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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #3 Written by on March 28, 2017 | 18 Comments

As we review the songs for Eurovision 2017, remember 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.

Juke Box Jury is back in Europe this week, as we continue to preview the songs of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. As always our judges are asked to rate the songs as a hit, a miss, or a maybe. What awaits the six countries in this week’s episode?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #3
…with Boog Biagi and Ross Middleton.

Israel: I Feel Alive, by Imri Ziv.
France: Requiem, by Alma.
Bulgaria: Beautiful Mess, by Kristian Kostov.
The Netherlands: Lights And Shadow, by O’G3ne.
Latvia: Line, by Triana Park.
Ireland: Dying To Try, by Brendan Murray.

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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18 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #3”

  1. Cathal says:

    I dont know why you even bother reviewing Ireland considering your hatred of RTE’s attitude, save time and just give it 3 misses to save sometime.

  2. mk says:

    For me all are sort of MAYBEs, meaning none is special enough to be a HIT.
    Somehow France & Netherlands stand a bit above the rest.

    Israel – definitely a better looking guy than the ‘Golden Boy’, but a less memorable song. It might qualify.
    France – I always have a weakness for the French songs, this is vivacious and yes a good looking singer. It might be a top 10
    Bulgaria – have not heard it live…seems good singer, not impressed with the song
    The Netherlands – I like the song, feels though I have heard it before
    Latvia – it has a memorable part, but it’s too short and the rest is who cares…not a HIT in my books
    Ireland – I have to agree that the voice becomes distracting when you realize a guy is singing…and it is an old type of song…Not that bad as you ‘analyzed’ it, but it is in semifinal 2. Although everybody says this is the ‘easy’ semifinal, I don’t see all three: Israel, Bulgaria and Ireland qualify and I think Ireland is the weakest of the three. So this would be probably a MISS for qualification, still a MAYBE as a song

    By the way Ross cannot compete with Donald from Juke Box Jury #1…no complaints from me.

  3. Shai says:

    Israel – When it was announced who wrote the song, I looked up some of there songs and I was expecting the worse and to my surprise it’s better than what I expected. It’s a bit generic, I admit that and even in this genre there are better examples. That said, I think it’s quite catchy and u get it after 1 listen. I agree that staging will make the difference for this song(and what 2 years make a difference, because everyone are expecting Israel to get the staging just right, something no one expected before).
    Together with Estonia is candidate for pimp slot in Semi 2 (though I suspect Israel won’t get it)
    The thing is that this the kind of song that normally doesn’t do well at Eurovision – HIT(for me) / MAYBE(for the contest).

    France – It’s French, very French, even with the English text. They made the sound a bit richer and gave it a bit of beat and melody with the drums and the piano. They made it a bit more accessible to the first time listener. The average viewer at home will not know the original version and therefore won’t care about the differences(remind me this, when I complain about Italy).
    It’s still a good song, which I hope will do well – HIT

    Bulgaria – It’s a very accessible song but all judges are right, there is not much to do here qua staging. They will need to keep it simple and make sure it’s all fit in.
    It seems the the song keep it a bit low key, even the minimal key change is not overdone.
    Bulgaria will sing in the 02nd half of semi 2 and it’s the only song of this kind(male ballad) in this part of the semi. There is a chance for it to stand out and at least to qualify, not sure if it can win the whole thing – MAYBE.

    The Netherlands – It’s not a safe song. The strength of it lies in the harmonies between the 3 sisters and if they nail it and get the staging right then they may get a good result. The thing is that it’s not that instant. You need to listen to the song several times before you remember any of it.
    One thing that is quite confusing for me is they way they built the song musically. It’s almost as if they deliberately wrote the song in a way that play with our expectations. You expect the song to go with the melody in one way, but than they broke the melody and went on a different way. -MAYBE

    Latvia – it sounds like a dance track that will do very well in clubs and with a good remix may even do a good job beyond Eurovision. I haven’t followed the Latvia selection so I don’t know if she can pull it off live or how the staging will be. If they get everything right, this may do quite well. I admit that I’m sitting on the fence with this one. I’m not sure what I think about it – MAYBE

    Ireland – the start of the song is quite promising but than they got the key change and it get all shades of wrong. It’s becoming a song with no imagination, constructed in the belief that the ingredients of the song are what makes a good Eurovision song. It’s very old fashion and dated, and very much cliché.His voice is very immature and he is not convincing enough he believes in what he sings. I wonder if he can sing this life – MISS


  4. Poet says:

    I agree with the jury – Latvia may (and most probably will) surprise us this year. Their national final performance was phenomenal.

