesn’t sing this very well.
    MISS

    LATVIA – In theory I should love this song and I do. However, I’m not crazy about her voice, especially in the chorus. It can be a bit too shouty. I agree with John that I like her performing it by herself. She is beautiful and I love her movements. It only needs great lightning.
    HIT

    ROMANIA – When I first heard the song I was pretty sure that Romania would finally miss the final. For me it’s possibly the worst song out of all 40. I hate his voice and I hardly understand a word of the English part. But to my surprise lots of people seem to really like it, so Romania will probably qualify again. I don’t expect it to finish in the top 15 though.
    MAYBE

    GERMANY – I really like the song, but I just don’t see how this will stand out. I don’t have a problem with her singing the song. I’d say 15th at best.
    MAYBE

    GREECE – I don’t really like the the first part of the song, until we get to the last 30 seconds. I don’t think the average viewer will pay attention that long though. Possible qualifier and again no top 10 in the final for Greece.
    MAYBE

  9. Fatima says:

    Oh dear, for me Anne Sophie lapses into Vic Reeves lounge singer. A German trying to sound English with an American accent. Romania, conversely, still give me goose pimples after 33 listens.
    Portugal and Latvia not qualifying. The former sounds off key and the latter is too shrill. Greece might just make it.

  10. Shai says:

    Portugal – I have nothing positive to say about this song. – MISS

    Latvia – I have difficulties to connect to the song.For some reason it leaves me cold, though I wish I could warm to it – more a MISS than a MAYBE

    Romania – Not a bad song. But it should have been either completely in Romanian or completely in English. The transition sounds a bit forced. More a MAYBE than a HIT.

    Germany – Again not a bad song(though I admit I preferred her other song in the German national final) and she can sing and sell this quite well. She will need to do less is more in the performance – HIT(but with a big question mark)

    Greece – She maybe a good singer but the song is dreadful and doesn’t fit her voice. She sounds breathless in parts of the song, as if she herself is looking for One Last Breath – (huge)MISS – and I would be very happy if this remains in the semi, but knowing it’s Greece, sadly it won’t

  11. Eurojock says:

    For me the Latvian song is one of the best in this year’s contest and is very well sung. I am not so sure about adding the dancer. If Aminata is dancing around with him as in the Youtube video it might compromise her vocal. I think the still performance complete with a nice bit of armography suits the song. At all costs she must avoid viewers thinking she is trying to copy Loreen. The main problem with this song, as is reflected in the comments above, is that many people don’t ‘get it’. I believe it could struggle in the televote in particular, depriving it of a richly deserved top ten finish. (This is the inherent problem with Eurovision – where the need for instant appeal means that a quality song like Latvia will probably finish behind an extremely cheesy but well performed one like Lithuania).

  12. John Egan says:

    It seems only fair to correct this JBJ team. Yes, you’re welcome. No need to thank me. ;)

    Portugal: Maybe. She’s got one of the most arresting voices in this year’s semi-finals. With RTP’s ongoing “motivate and facilitate the diaspora vote” this could get 9th or 10th in its semi. The song is good, but not at all instant. Very much a grower. IF it makes the final and gets a good draw, could be the “C’est la vie” of 2015. There is always a constituency for a really good singer.
    Latvia: Maybe. Her vocals that got her the ticket to Vienna leave me skeptical. Is this a Bjork-like, “Voda” or “Suus”, or is it atonal caterwauling. Regardless, short of shredding her vocal (think Axel last year) should end Latvia’s drought in qualifications.
    Romania: Hit. Rarely when a country with a significant music industry sends one of its pedigreed acts do they do badly. This is a radio-friendly, contemporary AOR track. But you’ve missed the message: it’s not about the diaspora, it’s about the diaspora who’ve been forced to leave their children behind whilst working abroad. That might be a message that pushes buttons in UKIP-land, but in most of the rest of Europe that will resonate–deeply. Top 10 for sure, maybe even top 5.
    Germany: Miss. She is a competent performer and singer–not a great one and not one who charms an audience. More musical theatre or Vegas than Eurovision. Bottom 5 because I just don’t believe what she’s singing…no connection. Simulacrum.
    Greece: Hit. One of a handful of women competing for vocal diva of the year (with Serbia, Russia, Albania, France). Song is forgettable; the vocal isn’t. Add in Greece’s starting with 50 points and expect top 10.

  13. Eric Graf says:

    Portugal – MISS. She sings flat, the song is bland and goes nowhere, and now they’ve gone and glopped up the backing track with a bunch of amateurish overdubs. It’s sort of a cold porridge version of a hot mess. (Side note: I’m still baffled as to what everyone sees in Suzy. She’s cute, I guess, but she didn’t qualify, and she didn’t deserve to. She wasn’t any good live.)

    Latvia – HIT. To answer John Egan’s question, it’s “Suus”, only more accessible. Aminata has looked absolutely striking at every single performance, and her vocals are among the most impressive in the contest. All they have to do is not screw up the staging. Latvia wouldn’t screw up the staging, would they?

    Romania – HIT. Romanian-diaspora-wank. It’s good enough to serve the purpose. I expect to see tearjerking scenes from the video projected on the screens while they’re performing. Hey, maybe they can hire back Ukraine’s sand artist?

    Germany – MISS. A female singer squawking and head-waggling this year won’t work any better than the female singers strutting and growling did last year. Her performance is annoying, and ain’t nobody gonna stand for that. This is going to do even worse than everyone expects.

    Greece – errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmMMMMISS! Betting against Greece may not be the brightest thing I’ve done today, but the song is a total nothingburger (even more so than Portugal), and I think there are just too many somethingburgers in Semi 1 for it to get through.

  14. Eurojock says:

    More than a little alarmed by the comments about the Hadron Collider, I contacted a family member who happens to be physicist (not ‘almost one’) and is currently involved in the Cern project. Ewan and Andrew, I’m sorry, but he told me you me you were talking ‘complete nonsense’. The Collider runs both clockwise and anti-clockwise (otherwise the particles wouldn’t collide). It didn’t break down because someone pushed a big red button and sent the particles round the wrong way – it was a cracked electro-magnet (the sheer force of the electrical charge caused temperatures to rise above their normal minus 250 degrees causing the magnet to crack and leak helium – or something like that!). So Donald, you can settle down to watch Eurovision on May 23rd safe in the knowledge you are not about to be blown to kingdom come (not by scientists in Switzerland anyway). I must say I expected a higher standard of scientific reportage from ESC Insight. Next time I need an update on particle physics I’m going to ESCKAZ!

  15. Frances says:

    Slightly off topic but nevertheless important part of the ESC experience- has anyone seen or heard of The Parody Guys this year? There’s plenty of material here for them.c

  16. Howard Atkinson says:

    By the way, Portugal were in it last year. Shame on you for forgetting Suzy ;-)

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