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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #2 Written by on March 14, 2018 | 9 Comments

Our next five songs from the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 step up to take the stand and 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.

Tucked away in a tiny corner of Oslo is this week’s edition of Juke Box Jury. The sun has set, the candles are lit, and as the rest of the ESC Insight team take over EscXtra’s livestream, the next batch of hits, misses, and maybes are being decided.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #2
with Ellie Chalkley (Listen Outside) and Wiv Kristiansen (EscXtra).

Greece: Oneiro, by Yianna Terzi.
Germany: You Let Me Walk Alone, by Michael Schulte.
United Kingdom: Storm, by SuRie.
San Marino: Who We Are, by Jessika, ft Jenifer Brening.
Spain: Tu Canción, by Alfred & Amaia.

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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9 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #2”

  1. mk says:

    Germany & Spain – MAYBE
    The rest – MISS

  2. filmfifty2 says:

    Greece – Run of the mill ethno-track. But it’s Greece, so Maybe.
    Germany – This is maudlin masturbation. MISS
    UK – This very anthemic, and she performs the hell out of it. But the lyrics are a salad spinner full of tired, uninteresting, cliches of hope. MISS
    San Marino – I don’t care what anyone says I LOVE THIS. Jessika is great. I love the rap break from Jenny B. This is in my top 10. But it’s still a MISS and will finishes 16th in the semi.
    Spain – If I listen to more than a few seconds at a time I might fall into a diabetic coma. Also, he is terrible. MISS

  3. Alex C says:

    Ewan, I don’t know what evidence you’re citing when you say (like last year) that “jurors tend to follow eurovision & the selections” but I strongly suspect that that is hogwash. The only ones who follow the selections enough to still have an opinion about them in May are the devotees like us!

    Greece – The ballad equivalent of “Greece on Autopilot”. In Semi 2 I’d say an easy 10th and then completely forgotten in the final but in Semi 1 even Greece on Autopilot might not be enough (and they’ll likely have to suffer the embarassment of having Cyprus qualify ahead of them again!). MAYBE

    Germany – It does what it does quite efficiently but I think it’s ceiling is probably similar to Lucie Jones’s result last year (i.e. low top 10 with the jury and a pittance from the televote) meaning upper right hand side so…idk, MAYBE/HIT (compared to what Germany usually get)

    UK – It’s good to hear that you’ve got so much faith in SuRie because, well, to me this sounds like your typical “accidentally last” – a song that’s competently made & produced, performed decently but not spectacularly that sounded good in it’s own average quality National Final but in a higher quality field in Lisbon, doesn’t impress anybody enough for them to have it in their top 3/5 to cast televotes for it. Everything that it does is done better and more memorably than somewhere else and when this bombs, in this year of all years, it’s going to be harder and harder to avoid the political voting accusations in the papers the next day and it’ll be harder and harder to attract good songwriters and artists to You Decide next year and the cycle will continue. MISS

    (and to make matters worse, Legends would have stood out SO MUCH and SO WELL in this year’s line-up)

    San Marino – as a legendary San Marinese entry once said…NO!. MISS

    Spain – Like Ewan, I can see a “path for victory” with this if Israel falters and it all becomes a very open year that the whole marketable heterosexuality of the song captures people’s imaginations and it does a Running Scared style narrow win. I pray more than anything that that doesn’t happen though. MAYBE

  4. Eurojock says:

    Greece – You guys were maybe a bit harsh on this. The chorus is strong and the ethnic feel of the song could appeal to the Greek diaspora and give Greece its highest finish in some years. With Cyprus and Armenia in the same semi I think it is more likely to qualify than not and come, at best, mid-table in the final. I do worry about the ‘selection by default’ history of this entry. If there had been a national final and Yianna couldn’t sing or perform live, she would have been weeded out that this stage. Assuming she can sing and has a decent stage presence it’s a MAYBE.

