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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1 Written by on March 31, 2015 | 19 Comments

Here we go, it’s the moment that says the National Final season is definitely over and we’re eight weeks away from the live shows. Yes, Juke Box Jury is here! As always, the ESC Insight team are going to sit and listen to every song that will be going to Vienna, discuss them on the podcast, and call each song as a Hit, a Miss, or a Maybe.

To start the season, we have a special appearance from Sharleen Wright, and ESC Insight’s Newsletter Editor Ben Robertson. They joined host Ewan Spence high above the streets of Chisinau in Moldova with the first six songs ready to hear their fate…

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1
with Sharleen Wright and Ben Robertson 

Denmark: The Way You Are, by Anti Social Media
Switzerland: Time To Shine, by Mélanie René
Belarus: Time, by Uzari and Maimuna
France: N’Oubliez Pas, by Lisa Angell
Cyrpus: One Thing I Should Have Done, by John Karayiannis
Iceland: Unbroken, by Maria Ólafs

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

  1. Esceire says:

    WAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIITT a minute…France? rant the big 5 + the hosts ( and Australia of course :-)) suppose to be at the end? 😛

  2. Ewan Spence says:

    Well… Big Five, plus hosts, plus Australia = seven songs. Eight episodes, six songs each… it doesn’t fit. So the ‘core-seven’ get spread out one per show, and I’ll sneak in a top seed as an ‘eighth’ to join that core. It’s all under control, relax, trust the team…

  3. Esceire says:

    i was worried for a second 😛 In escinsight I trust!

  4. Esceire says:

    Denmark : I love it! But looking at it objectively i am on the fence when it comes to discussing there chances. It will get to the final but will place 20-27 in the final although i would love to see it higher :(, but because its a finalist , Maybe

    Switzerland : Its alright, i can’t complain about a perfectly middle of the road song but now that we know the running order we know that this is right after Sweden which i think will totally kill any chances this song had of qualifying in what is a VERY competitive semi final!, MISS

    Belarus : My favourite song of the 6 discussed today, it is a real Eurovision style uptempo song that i can see both juries and tele voters respecting. Overall it should have enough in both Jury and Televote scores to get it to Saturday night but once there i can only see it at the max in the top 20 but I think top 15 is out of its reach but i would not complain if it got there, Maybe

    France : Its a nice song but its very Bland and i cannot see support in both the Televote or even the Jury. so a certain bottom 5, Miss

    Cyprus : i don’t know how to feel about the song, i personally just don’t care for it but even without Greece i think with its running order it has a decent shot at qualifying, but i would watch out for this because its just one of those entries that cannot be ruled out.

    Iceland : Overrated by fans and imo its just Heartbeat 2.0 interms of end result. i cannot see any appeal in either jury or tele vote scores and I’m still undecided if this can qualify. i think it still has a good shot at qualifying so ill give it, Maybe

    Overall my winner is Belarus. and as you can quess from my description No I don’t think it can win but i wish them all the best of luck!!!!

  5. Stephen Colville says:

    Denmark – Miss. Dull song, average performance.
    Switzerland – Maybe. Good melody but uninspiring.
    Belarus – Maybe. Original version was stunning, new version is a massive downgrade. But song is still decent.
    France – Hit. Stunning live performance. You guys are so wrong. This is a dark horse for victory.
    Cyprus – Miss. One of the worst songs of the year. Physically painful.
    Iceland – Maybe. Original was better and in Icelandic. But a pretty good entry. Will get Iceland their usual result.

    I honestly wonder how you guys can rave about Cyprus but shit on France. There is a reason why Cyprus is way down on the polls and betting. Bottom 5 in it’s semi is pretty much a guarantee unless it has an incredible stage show.

    Also, I would like to address Ewan’s comment about the quality of this year’s entries. I have to disagree. This is the best ESC in 5 years. I’m not the only one to think so.

  6. I’ve already nailled my colours to the mast with my OGAE UK preview votes being locked in…. I have three song this year that are on my Ipod and on daily play… another seven that were really worthy of points… (although I voted with my “heart” and not my “head” so my vote probably doesn’t reflect the “popular viewpoint”… that said I think that it’s going to be a closer contest than people imagine and there are some very worthy contenders heading to Vienna
    Like · Reply · Just now

  7. Seán says:

    An interesting combination of songs but:

    Denmark – I’ll never get over Denmark not choosing Anne, like the song. 5.4/10

    Switzerland – your comments summed it up well, but technically good, though I’m not a fan. 3.1/10

    Belarus – I like to listen to it put cannot figure out why I can’t justify giving it a higher mark. 3.5/10

    France – Yawn, Next Please. I liked the good old days of France. 2.1/10

    Cyprus – See comment for France. 2.1/10

    Iceland – Oh Iceland. I don’t think this is the best song, but for some reason it is my favourite. 8.2/10

    Just to defend Iceland, they picked something that was more likely to do well – i.e. safe, than feathers. Yes, fans want adventure, but most broadcasters want to be on the left hand side of the scoreboard.

