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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1 Written by on March 7, 2018 | 15 Comments

The adventure begins once more, as ESC Insight puts all 43 songs in the dock to be judged. 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.

Here we go, now the clock really is running. Once more Juke Box Jury is starting just in time for all eight episodes to finish airing before the ESC Insight team lands in Lisbon to start our coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Before then we’ve the small matter of listening to every song that will be at the Song Contest, and answering a simple question. Hit, miss, or maybe?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1
with Ross Middleton and Boog Biagi

Moldova: My Lucky Day, by DoReDos.
Switzerland: Stones, by Zibbz.
Iceland: Our Choice, by Ari Ólafsson.
Ukraine: Under The Ladder, by Mélovin.
Italy: Non Me Avete Fatto Niente, by Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro.

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 (

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15 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1”

  1. Maclaren says:

    Thank you, I am British with no significant knolewdge of Italian and I love the Italian song this year. I cried when I heard it for the first time and I cry every time I watch the video. This is the one I will be voting for on the night

  2. Mio says:

    I get a tear in my eye everytime I hear the Italian song, and it is even more powerful watching them sing it live. It is my favorite this year by far.

  3. Shai says:

    JBJ is back. Now I can really get myself into this year’s vintage.

    I believe that at this moment, we judge the songs by the NF performance and some of the songs will sound a bit different when they are submitted next week. But that’s the result of Eurovision so early on the agenda, combined with the fact that JBJ is to end before rehearsals start.

    Moldova –

    It’s fun and energetic but it’s also very dated. Another downside : It doesn’t stay long in your head after the song is finished. It’s kind of song that televoters going to vote for but juries will ignore. I appreciate the effort but don’t like the song – MISS(for me) HIT(for the contest)


    It’s a song that hasn’t decided what he wants to be and I also have difficulties to keep it in my head and remember it. Something is just not working for me here. There is also a contradiction between the way she comes across on screen and the way she tries to present herself- MISS


    A great voice but and awful and boring song. There is nothing that will make televoters vote for this. Maybe not nice to say, but this is the song for the toilet break- MISS


    This is actually quite good, although in some point it becomes repetitive. The thing is that there are elements in the staging that will not be available in Lisbon(LED screens) and part of the effectiveness of the staging is the LED screens on the floor blasting in image of fire and which lead to the burning of the ladder, under him. But this being Ukraine, that will be solved eventually. This is easily qualifying and giving Ukraine another good result -HIT


    It’s more a political statement/pamphlet than a song. The way they sing it, is more spoken song than a singing one. The words are important and if you don’t speak Italian, it will all get lost on a wider audience. And than there is the fact that it needs to be shorten in 30 second. After last year disaster I am not sure the Italian can do a good revamp or a one without harming the structure of the song – MISS

  4. Ben Pitchers says:

    Moldova: MISS. The whole thing is just horribly dated and a waste of DoReDos. The music and ethnic sound seem divorced from the lyrics, almost as if trying to fuse the music from something like “Hora din Moldova” or “Lautar” with the lyrics of something like “Loca”. This is a song about meeting someone on a night out and hoping they like you as much as you like them. Saying that, there’s no chemistry between the singers at all and the NF’s staging did nothing to facilitate that. They performed the song in a very workmanlike way at the NF; I’m not getting the impression they loved doing it. Conversely, it it was so obvious Sunstroke Project were having a great time performing last year. It is uptempo but verges on sounding a bit manic. It could be chosen to open SF2 but I imagine it’ll do horribly with the juries and will either just squeak through and do badly in the final or miss out entirely. There’ll be much more competent and modern uptempo songs in the final for people to vote for over this.

    Switzerland: MAYBE. I quite like this once it gets going and online bullying/trolling is a pretty good subject for a song and the throwing stones metaphor is good. I’m not sure how memorable it’ll be in a field of 19 songs but at least they have a second half draw. There’s quite a bit of competition in SF2 and it’ll come down to the staging to see if it’ll qualify, especially as Switzerland really seems to struggle with televote support.

    Iceland: MISS. The panel is right that this is the sort of song we get again and again at the contest – I agree completely with Ewan’s love love peace peace comments. Ari’s a very likeable singer but this song is just too beige to really get noticed, especially from the first half of the bigger SF. This is the sort of entry I’d expect from Ireland in the 00s. It very much reminds me of six4one’s song in 2006. I’d also argue that this may be a bigger contender for last place in this semi, with the caveat that there’s still 5 songs from it that I haven’t heard yet. Iceland’s stuck in such a rut and I can understand why songwriters and artists may feel discouraged from entering Songvakeppnin after Greta and Svala didn’t qualify with very good entries.

    Ukraine: MAYBE. I’m not quite sure what the song’s about – I’ve taken a look at the lyrics and they’re fairly opaque. Something about everything going wrong but just plowing ahead or not caring too much? It’s very difficult for a first-time listener to understand his pronunciation of the lyrics of the verses. There’s something about it I quite like that I can’t put my finger on. It shouldn’t have too much trouble qualifying. Mélovin’s performance in the NF is a little too self-involved and I think he comes off as someone who’s a little too concerned with the visual aspect of the performance than the music side. If it qualifies I think it’ll come about 9th-15th.