    Germany – Thank you Ewan. I was beginning to think I was the only person in the universe who could hear Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ . I agree with the panel’s comments about the emotions in this song being a bit false. Despite the subject matter, You Let Me Walk Alone, has not been one of the entries to have brought a tear to my eye. That said, I can imagine this performing strongly with the juries (5 -10 perhaps) although the public vote could be more problematic. Depending on the public vote, left hand side and maybe top 10 is possible. HIT

    UK – Alex C’s comments about this being ‘accidentally last’ are apt. It’s a televote song and the UK struggles in the televote. Low right hand side. MISS

    San Marino – Why ‘Who We Are’ was chosen ahead of Sara de Blue’s ‘Out of the Twilight’ let’s just say baffles me. The performance comes across as amateurish. A semi-final no-hoper. MISS (Still better than Iceland though!)

    Spain – I too see a ‘path for victory’ but it is a path that could end with Spain falling of a cliff edge. Although the song is sickly sweet it is well written and Amaia is very good indeed. Its strongest point is the undeniable chemistry between the two performers and it is this which could (at a long shot) take it to victory. However, as the panel said, Amaia’s new boyfriend is not up to her standard. Since the podcast (I imagine) Lithuania has sent a song that is similar in many ways, despite being a female solo. Finally, we need to remember Tu Cancion is the Spanish entry and Spain tend to under-perform at Eurovision. So, the two most likely outcomes are 6-10 or low to mid right hand side. MAYBE

  5. Shai says:

    Greece –
    It’s ethnic but as Ewan say it has no structure. I think that with the ethnic sound, they are aiming more at the diaspora than the wide audience and by this they want to make sure they get to the final, without the need to actually win. This semi is becoming a tough one and there are far better songs than this one, in the semi alone-MAYBE

    Germany –
    It’s not a bad song and it’s a good one either. Just an average song that you don’t pay attention to when it’s on the radio. I missing an emotional layer in the song or in the performance and it’s all remains a bit flat. In the national final they had at the backdrop photo’s of sons and fathers. They won’t have it in Lisbon and therefore loosing any connection to the audience. That’s said there people who like this kind of songs. The question is if they are also going to vote for this come May 2018-MAYBE

    P.s.-For the record – I love E.T.- I have tears in my eyes every time I watch the last scene. It’s very effective in the emotions it evoke and I for once don’t care how manipulative Spielberg was in that film.

    United Kingdom-
    During UK national final, this came out the best of the bunch. This happened mainly because, live, she perfectly sold it. My main concerns was that she was shouty in parts, so they tackled it by making her sing in a slightly lower key. I wonder if the lower key will be good in the live rendition because it might loose some of the power the song had. It’s not a bad song. It’s not a game changer either. It is pleasant on first hear and it does remain hanging in your head after that first hear. It can go either way and its success depends on staging and running order- Between MATBE and a HIT

    San Marino –
    It’s generic and awful. Can’t remember it after frist listen. Someone thought-This is how a Eurovision song should sound. There is no life in it and that’s coming from an up-tempo song-MISS

    Spain –
    She has a beautiful voice, his is just annoying. This schmaltz on the highest form. It simple and effective and that melody of the chorus does remain in your head, even if you just don’t want to hear anymore. The success of the song depends on the chemistry between them. I understand that they became a couple during the whole selection process. Tvé should hope they are still couple come Lisbon because otherwise the whole set-up for the song will fall apart. They also need a simple staging but Tvé is not known for their staging. In short there too many uncertain factors in this -Between MAYBE and a HIT

  6. James says:

    Greece
    -Going back to its ethno-pop roots after last year’s excuse of a “dream team” didn’t exactly bring Greece back to the left side of the board in the finals was a welcome change of pace. How it will fare will depend on its live performance as the song is one of those tracks that requires some epic visuals to lure people into their direction. And as 2016 has proven, having a continental diaspora, and the connection Greece has with the Greek-Cypriot community in Cyprus are two safety nets that cannot be depended on.
    MAYBE

    Germany
    -I was lucky enough to catch Unser Lied Fur Lissabon live on Deutsche Welle at 5 in the morning local time here in Asia as I prepped myself for work and managed to see Ivy Quainoo and Michael Schulte’s performances. T^he former was underwhelming while the latter sucked me in on the ride.

