Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #8 Written by on April 28, 2016 | 12 Comments

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Here you have it, the final episode of Juke Box Jury, posted before the rehearsals start, just like you all asked in the survey last year. Before the Insight team jumps aboard various planes, trains, and T-Banas to get to Stockholm, there’s time for one last round of hits, misses, and maybes,.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #8
with Elaine Dove (Sing In The City) and Danny Lynch (ESC Bubble).

Lithuania: I’ve Been Waiting For This Night, by Donny Montell.
Macedonia: Dona, by Kalliopi.
Malta: Walk On Water, by Ira Loscoe.
Australia: Sound of Silence, by Dami Im.
Sweden: If I Were Sorry, by Frans.

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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12 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #8”

  1. Samantha Ross says:

    When Elaine says she can’t quite put her finger on why she likes “Dona” so much, part of me wonders if her involvement with Sing in the City has given her an appreciation for the choral sounding elements in the song? The big, bombastic, soaring harmonies, etc?

  2. No! The last one! Too soon!

    Lithuania: Unless the evil producers bury this in the Grand Final “draw”, should earn LT it’s second ever top 10. HIT.
    Macedonia: Loved it to start, but losing points on repeated plays. Maybe.
    Malta: Strong song from a much improved singer. HIT.
    Australia: I respectfully ask all Europeans to blank this so we get rid of this silliness of Australia being in the Eurovision once and for all. MISS.
    Sweden: as a Bieber “homage” it just highlights that Bieber’s voice and material are vastly superior. MISS

    Thanks again for a great season—have fun in Stockholm.

  3. Jon says:

    I appear to be the only person in the world who doesn’t like Lithuania. There. I’ve said it. Though I suspect you won’t be surprised by that. 😉

  4. Shai says:

    Last JBJ of the season and we/you are heading to Stockholm.

    Lithuania – If you compare Ireland and Lithuania there is not much of a different(and in their semi Macedonia is performing between those 2 songs). Lithuania is a little bit better. The chorus is strong the verses are weak. I’ll admit that the built up is quite good and Donny seems to have a better voice than the one from Ireland. The thing with this song is that when the song finish you just think who was that?
    BTW-the ending of the song is a bit of let down. It ends as if they didn’t know how to end the song after the rousing chorus – MAYBE

    Macedonia – She sell the song but the song she sell is,as Ewan said, boring and boring with capital B. In this semi there are better songs and hopefully they will get a chance in the final than this one – MISS

    Malta – Another song that falls in the category of a woman singing an overproduced song. This is the equivalent of an overcooked dish that has too many ingredients that may work separately but when put together it just leave a bad taste in your mouth. The song a very unusual structure. The verses are quite long and the chorus is very short, which leave the listener with a sense of unfinished business.
    This song rely on a good vocal performance and I don’t know if she has the vocal range for this song. As for the staging- they might overcooked it so much that is has a potential to be a car crash/kitchen sink performance of the year.
    Malta wants to win badly, no doubt it. Unfortunately not with this song – MISS(for me) / MAYBE-HIT(for the contest).

    Australia – My initial reaction was sceptic. It just pas me by, leaving no marks.I am not sure if the 01st impression I had is the correct one or is it better than what I initially thought. It is not an accessible song, which should be a disadvantage in the contest, but there is something right about how the song is written and built up. It is less produced than other songs in the same category. She come across as very cold and distance, which is a big no no in terms of Eurovision. I am still waiting to hear this live and see the stage performance. If she managed to connect with the audience than she will do very well. If she remains cold and distance than this will be its downfall – MAYBE / HIT

    Sweden – Someone will need to explain me how an half mumbling teenager with a song built on 1 or 2 accords is praised as current and contemporary?And how come there people out there thinking this could win? I am sorry I need more from a song. More structure, better built up, some musical merit. None of these exist in the song.
    I know I may be in the minority but it simply put me off.-MISS(for me), HIT(no doubt, for the contest)

    Looking forward for your report from Stockholm 🙂

  5. Ben Pitchers says:

    Lithuania: MAYBE. There is many times there’s been an entrant who you think should return with a better song next time and Donny is a good example. This is an enjoyable radio song that could be let down by an aimless staging. Donny really has to sell this as a feel good anthem. His vocals in 2012 were probably the best thing about his entry and with this song he doesn’t have much heavy lifting to do vocally. The mistake will be to put Donny on stage along, throwing himself around the stage. He needs someone to sing the song to as seen in the music video, which was well produced. I think it’ll qualify but will need great staging to make it to the top half in the final.

