Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #4 Written by on April 4, 2017 | 17 Comments

We continue to review the songs for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2017. You can listen to Juke Box Jury and the ESC Insight podcast online. Add the RSS Feed to your favourite podcast application, or click here to follow us in iTunes and never miss an episode.

Approaching the halfway point of this year’s Juke Box Jury and the hits, misses, and maybes continue to be dished out by our judges. This week our judges have a little bit of extra help from the ESC Insight bakery as they settle in and cue the music.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #4
…with Andrew Main (Eurovision Ireland) and Elaine Dove (Sing in The City).

Czech Republic: My Turn, by Martina Barta.
Estonia: Verona, by Koit Toome and Laura.
Lithuania: Rain of Revolution, by Fusedmarc.
Croatia: My Friend by Jacques Houdek.
Spain: Do It For Your Lover, by Manel Navarro.
Sweden: I Can’t Go On, by Robin Bengtsson

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

  1. Alex C says:

    Czechia – MISS. The Czechs have absolutely zero automatic points which means they have to be so much better than the rest of the competition to even have a fighting chance. This is nice but way too forgettable to get much higher than 15th in the semi. Better luck next year!

    Estonia – MAYBE/HIT. They’ve got to work on the staging (maybe throwing in some more lush Italian/Veronan imagery) but there’s a good foundation of a song there and they can certainly get a strong televote with this one. The juries might be a bit less enthusiastic though so I can see this one ending up in about 12th when all is said and done.

    Lithuania – MISS. Hate to be ‘that one commenter’ Ewan but the first time this came up for a vote in Lithuania it came fourth in the televote which really just re-enforces the point about the Lithuanian public growling to love this one and the fact remains that you need a shower rather than a grower to get anywhere in Eurovision. Even with their diaspora this is going nowhere.

    Croatia – MISS/MAYBE. This could be such a trainwreck I am actually really wanting it to qualify despite my better judgement. This could be the one ‘wtf’ song that comes out of nowhere and knocks Norway/Macedonia out to the surprise of everybody but I think that’s unlikely.

    Spain – MISS. Shenanigans aside, Spain never do as well as their songs seem to promise they’ll do and, like last year, I really can’t see past the producers using this as a ‘filler’ song between two of Sweden/Italy/Greece/Belgium ect which will just crowd it out. Plus its usp of cutesy white guy with a guitar is swallowed up completely if/when Austria qualifies and does that whole genere 10 times better. Germany (and dare I say, the UK) will stop it coming last but setting the scoreboard alight it will not be.

    Sweden – HIT. Would it really be Eurovision if Sweden didn’t have a gigantic prop that could go wrong at any moment? (Eric in the glass box, Mans and the projections, Sanna and the light that went the wrong way ect) It really feels like Sweden on autopilot/Only bringing their B-Game but even that might be enough. Difference between this visual gimmick and Italy’s visual gimmick is that this one comes off as sleek and professional whereas Italy’s comes off as tacky and kitschy (oh yeah, I went there!) so I don’t think it’s out of the question that Sweden wins the jury voting, at which point the winning becomes all about margins.

  2. Shevek says:

    The Czech Republic has the only good song on offer here. Estonia is pleasant, Spain is weak, Croatia is messy as is Lithuania. Sweden is the best pop song?! To each his own; the lyrics are appaling, the melody is not there; it’s bubblegum stuff based on a fancy stage production – shiny and artificial.

  3. Eurojock says:

    Firstly, it’s great to have you and the gang back, Ewan. When the website went down I thought ESC Insight had gone bust or something. I was lost without my daily Eurovision fix, but thankfully all is well with the world again.

    Czech Republic – I personally like this song and there is a nice sentiment in the lyric, but as you said, Ewan, in the competition I can see this easily getting lost. Also, from the preview parties Martina seems to be able to sing in tune but lacks stage presence. Non-qualifier and MISS.

