Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6 Written by on April 18, 2017 | 16 Comments

We continue to review the songs for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2017 (and even the ones no longer going!). 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.

For the record, all songs were ‘attending Kyiv’ at the time of recording. And who knows, it might change again!

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6
…with Lisa-Jayne Lewis (ESC Buzz) and Alasdair Rendall (OGAE UK).

Greece: This Is Love, by Demy.
Ukraine: Time, by O.Torvalds.
Russia: Flame Is Burning, by Yulia Samoylova.
Romania: Yodel It, by Ilinca and Alex Florea.
Montenegro: Space, by Slavko Kalezić.

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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16 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6”

  1. mk says:

    Greece – she’s beautiful, the song at best is a MAYBE
    Ukraine – MAYBE – it’s OK, not sure appreciated very much at Eurovision
    Russia – won’t participate anyway…I don’t think it’s that bad as you said…would have been a MAYBE anyway…as I did not like Jamala last year, I don’t hate Russia as much as you
    Romania – MAYBE to HIT, I actually like it – it’s a very happy song…not sure it will do very well with juries
    Montenegro – Hmm…the ponytail I don’t like…I think I like more to listen to the song than seeing it…MISS to MAYBE

  2. Angelito says:

    The last 2 juke box juries aren’t appearing on itunes (i’m using itunes Australia) … are there any issues there i’m unaware of???

  3. Ewan Spence says:

    Angelito, you’re not the first to tell us this, but from what we can see, no issues. The web team will have a look.

  4. Angelito says:

    Thanks!! I’m getting antsy without my weekly dose of hit miss or maybe!!

  5. Marc says:

    I think Romania’s chances are not as great at the podcast suggests. Like Alasdair, I thought the song was a mess on first listen. It’s grown on me, but I feel those who’s be deciding (i.e. first-time-listening televotes) won’t be waiting for that.

  6. Shai says:

    Greece – Why when hearing this song I am reminded of Dana International 2011’s attempt at Eurovision?. Which sounded dated than and still sound dated here. It has it’s constituency and I am sure will get and impressive stage show that will hide all the weaknesses the song has and make this an attractive package for everyone. As a song it’s still MISS

    Ukraine – I’ll say it right away – I’m not really into rock. While I appreciate the diversity they bring to the stage, I can’t relate to the song as a song.For me it’s a MISS

    Russia – They withdraw and I don’t have to spend my time on this song. If I would judge it, than it would be a (huge) MISS

    Romania – I think I am one of the few who actually don’t like the song. Rap is really not my thing and Yodelling can be quite irritating and the combination of those 2 elements just give me pain in my ears. Admittedly, they sell the song very well but she need not to over do it because she has the tendency to be screechy at times. It will probably have the typical Romanian result ending just under the top 10 – MISS (for me) but a definite HIT(for the contest).

    Montenegro – It’ has an end of the 70’s sound but with a bit of a modern twist. It’s super gay and aim to that section of the audience, which may be not enough for him to get beyond the semi. Expect a fully OTT staging which again, may not be enough.
    Did anyone notice that his lip sync isn’t perfect in the video? MISS/MAYBE

  7. HarrietKrohn says:

    Greece – The first minute is okay, but then it turns horrible and cheap and in a way very, very Greek. One of only two songs this year I absolutely hate. For me it’s as MISS as miss can, but I’m afraid it’ll do okay on the Saturday.

    Ukraine – No, rock has not tranditionally done well at Eurovision, but we all know Ukraine don’t want to win again, and anyway, this is as much a consensus winner as Jamala, it came second in the jury and in the televote and went home with the victory. But I actually really like it, even if I always forget it when I list my favourites of the year. But when it’s playing, I’m enjoying it a lot. HIT for me – for the contest, probably not so much.

    Russia – On first listen I thought what a load of nothing this was, and I thought it was clear from the beginning that Russia never intended to participate, because otherwise they would have sent a decent song. I’m stopping right here so as not to write myself into a rage.

    Romania – I actually agree with Shai so much that I don’t need to write anything myself. Just see above. 😉

    Montenegro – Slavko has something very sleazy and a bit … icky about himself, I don’t know, the man makes me shiver for all the wrong reasons. But I’m totally enjoying his song, as long as I don’t have to watch. Always puts me in a very good mood, especially when the beginning with the somewhat creepy lyrics is over. I thought Ewan described pretty well how this song is so bad it’s actually really good again, I just don’t think everyone will get that and we might not see Montenegro on stage twice. MAYBE, because Slavko is a miss (although he gets credits for going through with his thing) and the song is a hit.