    Macedonia: MAYBE. I have to try to distance myself from my strong bias towards anything from Kaliopi – if Macedonia sent her every few years I’d be fine with that! When I first heard it I thought it started off low-key, probably too low-key, but was glad to hear a chorus where she could let rip. Elaine’s right about the chorus – there’s something there that’s somewhat electrifying and hard to put your finger on. It’s not as strong as Crno I Belo and is a bit dated, but is still enjoyable and Kaliopi loves performing it and is very reliable as a vocalist. It has a chance to qualify and some good voting support from ex-Yu, Bulgaria, Albania and Switzerland but it’s not going to be easy. If she made it in 2012, she’s got a chance here. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll be getting any higher than her 13th place in 2012 if she qualifies.

    Malta: HIT. I think this a good song and an improvement on Chameleon. It’ll work at the contest and if it has an eye-catching staging could do very well. I don’t know if that’s a human voice or animal/bird in the effect used at the beginning & throughout the song – I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s part of the busy production which mostly works for the song. The lyric “I’m not perfect but I’m a-ok” didn’t make me snicker a little. It’s nice to see Ira back at the contest. It’ll qualify and I think could be a dark horse for victory, especially if SVT give it the extra boost they seem to be giving it.

    Australia: HIT. Australia really know how to choose a solid, quality entry and singer that looks likely to do well and have a shot at winning. I wish the UK had its eye on the prize in a similar way. I really like this, partly because I like a female vocalist belting out a power ballad. I’m sure it’ll qualify and should be at least top 10. It isn’t a perfect song, though. The ending is too abrupt and the choruses are a bit repetitive but her strong voice makes up for that. I don’t know that it will actually win and I find myself wanting Dami to do well because I like her and sort of rooting against Australia to win as I’m still not convinced they should be in the competition.

    Sweden: MAYBE. Many countries this year have Swedish-penned or Swedish-sounding pop songs and Sweden chooses something very atypical for them. This does sound contemporary and many have said it’s the kind of song you might expect from Justin Bieber’s more recent efforts. I don’t mind listening to it, but I find Frans a little underwhelming as the performer. Partly it’s because he’s talk-singing but then Lily Allen could have recorded it and I would like it a lot more because it would feel a bit more authentic and would fit the kind of song you might have expected from her (or Kate Nash) a few years ago. I think to voters in the UK, Ireland and Australia his accent (developed during his time in England) feels inauthentic and varies from Thames Estuary to sometimes sounding somewhat American. Maybe this is what put the Australian jury off in MF. This won’t affect voters across the rest of Europe. Frans was famous in Sweden when he was a child so the MF audience was already familiar with him. From a songwriting perspective, I question the need to spend 3 minutes talking about all the things you’d do if you were sorry you’d broken up with someone just to then say you’re not sorry. What’s the point of the song? It makes him sound a little arrogant. I think his cuteness will attract many younger voters and the somewhat immature lyric content. I think he could struggle with juries but it would depend on whether they can discount vocal power for the elusive concept of hit potential they were asked to consider last year. I have no idea if this will do well in the Final – the 9th position will hurt the televoting chance because it’s not the most memorable song. It could sneak into the lower regions of the top ten of do a Stjernberg and come 14th.

  6. John Lucas says:

    Lithuania

    Lithuania do generally send reasonably solid Eurovision songs, and this year is no exception. However, I think the reason they don’t tend to do very well is that they haven’t really figured out what their USP in the competition is. Estonia have shaped Eesti Laul into a showcase for ice-cool Pitchfork-pop, and Latvia have an offbeat sensibility that either charms or repulses, but rarely bores. By contrast, the only common thread in the last few Lithuanian entries is that they all sound like watered down versions of styles attempted more successfully by other countries in previous years.