    Italy: MAYBE. This song grows on me every time I listen to it. I prefer Ermal’s softer delivery than Fabrizio’s more aggressive approach but I imagine they’re aiming for a contrast of styles to make it an interesting duet and it’s a great chorus. The emotions come across well even if you don’t understand the words. They have to edit to 3 mins but they only have to cut 30 seconds and I don’t think it’ll be too difficult. My main concern is that viewers won’t get it the first time around. I see it getting a mid table result.

  5. Martin says:

    Hooray, it’s that time of year again! This has become so much easier to do when you give your views on all the songs within 24 hours of them being chosen…

    Moldova – HIT. DoReDos are a well oiled machine, slick , engaging to watch, wonderful acting, superb connection between singers and dancers. The song is incredibly catchy and infectious, the rhythm and vocals are spot on. This is a definite qualifier and it wouldn’t surprise me to be in the top five. Given how there isn’t a standout entry so far this year, with the right circumstances, this could win.

    Switzerland – HIT. That rating is based on Zibbz qualifying for the Final and that would be the Swiss ideal. Stones is a complex mix of volume, power and attitude – love the thumping drums and Coco is eminently watchable, with distinctive vocals that hook you into catchy chorus heaven. She also has the best hat this year – Waylon will be pissed! Power pop at its best.

    Iceland – MISS. So wholesome you could imagine Russia singing this, Ari is a clean living boy with the wonderful voice and winning smile but has the cheesiest and preachiest song ever, trying to get everyone to get along and ending the world’s problems in three minutes. The surest DNQ this year, baring Alekseev still not being able to sing live.

    Ukraine – HIT. Melovin keeps his quirky contacts fixed totally on the viewer in theis two thirds/one third song – the bulk of the song is fast paced pop whilst the rest is that piano on the podium finale. His is extremely charismatic, the song is very listenable and the performance has loads of life. Improve his diction and some of the tuning and this has a probable tot ten written all over it.

    Italy – MAYBE. Yet another song this year in its native tongue with a social message that the home crowd loved but the rest of Eurovision will say “Pardon”? For 99.99% of viewers who don’t speak Italian and who don’t have a Babel Fish in their ear, the message is lost in translation so its laudable anti-war message is gone. you are then left with a nondescript and yet sung at 200 miles an hour MOR song. Passionate delivery and their vocals really mesh well but the hook isn’t there and I’m not sure how they are going to lose 30 seconds from a song where there is barely a pause for breath or space without words. Let’s gloss over the six different terrorist acts that it directly relates to as well…

    Loving the paring of Ross and Boog once again – their views tend to mirror mine so it always a great listen. One thing I would say though – at least I’d remember the blooming guitars!

  6. Alex C says:

    Yay, great to have JBJ back!

    Moldova – HIT. This is Moldova doing what Moldova do best and that’s all to the good. Even in a final situation (which it will easily get too) with a mix of tempos/speeds nothing’s going to be quite as “fun4europe” bonkers like this so I think the televote’s going to be very strong with this one. Juries will probably limit it’s reach to 8th-15th in the final but for Moldova I’d still call that a hit!

    Switzerland – MISS. Ross mentions that this was disappointing in the Swiss NF, which is true. Problem is, everything else was equally if not even more disappointing. This feels like they’re trying to sound edgy but just can’t get themselves out of the middle of the road and in the Semi of Death of Semi 1 this will get eaten alive!

    Iceland – MISS. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I suspect this will get shoved on 2nd after something like Czech Republic and be forgotten instantly.

    Ukraine – HIT. I don’t know how they do it but Ukraine have pulled another stormer out of their hat and just one re-routed pyrotechnic away from “and a burning fake piano” to boot. I suspect this and Australia are the two songs most likely to come through the middle in an “open” year and take an accidental “Running Scared” style victory.

    Italy – MAYBE. This is a well performed, expertly constructed and performed song that absolutely nobody outside of Italy and Italian-speakers are going to give a damn about. The panel said it all really, outside of the San Remo context it’ll just read as two guys standing still and singing aggressively into a microphone. Will still do well with juries but the televotes for this will be Italy’s “floor” and no more

  7. mk says:

    Italy – HIT for me, the best can do is 5-10 in the final
    The rest – MISS for me.
    I think you got too enthusiastic about Moldova. The first thing that crossed my mind when I’ve heard it was Moldova wouldn’t make the final this year.

  8. James says:

    -Something I expect would come from them. This one needs a tigher and stronger staging that could highlight them more as a group. The song itself is quite good. Borderline to sure qualifier for me.

    -Good singer, bad song. Had they kept it Icelandic, it would probably not sound as bad as it already is in its Anglicized form. Oh well. Might become a surprise qualifier but odds are stack against it.

    -I was hoping for The Kolors to get picked back in Sanremo but Ermal and Fabrizio are good enough choices to send so I’m okay with this. Hopefully the abridged version wouldn’t suck the life of this the way it did for Occidentali’s Karma last year.