    Estonia – I appear to be in a minority here, but for me the strength of this entry is in the staging. In the Eesti Laul semi final in particular I thought they (almost) nailed it. The staging tells the story of a broken relationship in a very cinematic and elegant way. I particularly love where the camera cuts away to the expressions on the face of the non-singer. The song itself is clever and well sung (again I just don’t get the criticisms of the vocal – maybe some commentators are harking back to what the performers brought to Eurovision a decade or more ago). However, the number does seem a bit dated and this may harm it (to an extent) with the juries. For that reason I don’t see it as a certain top 10. 8th -13th is my current prediction. But nevertheless HIT.

    Lithuania – The song itself has some merit, but it is not very mainstream. The biggest negative is the singer. Although she sings in tune (I think), she has a very unloveable stage presence and unvoteable voice. It took me some time to realise she was singing in English. Non Qualifier. MISS.

    Croatia – Now, Ewan, I have the greatest admiration for your knowledge of all things Eurovision and the utmost respect for your opinions on the merits of the various songs. However, there are the odd occasions (for example, your championing of that awful song by that Dutch woman with the ‘Red Indian’ headdress) where you appear to take leave of your senses. I’m afraid to say we may have just witnessed another of these occasions. ‘My Friend’ is cheesy and utterly ridiculous. It’s more BGT than ESC. It has novelty song written all over it and, Russian grannies aside, novelty songs have not done well at Eurovision in recent years. Juries will absolutely pan this. Televoters may be more likely to vote for it, but only if it is so bad that it turns out to be hilarious. However, I fear that Jacques is taking himself very seriously indeed, and in that case is more likely to go the way of that big Belgian fellow who sang about his mother. MISS.

    Spain – This song has had a lot of criticism within the fan community. Personally, on initial listens I didn’t think it was too bad. However, it has a bit of a reggae/Caribbean vibe to it which may not be to European tastes. And is it any stronger than Barei or Edurne who both (arguably) had decent entries but came well down the table? Spain, unfortunately for it, has a higher bar to clear to do well than most other countries (remember Pastora Soler with that all-time Eurovision masterpiece could only come tenth). So bottom five may once again turn out to be Spain’s final resting place. MISS

    Sweden – Sorry panel, you won’t get the running machine pile-up you are secretly hoping for. This is Sweden and every little detail will be honed to perfection as usual. I take your point, Ewan, about Robin coming across as a bit too full of himself. I Can’t Go On doesn’t have the feel of a Eurovision winner to me, but this year there are so few obvious challengers for the win, if it isn’t going to be Italy who will it be? For me (unless someone turns up in Kiev with amazing staging) only Sweden and (potentially) Bulgaria and Australia fall into that category. So top 5, and outside contender. HIT.

  4. mk says:

    Estonia – HIT
    Sweden – HIT – I actually like it more than other Swedish entries in the past years
    The rest – MAYBE/MISS

  5. HarrietKrohn says:

    Czech Republic – This is a really good song, sung by a very good singer – but it will still go nowhere. If it makes it to the final, it will be all on jury points and just drown in the final. It’s not flashy or dramatic or emotional enough to be successful at ESC, as much as I personally like it, it can only be a MISS.

    Estonia – A very catchy song, very 80’ies (which is probably my least favourite decade music-wise), and I’m very undecided about this one. I just can’t say if this will make top ten or end up 13th in the semifinal. In some parts it sounds exactly like a Modern Talking song, but I still like it – MAYBE.

    Lithuania – If this wasn’t Lithuania I’d say it doesn’t have a chance in the world of making the final. It’s messy and the singer’s voice is about as unpleasant as it gets. But Lithuania has a huge diaspora and they have already put songs into the final that everyone thought would never get there. But for all intents and purposes, this is a MISS.

    Croatia – If there was a bit of self-mockery in it, I might be able to take the song more seriously. I don’t like anything that sounds like Disney and I don’t like pop songs that want to sound operatic, and this is all of that rolled into one pretentious song. It might not even be bad enough to score enough with the public, like the Romanian Dracula did a few years ago, and Croatia probably don’t have the same diaspora as Romania does. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jacques in the final, but I wouldn’t be surprised not to see him either. MISS.

    Spain – I guess a lot of the hate that meets this song comes from the way he was chosen (by jurors who had personal connections to him and by all means weren’t voting objectively), not from the song and the singer itself. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s not that bad. And he won’t come last, as long as Germany is performing, don’t worry. But I find the song to get annoying rather quickly, so he could really benefit from only performing once. MAYBE.