    I’ve Been Waiting For This Night is basically a David Lindgren song, and as such it’s entirely professional, convincingly 2016, passes the Daytime Radio/Pub Jukebox test, but also weirdly empty and clinical. It’s a stronger, more competitive effort than Love is Blind, but I miss that song’s goofy charm – and Donny’s for that matter.

    This will do typical Lithuanian business I feel, a safe qualifier that nobody cares about in the finals. MAYBE.

    Macedonia

    Colour me a little underwhelmed by this as well, and I love Kaliopi. On the one hand I think it’s a bit more accessible than Crno i belo, and a lot more classical, but it lacks the spirit and fire that she was able to bring to that song. That said, I think she has a reasonable chance of slipping through the semi; her Balkan star power will go down well with Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Australia (where there’s a big Macedonian diaspora) and the fact that this song is so old fashioned could actually help it to stand out – there’s nothing quite like it in the rest of the lineup. Plus, we know that she’ll elevate it live, she always does. Once she’s in the final I think she’s a little safer, with points from the entire Balkan region virtually guaranteed. MAYBE.

    Malta

    I’m with Danny here, this is exactly the kind of pop music I really enjoy, and it’s a very ambitious package from Malta, who clearly aren’t content with just showing up these days. I do feel the hook could be stronger, and her live performances have been vocally strong but a little un-engaging so far. With the draw she has, the finals are a virtual lock, but the stage show is going to have to really have wow factor for her to get close to matching her result from 2002. I think Malta know that, so I’m calling this one a HIT.

    Australia

    For me, this is the ‘Dancing in the Rain’ this year. A decent song in the hands of a seasoned performer who has the potential to really take it to church on the big night. The hook is stronger and more compelling than …Rain too – at first the way the chorus didn’t resolve frustrated me, now I think it’s kind of genius because it really leaves you wanting more. Dami is also somebody, like Ruth Lorenzo, who really comes alive onstage. If this gets a flattering draw, it could be very dangerous. HIT

    Sweden

    Regardless of who actually wins the contest this year, I feel like Frans will be the one dominating the chart listings in the subsequent weeks. If I Were Sorry is already sneaking onto radio and Spotify playlists all over the world, and it’s easily the most convincing-sounding hit in this year’s contest. If it were in the final five songs of the night, I’d have this down as a near lock for victory. From 9th is trickier, especially for something so low key. But it’s going to do very well. HIT.

  7. Robyn says:

    Last year, Guy Sebastian’s promo was limited to the usual fan events and a few TV appearances. When he appeared on stage at the grand final, the majority of viewers were seeing him and his song for the first time.

    So I’m not convinced that Dami staying at home to promote her Carpenter’s album (which surely was arranged far in advance of her ESC signing) is going to be a huge disadvantage for her.

    But there’s still the problem that the audience won’t get to know goofy Dami. Or will they… The first introduction to Dami will be in the postcard, which seems to involve Dami doing very Australian things like cuddling koalas at the zoo. So if she can come across as cute and likeable in the postcard, surely that will be an advantage to her performance.

  8. Ewan Spence says:

    Guy Sebastian also spent weeks in Europe ahead of ESC, hit all the TV stations, breakfast shows, sofas, etc. He had record label backing and pluggers pushing the song across the airwaves. The majority of viewers may not have seen him, but they would be utterly aware that Australia was entering and it was ‘good’. Dami has none of that.

    ‘Far in advance of her ESC signing’… given that SBS were shouting back on Ict/Nov they had a name ‘bigger than Guy Sebastian’, followed by Dami revealing the first she heard about ESC was just over a week before she was announced to the public… something went wrong.

    Look at the goofy woman with a koala bear… that’s the brand that gets votes? Over commentators going ‘of here’s Australia. Again. And no they’re not in Europe. And we know they said ‘just this once’ last year.

    That’s a strong list of negatives opposite a strong solid with an at best average performer.

  9. mk says:

    I don’t really like any of these songs…Macedonia might be a MISS, but anyway I would just consider all of them MAYBE…
    Malta and Lithuania seem to be the most commercial/televoters’ friendly.
    Australia and Macedonia have the best singers…
    Sweden is not as bad as some say and not so good as others say. I don’t mind the simplicity of the song, but it’s not brilliant.