  8. Alex C says:

    Greece – HIT/MAYBE. It’s a bit on the basic side but, particularly in its current form after about the third reswizzle it gets the job done. This should get the standard regulation Greek vote and no more than that which puts it on the hit-maybe borderline.

    Ukraine – MAYBE. Don’t think I can really add much more on this. Will be a respectable showing but will be far enough down the table that NTU won’t be worried about next year’s budget too much.

    Russia – MISS. This is such blatant trolling that I think it might be genius. Pure dagnasty evil genius. If it had turned up I think this would have been Russia’s first non qualifier but as it is, they’ve saved face.

    Romania – HIT. Clear televoting winner in Semi 2 and potentially even the final if it runs late and Italy gets a first half draw (because really “the one with the yodeling” is just as strong a pull as “the one with the gorilla” as far as kitschy quasi-gimmicks goe). I don’t think this will be a massive jury fave but, hey, stranger things have happened.

    Montenegro – MAYBE. This is so camp and ridiculous and I sooo want it to qualify but I think I know in my heart of hearts that this is doomed.

  9. Eurojock says:

    Greece – I’m with HarrietKrohn on this. It starts well but then degenerates into a cheap club track and ends up sounding like a Coca Cola advert. But given the team behind it we maybe can expect spectacular staging. On this basis my provisional view is it will qualify and end up mid-table in the final. HIT

    Ukraine – Despite hearing it many times, it is not a song I’ve paid a lot of attention to so thank you for the tip about the semi final performance, Ewan. This staging theme gives it more power and meaning. Time is an authentic rock number more like Georgia or Montenegro last year, than the faux rock of Cyprus. If it was from one of these countries it probably wouldn’t get out of the semi. Being Ukraine, they might come with effective staging on the big night which will elevate it but, that said, I can’t see this ending on the left hand side of the board. MAYBE

    Russia – Either Russia were sending a singer that would be difficult to boo or they anticipated not turning up in Kyiv. Either way this was never intended to be a contender. Had Yuliya turned up I hope they would have installed a ramp to get her on the stage. The situation in Vienna 2015 where the Polish act had to be carried on off-camera was a disgrace.

    Romania – I’m with Alasdair on this. I cried also when I first saw this- with anguish. They can’t even rap in tune. Of course it’s a gimmick. I can imagine the discussions that went into coming up with a lyric that ‘justified’ putting these two entirely different genres together. I can also imagine juries absolutely hammering this. That said, it has charm and chemistry, it works and it’s fun. For me the nearest parallel is Donaton and Cleo in 2014, but there’s only so far under the new scoring system that juries can hold this back. Yodel It could do extremely well in the televote – so top 10 is a possibility but ultimately Occidentali’s Karma, as a less divisive ‘fun song’ will put it in the shade. Nevertheless, HIT.

    Montenegro – This has got ‘loser’ written all over it. Slavko’s singing voice is not great. It’s a cheap club track and the overtly gay sex message may not go down too well with more conservative voters. 8th – 12th zone Ewan? 18th zone more like. MISS

  10. dimitris esc says:

    I just have to say that i dislike Romania this year.I don’t even find it pleasant and fun.It’s just annoying.It may do well with televoters,though.

  11. Thank the Lord I wasn’t on this JBJ – you’ve got my 29 (Greece), 24 (Ukraine), 39 as was (Russia), 43 now 42 (Romania), 38 (Montenegro). None in my top half!

    Great guests, nice to hear the lovely Lisa-Jayne again (hope you enjoyed your ‘duties’ in London). Well done to getting your own euphemism out there, Ewan…

    Greece – MAYBE. Demy’s entry is one of those annoying songs with three differing musical styles all in a single package. The slow ballad part drifts along too slowly for the pumping Euroclub anthem section to regain any pace or tempo – despite utilising the vocal talents of one of Greece’s best pop singers, this hot mess may not see Saturday night…scraping into the Final and ending up mid-table might be enough for Greece this year.

    Ukraine – MAYBE. Always good to see some soft rock at Eurovision and O.Torvald sort of obliges. Sort of, as it’s a very quiet offering until you hit the “one minute to go” mark, when this kicks up a gear and enters Cyprus/Georgia 2016 territory. But will voters hang around for two minutes for that to happen? This is not the best Ukrainian entry ever Alasdair – have you missed almost every single other entry from Ukraine? As for being a headbanger, Ewan, I suppose as far as Eurovision is concerned, maybe…

    Russia – Non Starter, would have been a MISS. Russia were risking a Final DNQ this year anyway. Not because of Yuliya Samoylova, who has a great voice and vocal range in Russian, but because she’s was having to sing phonetically lyrics in English and it showed. The pace of the song is so, so slow too – limited staging opportunities could save this from SF oblivion…Ukraine missed a trick here, surely letting Russia attend and then bomb out at the SF stage, whilst the host nation waves them goodbye flicking the bird would have felt a lot better, surely?