    Sweden – I agree that Robin is not someone you easily connect with, he seems totally in love with himself and I have yet to see him give a smile that is not contrived. Everything is so calculated with the whole song and performance that it rubs me the wrong way, and the words they shamelessly call “lyrics” don’t make it better – but the song is catchy and I don’t quite manage to stop myself humming along to it against my will. It’ll be intereseting to see though how Robin will carry this song with either fewer dressmen surrounding him or without background vocals, because how can he have both? The equally shiny men can’t very well sing as well as run around, can they? Anyway, Sweden will likely make top 3, the audience didn’t care much about the artificiality of Russia last year either (although admittedly Sergey had thrice the charme of Robin) and voted heavily for it anyway, as they will for Sweden. HIT.

  6. Shai says:

    Czech Republic – She has a lovely voice and there is no doubt she can sing but the song is simply boring. Not a song that convince people to take the phone and vote for it. Juries may reward it, but this won’t be enough for it to qualify – MISS

    Estonia – This is so 1980’s in its sound, which gives it a sense of familiarity. I am not sure their vocals are harmonizing well together and I think they both have their ups and downs during the live performance. That ahhh before the Verona is quite memorable. I am not sure where this will go. if they get the staging and the vocals right, it might do very well. – MAYBE

    Lithuania – This is quirky and that’s an understatement. The main problem is that she is alienating the audience with her mannerism and the whole song is presented. I do ask myself who is going to vote for it, beside the diaspora. But this Lithuania who manage to surprise and qualify, even with songs you think they shouldn’t.-MISS

    Croatia – This is so saccharin it makes me want tu puke. The Disney’s Frozen reference is there and someone is/was hopping to get those who loved Frozen behind this song.
    It also a disaster just waiting to happen. This has the potential to go wrong in so many ways: by staging, by him forgetting which voice he need to sing at what time, by him having no breath to move form one kind of singing to another one. And we still have to hear live version of this, which is a big question mark. MISS

    Spain – if the first verse has something in it, comes the repetitive chorus and destroy and chances this song had. It just not an interesting song for me to care about it. There is not much in the song for staging potential, no matter how will direct the staging -MISS

    Sweden – Plastic, that’s the first image coming to my mind when hearing this song. Plastic can be very nice and useful on first use but when dumped on the face of the earth, it can be toxic and dangerous for the environment. And this is what this song is: Polluting the air waves by way of pretending to be a song and hiding behind a polished presentation(sounds familiar, isn’t it?).
    TBH – I don’t think SVT wanted this song to win. If the running order of Melodifestival says anything, they wanted different song to win, but they are left with this one and will try to get the best out of it.
    I will repeat what I said last year – Would this song get the praises it gets if it was not a Swedish song? I suspect it wouldn’t. – Miss(for me), (some kind of)HIT(for the contest).

  7. John Lucas says:

    Czech Republic – With so many strong likely qualifiers and ballads in the first semi final, the deck is really stacked against this one. It’s elegant, classy, likely to be well-performed, but so far there just isn’t anything to capture and hold the audiences attention, which is a shame because Czech Republic are really trying here. I do think they have a very flattering position in the running order. There’s only really Slovenia serving traditional balladry in the back end of that semi, and I think Marta has a more jury friendly offering. If she can reach the top 8 on jury votes – which I don’t find inconceivable by any means – she can possibly sneak over the line coming 12-13th with the public. It’s a big ask, and she’ll clearly do nothing in the final, but something this professional can never be totally discounted. MAYBE

    Estonia – As divisive as this is, I struggle to see something so crowd pleasing not picking up a fair bit of support. A near-perfect draw in Semi Two should see Koit and Laura sailing to the grand final. I have a feeling Verona may be this year’s Loin d’ici – snubbed by the juries but beloved enough by the fans to attract a strong televote. Their chemistry does need work, but Channee and N’evergreen scored a top 5 not so long ago with a performance that suggested they actively hated one another, so anything’s possible… HIT

    Lithuania: I’m still baffled at Lithuania choosing this song over so many stronger options. Safe to say they won’t be building on Donny’s success last year. This is shrill and forgettable, and unless the diaspora really turns out in force, one of my most confident bets for non-qualification. MISS.