  10. HarrietKrohn says:

    Lithuania: Oh well, another song in an ocean of songs that doesn’t stand out at all for me. When I started listening to this year’s entries, I would go back to check who this was even after the chorus because the “I’ve been waiting for this night” line didn’t help me remember it was Lithuania. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this song, but why would anyone pick up the phone for this one? But Lithuania don’t usually have trouble getting to the final (diaspora), however I don’t see this song making any kind of impact on Saturday. MAYBE

    Macedonia: One of the few songs this year I seriously dislike. It’s more that just a bit dated, it’s boring, it’s not my kind of music. Kaliopi is a fantastic woman and singer and I’m sure she’ll make this song bigger than it is on stage, but for me personally this is a clear MISS.

    Malta: There’s too much of almost everything in this song, it’s trying way too hard. I still kind of like it, it does stick in my head sometimes. They’re not winning with this song and I’m sure they know it. MAYBE

    Australia: First time I listened to it I thought it was pleasant enough, but I had also completely forgotten about it 5 minutes later. How did it go again? Oh, right, the sound of siLENCE (if she was not from Australia, there’d be a lot of mocking of this weird emphasis of the word). Yeah, okay, nice enough, but it doesn’t really touch me. And I also find Dami Im a little hard to connect to, but I’m sure this’ll do well. For me it’s only a MAYBE, and that’s not even because I’m not exactly a big fan of Australia at the ESC.

    Sweden: A bit like Australia, really – nice enough, but didn’t stick with me from the beginning. While I don’t really connect to Dami, I find Frans to be quite unlikeable, which doesn’t help with liking his song. He seems like a snotty teenager too full of himself, and I want to smack the girl he’s dumped and tell her she should have gotten there first. But if you don’t have to see Frans and don’t listen to the lyrics, it’s actually quite nice. Sweden will not win again (not for a long time I hope, because I’m sure Christer Björkman has lots of other ridiculous ideas up his sleeve on how to “improve” (read: melodifestivalenize) the contest), but they’ll do better than in Malmö and the song might the biggest commercial hit of the year. For me it’s just a MAYBE though.

  11. Eurojock says:

    A very lively podcast to finish and with some surprising views. My own thoughts are as follows – assuming top 13 in the final = HIT.

    Lithuania: This has sneaked under the radar, probably because it was chosen the same weekend as Melodifestivalen. It has a strong chorus that should attract televoters. The problem is likely to be the staging which, indications are, is going to be similar to the national final and featuring gymnastics from Donny. An almost certain qualifier but with a hook line of ‘I’ve been waiting for this night’ if it draws first half I can see this starting the final. If it is gets 11th-13th it will have done well. At best – MAYBE.

    Macedonia: Elaine’s comments just prove that when we listen to songs we all hear different things. For me this is so dated and boring. If it was not for the Kaliopi factor this would surely (deservedly) sink without trace, but Balkan televotes give this some chance of qualifying for Saturday. If it does it will probably not finish in the bottom five, but will be on the right of the board. MISS

    Malta: Elaine’s comments just prove that when we listen to songs we all hear different things. For me, this is my favourite song of the competition. Now putting my objective hat on as to its chances. It is an ear-worm of a song, it is modern, chart friendly, the production is excellent and it has a big emotionally uplifting sound. The ‘gospel’ bridge gives it a USP and we are promised a big staging concept – all things you would look for in a Eurovision winner in 2016 (c.f. Sweden 2015). Now to my reservations – the sound on the video is so excellent I’m not sure they can fully recapture it live and Ira’s vocal (see the national semi final rendition of Chameleon) may be suspect under pressure. It may all come down to the staging. We are promised the Skorpian dancer who features in the video. He is very watchable but they need to be careful he doesn’t hijack the whole performance (c.f. Azerbaijan 2015). If they get the vocals and staging right this is a top 5 contender and one of probably only four potential winners this year. HIT

