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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5 Written by on April 15, 2014 | 22 Comments

Returning to the bench for Juke Box Jury this week are Eurovision Ireland’s Andrew Main and Eurovision reporter at large Ross Tillbrook. Four more songs to discuss, deliberate, and decide if they deserve a Hit, a Miss, or a Maybe.

As always, Ewan Spence oversees the proceedings, and your comments are welcome.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #2
with Andrew Main and Ross Tillbrook

Azerbaijan: Start a Fire, by Dilara Kazimova.
Hungary: Running, by Andreas Kallay Saunders.
Macedonia: To The Sky, by Tijana,
Estonia: Amazing, by Tanja.

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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22 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #5”

  1. matt stevens says:

    estonia get 3 hits? is this a joke

  2. Shai says:

    @Matt- that’s their taste.

    First time react on JBJ as I heard all songs and I’ll be short

    Azerbaijan- Don’t like hem usually but this is a HIT

    Hungary -Don’t care about the subject matter it just good -HIT

    Macedonia – More a drag king than a drag queen-Very static for this song-MISS.

    Estonia – I am not particularly fond of the song, but even i admit it is strong-MAYBE

  3. Shevek says:

    I’ve been listening to 5 the Juke Box Juries carefully. I have not been commenting on them, because I agree and/or disagree here and there. This is the first case of major disagreement.

    Azerbaijan has my number 1 song – beautiful, elegant, classy and not easy to sing live at all. I hope it wins. The fact that it comes from this country means that it will be presented in a very effective manner.

    Hungary is another possible winner, imo. The live vocals are its weakest link, not the theme of the song. The subject matter may actually help the Hungarian entry. That said, it is not my favourite song, but it is in my top 10 atm.

    Macedonia is just poor on every level, except Tijana’s live vocals. The live presentation will probably be crass and obvious.

    Estonia chose the only song that left me cold in Eesti Laul 14. ‘Amazing’ is as arid and vapid as it could possibly be. The whole thing comes across as a frantic and vaguely ludicrous in your face aerobics routine. It is very off-putting and I wonder how the general public of the final (it will reach the final) will react. This is winning? No way, imo.

  4. Shevek says:

    *to the 5…

  5. Harriet Krohn says:

    Azerbaijan – incredibly beautiful song, but it takes a while to realize that. People aren’t given that chance, so I’m not sure how well it will do. It will get into the final, of course, but then … I just don’t know. My favourite ever entry by that land of fire. Personal hit, otherwise hit/maybe.

    Hungary – I liked it quite a bit at first, but it started to lose its appeal rather quickly for me. Fortunately this time, people only get to hear it once. 😀 When I told my mother (who’s a big fan of the contest) that Hungary’s entry is about child abuse, she made a face and said, “who wants to hear about that at Eurovision?” But the song isn’t as dark or sad as the topic suggests, and I think it will do well. Personal maybe, otherwise hit.

    Macedonia – meh. Dated, as you say, and also very boring. I don’t have anything to say about it. Miss.

    Estonia – I can’t believe you think this can win the contest. I wonder if it will as big a commercial hit as Finland last year – I remember Ewan predicting huge success for “Marry Me”. Hmm, I must have missed it every time it came on the radio … 😉 I never liked “Euphoria”, but at least that one was original. “Amazing” is not, although the dancing’s better. It’s also very repetitive and the beat is annoying. Personal miss, otherwise maybe, if that.

  6. Shai says:

    Ewan- can I ask you how do you decide which songs you do on JBJ each week?

  7. Peter says:

    Azerbaijan – Hit. I know it’s fashionable to hate the country for various reasons, but the song is amazing and deserves to get the good result it will inevitably get.

    Hungary – Hit. I can’t stand the song personally, but can see why others will do, and it will come across well on TV and easily see people voting for it. And while the lyrics are a bit dark, there are worse things in the charts, and it’s not so in your face that people will notice.