    Croatia: This is giving me real ‘Mother’ vibes. If Jacques embraces the silliness, it might play as a classic slice of Eurovision novelty, but my impression is that he’ll do it completely straight and it’ll just totally fall apart. Impressively bizarre, but not competitive. MISS.

    Spain: Putting aside the problems with how this was selected, the main issue for me here is that it just isn’t a very good song. He’s potentially lucky that the only competition for the ‘Frans vote’ is a vulnerable country with a dreadful slot in a tough semi. Should Austria miss the finals, there might be a smattering of points here, but I think bottom 5 – and potentially last place – is calling either way. MISS.

    Sweden: Safe is the word for this. Aside from Italy, among all the favourites this is the safest bet for a top 5 finish. If there’s a consensus winner again this year – i.e. topping neither the jury nor televote but doing well enough on both to top the combined – it’ll be this. It does lack the standout factor that Italy, Portugal and Belgium have the potential to bring, but then you could argue the same about Mans in 2015… HIT

  8. Robyn says:

    Sweden could win if they end up in the second half of the final and Italy is in the first half, and if the near verselessness of “Occidentali’s Karma” has a negative impact on viewers. But those are big ifs.

    Btw, Lithuania reminds me of cheap pop from around 1987. I assume that the popular music landscape of Lithuania in the late ’80s was different to that of Western Europe, so “Rain of Revolution” might not have such a dated sound to Lithuanian ears. The song also sounds written for someone with a much bigger, gruntier soul voice than what Fusedmarc’s singer is capable of.

  9. Ben Pitchers says:

    Czech Republic: MISS. It’s a very sweet, pleasant song and I like the quality of her voice and how she sings it. The song never really gets out of second gear. I don’t think it’ll qualify, despite an OK draw in the second half, because it will probably slip by televoters and just do alright with the juries. Their 0 from their televote in the final last year with a more powerful ballad isn’t a good omen for this lighter ballad. Maybe it has a future in a Love Actually style romcom – I think it’d fit in there well!

    Estonia: HIT. This is definitely the best duet of this year’s contest. I really love it and its Human League 80s vibe. There’s lots of hooks to make it enough of an ear worm for people to want to vote for it. There presentation at Eesti Laul had some good ideas but they did feel too separate from each other. I remember Goodbye to Yesterday in 2015 had lacklustre staging at the NF and then went on to have very effective staging in Vienna. They have a great draw performing 18th in SF1. Hoping for the same this year and another top 10 for Estonia, if not top 5.

    Lithuania: MISS. This doesn’t come across as a coherent track at all. Too many ideas in 3 minutes that seem too disparate. I like certain elements of it and its early 90s dance feel. Strangely, it’s the kind of song that you’d think would make more sense in the studio version (like Latvia’s) but it sounds even stranger to me. All the yeah yeahs are too much. Despite some voting allies and a good position at the end of SF2, this is just too out there and self-indulgent to qualify.

    Croatia: MISS. Well, it certainly is novel! A spoken word opening doesn’t normally bode well. Take away the vocal gymnastics and there’s a fairly mediocre song here with banal, simplistic lyrics. I think it’ll just be a bit confusing for viewers and will just get novelty points but even these could be hoovered up by Romania. An exercise in wanting to stand out but without much thought to the song, and another self-indulgence.

    Spain MISS. Every year I hope Spain has a chance to win and most of the time I’m disappointed. The Spanish lyrics in the verses are much more interesting than all the endlessly dull and repetitive English chorus. I also don’t know why artists submit songs to national selections with lots of pre-recorded vocal effects like this one. How will they achieve something similar live? Big 5 songs tend to be the most likely to come last in the final and I think this is a possible candidate this year. Spain only got 10 points from the televote last year with a much better song so I don’t see how they’d get more than that this year. A change in HoD for Spain should hopefully see some positive change for 2018.

    Sweden: HIT. A very well produced song, as is typical for Sweden. Visually it makes up for being very lightweight by being staged so well and makes you forget that the song sort of fizzles out in the last 30 seconds or so. The song is a bit sleazy and smug but enjoyable and fun. I think Robin is very likeable. Should be another top 10 or possibly 5 for Sweden – I think the jury may drag it down slightly. I think this is a rare song that is better live and on stage at Eurovision than just on the radio.