    They do need however to work on the clearer chorus pronunciation and there will be nothing to stop them.

  5. Ben Pitchers says:

    Israel: HIT. I think the song is a very good, well produced, example of its genre. It builds nicely and has a positive theme in its title about feeling good. I think a late (or possibly pimp slot) place at the end of SF2 will ensure it’s through to the final. Imri’s previous Eurovision experience and charisma should be enough to secure another decent placing for Israel in the final.

    France: HIT. Another solid entry from France after Edouardo Grassi became the new HoD last year. The edit tightens it up well and there’s a nice staccato ending. I think’s its a distinctive entry from the rest of this year’s field. Her English pronunciation could do with improvement for the last two lines of the chorus. The chorus feels like there’s too many words for her to sing but this was the case in the original French version too. I don’t think it will trip Alma up though. I think this will be another good showing for France and could see them in the top 10 for the second contest in a row. I do agree that the English addition isn’t necessary – it didn’t hurt Austria last year to have a song all in French.

    Bulgaria: HIT. Lyrically, this could be seen as a ballad continuation of last year’s If Love Is a Crime. It has good lyrics and despite his young age, Kristian has a maturity and range to his voice. He has quite a bit of experience singing live on TV, so even if I haven’t heard him singing this song live I’m relatively confident that he would be up to the task. I think it should get through to the final easily. Bulgaria tends to do very well in the televote whenever it does reach the final so another respectable result is likely, especially as this will be popular with the juries. The only thing possibly going against it is that it’s a similar singer, voice and concept to the Australian entry so they couldn’t cancel each other out should they both make it through to the final.

    The Netherlands: MAYBE. When OG3NE were picked for the Netherlands I got quite excited but I was a little disappointed that the song wasn’t more contemporary. I understand why they chose it, however, because it means so much to them and is about their mother’s struggle with illness. There’s not been a song like this at Eurovision from what I can remember, so I’m not sure how it’ll go over which is the reason for the maybe. Some other the lyrics are a bit clunky and “heard nobody did no crime” makes me cringe a little. The harmonies are great and the climax should get everyone in the hall clapping. It has a good shot at qualifying and I’d like it to well as I do enjoy listening to it.

    Latvia: MISS. The real problem with this entry is that this type of song doesn’t work live and in an environment like the ESC. The studio version sounds much better and is something that would work in a nightclub but still wouldn’t be a particularly memorable track. Her vocal style is off-putting and during the musical breaks there’s not much for her and the rest of the band to do apart from dance around and pretend to play their instruments. It’s just too sparse to qualify and Latvia often struggles anyway.

    Ireland: MISS. I agree that it is formulaic but I think it may be what people expect an Irish entry to be. I was disappointed that Louis Walsh only wanted a love song to be submitted as if that’s all Ireland could ever send to Eurovision. He is a young guy and at least the lyrics fit him as a young, male artist wanting to find a first love. I wish they’d take a bit of a risk for once like some of the other nations with a recent poor track record have done (Latvia, Belgium). What have they got to lose? It takes until the last minute to really get going and that won’t help if it has an early draw. Also, Malta is doing a similar think like Ross pointed out and Bulgaria is doing it much, much better. I don’t think it will qualify, unless he knocks the performance out of the park.

  6. HarrietKrohn says:

    I felt so alone just now, listening to three HITs for the Netherlands – like, whooot?! Yes, great harmonies and all that, but oh my gosh is this song boring. When it’s on, I hardly ever notice, and I’ve never once felt like playing it directly. Sure, it’ll do reasonably well because there is an audience for this, but I cannot for the life of me see this making top 5. MAYBE

    Isreal and Bulgaria are the same kind of uninteresting song for me, even if they are not that alike. Both are kind of okay, but also very forgettable. If Imri was a background singer for Hovi last year, was he the one who killed one of the “You hypnotize me” lines? Cause I loved that part so much and in one performance it was sung so totally wrong one time … urgh. For that alone he should stay in the semi. 😉 Both could go either way for me, I wouldn’t miss either in the final but if they make it there, that’s fine with me, too. MAYBE/MISS