    Macedonia – Miss. It’s a poor song that she absolutely slaughters when she sings it live – it’s telling that she mimed when they revealed the song, and EIC proved that decision right. If it qualifies, it’ll be because other countries screwed up worse, not because she deserves it.

    Estonia – Maybe. I want to like it because Estonia are one of my favourite countries, but this just doesn’t do anything for me, and I can’t see any instant hook like I can with Hungary.

  8. Zolan says:

    Azerbaijan the most beautiful sounding song this year, with good lyrics as well.
    But it mostly comes down to nuance, rather than something that can be puffed up on stage, so I’m not sure how they’ll sell it.

  9. Ewan Spence says:

    @Harriet, Krista is still relevant on the Finnish music scene, a second album is on the way with label backing… so while Marry Me didn’t go global, she’s still one of the ‘winners’ from the 2013 Contest. 😉

  10. Ewan Spence says:

    @Shai, roughly speaking, the songs are split into five pools by myself, and then I will mix and match a running order to get a good show in my mind of styles and discussion points. The two expect ions are #1, which generally has to be recorded early so that’s more “Who’s already declared” and #8 which is always hosts+big five.

  11. Harriet Krohn says:

    @Ewan: Krista might be successful in Finland, but that’s not quite the same as “Marry Me” having been a commercial hit around Europe. 😉 International or even global hits are a very rare thing anyway.
    I’m just hoping you’ll be as wrong about “Amazing” as you were about “Marry Me”. It’s an easy thing to get wrong after all, so I applaud your guts for predicting something like that at all. I wouldn’t dare. 😉

  12. Shai says:

    @Ewan- Thanks for the explanation and it does make sense.

  13. PurpleK says:

    As a straight woman who dresses in a fairly masculine way, what’s so wrong with not looking “classically female”? Down with gender stereotypes! ;-P (just kidding)

    Anyway, Macedonia isn’t dated for me, it’s a pretty decent attempt at current radio-friendly dancepop for me.

    Speaking of which… Estonia… it’s a decent entry but no way is it winning. Just no.

    Hungary: Maybe it’s just me, but why should any song not be “suitable for Eurovision”? Not every song can be happy-clappy la la la songs that make you smile and dance. Well done Hungary! 😀

    Azerbaijan: Believe it or not, it’s the first entry of theirs that I *gasp* LIKE. It took them 6 years but they finally managed it! xD

  14. Ewan Spence says:

    Kylie, there’s *nothing* wrong with it :-), but in terms of presenting a safe song on stage with a non-threatening look (which is my gut feel on what is needed to win ESC in the modern scoring/jury ranking system), you have a better competitive chance with a manic pixie dream girl than you do with a more masculine look such as Tijana.

  15. Sharleen says:

    Did I think Estonia could win with Amazing prior to seeing it at Eesti Laul? No. But seeing it performed on stage, everything came together and suddenly in my mind made it a strong competitor.
    And thats what I popped $10 on it to win at 200/1.
    I would love it to win. For the contests sake, it would be good to go back ‘east’ and keep it cheaper. Maybe get some of our lost countries, and countries on the verge of leaving back for 2015.
    And who wouldnt be excited to see history repeat itself. Come contest time, Denmark as favourites and then Estonia come out of nowhere and grab the prize.

    And this has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the fact I’ll be hopefully residing in Tallinn come next year

  16. Zolan says:

    I’ve had a similar feeling about Macedonia from the start; not that Tijana needs to be “classically female” specifically, but that she does need to project a stronger identity to support the song.

    She’s not Grace Jones enough to lend a harder edge, and she’s not physically expressive enough to emulate Pink. The song feels hemmed in, unable to explode in any direction because she doesn’t give it direction or purpose.

    What I think she can do is dress classy, and perform it more as an uptempo romantic ballad than as a night out clubbing. I think a certain amount of feminine expression will serve it well, but that doesn’t have to be the whole story.