  10. Ben Cook says:

    I’m with you guys on Croatia.. think it’s fabulous and could do really well! The juries won’t go for it but the televoters might. I mean, it’s Grande Amore meets Let It Go. If he nails it vocally like he does on the record, it could be a real moment.

    Comparisons to “Mother” are probably quite valid. But I know I hated that and love this.

  11. Kathleen Burnett says:

    I’m just curious what happened to the idea that it’s a bad sign of a song can’t win its NF televote. The fact that, if Wikipedia is to be believed,p “I Can’t Go On” only managed 3rd does not bode well for its prospects next month. Can someone correct me if that’s totally wrong?

  12. Ewan Spence says:

    Oh it’s still there, but if you look at how close it was in MF, and the levelling effect that the app voting induces, it’s not ‘as strong’ in Sweden as others IMO.

  13. Is it me or does JBJ have a very Scottish feel about it this year? Or is it all years and I’ve just noticed? Living near Edinburgh a prerequisite for participation? 😉

    A nice prog this time, no bitching, no real negativity…

    Czechia – MISS. The jazz pedigree from Martina is obvious here but in a year with numerous solo female vocalists singing ballads, “My Turn” doesn’t stand out in any way and is likely to condemn Czechia to yet another SF exit after their first Final appearance. Agree with you guys – she was a delight to talk to in London and she is so passionate about this song. It’s also one I will be listening to for ages after Kyiv but it’s not going anywhere this year.

    Estonia – HIT. Two talented vocalists who interact phenomenally well in the audio world but who send confused signals when on stage. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ evokes ‘star crossed lovers’ but you have to really listen to this to get the actual message being ‘Verona lovers long ago’ – making the listener think too much might be this entry’s downfall. Being a big star in Estonia didn’t help Elina this year so I’m not sure the same comment about Koit and Laura is that valid. I will have to submit to Elaine about their singing technique, not being a ‘professional singer’ myself, but I think they’ll do okay in their ‘own muddling way’ lol. I think that this could be a top ten IF the staging is spot on

    Lithuania – MISS. I agreed totally with Andrew – their NF win did have great visuals but that was it. The song is dated, the lead vocals aren’t very clear or that dynamic.
    The one plus is that the chorus is catchy and stays hanging around – this entry’s only saving grace. Can’t believe that any of you gave this a hit – you might remember it but only as ‘that awful mess with that woman in the raincoat’.

    Croatia – MISS. I really think that your wife HAD put something in those cakes and biscuits for you to love this so much! Based on what I have heard and seen, this sounds like a small-scale charity record with Michael Jackson, a generic opera singer and an X Factor winner. Given that these voices all come from the same man and we have some mad strings from Springwatch in amongst it all, Croatia are headed for one of those Eurovision ‘worst of’ clips. It is potentially car crash time onstage as well – Graham Norton is going to have a field day!

    Spain – MISS. I tend to agree with you all about it standing out with this gentle melodic pop song but I don’t think people will waste their money voting for this. It is nice to hear an entry parred down to guitar, drums and singer as much as possible but that’s where the pleasure ends – repeating the song’s title continually for three minutes might have worked for Spain in 1968 but 49 years on and it’s a likely bottom place for Manel.

    Sweden – HIT. Robin been watching OK Go videos? There’s not much lyrically going on here but the infectious musical hook, his chiseled looks and stage charisma, together with what might be THE best choreographed entry in Kyiv, could give Sweden a sniff of that seventh win that Christer Björkman so obviously craves. One to potentially upset Ewan if Italy doesn’t win…

  14. –> CZECH REPUBLIC: “My Turn”, by Martina Barta
    –> VERDICT: “MISS”
    –> WHY? The problem with this song is basically that it’s way way too ‘niche’. Lovely to witness this in a smoky, darkbrown jazz café with suede covered stools. But that’s the appeal. This is not something for a massive stage. Czech Republic is fairly new to Eurovision, so let’s give them a couple of years time. I’m sure that sooner or later they will bring a voting magnet to Eurovision. Just not this year.