    Romania – MISS, MISS, MISS (for me) MAYBE (for ESC). The most attractive yodeler ever but that’s the only good thing about this entry. If the UK or Ireland had sent this, we would be accused of not taking Eurovision seriously. Hip hop and yodelling? Really? This is annoying in the extreme and I just hope that even the Romanian diaspora leave this one to crash and burn…they do have good chemistry, agree there with Alasdair and Lisa-Jayne demonstrates what will happen with this entry – total Marmite! Enough people loving this to haul it into the Final but it won’t be popular enough across the board to make a challenge for the title, as there are lots of far better songs this year with slicker routines. It has a niche, admittedly a very annoying one!

    Montenegro – MISS. Positives first – this adds to the diverse nature of the entries in 2017, “Space” is superbly uptempo and is humorously packed full of euphemisms within the lyrics. If Slavko persists with the poses, the pouts and the semi-nakedness in Kyiv, however, laughter at him instead of votes for him will be the order of the day…
    One of the definite DNQs this year.

    Serve up some decent Eurovision fayre next show, eh Ewan? 😉

  12. Martin says:

    Great commentaries this week (kudos to you Lisa-Jayne in particular for your breathtaking commentary – you almost matched that of the fabulous David Elder!).

    We are listening to you this week while working on our outfits for Kiev! How much more Eurovisionary can you get?

  13. Howard A says:

    Interesting views as always (even if I disagree about Romania, which I find excruciating as a recording and rxtremely irritating as a performance – they are having lots of fun, but I’m not! 😉 ).

    Alasdair is absolutely right about Russia, but he’s probably too polite to say what I, for one, was thinking; why waste more than 5 minutes on writing a song that was only ever entered as part of a PR campaign and was never intended to be performed at the contest? Yulia will probably enter next year with a much better song and a big sympathy bonus.

    But here comes the odd thing – for all that I agree about the shoddy quality of the song, it is my guilty pleasure this year, and I actually quite like it.

  14. Ben Pitchers says:

    Greece: MAYBE. The opening verse of the song (and the other verses) is pretty promising and then the repeating of the word “ever” signals that we’re heading into a bland chorus with cheap, generic EDM backing music and a fizzled-out ending. The chorus should be the star in a song like this. Demy is being let down by this composition and it would have been so much better to see her with a more challenging entry. I don’t see what all the fuss over Dimitris Kontopoulous is about. None of his compositions for Eurovision have been particularly ground-breaking and it always seems like he’s just coming up with an entry he thinks will sound like his idea of a Eurovision winner. I’ve given it a maybe as Demy is such a professional and half-hearted EDM entries with competent singers can qualify and scrape into the top half, just like Miracle did for Romania in 2014. It also reminds of Only Love Survives from 2013 too. I think it compares less favourably to Glorious than the panel did – I think that entry knew what type of song it was and did what it was doing better than this one does.

    Ukraine: MAYBE. I don’t have any strong opinions about this. It’ll stand out as the only rock song and position 22 is very helpful. The NF staging was very striking and memorable with the clocks in their chests and I think they should do something similar at Eurovision. The lead singer could do with a bit more charisma. It’ll probably come somewhere in the 11-16th position in the final with Ukraine’s televoting strength.

    Russia: MISS. The entry is another somewhat bland ballad that doesn’t really go anywhere. Yulia is the most interesting thing in the entry. I’ve always thought that the only way a country like Russia with a 100% qualification record could fail to qualify is if they choose something bland and forgettable, while also being in a large semi-final. When they were still competing I thought a non-qualification was a possibility with this entry. I don’t like that it appears that Yulia is being used as a pawn in a political power struggle by Russia. If she’s next year’s representative (which by all reports she will be) they should give her a song with a lot more personality, and maybe in Russian too as per Lisa-Jayne’s suggestion.

    Romania: MISS. This does nothing for me. It’s entertaining in a novelty way but the song itself is just awful. I think Italy proves you can have a sense of humour and still have a fantastic song. It comes across as two people singing (sub-par) and dancing at each other instead of singing to each other/together. Yodelling can’t sustain an entire chorus. At the end of the song Ilinca is hard to understand. There’s also not much music behind the singing. Alex’s stage presence towards her comes across as unnecessarily aggressive, and from what I’ve heard from preview parties and interviews this is representative of his personality. I think it deserves to stay stuck in SF2 because there’s far superior songs that should qualify over it, but unfortunately I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about that.

