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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5 Written by on April 4, 2018 | 9 Comments

Five more  songs from the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 hope for a hit, want to avoid a miss, but could settle for a maybe. 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.

Round five of Eurovision Juke Box Jury, as Ewan Spence is joined by Danny Lynch and Ross Barber-Smith to offer hits, misses, and maybes to Romania, Bulgaria, Ireland, Estonia, and Austria.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5
with Danny Lynch (ESC Bubble) and Ross Barber-Smith (Bridge The Atlantic)

Romania: Goodbye, by The Humans.
Bulgaria: Bones, by Equinox.
Ireland: Together, by Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
Estonia: La Forza, by Elina Nechayeva.
Austria: Nobody But You, by Cesár Sampson.

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 #5”

  1. Harriet Krohn says:

    ROMANIA: This is one of the very few songs that when it’s on has me going “Wait, which one is that again?” and I have to go check that it’s Romania. And if someone asked me what the Romanian entry was this year, I don’t think I’d remember it at once. Not that it’s a bad song, I never skip it – but I don’t know who would vote for this except Romanians around Europe. I don’t know if that will be enough. MAYBE

    BULGARIA: Like last year, this leaves me rather cold. Again, nice enough song, but it is rather calculated and I cannot connect with it. Nothing I skip, but nothing I ever actively choose. The voices sound good together and if they can make it work on stage, this can go quite far, but I just can’t bring myself to care. MAYBE

    IRELAND: Another one of the songs I keep forgetting are there too – what is it with this line-up?! 😀 I like it better than last year’s entry, but it’s still nothing much and I struggle to imagine this placing among the top ten in its semi. It’s about two decades too late and there’s not enough nostalgia in this world to save this. MISS

    ESTONIA: Not my cup of tea at all, but in contrast to Il Volo, I can actually listen to the whole song without having to surpress my typical popopera gag reflex. But it’s still not a song I ever actively choose to listen to, and I often skip the last high notes, which I don’t enjoy listening to at all. She’s not an incredible singer, otherwise she’d be doing proper opera and not this – but she’s good enough for people who are not trained to judge classical singing. But I agree that the song is just there to showcase her singing and that rub me the wrong way. I guess it’s going to do really well (but not win), but for me personally this is just a MAYBE.

    AUSTRIA: This reminds me of a whole bunch of songs that I vaguely know but don’t really like. There’s nothing new there and nothing that grabs me. What would make me pick up the phone for Austria? I can’t find an answer to this question unless he gives me something on the night that I can’t see yet. It’s not bad though, just a bit of … whatever. MAYBE

  2. Ben Pitchers says:

    Romania: MAYBE. I like this song a lot but it took me a few listens to get into it. It’s the kind of album track I’d end up getting to know over a period of time and it becoming one of my favourites. Like Ewan said, it takes too long to get going and being given the ‘death slot’ in SF2 won’t help. I hope they get rid of the masks and the clichéd dress reveal from the NF and find a more interesting visual for when the tempo changes. This being from Romania could help it squeeze into the final but this unfortunately may be the first time they don’t qualify.

    Bulgaria: MAYBE. The first time I heard it I thought it was a pretty solid entry. It didn’t stick with me and I went back to listen to it more to get my head around it than because I was excited to listen to it again. It’s all very competent but not hugely exciting. It’s a bit too dark, too clever and artificial, given that it’s a group created for the contest, to do really well. Given Bulgaria’s recent track record I’d think they’d stage it in a visually effective way. I do admire Bulgaria for taking a risk. If it’s performed well live I think it’ll qualify without too much trouble, but I think it might get forgotten by voters in the final and end up mid-table.

    Ireland: MISS. Ireland is trying what they sent last year again and hoping for a different result. It’s a competent but very uncompetitive song. The lyrics of the verses are good and the chorus would have worked better as a bridge. The endless repeating of ‘I thought we be together ’til we died’ just gets depressing after a while, and like Danny said it doesn’t build to anything. Before it was released Ryan talked about it having a gospel feel, but I don’t get hear it. It also baffles me that the official video doesn’t show Ryan at all and that RTE doesn’t seem to want to do much PR for their act. Definitely not qualifying again and that doesn’t bode well for attracting future talent for an internal selection and keeping the Irish public’s interest in Eurovision and growing the audience. Ewan summed it up perfectly when he said it feels like a contractual obligation for RTE – it doesn’t seem like they enjoy being a part of it at all.