    –> ESTONIA: “Verona”, by Koit Toome & Laura
    –> VERDICT: “HIT”
    –> WHY? Ever since The Common Linnets, Estonians must have thought “We can do this every year”. And let’s face it, Dutch and Estonian pop music are in many ways quite similar. I love the staging, in which you have a similar ‘feeling of distance’ with Elina Born & Stig Rasta. But some of the out-of-the-blue close-ups from Koit and Laura feel a bit……horrific? Anyway, I do think the song is great. A lovely throwback to 1980’s pop, like Modern Talking or even some belting from A-Ha. Certain qualifier.

    –> LITHUANIA: “Rain” of Revolution, by Fusedmarc
    –> VERDICT: “MAYBE”
    –> WHY? I kinda like this. Just think about the American band St. Vincent and their lovely deep electronic rhytmns & beats. Or do I hear a bit of Michael Jackson in it as well? Probably. What elevates this song is the frontsinger. She is a pretty powerful gal, with an Aminata-esque power in her vocals. I think people should not underestimate the qualification chances of Lithuania this year. Juries could help this.

    –> CROATIA: “My Friend”, by Jacques Houdek
    –> VERDICT: “MAYBE”
    –> WHY? Could this be the male follow-up to Serbia 2015? Why not. Vocally Jacques is an exceptional artist. And we know juries tend to appreciate that highly. Much have been said about O’G3NE, but because of that also Croatia has a chance of qualifying. This is quite Disney-esque. But unless Slovenia, this takes more risks and could therefore tick more boxes. But sjee, it’s hard to imagine how they bring this alive in Kiev.

    –> SPAIN: “Do It For Your Lover”, by Manel Navarro
    –> VERDICT: “HIT”
    –> WHY? I live in Spain, and I know how passionate Spanish Eurovision fans are. But sjee, this national final left many with such a bad taste, that this event, and not Manel or his song, are reflected in polls and on the bookies websites. Because first of all, from Sabadell (near Barcelona where I live), Manel is FINALLY an utterly charismatic singer, who sings exceptionally well. I know many people don’t like the song, but it has this utterly simple summery feel, that remind me a bit of Marie-N (Latvia 2002), Gianluca (Malta 2013) and even Frans (Sweden 2016). And watch this one closely, because Hans Pannecoucke is doing the staging of this one. And my guts tell me that Hans feels more comfortable directing this one than Trijntje. His wife is Spanish too….

    –> SWEDEN: “I Can’t Go On”, by Robin Bengtsson
    –> VERDICT: “HIT”
    –> WHY? The moment I saw this I was drawn to my LED-tv. Because this is slick. I was pretty much in awe about the rather complex choreography. And that ‘awe’ will help him sail into the TOP 5. But it’s not only that. I actually think Robin’s cockiness on stage is what elevates this. It has this naughty, happy, yet slightly narcissist charm that could bring it very far.

    By the way, I did a bit of a scoring game in this 4th Jukebox Jury ;-). I attributed points to each personal outcome.:
    0,00 points — “MISS”
    1,25 points — “MISS/MAYBE”
    2,50 points — “MAYBE”
    3,75 points — “MAYBE/HIT”
    5,00 points — “HIT !!”

    So far, when we include Ewan Spence, Elaine, Andrew, and all other 9 people who posted their results in the comments section, then this is where we stand:
    57,50 POINTS –> Sweden
    48,75 POINTS –> Estonia
    17,50 POINTS –> Croatia
    16,25 POINTS –> Spain
    11,25 POINTS –> Lithuania
    06,25 POINTS –> Czech Republic

  15. Marc says:

    I detest Sweden because of the lyrics. Who the hell says “fricking”? If you can’t use explicit language (and you shouldn’t in a pop song), then thing of something more eloquent. I’m disappointed that no-one made reference to this.

  16. Edmund says:

    Czech Republic: MISS – I don’t have much more to add here. I agree almost completely with all of your comments. It just doesn’t grab you much in any way (positively or negatively). It’ll get lost in the crowd.