    Michael’s song got me tearing up even though going in, I don’t exactly know what the song was about (and I have heard his and Ryk’s song ahead of time on Spotify and Youtube). It tugged on the right hearstrings and I guess people connected with it/

    Now as for the “Ed Sheeran” comparisons, his songs for all I know doesn’t sound remotely anything like this as if he’s the only one capable of writing, producing and performing this particular genre of pop music. One must not forgot that before Ed, we had the likes of Kris Allen and Danny O’Donoghue among others (“Live Like We’re Dying”, “Together We Cry”) pretty much helped define the modern pop ballad in the past 10 years. Ed Sheeran has dabbled in a number of genres since breaking into the music scene as an artist so his particular style or sound is hard to identify so I don’t truly understand everyone, not just here, who immediately has him in mind whenever they hear “You Let Me Walk Alone”.

    I think Germany can do decently with televoters and juries could probably give this a decent amount of points based ona technical standpoint. Regardless of how the finale line-up will shape up after the semis, I could see this getting out from the bottom two.
    HIT

    San Marino
    -I liked the version of this song when Irol was still a part of it but I have no problems with the one the eventually one 1in360, despite how problematic and confusing the national selection turned out to be for everyone. Personally, I would have liked Sara de Blue and “Out of the Twilight” winning but it wasn’t just meant to be.

    The song is not bad per se and things can be worked out for Jennifer to improve her rapping and this is the best that San Marino has sent for a while after years of sending Ralph Siegel-penned songs. Will it qualify, depends on how well it will stand out and I don’t think having two dancing robots will help San Marino make that leap so the delegation has to think things through, more so focusing on Jessika and Jennifer and less so and everything else on stage.
    MAYBE

    United Kingdom
    -This one and the other songs in the line=up fo this year’s You Decide are more reflective of the British music scene and I was probably among the few who were backing “Storm” the moment it was let loose for our listening pleasure.

    Are the lyrics too simplistic? Perhaps. But the song is so enjoyable to listen to and Surie managed to sell it in a way that really got people up and running.

    i have to disagree that some of the other fan-faves would have been the better options for Britain to send, such as “Legends” and “Crazy”. But such heavy bangers needed to be executed well when performed live and Raya and Asanda fell short on it, more so on Asanda. Surie did things the Lucie Jones way, less is more and everyone else connected to her as a result.

    I expect that feeling of connection me and the audience had with her can be duplicated, if not further enhanced, on the ESC stage in Lisbon.
    HIT

    Spain
    -I’m not sure if anyone from the Jukebox Jury ever followed the live performances in Operacion Triunfo, because there are loads of videos of Alfred being at his best, especially with his duet-cover with Amaia of “City of Stars” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k-oIhNLHxM) so I don’t get the criticism (and not just here) about his voice. Perhaps the problems with the fact that Alfred and Amaia only had a week to prepare for a song that had just been given to them, in addition to learning and perfecting their own individual entries for the national selection, “Que nos sigan las luces” and “Al cantar” respectively, in addition to the revamped “Camina” where all top 5 finalists sang as a potential entry. But that by no means compromised “Tu cancion” because everyone gave their best to sell their songs and they all delivered.

    Staging will need some tweaking like removing the piano sets and styling the two better though and just focus on them with some fancy camera work. Over-all, this is a much better entry coming from Spain and will do better than last year’ disastrous live show. I can see this ending up mid-table so I’m gonna go with my gut and declare it as:
    HIT

  7. Ben Pitchers says:

    Greece: MAYBE. The peculiarities of this year’s non-starter of a Greek NF aside, they’ve ended up with a good entry. The music suits the dramatic lyrics and I think Yianna does a good job of conveying them in her delivery of the song. The song lends itself to being accompanied by some sort of interpretive dance on stage. It’s much better than their 2016 ethnic entry. I think it should qualify pretty easily from SF1. Not sure how it will do in the final – hopefully better than last year’s 19th for Demy.

    Germany: MAYBE. I don’t like this entry, but I’ve given it a maybe because of his voice and the appeal this sort of song will probably have with the juries and public. It should also avoid yet another dreaded last place for Germany. If you analyse the song you find issues with it but many people, upon hearing it for the first time, might connect easily with it as in Wiv’s experience. My main problem with this song is how generic the lyrics are. You don’t learn anything about his story of losing his Dad – everything is trying to be made so universal that it loses any personal touch at all. Yet another song trying to be too safe. I don’t think he does a very good job conveying enough emotion with his performance. Germany’s NF had such a long process before getting to the televised selection, so it’s disappointing that this is all that came out of all the work that went into it.