  8. John Lucas says:

    Interesting listen, shame there wasn’t much enthusiasm for the songs.

    Denmark – This falls into the category of ‘irritatingly jaunty’ for me. It insists upon its cheerfulness but never really earns it. I’d like to see it outside the final, but it’ll land safely in the middle. If ‘New Tomorrow’ could go top 5, this is in no danger.

    Switzerland – Pretty much agree with your consensus. This won in Switzerland for being the most obviously professional song in a very weak lineup. Against better songs, it’ll get lost. Possibly qualifier, but I think it’s more likely to just miss out. There’s no compelling reason to vote for it.

    Belarus – Good production, but the chorus just doesn’t deliver for me. I think an interesting staging and the fact that it’s quite energetic might carry this through, but they’re looking at another lower mid-table placing here.

    France – I really struggle to identify a hook here. The song keeps building, but it never returns to anything that the listener can grab onto. This will need an absolute knockout performance not to have the audience zoning out, and unless the juries are very kind it’s in danger of bottom 5.

    Cyprus – Again agree with the consensus. This year’s Tom Dice, if they stage it correctly.

    Iceland – I’m with Ben on this one. I can’t claim it reinvents the wheel but I just find it utterly charming in a very Icelandic sort of way. Surprised nobody brought up ‘Frozen’ – I think younger viewers could really respond to this. If I were on the Icelandic team I’d definitely be ordering lots of dry ice and blue fabric.

  9. Kate says:

    Denmark- Boring, boring, boring. Miss

    Switzerland- I keep on finding myself humming this song. I also like songs that are in that mid tempo range. In the Georgia, Malta, Swiss group, this is in the middle. Maybe

    Belarus- This is one of my favorite songs of the contest. First time I heard it I fell in love with it. Its different, the violin can totally do edgy (you don’t listen to enough Pagan Metal clearly), and I just, I don’t know, it hooks right in my ear. Though agree the first version is better. Hit

    France- It is very classic and passionate. I like it, but yeah, the feel needs to be exactly right. Maybe.

    Cyprus- Oh man god, I hate this song. It it is the most boring thing ever. But I really dislike the singer songwriter sweetness. Like, it makes me want to choke. Wonder if you all are listening to the same thing? Then again, I don’t think a lot of folks will get this story. They will be too busy falling asleep. Miss.

    Iceland- Disney! Its Disney! But I think its a Hit.

  10. Kate says:

    Sorry about the virulent reaction to Cyprus. I do think it is a matter of personal taste. I also can’t stand Me and My Guitar. My deep love of complicated orchestration and deep disregard of lyrics (I mostly listen to Black Metal, so…) makes this type of sweet storytelling song tick basically no buttons for me.

  11. Ben Cook says:

    Ewan, you need to check your times tables. 6 x 8 = ?

  12. Ben Cook says:

    Switzerland is actually one of my favourites this year so I’m disappointed it’s getting such a lukewarm reaction. Se reminds me of Leona Lewis. I think she could do better than people are expecting.

    Belarus is my “highest climber” at the moment with the remix. Apart from rhyming thunder with thunder, it’s actually a pretty solid entry.

    Iceland is the most tedious entry of the year for me. It just goes on and on. Even more irritating than the Dutch entry.

    Loving the return of the show and excited for the daily shows from Vienna! 🙂

  13. HarrietKrohn says:

    Denmark: I don’t really understand why so few people like this song. Now, it’s not my favourite either, but I think it’s quite catchy and adds something to this year’s line-up that wouldn’t otherwise be there. A quite okay song – maybe.

    Switzerland: Yeah, well, no. I admit I don’t really listen to the lyrics in songs that aren’t clearly about the lyrics (like Norway), so I have no idea what the song is about. (I think you generally overestimate the importance of lyrics, maybe because you are all native speakers of English, but most viewers on the night are not.) It’s on and then it’s over and that was that. I believe it will have a hard time qualifying, but it’s not a horrible song. Maybe.

    Belarus: Somehow I like it, although I’m beginning to tire of it. Luckily that’s not an issue for the semi, and because it’s neither slow nor bad, I think it will get through to the final comfortably. It won’t do too well there though, I think. Maybe, just about.

    France: This to me is a quality song, if maybe not entirely to my taste. I don’t hate it though. Might score nicely with some juries (British ones full of elderly people, for example ;)), but it’s not going to end up on the left side of the scoreboard. It will however also not give Fance another bottom result. Maybe.

    Cyrpus: Seriously, what’s your obsession with this song?! It’s not bad (this year is really chock-full of songs that aren’t bad), but I think it needs to create a very, very special moment to do well. Funny that you don’t believe France can do it, but Cyprus can. I’m not convinced, and the song doesn’t catch me. Might make it through, but it does nothing for me personally. Miss.