    Estonia: MAYBE. I don’t get why this song is so favoured to do well in the same way that I never got Sognu’s expected success. I think there’s a confusion of being so impressed by someone’s poise, voice and beauty that you can forget that the song itself isn’t particularly catchy or exciting. I don’t think many people will be rushing to buy or stream this song after they hear it. I think it will qualify despite there being much better songs in SF1 but I don’t think it will be a success in the final.

    Austria: HIT. This is an enjoyable and very well produced entry. Cesár has a great voice and this song makes good use of it. The gospel backing singers give it extra power. It doesn’t take too long to get going either. Austria have really turned their fortunes around at Eurovision and it’ll be great seeing them in the final again. I think the song will do better with the juries than televoters but I don’t think a top half placing is off the cards.

  3. donnyademaj says:

    How will the juries love Estonia?? Juries have historically voted down opera entries, and even though this isn’t as “poppy” as SWE09, ROM13, ITA15, its’ more in line with something like FRA11 which finished 12th with the juries.

    If anything, I think the televote will prop up Estonia rather than the juries.

  4. Kathleen B says:

    Which patreon level comes with the official ESC Insight cookbook? It sounds like the baking has been the real highlight of the year for y’all so far (whether or not that is a reflection of the songs is another story entirely…) and I’d love to give the recipes a shot. Seriously, name your price. 😉

  5. filmfifty2 says:

    Romania: Goodbye, by The Humans. – They certainly are humans. The song has some catchy elements, but is ultimately nothing. -MISS

    Bulgaria: Bones, by Equinox. – I’m waiting for the mash up with Skeletons from last year cause that I’ll i hear when I listen to this overworked confluence of pretension. I’ve got your common framework right here. MISS.

    Ireland: Together, by Ryan O’Shaughnessy. MISS

    Estonia: La Forza, by Elina Nechayeva. – Sure, Elina has a wonderful voice, and the dress gimmick is eye-catching, but there is no song here. NONE. It’s so samey the whole way through. This has fanwank flop written all over it. MISS

    Austria: Nobody But You, by Cesár Sampson. – Austria sending a pretty boy, with a great voice, and an okay song? Where have I seen this before? MAYBE.

  6. Shai says:

    As this JBJ is published after the running order have been revealed, I took the liberty to place my thoughts, in some cases, about the running order.

    Romania-
    Not working at any level. There is no hook to draw you in.It’s not memorable enough and just get lost in the field of 18 songs, not to mention 26 songs, if they get to the final. If the diaspora will do it job, they will get to the final, on the account of song more deserving than this-MISS

    P.s.-
    Number 2 in the running order?- it’s like someone saying.On merit of the song alone you shouldn’t be qualifying. You will need to work hard to qualify but you are not getting any help.

    Bulgaria-
    Dark, atmospheric and maybe even mystrious. All those ingridients can be a basis for a good song and this song is only half way there. It somewhat cold and miss some passion. It also miss something that will give you a punch in the stomach and make you feel the song.
    Before writing this review, I have listened to the song 3 times and I think the work between the 5 singer is differently divided than what you would have expected. There is one guy singing the 2 verses. The female singer is dominant in the chorus and the others are more background voices to add the needed colours to the song. Very strange construction for a group of 5 persons who are suppose to share the stage and have the same focus. I have no idea how this going to work live, if it works. Bulgaria is rumoured to have a concept behind this, but until rehearsals we have the song and this a MAYBE(with a big question mark hanging above it).

    Ireland-
    To be honest, it’s not a bad song. It’s nice and sweet. It’s a radio-friendly song but it’s the kind of song you don’t really pay attention to it when it’s on. I don’t understand Ireland of late. Why not trying something new, something totally different? Why walking the same path over and over again?
    It seems Ireland is afraid of trying and they also like this victim approach of:”We have done our best but Europe don’t love us any more” or “it’s political voting and we have no chance” .
    Well Ireland – Take a good look around you and take note.There are countries around you which try and get recognition because the song they bring is good or they try every year something new -MISS

    P.s.
    And than there is that second to last(18) in the running order of semi 1 . The only thing I can say is WTF?why waste a good place for a song that has no chance? It is as if someone saying-This is your chance, so make the best out of it.