    Estonia: HIT – This song is just so catchy. I mostly agree with Andrew on this one. Yes their odd timbres (Laura’s nasal voice and Koit’s kind of weird falsetto at times) as well as their lack of chemisty could push it into a maybe, but I truly think this song is just so good that it will very likely make Top 10 in the final. (Also I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure you (Ewan) pronounce Loreen’s name incorrectly and it really bugs me.)

    Lithuania: MISS – The only redeeming factors of this song came to me after a few listens when I realized that her “yeah yeah”s were actually powerfully sung, and that despite her disgusting timbre during the verses her voice isn’t 100% terrible. But the fact that most people will be seeing it for the first time when it’s live will just tank it. The song itself would be fine if sung by someone else and produced differently, but it’s no where near enough to save it from the other negative aspects. The production of this song just doesn’t feel modern. Yes the horns are there but it still feels sparse despite that. And the backup singers did not help at all. This is my least favorite song of the contest this year and it’s hard to see this doing better than bottom three in its semifinal. Ewan I usually love your opinions but you giving this a hit just makes me lose some respect for you. But maybe you could be right in terms of comparing it to last year’s Georgia and Lordi, but this is so much worse that both those songs. I’m still shocked that any of you gave this more than a miss.
    Croatia: MAYBE – For me personally, it’s a miss, but it stands out so much that it will likely do pretty well. Yes his vocals are INCREDIBLE but I find the song boring and that it has nothing other than the gimmick. And the gimmick just distracts me. That’s the only thing I can think about this song. There’s just nothing else besides him switching parts of his voice. I completely disagree about this being genuine. The lyrics are SO cliché and saccharine, maybe the most cliché of the entire contest. Andrew I mostly agree with you on this entire episode, and especially for this song. I like you. But honestly I just think this song is not great, but that a lot of people will like this a lot. (Also there aren’t two hooks at all, just one hook repeated. It’s one song melodically other than going between octaves and timbres.) But Ewan good point about the microphones and the staging – I hadn’t thought of that. But I do also agree about the instrumental interlude, but the rest of the song doesn’t save it for me. (Also I HATE the spoken word intro. You can definitely live your life as though only some things are miracles. That’s probably the only rational way to live your life…) I want to give this a miss, but I know that some people will love it more than it deserves so it barely scrapes a maybe.

    Spain: MISS – I just find this song annoying. Mostly I find Manel annoying. He’s one of those gross surfer boys who exudes toxic masculinity and thinks he’s a good guy but is really just obnoxious and unaware of the world around him (not sure if that’s actually true about him, but he gives me that impression). And when he goes for that high note, he sounds TERRIBLE. I think Spain will do poorly once again. Yes it might stand out because it’s not a ballad and it’s not electro-pop, but it might stand out negatively. (Also, WHAT?!?! The Make-Makes had a “really good song”?!? Ewan your opinions on this episode are just laughable at times). It probably won’t be last place, but I think there’s a good chance that it ranks in the 20s.

    Sweden: MAYBE – I have such mixed feelings about this song. It’s really catchy and the staging was really cool, but Robin and the lyrics both kind of skeeve me out (he’s one of those guys who thinks he’s complimenting a girl but he’s also trying to make her feel like she owes him something because she’s causing him to not be able to go on). Also he seems SO ROBOTIC. Even in interviews he seems to have no personality other than being conventionally attractive. However this song is pretty good and so many people LOVE it because on the surface it’s a great and he’s really hot (but wake up to his creepiness please) and cuz Sweden always does well even when you have a super annoying song about a teenager not being sorry (I hate Frans sorry not sorry). But I don’t think it’ll do as well as most people think it will. It’s a maybe for me. Elaine I TOTALLY agree about him singing this to himself in the mirror, but I hope he’s the one who would almost fall off. The dancers are really good so I want them to succeed. Also, Ewan I agree with you about not connecting with Robin, and that it feels too clinical and cookie-cutter. Andrew this is the odd moment where I disagree with you. It’s definitely NOT the best pop song in this competition, but I don’t hate this song so I don’t you’re your opinion either. I just think there won’t be enough to make it be a huge hit.

  17. Edmund says:

    Also the fact that the total of all the scores left Estonia behind the shitshows that are Spain and Lithuania makes me wonder why I listen to this podcast.

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