    Ireland, oh dear. The first few listens I always had to check what it was because I couldn’t remember the country or the singer (oh right, it’s not a woman …). There’s a bit of catchy there, but for all the wrong reasons. It does not belong in the final because, yes, the contest has moved on. Although the success of Michal Szpak makes me doubt that a little bit, but he had a huge diaspora behind him, Brendan does not. [And thanks for the “Trying to Die”, I won’t get that out of my head now … :-D] MISS

    France and Latvia are the two HITs for me in this round of JBJ, although with a slight uncertainty in the case of Triana Park – because I was not overly impressed by their staging. But that was then, they might get it right (for me) in Kiev. That’s a song that sticks in my ears, and even though I can’t really sing along to it (which I love to do), I’m always happy when it comes on. France I can sing along to wonderfully, more the French than the English lines, but who cares. You’re doing the typical die-hard fan thing, comparing the current to the original version – that’s pointless, nobody knows the original when it counts. And the current version is still lovely and full of charme and Frenchness and I ♥ it.

  7. –> ISRAEL: “I Feel Alive”, by Imri Ziv.
    –> VERDICT: “MISS”
    –> WHY? I really have my reservations about this entry. In essence it’s quite an ordinary dance track that arrived to Eurovision a few years too late. Yes, Imri Ziv naturally refers to his buddy Nadav Guedj (9th, 2015). But Nadav’s song really had something to offer that other entries that year didn’t have. While it was a happy dance track, it really had much more Middle-Eastern/Israeli flavour. It made the song unique. This year however, other dance/pop acts have much more on offer. Think about Sweden, or even Cyprus. But also Belarus, Greece, Moldova and Norway are seriously contesting Israel in the ‘happy/up-tempo genre’. Therefore I can’t see Israel entering the TOP 14 this year, despite the natural charm and good looks of Imri.

    –> FRANCE: “Requiem”, by Alma.
    –> WHY? While the song is composed by the same people that wrote ‘J’Ai Cherché, I think it lacks the positive uplifting charm from that entry. In essence it’s a very moody song, with lots of tango influences (Gotan Project), and I’m not sure if this will draw judges and televoters to the TV-screen. Actually, in a way the song reminds me of France 2013. What helps this entry are Alma’s joyful looks while she performs. I’m not sure what this entry will do in the final, but I don’t think there’s a lot of staging potential in this song. Yes, you can add a few tango dancers, but usually loose dancers don’t really make the audiovisual total package that coherent. Since I rate other big 5 countries this year higher (Spain, with Hans Pannecoucke directing, United Kingdom and especially Italy), I simply don’t see a lot of space left for France in the TOP 14.

    –> BULGARIA: “Beautiful Mess”, by Kristian Kostov.
    –> VERDICT: “HIT” (but barely)
    –> WHY? ‘Beautiful Mess’ is a wonderful, contemporary, slow-tempo ballad, that surely will be a jury magnet. Kristian is a wonderful, charismatic singer, whose voice is stunning. Especially when you take into account his age (17). Yet, I don’t think this is an instant televoting magnet. It takes a while until it gets in your head. And while The Netherlands have their vocals as a helpful USP, Sweden their choreography, and Italy tons of charm and a stage act, I just don’t see this ballad as being ‘instant’ enough in the same way that Poland 2016, Russia 2015 and Austria 2014 were. Add to that the sad conclusion that Bulgaria isn’t unique enough this year -Ireland and Australia, but also the stunning vocals from Slovenia-, and all these four ‘male ballads’ could suffer from it. TOP 14? Probably. TOP 5? I don’t think so.

    –> THE NETHERLANDS: “Lights And Shadow”, by O’G3NE.
    –> VERDICT: “HIT”
    –> WHY? In this stage of the Eurovision Song Contest (March to April) there’s a bit too much overexposure to the actual songs/studio versions. But we all know that in the end the actual performance, the final audio-visual total package is what matters. In order to properly predict or change your Betfair Exchange Portfolio, one always has to anticipate on that. Yes, the Dutch song is mediocre, perhaps OK at best. But on the evening other factors or elements of the total package can turn a performance into a voting magnet. We saw that in 2012 with Rona Nishliu (Albania), in 2013 with Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine), in 2014 with Ruth Lorenzo (Spain), 2015 with Il Volo (Italy) and Aminata (Latvia) and last year with Michał Szpak (Poland). All examples of songs that were….good, but lacked a contemporary feel or weren’t even chart-worthy. Yet all of these examples have one thing in common: Vocals. That’s what turned these entries into a voting magnet, that’s what brought these entries to new heights. I have the same feeling with the Dutch entry this year. Probably most fans and betters are entirely disappointed, because ‘Lights And Shadows’ lacks the artistic and original relevance that ‘Birds’, ‘Calm After The Storm’ and ‘Slow Down’. But we all know this year’s Eurovision songs don’t do well, because in the past they did so. Moreover, the more south or east you go inside the continent Europe, the more emotional and passionate people become from a cultural perspective. For those people an emotive vocal performance will get noticed. While I don’t think Netherlands will win, we seriously have to reserve a spot for them on the left hand side of the scoreboard…..again.