    -Vidbir’s finale line-up is one of the strongest I’ve seen this national final season so as much as I like to see Tayanna go to ESC with her song, I’m not mad with the turn-out, or if any of the other finaists like Laud and Kadnay made the cut. Melovin has incredible stage presence and really sell the heck out of his song.

    -The best of a somewhat safe set of songs in the Swiss final,although a better bunch than last year’s. With that said, I’m kinda not feeling “Stones” as much as I should. The live performance better gives me that much-needed punch.

  9. Eurojock says:

    Welcome back to JBJ – the jewel in the ESC Insight Crown. It’s always a pleasure to listen to Ewan and the team’s considered thoughts on the songs.

    Moldova – Poor dated song but Moldova do this kind of entry very well and I’m sure it will come across a lot better by the time it gets to the contest. I could have written much the same last year and my main concern is whether pulling the same stunt two years running will be quite so rewarding. Sunstroke Project also benefitted from there being so many fun/novelty songs last year and being the one that juries went for. I can’t see juries supporting this year’s entry. With good staging it’s a likely qualifier but I’m not seeing it reaching top 10. On that basis, MAYBE.

    Switzerland – Personally, I love the song and it’s one of the strongest this year. It sounds modern, has clever lyrics and strong performers with a good image. I believe the vocal issues at the national final were mostly to do with sound quality. You could see the singer fiddling with her back pack at the outset of the song and from then on things improved markedly – apart from one slightly scary moment near the end. I have heard that the song is apparently about online bullying. My reading is that it’s more an attack on the politics of self interest and xenophobia as currently epitomised by Trump and the European Right. Whatever it is, the staging (which is promising) needs to bring the meaning out a bit more. All that said, objectively I can see Stones being borderline as to whether it qualifies. Switzerland has virtually no friends in the public vote, so it probably needs to get jury top 5 to get through. HIT for me and MAYBE for the contest.

    Iceland – Bloody awful, dated cheesy crap that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Songs of Praise. Yes, Ari can sing, but if 2017 taught us anything it’s that jurors now turn their backs on big dated sounding ballads however well sung. If this comes last in it’s semi it will be only be what it deserves. MISS

    Ukraine – This has a strong energetic chorus, but I slightly share Ross’s reservations. There is something missing – maybe it lacks a connection on an emotional level. Ukraine will stage it well but the combination of fire and a piano have been done before. It’s almost certain to qualify, but for the moment I see it as being mid-table on the Saturday night. MAYBE

    Italy – Ewan, is the fact that you are still smarting about Francesco’s result last year by any chance connected to the wager you had on it at 28/1? I imagine if that had come in there would have been no need for Patreon. As for this year’s Italian entry, in it’s current form it’s two guys ranting down the camera in a language that most people won’t understand. At least we now know what happened to Diego Costa after he left Chelsea. Middling jury vote, low televote and right hand side finish. MISS

  10. I guess you guys are a bit too much in the Moldova bubble.
    Sure, they gonna make the final, but for sure not the top10.

    Last year was way more over the top to stay in mind for voting, but this year is dated, the staging is a mess IMO and dated as well.
    If UK would come up with such a mess you would rip it apart, but Moldova can wrap shit and get hyped for?

  11. MarcelFIN says:

    I was seriously shocked to hear you having Moldova as a hit and than many people repeating the same thing in the comments. Maybe people are overcompensating for not seeing Moldova’s potential last year, but I have this as one of the most obvious non-qualifiers. It reminds me of Guri Schanke singing for Norway in 2007 and that was already so dated 10 years ago and ended up not going anywhere. It’s a MISS for me.

    Otherwise I think Ukraine and Italy are HITs, Switzerland is a MAYBE for qualification and Iceland is a MISS.

  12. Hans says:

    Yay, Juke Box Jury is back and that means that Eurovision season has begun. And, yay, what I thought would be my guilty pleasure this year, Moldova, is nothing to be guilty about after all.

  13. filmfifty2 says:

    Moldova – Kirkorov trash. But it’s Kirkorov so he got his way. MISS.
    Switzerland – I really liked this from when it was chosen. And with the last deluge of releases it just fell out of my top 10. But it’s Switzerland, so they’ll duff the staging and fail to qualify. MISS
    Iceland – This is a song that exists. MISS
    Ukraine – I don’t really like it. Don’t get the hype. But Ukraine always brings it on the night. HIT.
    Italy – I do not like Ermal Meta. I would like this a lot more if it was just Fabrizio. MAYBE.

  14. Ben Cook says:

    Ooh I didn’t realise this was back and now I have two shows to listen to, yay! Always enjoy these in the lead-up to rehearsal fortnight!

    One thing I’m surprised nobody has picked up on Moldova is the lack of a memorable lyrical hook. Melodically it’s as good as last year’s entry, and yes Kirkorov will stage the hell out of it. But it doesn’t have they “hey mama mama” hook that you remember. I’ve heard this song many times and I still can’t remember how it goes.

    “Number one.. da da da da da da, da da da da da..” nope can’t remember. I think that’s a bit of a problem if they want to do as well or better than last year.

  15. Mark says:

    I did enjoy this reviews, but isn’t Lulu the most successful Scot at the contest? Ahead of even Ken Bruce.

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