    Australia: The song has top 10 potential. Dami doesn’t leave me cold, Ewan. I think she is really cute (I hope the wife doesn’t read this!) and I’m sure she can deliver a strong vocal and performance. I do agree that Australia haven’t been putting in the legwork and this could harm them. But more than anything the song doesn’t have that big emotionally uplifting chorus we would normally expect from a Eurovision winner. Its price is low in the betting market, but I suspect that (in Dami’s absence) punters are latching on to this in the absence of too many real contenders for the win. 6th to 10th at best. HIT

    Sweden: John Lucas mentioned the success of this on Spotify and radio playlists. In recent years iTunes downloads have been a strong indicator of who is going to do well in the contest and I think that Frans is on the right track here. He is very camera savvy and I believe he is going to go down very well on screen. The song will not be to everyone’s taste, but this still has the hallmarks of a potential winner, very much in the mould of Lena’s satellite. Last I looked you could get 14/1 – surely worth a punt each way at least. Top 5 and contender for the win. HIT

  12. It wouldn’t be right to have commented on the previous seven and then missed out on number eight! Thanks again for the excellent series of podcasts here, Ewan – looking forward to your daily ones in Stockholm…

    One thing about this broadcast – did Danny have a crackly microphone, a sore throat or a Dalek emulator?

    Lithuania – MAYBE. Donny definitely had enough practice as Danny said, and he gives this everything. It’s a stand-out high-tempo pop song, I think it is memorable and I think that he and Poli from Bulgaria will be vying for ‘which artist covers most of the stage during their entry’ award. He has loads of on-stage charisma and I think this will lift the crowd. Assuming that this gets to the Final, I suspect that “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”‘s fate will be sealed – I would bet any money you like that this will be opening the show as I cannot imagine Christer passing up the chance to start the Final with this song and THAT title. That will kill any chances this has of winning and leave it as as safe mid-table finisher.

    Macedonia – MISS. You’re all going to love interviewing her and I really, really want to see Terry Vision have another chat with her. But get in quick as this will NOT make the Final – totally agree with Ewan on this one. It’s pleasant but totally forgettable and Kaliopi took it too far with the vocal range in London. I love her, I love her voice but Dona’s low-key lullaby nature make me want to doze off. I hoped that she might have carried this through to the Final with her personality and stage charisma alone but I can’t see this happening. Total disappointment on her second Eurovision outing.

    Malta – HIT. Definitely the right decision by Ira to change songs as WOW makes the best use of her amazing vocal ability and range, combining it with a much more contemporary sound that sounds radio-friendly enough to stay in voter’s memories far past Eurovision. She has shown in every single Pre-Party that she has a superb connection with the fans at the venue – if she can connect with the jurors and public in her SF and Final (this will qualify easily) in the same way, I believe that this could be one of the ‘possibles’ for this year’s win. Staging will be all important though – Ira just standing and singing won’t work in Stockholm.

    Australia – HIT. Yes, I get what Ewan is saying about PR for this one but I would suggest that geography plays a big part in that and the fact that not many of the artists this year have appeared too much in iTunes/Spotify/national charts, so I am unsure how important that is. As for this entry, Dami is an amazing vocalist with a great range and the song is very lyrically interesting and that is instantly apparent. What this doesn’t have for me is a spark, a OMG moment, that would propel this from top ten to possible winner. Final qualification yes, respectable placing yes, more than that unlikely.

    Sweden – HIT. I suspect we have heard (and read – I’ve mentioned this already in my blog) the most common description of “If I Were Sorry” – Marmite! It so is but that will mean that the public will vote for Frans. I personally think that Sweden have double-bluffed everyone this year, this song stands out a mile, nothing else like it, an anti-love song, very clever lyrics, sung by a surly smiling teen who’s been jilted by his lover. His petulant yet charming manner is perfect for this song and it reminds me of some of the early material from Mike Skinner of The Streets. The song that Radio 1 would be most likely to play, the real issue will be if the Eurovision jurors and public ‘get it’ – I think that this will actually get a very big juror vote, as I suspect that a lot of the musos on the panels will have listened to this entry more than a lot of the others pre-Stockholm. This is a possible contender for the win.

    Onto Stockholm…

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