    Iceland: I have to correct Sharleen – Iceland shouldn’t have gone with “Feathers”, they should have gone with “Fjaðrir”. Now that was a song that would have really stood out and the lyrics (although only about 300,000 Icelanders and me would have been able to understand them) were incredible. I loved it in the semi, but not as much in the final when it went English. Just as I liked “Lítil skref”, but “Unbroken” is not as nice. The lyrics don’t even really fit the music, it’s a very forced translation. María is cute and I’m hoping she’ll qualify, but I doubt Iceland will be too happy with the result this year. Maybe. [And if you want to impress people with your language skills: In Icelandic, every single word – yes, every single one of them – has the stress on the first syllable. If you want to say María correctly, say MAría, as weird as it may feel. ;))

  14. Seattlesque says:

    Welcome back JBJ! So pleased you’ve arrived. Oh, but what mediocrity you have to contend with…
    Denmark: I have not yet made it through the full 3 minutes. And usually I’m patient. Miss.
    Switzerland: Completely agree with Ben that this is how songwriters learn not to offend anyone. Where’s the hook? Or the rousing middle 8 to give it some spark? Miss.
    Belarus: Something about the chorus (perhaps the repetition of “ha-ah-ah-ah”) just doesn’t hang together right, although the remix works better for me than the reedy, trebly original. Since the tempo’s up compared to most this year, I suspect it’ll sneak through. Maybe.
    France: The recording is dull and predictable. BUT when you watch her singing it live, it’s a different song entirely. Amazing vocal power and control which, when combined with the subject (despite not getting all the French), makes my scalp tighten and my eyes well up. Very unexpected. Hit. I hope.
    Cyprus: Your enthusiasm made me go back to see what I’d missed. Not sure I found it. The heartfelt moment felt a little forced to me on the video – hopefully it’s better live. Maybe.
    Iceland: Yes, Sharleen and Harriet: “Fjaðrir” – that’s what’s on my playlist right now. “Unbroken” was better as “Lítil skref” for sure, but it’s still easily the best of the songs you landed for this JBJ. When heard alongside many of the others this year, it feels much more like: Hit.
    Already looking forward to JBJ #2.

  15. Esceire says:

    Btw Ewan you spelled Cyprus wrong 😛

  16. Ewan Spence says:

    To be fair, the JBJ that gets recorded ‘early’ has to take what there is before March 17th submission 🙂

  17. Shai says:

    Denmark- safe,harmless and inoffensive. DR will do anything not to win in the next 10 years – between MAYBE and a MISS

    Switzerland – She has a great voice, the song is a bit dated, though the new version is an improvement on the original version – MAYBE

    Belarus – The combination of his voice and the violin doesn’t make for an interesting combination.Somehow they managed to overcook this – MISS

    France – I like good French ballad, but this isn’t one – MISS

    Cyprus – A moment of calmness in the middle of all the storm. I like it very much, but it may get lost – HIT(for me) and a MAYBE for the contest.

    Iceland – Kate above, think it’s a Disney. It is, but it is a song Disney will reject from any film they make – MISS

  18. Okay, here’s my thoughts:

    Denmark – This is my Softengine this year, I think this will do better than a lot of people think, assuming their live vocals improve, as this will be a obvious uptempo tune in amongst all the ballads. MAYBE.

    Switzerland – Melanie is technically brilliant, she puts loads into it and how can you not love someone singing ‘mucking around’. Unfortunately there are too many female ballads so this is a MAYBE

    Belarus – I’m not a fan of this, his vocals are better than in the NF but it’s all a big muddle. MISS

    France – she’ll belt this out and it will do better than Twin Twin. Juries will love it but it will not get the televotes. MISS

    Cyprus – I thought this was not that great in their NF but when I saw this in the Greek NF, I thought WOW because they filmed it perfectly. As Ewan said, focus just on him, get the Common Linnets tv director, lose the background and this might fly. HIT

    Iceland – I like this, she’s cute, it’s cheerful, this could be staged excellently to attract the youth vote and she can sing. Must admit I prefered Frederik – they need to be careful with Maria that she’s not lost on stage. HIT

    By the way guys, I saw enough NFs to know that lots of fans have said ‘oh this should have been chosen because it would have given some variety’. Problem is, if they don’t sing well on the night, they’re sunk, hence why Melanie qualified for Switzerland and Maria for Iceland.

    One last point, how old is Ben? He looks very youthful in his pix but his voice sounds ‘older’!

  19. Haha. That picture of me is only a couple of years old but maybe I am in need of a fresh one.

    I kind of want to answer ambiguously but I’ll be frank and say I’m 26. I blame the Northern accent for me sounding older…

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