    Estonia-
    Italy 2015 was the last time a popera has done well in Eurovision. “Grand Amore” was more pop than opera and was a very accessible and uplifting song, sung by 3 telegenic singers. This is inclined more to the opera side than to the pop side and is so cold that I can not warm myself up to this.I ask myself where is the song in all of this?And why the most interesting thing in this performance is the projection on the dress(and even this is a bit underwhelming)?-MISS(for me), not more than MAYBE(for the contest)

    P.S.
    Placing Estonia and Bulgaria next to each other in the running order is very strange. They have different colors and stand out from each other and yet it feels wrong.
    It is as someone say-You are 2 are considered as favourites, so you are as late as possible in the running order, but each one of you need to stand on its own feet and show what you are capable of.
    I also think Estonia is too close to Israel. Belarus is the only one standing between Estonia and Israel. If Israel get it right, in all aspects, and becomes the talking point of everyone, than the shock wave of Israel will be felt by Estonia, to the point it will feel pale in comparison. If this happen, Estonia can say goodbye to the final.

    Austria-
    This is from he same music group behind the Bulgaria song and this is by far the best of the 2 songs. The funny thing about this one is that it partially written/composed by Swedish guys. So there are Swedish musicians who do different things than what Sweden bring to Eurovision.
    I love this song. It has everything I like in a song. It has good rhythm, a good built up and that gospel/soul vibe is just great. It also catchy without being cheap. The only let down here, is the ending. The last 10-20 seconds sound like someone was not sure how he want to end the song, otherwise than this little misfortune, it’s just a great song. It’s one of the songs from this year that I know I’ll put it on my play list and keep listening to it after the contest..If they bring it live as good as the music track, this is going to do well-HIT(for me, and I don’t care how it will do in the contest).

  7. mk says:

    5 MAYBEs …I’m actually siding with the predicted losers…Romania and Ireland. I don’t care for the rest, nevertheless I think they have more chances.

  8. Eurojock says:

    Romania: This is one of my personal favourites this year. I don’t find the first minute boring at all. For me it builds nicely from slow ballad, then strings, to full on ‘authentic’ soft-rock. What’s not to like? Their national final semi final staging worked. My worry is that at Eurovision they’ll ramp up the silly gimmicks like the masks and cape in a forlorn attempt to entice Ewan back from the kettle. Realistically, however, it is competing for 2 out of the 5 likely qualifying slots from the first half of semi two along with Serbia, Denmark, Russia and Moldova. Who prevails in this battle will depend on two key factors (a) diaspora support (b) who the juries will prefer. Re factor (a) Romania will probably hold its own and re factor (b) it is probably the most jury friendly of the 5 songs listed (although none of them are going to come particularly high with juries). So, despite a bad running order draw, it may just scrape through. MAYBE

    Bulgaria: The panel did a very good dissection of this entry. I have the advantage of having seen footage of the London Pre-Party which pretty much laid to rest any doubts about the vocal. The tightening in the betting markets suggests this view is widely shared. Bones is primarily a jury song and in semi one is fishing in the same pond as the likes of Belgium, Austria and Croatia. Now, having heard their live vocal, I think being a vocal group will give them an advantage over their closest competitors, providing the staging is half decent. The song is not a Eurovision winner but I’ve now got this as a qualifier and top ten in the final. HIT

    Ireland: Again I can’t disagree with much that the panel said about this – other than to add that the verses are reasonably good but the chorus is a bit low key. For me it is almost a miss. However, there are two possible saving graces. 1 – the late second half running order draw and 2 – the possibility they will recreate the staging from the video with the two male dancers. On this basis, I’m not yet ready to finally rule out qualification and by the skin of its teeth it’s a MAYBE.