    Montenegro: MAYBE. He obviously loves it and enjoys performing it. I think it’s fun, camp but dated entry. If he wears his long ponytail he’ll be visually memorable and I’m sure he’ll engage well with the camera. I’d like to be more of a supporter but I don’t think it’s a strong enough song. He comes after Belgium with it’s entry straight from the charts and before the quiet quality of Finland. If it qualifies it’ll be 9th or 10th with an amazing stage presentation but I don’t think it’ll make it and I’m not sure it deserves to.

  15. Pj says:

    This lot includes some of the worst songs of this year. I can even listen more than 5 seconds of any of these. Trash music. No further comments

  16. Edmund says:

    Greece: MISS – This song isn’t bad at all but for me it has no redeeming qualities. The lyrics aren’t very good. The song and production are repetitive (even for a dance track). Her singing is fine. It does nothing for me. Also I liked “Glorious” WAY more than this. This is completely paint by numbers for me. I honestly hope it doesn’t qualify just because I feel that there are so many songs that are much better.

    Ukraine: MAYBE – This song has grown on me. It’s a really good rock song, but rock songs have difficulty at Eurovision. I don’t seek out this genre of music, but when I get into I can really appreciate it, but I can’t say the same for other Eurofans. (Ewan though I completely disagree with you. Rock ‘n’ roll died in the early 60s. Chuck Berry was rock ‘n’ roll. Everything past that has been rock.) Um Alasdair I’m losing a lot of respect for you after you say you love Greece and then call this the best Ukrainian entry ever. Yeah it’s good but how can you choose this over the emotional and vocally stunning “1944”?!?!? Why do so many jurors on this podcast hate belting?!?!? This is the fifth (estimation) time a man has called an amazing female singer “screechy” or “shouty”. Y’all don’t know what you’re talking about. But yes Ewan I also love the head bang to this. However I don’t think it can do better than middle of the road in the final so it’s a maybe for me. However I do agree that this is less accessible than Cyprus of last year.

    Russia: MISS – [Assuming that this would still be in the contest even though it’s not.] This is a fine ballad with pretty good production. But it doesn’t build much and doesn’t get to my heart. Ewan I really like you talking about how Eurovision is soft politics and how Russia is so good at it. Alasdair I agree that Julia’s disability should be irrelevant but it’s not in this case. The fact that the Russians have playing at trying to make us feel guilty about saying bad things just makes me dislike this song more. It’s not terrible but it just does absolutely nothing. Despite all our talk of how much we dislike it, this isn’t in my bottom five largely because I don’t actually hate this song and I think the production value is fairly good (“insult to music” is too far Lisa but I get what you mean). I honestly think that this isn’t that great specifically because they wanted to send something that would get banned by Ukraine so they didn’t put any effort into the song. They didn’t forget the song, the purposefully didn’t try for the song.

    Romania: HIT – I LOVE this song. It’s a great mix of traditional and modern. However, the modern is NOT RAP. THIS. IS. NOT. RAP. Rap music is NOT SUNG. Every one of Alex Florea’s syllables is sung. on. a. pitch. Yes it is rap-like in that it is largely on one pitch and very rhythmic, but IT. IS. NOT. RAP. (This is one of those moments where I feel like being an American gives me just a bit more authority on this subject as we invented rap. (Thought not “we” cuz I’m white.)). I just find this song so fun and it has such a good message with a good singer in Ilinca. I totally agree that it shouldn’t work on paper but that it somehow is amazing. The ironic Eurovision watchers will love this and the jurors will love how good Ilinca is at yodeling. And yes Lisa this is authentic! She has researched Romanian yodeling, but Alex Florea considers himself a rocker not a rapper BECAUSE THIS ISN’T RAP HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY THIS. And yes they do have great charisma together, and I agree that either one by themselves would not work well.

    Montenegro: MAYBE – I really enjoy this song but I realize that it’s a pretty mediocre song. But it’s SO CAMPY, SO DANCY, and SO SO GAY. Also Slavko is AMAZING and such a diva. However it might be too campy for many viewers and jurors so it might have difficulty qualifying. I don’t have much more to add from this episode’s jurors. I love it but not in the same way I love many of the other songs, and I believe this will have great difficulty qualifying, so it’s a maybe.

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