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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily Chat From Vienna, Wednesday 20 May Written by on May 20, 2015 | 12 Comments

The results for semi-final are in, and it’s time to go over not just the results, but the potential running order options as well.

All that and more in today’s Insight podcast with Benny Royston (ESC Buzz) and Keith Mills (ESC Kaz).

 Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily Chat From Vienna, Wednesday 20 May

Hosted by Ewan Spence, with…

Benny Royston (ESC Buzz)
Keith Mills (ESC Kaz)

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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12 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Daily Chat From Vienna, Wednesday 20 May”

  1. Stephen Colville says:

    That podcast was worth the time just to hear Benny verbally destroy Keith.

    My main issue was with Ewan once again talking down Georgia. Georgia was vocally perfect last night and probably got 3 in the semi.

  2. Ben Cook says:

    I think Benny might have a point about black artists not doing as well as they should, but I don’t think either Belarus or Macedonia deserved to go through last night. Belarus had a very dull staging and average song, and Macedonia was poor vocally by Daniel, and you could barely hear Merj. The choreography looked a bit silly.

  3. togravus says:

    I was really dispointed with the Russian performance last night. I had read so many comments arguing how utterly fantastic it was, but I only heard a well-crafted yet pompous and empty better world ballad exquisitely sung.And I write this irrespective of the countrs it represents. It has nothing to do with this being Russia. I would write exactly the same if the act represented my beloved Portugal. The visuals were far too cheesy to do anything for me too. The only good thing about this entry is Polina, who I love to bits.
    When it comes to voting, I expect a significant esat-west divide. Judging from a German perspective, Russia 2015 represents pretty much everything a German jury doesn’t want to see and hear in ESC. Stuff like that perceived as dated and uncool here. Just remember that Germany did not give a single point to Sweden and only 7 to Conchita last year. I don’t see any jury support, and unless our Russian community becomes very active, I don’t expect any points from us. Perhaps the reaction will be similar in other Central and Western European countries. All in all, I don’t think that we saw Saturday’s winner last night.
    And finally, even though I don’t like the Serbian song, I agree with Benny. It is so good to see Serbia sending an act like “Beauty Never Lies” instead of another beautiful balkan ballad (a genre I love btw) reaffirming how fantastic everything traditional and close to home is. Very well done, Serbia! Personally, I liked Estonia, Belgium and Romania best.

  4. Ying and Yang…

    Chalk and Cheese…

    Benny and Keith…

  5. Sharleen says:

    Watching back here on TV in Australia and outside the bubble (but heavily exposed), I can report the following reactions for a few songs in my household:

    Belgium: great song, great performance, but camera work with so many flags blocking shots prevented me from really engaging with the staging and irritated me somewhat. Its quite niche, but at the same time, so modern, that I think its what the contest might need.

    Estonia: this was the best camera work of the night. Told the story so well and left me breathless. My housemate who really doesn’t like the song said it was the first time she thought it was delivering and now ‘gets it’ – from the performance to the lyrics matching the visuals

    Russia: just a beautiful performance and beautiful to look at, but I wasn’t entirely sucked in. It could be the Sanna effect for me though, as I just kept thinking “bland, blonde” at the conclusion and any buzz I had was killed off very quickly and forgotten about due to the ad break here

    Greece: its Celine Dion #2 isnt it? Vocally perfect, but felt like it was ticking boxes in Eurovision ballads.

    Romania: I almost teared up watching it. A lesson in how to stage a foreign language song and make it easily understandable and the message universal. Really effective and perhaps underrated.

    Serbia: felt like a Eurovision cliche catering to the likes of Aussie/UK audiences – reveals, tempo changes. Whilst I like the song, it just was a bit too ridiculous and camp to watch for me to truly come away from it thinking it should get a vote.

    Hungary: following Serbias camp fest, this was amazingly poignant, classy, and in terms of staging, memorable. A song that previously left me feeling empty completely surprised on the night and overwhelmed me with emotion. I actually felt moved enough to want to vote for it. Biggest surprise for me on the night.

    Macedonia: certainly went down on my list of the worst of the night. It felt have forced and fake and quite frankly the staging and backing left me cringing – like a desperate boyband formed in 5 seconds for a talent contest – and not making it to the next round

    Georgia: visually stunning, the staging was probably the 2nd most effective on the night (next to Estonia). She is fierce on stage, vocally great, even managed to wipe the fact that lyrically the song is ridiculous from my mind. I would say though whilst I personally am attracted to the whole goth look, she is kinda intimidating and scary and maybe frighten me off voting.

  6. Sharleen says:

    and ohmigod, I am sorry to say (as I listen to the debate on the podcast) – the first thought I have with ‘Beauty Never Lies’ is that its the same as ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera – its a tune about people who may feel ordinary or even ugly, and realise that there is essentially something wonderful about everyone.

    Its not a ‘gay anthem’.

    It may be adopted by that community (particularly because its a disco stomper at Eurovision), but its a message song that means all sorts of things for all sorts of people.

    And as its a song sung by a bigger woman, that is the first connection I have made for the tune. Big is beautiful.

    And whilst I love the Eurovision community, my friends there; the whole ‘Eurovision = gay’ and having to constantly be referred to and nodded towards is something thats starting to become annoying. Eurovision is for everyone.

  7. Fatima says:

    Blimey, quite an enjoyably fierce debate between Benny and Keith. I was with Benny on Serbia and Keith on Romania. Please persuade them back together again to review the Grand Final.

    But I am not sure if Benny is right about black artists. Not only did a black artist win in 2001, but he did so representing an Eastern European country. Also I never regarded Maimuna as a black performer. She is no more black than she is white. Like me and Barack Obama, she’s bi-racial.

    Black artists sell loads of records all over Europe. I do think the Eurovision will have a George McCrae moment at some point in the next 10 years.

  8. Michael Jaker says:

    Totally echo Sharleen. Stop insisting that ESC = gay.

    It’s getting tired now, and it’s really pretty inconsiderate to people who like ESC and are not gay!!

    And the Serbain song has precisely 0% to do with gay rights. Seriously, have a word with yourself Benny. This gay ESC bubble is becoming unbearable.

  9. Michael Jaker says:

    And you need to be VERY careful before accusing voters of outright racism.

    We’ve had successes from black & mixed race artists and backing artists before. e.g. 2001 and 2012 winnners, Jade for UK IN 2009.

  10. Hans Wollstein says:

    I can’t stand Keith Mills. So bring him back, often. Because his condescending presence is always entertaining. Seriously.

  11. togravus says:

    It is probably the camp aesthetics that lead people to identifying the Serbian entry as a gay anthem, and that is totally legitimate imo. The Serbian song is about everyone, about every single person being beautiful, it wants to be appropriated … by whoever.

  12. Fatima says:

    I do wonder why the contest has such a strong gay following, something of which I was utterly unaware until I attended the UK Eurovision Convention at Morecambe in 1988. Not that this bothers me in the slightest, but I do think there’s a danger that, post-Conchita, the contest’s detractors will use this as a weapon in their armoury of disdain.

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