    –> LATVIA: “Line”, by Triana Park.
    –> VERDICT: “HIT”
    –> WHY? For the very same reasons as the hosts of this 3rd Jukebox Jury mentioned, this entry is absolutely unique. I don’t think it’s TOP 5 material, but the fact that there are not many bands this year (Switzerland and Ukraine being the rare exceptions), I think this one stands out. They have a good draw in the 2nd half of semi final 1. But most importantly music-wise this is original, has an infectious beat. In a way this song reminds me of Cassius (listen to their new album ‘Ibifornia’). And you can even draw some comparisons with Niki & The Dove. I do have to say that this is another prime example where I think juries will appreciate this more than televoters. Just compare it with Georgia’s result from last year. Qualifier? Yes. TOP 14? Ufff, I’d have to say no.

    –> IRELAND: “Dying To Try”, by Brendan Murray.
    –> WHY? By jolly dear hosts. You were talking about Trijntje and how she lost her mental focus and confidence after this ‘cleavage incident’. But then ask yourself: How would Brendan feel if he listens to your podcast :-P? Look, I admit I was laughing my butts off, but in retrospect it was….a bit harsh :-P. Let’s face it: Brendan is an excellent singer. His vocals are spot-on. The only problem is, that his high vocal pitch and falcetto are not really liked. But that doesn’t mean he’s singing out of tune or he has screechy vocals. I think ‘Dying To Try’ is one of the more competent male ballads this year. If we really have to compare it with ‘outdated’ ballads, then we do have to mention Azerbaijan 2013 (Johnny Logan? Anyone??) and Poland 2016. What works in Ireland’s favour this year, is the fact that the song is mixed in a much more contemporary way. It’s a very slow-tempo song as well, but that makes it stand out. Rousing key changes can be an asset as well. I do have to concurr, that Brendan’s vocals are a matter of taste, and yes, my gut feeling tells me that his feminine voice does distract from the song. If only Omar Naber sang this…..

  8. Mark says:

    Israel; Miss!
    We have seen many of these euro disco songs, but this one is really boring!

    France; Maybe
    Nice girl with a nice song! But i do not like the english part, and it’s a bit too much of ‘Stromae’!

    Bulgaria; Hit
    Great voice, he’s from Russia (the Voice) and Justin Bieber look a like! Do i need to say more?! However, it won’t be on my playlist!

    The Netherlands; Hit
    The song is not outstanding, but many people will do ‘like’ it!
    Their strong voices and ,as they say in interviews, their staging will make it a (small) Hit

    Latvia; Maybe
    I really like this song but their problem is that it does not work live on stage!

    Ireland; Miss!
    This is crab, next!

  9. Alex C says:

    Israel – HIT. I get the calls of “generic” but Heroes in 2015 was “generic” and it didn’t do them any harm (not saying this is going to win though, obviously). Israel know what they’re doing staging wise, especially for the last two years and Imri’s got experience both from the last two years and from the “Rising Star” selection show. They’d have to majorly mess this up to not qualify/get a decent result.

    France – MAYBE. This is very much the “difficult second album” after last year’s success. How quickly we forget the podcast with France in it last year where one of the jurors explained that mixing in English with French is increasingly the norm in the French pop music scene. And I think therein lies the major element of this song, it’s not trying to win as much as its trying to make Eurovision commercially viable in the French market, which is fair enough as an aim if you ask me. Unlike Israel, I do worry that the French will screw this up on stage (even J’ai Cherche wasn’t particularly well staged but Amir’s natural charm managed to make up for that) and it’ll end up doing quite badly (not Germany or Spain badly but still pretty badly). France’s long term strategy wise it’s a HIT, contest wise a MAYBE.

    Also, Fanboys getting precious about foreign languages and mixes that other than, say, changing it from a Samba to an Argentine Tango (if we’re using strictly terminology) or cutting out a verse in favour of more chorus irritates me no end. Make sure the jurors on the Italy episode don’t do this again please Ewan.

