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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7 Written by on April 19, 2018 | 13 Comments

Five more songs from Lisbon 2018 find out if they are hits, misses, or maybes ahead of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. 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.

The seventh round of Juke Box Jury as Ewan Spence is joined by Elaine Dove and Robert Peacock to talk bananas, life jackets, and school backpacks. The hits, misses, and maybes are going out to Cyprus, Albania, Malta, France, and the Czech Republic.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7
with Elaine Dove (Sing in The City) and Robert Peacock (The Wee Review).

Cyprus: Fuego, by Eleni Foureira.
Albania: Mall, by Eugent Bushpepa.
Malta: Taboo, by Christabelle.
France: Mercy, by Madame Monsieur.
Czech Republic: Lie To Me, by Mikolas Joseph.

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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13 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7”

  1. James says:

    Cyprus
    -The song is alright. Nice beat, very tropical summer song that I could hear in the radio. The biggest issue I can see here is if whether or not they can translate that energy shown in the music video to the Lisbon stage. No doubt she can sing, but this type of song requires a dynamic live performance.

    This can easily go through to the final but I don’t think this is the song that would end Cyprus’ 3-decade winless drought.
    MAYBE.

    Albania
    -I love everything about this song. And the abbreviated revamp did not hurt it one bit. Sure, it had to cut some critical parts of the original version, but I think Eugent more than makes up for it with his crazy wild vocals that we finally got to see in two instances post-revamp (The Voice Kids Albania and Eurovision in Concert). Despite not being in English, I think this can transcend border with a potential to not just “Kuula” its way to the final but maybe, just maybe, “Amar Pelos Dois” itself into winning it all.
    HIT.

    Malta
    -It’s dark and moody but with some added lightness. I have some issues with the lyrics but Christabelle makes it work. While no doubt they’ll make significant changes in Lisbon with their staging so it won’t be as visually dark as it was in their national final. Not a winner for me but Malta can still be proud of their entry this year.
    MAYBE

    France
    -“Mercy” is just dang so good. It’s not exactly message-heavy song but more of telling a story that makes you have an emotional connection with it, despite not knowing French. I hope France gets a good result this year.
    HIT

    Czechia
    -“Lie to Me” has gotten annoying in my ears in the months since the song was first released (and prior to Mikolas getting drafted to Czechia’s national selection). It wasn’t really a song I’d listen to on repeat but I’ve been hearing it a lot from other places in the internet. But, I understand its appeal. It has a sort of New Orleans jazz-type sound, probably because of its use of the trombones.

    With that said, I don’t think it would win and depending on how the actual ESC performance would look like, this could either bomb or see the Czech Republic finally having a second taste of the final.

    Oh and the backpack has got to go!
    MAYBE

  2. James says:

    And yes, I have to agree that Albania’s revamping finally worked this time around. It didn’t feel as disjointed as “Occidentali’s Karma”. 😀

  3. Eurojock says:

    Cyprus: Will qualify easily from the semi-final pimp slot, but the lack of a strong climax in the chorus will confine it to right hand side in the final. MAYBE

    Albania: Dated rock song (which needs to be in English but isn’t) with a poor draw in the tough half of the stronger semi. Sorry panel, despite its merits, it’s an almost certain non-qualifier. MISS

    Malta: I don’t know what to make of this song or the staging. Like the jury said it’s got a lot of good ideas but it feels that Malta and Christabelle are trying too hard. At least it’s in the second half of semi two which is the place to be to give it at least a chance of qualification. MAYBE

    France: I remember watching this in the French semi-final. At that stage I had no idea what it was about, and I remember thinking that it was an agreeable little song that plodded along a bit. Having read the English translation of the lyrics and/or watching the video, Mercy became a lot more powerful. The big challenge for France is getting the meaning of the song across to non-French speakers, without it coming across as ham-fisted (i.e. life jackets strewn across the stage). Based on their recent staging record I’m not convinced France are up to the challenge. As you say, Ewan, this is a song that could finish anywhere depending on how well they get the message over. MAYBE

    Czech Republic: A strong modern pop number. There is something there for the juries and the televoters. However, the hip hop influence will be by no means to everyone’s taste and I think this will limit what it can achieve result wise. Robert also gives an apt warning about the dangers of Mikolas appearing too cocky. Unless they really mess up the staging I have this as a safe qualifier and around 6-10 in the final. HIT

  4. Howard Atkinson says:

    This is a year on which, I reckon, we’ll all look back and think “it should have been obvious that that would win”. But nobody can see the wood for the trees at the moment.