    United Kingdom: MAYBE. Eurovision: You Decide had a better and more varied crop of songs than last year but we’ve seem to have ended up in a similar place. SuRie, like Lucie last year, is the best thing about it and really elevates this song live. Even more than Lucie she engages well with the camera and comes across in a very likeable way. The song being slightly more uptempo and catchier may give it a few more televotes than last year, but I think the UK will do better with the juries than the televoters yet again. If the BBC come up with a great staging concept like they did in 2017 I think it’ll come somewhere between 2017’s 15th place and 2016’s 24th place.

    San Marino: MISS. Far too generic in the verses and bridge. The chorus is a bit better. I don’t know why they chose to keep the rap after Irol decided not to be on the track. If it was to give him a songwriting credit I could understand it but he isn’t listed on the credits. Jenifer is, so I’d assume they asked her to write a replacement rap for some reason. I think San Marino will avoid coming last with some televotes from Malta and Germany but obviously not qualify. I’m quite glad they attempted a national final even if it was somewhat of a disaster!

    Spain: MAYBE. It’s a very pleasant but unspectacular ballad duet. They benefit from being in a relationship and having genuine chemistry. The Spanish entry always gets a bit over-hyped. I can understand that, for viewers who have seen them fall in love as the weeks of Operación Triunfo have passed by, the song means more to them than the average Eurovision viewer. I agree that Amaia is much better than Alfred, who looks a bit awkward trying to emote his feelings. It’s another song that will appeal more to jurors than televoters. Assuming the TVE team don’t mess up the staging, they’ll do better than last year’s bottom finish and be higher up on the right hand side of the scoreboard.

  8. Martin says:

    Interesting places you do these recordings guys – in a bed? Got a John and Yoko (and another) image in my head now…

    Greece – MAYBE. It is Greece and all but one year in the past that would see them in the Final. It was bold to go totally ethnic again after Utopian Land but by sheer luck, Greece have a beautiful singer with a superb voice and a powerful authentic folk-ballad. I think that this will do far better than all of you there think it will – there might not be much lyrically here but the pounding drums driving the song on and Yianna’s dreamy ethereal wails will stick in a lot of voter’s heads. As it is in SF1 however, I could see this being an undeserved casualty.

    Germany – MAYBE. Germany loves these MOR Radio 2 ballads but that has been their downfall. To be honest, this will connect more than previous entries, it is sentimental, it is well sung, there is emotion but it is quite forgettable and even in the recap, many viewers will be saying “which nation was that?”. I would say that it might not be bottom 5 this year though.

    UK – MAYBE. SuRie will carry this with her big stage experience, her clear vocal tone sticking Storm in your head when hearing it live – what will lift the entry is her performance capabilities that energised the crowd in Brighton through her visual/lyrical story telling and stage charisma. It is ALL ABOUT HER – with a better song, we could be looking at top five.

    San Marino – MISS. Hideous, hideous, hideous – a complete miss-mash of ideas, neither singer is good enough vocally and the rap section is likely to be as successful a Eurovision vote catcher as it ever is. Jessika is enthusiastic and passionate about this but this will be another San Marino DNQ, last place in SF bad.

    Spain – MAYBE/HIT. All very Glee, all very saccharin, they are still in love even after OT and launching into the pre-Parties. He can’t sing that well, she carries this alone but the boy-girl love story that started in Spain will probably move onto Lisbon, look very nice on screen and stand-out a mile. Unlikely to win but it could pick up a mass of televotes to get Spain their first LHS finish for years.

  9. Dave Cargill says:

    Great show. I loved Wiv’s characterization as a mother, of Michael’s personal approach to writing/producing the German song, and what this means to him about a parent’s death. I feel ‘us’ Eurovision journalists and bloggers can be guilty of over-thinking the production or composition, when often its a simple honest expression of how you feel.

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