    Estonia. – Like donnyademaj, I take issue with Ewan’s repeated comments that this a a jury song. Look at Il Volo – 1st in the public vote but only 6th with the juries. Elina’s vocal is so good I don’t see the juries shunning this entirely, but there are more contemporary songs they will favour, so I would expect to see her around 6th at best with the juries on Saturday night. Her vocal gymnastics, however, will impress televoters and she could come as high as 2nd or 3rd in the public vote. In conclusion, Estonia will be a safe qualifier and probably top ten or maybe top five in the final. but not a Eurovision winner. HIT

    Austria – This is a decent – quite contemporary take on a soul number (unlike Jaz Ellington for example) – the sort of thing that gets airplay on Radio 2. I agree with the panel that this is more jury friendly than televote friendly. In consequence, it faces a tough battle in semi-final one (see my comments on Bulgaria) and it could possibly lose out in this bloodbath. Borderline for qualification. MAYBE

    Finally, I can’t comment about Sharleen’s rumoured defection to WiWibloggs, but I can confirm a ‘Sharleen’ has been spotted contributing some very astute observations on the ESC TIps site. Ewan, I would keep a very close watch on your team if I were you!. Who will it be next? John Egan turning up on ESCKAZ?

  9. James says:

    Romania
    -Romania missed an opportunity of sending Feli or Jukebox to Lisbon. The eventual winner of Selectia Nationala came out of left field.

    While I’m alright with the actual song from The Humans, it sounds safe even by Romanian standards. While they have always qualified with songs of varying quality, this year could be their first NQ. The staging and over-all live performance will be Romania’s ace card that could either make or break their chances of making it to Saturday.

    For now, it’s a MAYBE.

    Bulgaria
    -I love it. It’s modern, it’s well-produced and the singers worked well together especially when I got to hear them live when they were in London this weekend.

    I just love the irony of certain sectors of the fandom that cries for modern songs to be entered in Eurovision but when they got what they asked for, they suddenly go “TOO MODERN! TOO MODERN! MY EARS ARE BLEEDING!”. The only criticism I have with “Bones” is that it sounds devoid of anything Bulgarian although I can be corrected if I can be pointed out about ethnic elements that my ears may have missed upon first listen.

    Betting odds are an over-exaggeration, I don’t know why people even pay attention to them. I know there is some exact science explained here in the website before but nope. These bookkeepers are overrated, irreleveant and shouldn’t even be worth mentioning or reporting about ever.

    For me this is a HIT.

    Ireland
    -If this was a song sent by any other country, heck if Sweden even considered sending this, this would be high one everyone’s radar and won’t be quick to be written off as a sure failure.

    The Emerald Isle have sent songs in different genres with varying success, mostly failures since 2014, so it’s not true that they’ve always been sending just ballads. I would have loved to see their entries in 2014 (ethno-dance pop) and 2015 (pop ballad) qualify while 2016 (pop song) and 2017’s (romantic ballad) NQ’s were justified.

    As for the song “Together”. This one has all the qualities that makes it all contemporary. It’s radio-friendly, it’s being sung by a homegrown Irish artist with moderate success in his home country and the country that gave him his biggest career break recently, it’s sweet, it’s innocent, and it’s close to what I consider be the threshold of a good modern Irish pop ballad.

    People say it’s Ed Sheeran-y (despite the fact that Ed Sheeran doesn’t even stick a genre that would allow him to create a solid and identifiable signature sound), and I say it’s Danny O’Donoghue-y.

    Given the right staging and an elevated live performance (and Ireland will hugely benefit from not having to rely on anything elaborate in Lisbon), this for me is a sure MAYBE (bordering on HIT).

    Estonia
    -I love that Estonia is mixing it up this year by sending something different and NOT IN ENGLISH. It’s not my personal winner but I can respect this for what it is. However, considering how they may not be able to translate what they did in Eesti Laul, I can see so many possibilities of how they could still retain the magic of the national final performance as there are multiple stage aspets they could capitalize on instead of relying on their projection-laden dress. Just focus on the voice and the performer and they’ll be good to go.

    For now, it’s a HIT.

    Austria
    -Another music video showing another Austrian artist running down in some mountain like a sequel continuation of the Sound of Music, “The Hills Have Eyes”. LOL

    Anyway, this is a decent effort form Austria. Cesar can definitely sing and they will definitely qualify. The one thing that would concern me would be that this would probably too jury-skewing for the second year running so there’s that possibility that its televote result would place it lower as it’s a niche-kind of song that’s not necessarily accessible to a European television audience.

    But I like it and for me, it’s a HIT.

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