    Of all the songs in this year’s show, the one that best fits the bill for me in this respect is Lie To Me. It’s fresh, catchy and energetic. Mikolas has charisma in the way Rybak had it in 2009. It’s not the sort of music I would normally like, but I find it irresistible. It has all the ingredients . . . .

  5. Harriet Krohn says:

    Cyprus: It’s a bit cheap and a bit generic and bit been there, done that – but it’s also pretty catchy and exactly what many viewers want and expect from certain countries. I expect it to go to the final quite easily, but a low left-hand placing is all I can imagine for this song at best. MAYBE

    Albania: When this came out and everyone was so positive about it, I was surprised as the song didn’t speak to me at all. It has grown on me since, but it’s still not one of my favourites. Eugent can really sing very well, but I’m not sure who would vote for it. But this is the kind of song I always misjudge, so who knows? MAYBE

    Malta: Pity that the message is totally lost in the production, because it would be an important message for everyone to hear. The song is not great, but the “animals, animals” part does stick in my brain a lot and with a good performance, I think we’ll hear Malta twice. But I don’t expect a left-hand finish. MAYBE (bordering on guilty pleasure HIT, but I know the song just isn’t that good)

    France: I almost feel bad for not loving this one – I’m definitley meant to, but somehow … it’s so terribly repetitive, and the claves sort of beat gets on my nerves pretty quickly. Still, I wouldn’t be offended if France won, at least the song has quality – it’s just not quite my cup of tea. MAYBE (HIT if I’m trying to leave my own taste aside, although I’m not sure why I would want to do that)

    Czech Republic: I’d like to quote Howard Atkinson: “It’s not the sort of music I would normally like, but I find it irresistible.” Totally catchy song, unique among the competitors, presumably performed well live – at least I really hope so. This will definitley get the Czech Republic its best result ever, by far. I don’t think it’s a winner candidate (not sure how “the East” will react to the song), but top 6 surely. HIT

  6. Shai says:

    Cyprus-
    It’s generic and has some ethnics sound but the ethnic sound doesn’t really add anything to the song. It’s there as a sort of decoration for a uninspiring tune and song. I have no idea if she can sing this live and I do hope they won’t get a staging in the direction of “slutty girl do something on stage”.
    The song also fishing at the same pond as Azerbaijan/Finland/Greece and to some extend Croatia. In this group I don’t see more than 2 songs qualifying. Taking into account it’s pimp slot in the running order, I wouldn’t completely rule out qualification for this one. And if this qualify and get a first half draw, I can easily see that as an opener for the final, where it will be forgotten and end at the right hand side of the table – MISS

    Albania-
    Lo and behold- They mange not only to keep it in Albanian but also did a good job in revamping a song to a 3 minutes Eurovision without butchering the song. Only for this they should qualify. The song has a good energy and the singer has the voice and the charisma. The only downside is that they are in semi final 1, because that may hinder any chances they have-MAYBE

    Malta-
    That line of ‘Animal Animal” and than “criminal criminal”is actually quite good musically but it’s not enough for a 3 minutes song. It’s a sort of a concept song that look great on paper but sounds not as good when it come to the song itself. It’s all good idea’s wasted on a not so good song-MISS

    France-
    I am staring to like this song, more than I liked on first time.This may be a problem in a Eurovsion context, because I am not sure first time listeners will have the time to appreciate what they hear. It’s quite modern in its sound and it’s very understated in nature but it does what it does in a very effective way. Having said that, I think the language barrier may be a crucial one.I can understand when she sings “My name is Mercy”, but for a lot of first time viewers, she will sound as singing Thank You(which she eventually does) and they will not understand why such a gloomy song, when she is thanking someone- it should be a HIT but it may ends as a MAYBE.

    Czech Republic-
    In Eurovision context a “grower”is a song that originally wasn’t paid attention to, only to be discovered on a later stage to be a better song than originally perceived. This is the opposite of a “grower”. Its modern and catchy and you get the song quite easily, but the more I hear the song the more it irritates me and get on my nerve to the point I want to smash my laptop.
    And than there is the song’s text. The song has a misogynist view on woman and call her a slut, and that’s is suppose to be an edited version of the original text.-HIT(probably, for the contest). I will just ignore it as it leave me with bad taste.