  17. Azerbaijan – HIT because it’s Azerbaijan (naturally) and it will make the Final. I don’t think this will do as well as recent entries though as I don’t think it will get as many televoters going for it as it is a ‘boring’ ballad (it will be a jury smash though). I think a top 10 is the best it will get. This will be viewed as a failure for that country though…

    Hungary – HIT. It is risky subject matter for Eurovision but it is musically sound, of the moment and this COULD win, depending on how it is staged and how much background it gets between the SF and Final. Top 5 definitely…

    Macedonia – MISS. I prefered this so much more in Macedonian – this sounds like every other EuroDance song ever in English! I have this feeling that this might go the same way as Hannah from Slovenia last year, as I am not convinced that Tijana sings English very well – one of the SF non-qualifiers this year.

    Estonia – MAYBE. The song is not that distinctive and on its own, I would think it would be borderline qualifying on the song alone. If she does the staging she did in the NF, it will breeze into the Final as her performance WAS amazing! Superb dancing and singing will see her into the Final but I don’t think this is a contender for the win – it will have a safe mid-table result. It is not as good as Euphoria which it WILL be compared to continuously between SF and Final and it needs to be spot on perfect for the dancing…

  18. togravus says:

    I will only say this: Azerbaijan FTW! It is the best song by a mile this year. (I have Greece and the Netherlands in shared 2nd place atm … but far behind.) I like Hungary too … Macedonia is charming … and Estonia is an ambarrassing farce.

  19. Zolan says:

    This is probably old news to the in crowd, but I just stumbled across this while contemplating Tijana’s performance options.

    Annie Lennox video for “Shining Light” echoes a few ESC acts.

  20. Karlito says:

    Hi Ewan, I am a long term listener of JBJ and the podcasts, so firstly, well done to you,and the team for providing us with all the latest information in your own inimitable style.

    I was prompted to write because I believe the judges over analyse the contest somewhat and go into spurious detail which a lot of the viewing public never notice. The comments about Hungary and the subject matter being too dark were ridiculous this week. Er….. Hello ! Ever listened to Brotherhood of Man’s Lyrics , and that won the competition ! Norway this year too isn’t a bag of laughs either but at the end of the day the public have three minutes to absorb and unless Hungary present a stage version of their video I’m not sure a lot of the lyrics will register.

    I would like to see more qualified judges on the JBJ too with the exception of David Elder who I think is honest and forthright but please provide us with people who know what they are talking about re staging and voice. Just because the judges go to all the country finals and parties does not make them qualified critics and their comments become so banal at times. The comment on Macedonia was completely unnecessary re her gender and has nothing to do with her performance and I think you all might have just proved that you’ve all joined the fan w**k club by backing Estonia so enthusiastically. It certainly is one of the fan favs this year.

    Andrew Main consistently gets it wrong every year and I have suffered him for long enough, incessantly going on about how lovely the boys look drives me nuts. I think every year I can name the men that Andrew likes, a quite frankly, I dont give a damn, I want to know why the song stands above or below the others and professional reasons why and good critical reasoning. . Once in a while it’s fine for Andrew to bleat on but please rotate your judges more often, that would be great, more diversity please…. I hope I’m wrong about Azerbaijan and you’re right but I think this entry is one of the strongest and it might just do it again this year. I am not a fan of it but it might just get over the line with a nice set of 7’s and 8’s
    Finally I appreciate that it’s everyone own opinion at the end of the day and we can’t all agree but a little variety and sensible proper critiquing would be really interesting and give you the edge over other sites . With much respect. Karlito

  21. Pete L says:

    Loving your work guys, but I did think you were going a bit CRAZY predicting victory for Estonia.

    Just crashed out of their semi… Oooopsie!


  22. Harriet Krohn says:

    I had to think you of guys too when Estonia unceremoniously bowed out in the semis. Better luck next time! 😉

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