  7. Martin says:

    Distressed to read Shai’s comment (and Ewan’s confirmation) on the Czech Republic about the misogyny in the original lyric. That said, I really like both the song and Mikolas’s performance.

    I don’t find him smug, as Robert suggests, I find him more a likeable cheeky chappy, who knows he’s got something that a lot of girls (and boys) want – and isn’t this what most of current (and past) pop is about?

    Very well done. I can’t wait to see how Mikolas will perform this live in Lisbon.

  8. Martin says:

    Re: your later comments Ewan, about being required to demonstrate you are able to host Eurovision before you can enter the contest, I would love to see the document submitted to the EBU by our lovely friends in Reykjavik.

    Of course, there is no chance that they will be in danger of hosting in 2019, but have a dream that they will be forced to dust off and enact their plans before I stop attending Eurovision in the not too distant future.

    I assume that you know what a thumbs up and thumbs down meant in Roman times – i.e. the opposite of what it means now.

  9. Howard Atkinson says:

    I’ve been to Reykjavik on numerous occasions, and I love the place. I have no idea about the practical side of things; all I know is that Iceland would make the most wonderful hosts <3

  10. Ben Pitchers says:

    Cyprus: HIT. It’s a very enjoyable albeit simplistic song. It knows what it’s doing and would get most people on the dance floor. The production is very good and Eleni brings some diva-like stature to the song. Cyprus get to close SF1 and should sail through to the final. It’s crowd-pleasing and mainstream enough that, given a great stage show, I think it could propel Cyprus out of their usual 21st spot and into the top 10 for the first time in 14 years.

    Albania: MAYBE. A good song let down by another Albanian revamp. The toning down of the rock sound left the power of the song with Eugent and his wonderful voice. He gives a very heartfelt, strong performance and does a great job evoking the yearning theme. He’ll be sure to bring it alive on stage but I think performing 3rd in the strongest SF will harm its chances, despite having many friends in the same semi. It could qualify but my gut feeling, before rehearsals, is that it won’t.

    Malta: HIT. This is my song for this year that I like and has seemed to fly under the radar and been mostly dismissed. I watched MESC and this was the best choice. It’s has some generic aspects to it but breaking the taboo of mental health makes an unusual and very worthy theme. I think Christabelle sells it well and seems to enjoy performing it a lot. It certainly was one of the best music videos this year, even if this doesn’t count for anything at the contest. Malta benefit from being in the weaker SF2 and being one of the later draws; they should be able to qualify.

    France: HIT. This is battling it out for my favourite song to win with Israel. I would say it probably just edges out Israel as my overall favourite. The production and lyrics are fantastic, especially the clever use of mercy/merci I speak French but I think the basic message of the song will get through to anyone who knows at least basic school French. I like that it has something positive to say about the refugee crisis without telling listeners what to think. France have had good songs but disappointing presentations in the last 2 years since their reset and new HoD. If they stick to the stripped back look from the French NF and Madame Monsieur have a clear vision, I don’t think it’ll be a problem this year. I’d love for France to win and for a second non-English language winner in a row. If the songs picks up the momentum over Israel, as Portugal did last year over Italy, it is very likely.

    Czech Republic: HIT. This is a chart-worthy and catchy song with good production and Mikolas is a confident, but not too cocky, performer. Obviously the lyrics are very sexual and border on being seen as misogynistic. However, the verses are quite fast and I think the euphemistic lyrics will pass many people by, so they’ll just enjoy the way the song sounds and its general groove. Despite not the best starting position in SF1, I think the song is solid enough and Mikolas is eye-catching enough for it to have no troubles getting to the final. Hopefully this song with make the Czech audience think more positively about Eurovision and boost its profile in the country significantly. Whatever happens, the Czech Republic will be getting higher than their previous best of 25th and have a very good shot at making the top 10.

  11. Mark says:

    Was it deliberate to have a Dove and a Peacock on the same podcast? Pity they weren’t reviewing Netherlands 2013.

  12. Ewan Spence says:

    Mark, Now you save Dove and Peacock, I wish it was!

  13. Martin says:

    Doing this quickly makes this really easy…

    HIT – Czechia, France
    MAYBE – Albania, Malta
    MISS – Cyprus

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