    Bulgaria – MAYBE. I’ve been struggling to peg why people have been saying this could win but the panelists managed to say what I’d been thinking but couldn’t put into words so thank you for that. I think this whole song is a big case of style over substance. An easy enough qualifier but I don’t know what the USP of this one over the other 25 songs will be on the final night to justify anything spectacular on the final scoreboard.

    Netherlands – MAYBE/HIT. If Russia don’t turn up then I think they’re safely in, if they do they’re fighting it out between Austria and Denmark for the last spot (I imagine). The harmonies and what else is in semi 2 suggests to me that this could well win the jury vote in Semi 2 and be dragged through even if there’s a poor televote. Final wise I think they’ll get a good enough jury vote (hell, they could even win that since Italy isn’t going to do as well with the juries as people think it will) at whch point even a terrible televote should guarantee them a left hand side scoreboard position.

    Latvia – HIT. Same school of rave rockpop as Georgia last year and if they stage it similarly to that then it’ll get the same kind of result and for Latvia to go from Cake to Bake to three qualifiers on the trot is a hit enough for them.

    Ireland – MISS. Oh, Ireland. At least with the UK you get the sense that the people in charge are trying to change it up and make progress. Everybody who was going to vote for this will be instantly swayed away by Bulgaria when that comes on later on in the show and as a result this is sinking right down (but Malta and San Marino should make sure it doesn’t go right down to the bottom).

  10. Eurojock says:

    Israel – For me this is a strong dance track and with Israel’s recent record it promises to be well staged, but like Gert says it may have arrived at Eurovision a few years too late. The nearest parallel is Tooji 2012. MAYBE

    France – This one reminds me a bit of Italy 2016. It has artistic merit, but I don’t think everyone will ‘get it’. Being largely in French will hold it back a bit and unlike last year, the added English bits don’t really help it. Also, from the evidence, Alma’s live vocal is not the best. There is enough merit in the song to keep it out the bottom 5 but I can’t see it doing top 10 unless they do something amazing with staging. (Dancers dancing up a wall – now that would be amazing!).

    Bulgaria – Sorry, I have to disagree with the panel. This is a strong, accessible ballad, which has jury fodder written all over it. If Kristian can sing it live this could top the jury vote. As one of the panelists said however, the chorus may not be immediate enough on initial listens. Nevertheless, I still predict this to pick up a lot of Eastern televotes. Nearest parallel – Yohanna’s Is it True?. Potential top 5 and HIT.

    The Netherlands – Top 3?!!!. Come on. For me it’s a dated Wilson Phillips rip-off (there is even a video of the girls singing Hold On.) It also jumps from one harmony to the next and never really follows through on a melody – making it less accessible on initial listens. If this does well, (a bit like the UK) it will be on the strength of the vocal. Having seen videos of live performances I am confident (technical gremlins aside) that the girls can deliver live. MAYBE

    Latvia – I love this song. It takes a few risks. It stands out. The staging generally works – and they have avoided falling into the trap of presenting it like a dance track you might hear down the gym. For me it’s also more modern and accessible than Georgia’s commendable indy rock effort from last year. Trying to be more objective however, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. A bit like Portugal some jurors will love it, others will mark it very low – pulling it down the rankings. For the same reason I can’t see it near the top of the televote – unless they do get the semi pimp slot. There are some question marks over Agnesse’s appearance which may be a vote loser. And Latvia is short of natural allies. That said, there’s enough quality there for an 11-16 finish in the final, and maybe top 10 with a few breaks. HIT

    Ireland – As the panel says, this song will be compared to Australia and Bulgaria, and in that particular contest it comes a very distant third!

  11. Hey Eurojock. You compare this year’s Bulgaria with…Iceland 2009?? I’m sorry, but the latter has a much stronger build-up towards a climax. A typical Eurovision-esque climax. Russia 2015 had that as well. But Bulgaria 2017 vs. Iceland 2009? The comparison confuses me :-). I think what most male ballads this year are suffering from is…..they are too…….soft…..Yes, they have key changes and all that. But they lack firepower near the end of the song!

    I have Bulgaria as a ‘hit’, but I think fans(and profesisonal betters) have been listening the studio versions too much lately. If I have to compare Bulgaria with some other ballads from the past, then only Netherlands 2013 and Norway 2014 come to my mind. Wonderful songs! But they both lacked firepower and had to settle with slightly mediocre scores in the televote.

    By the way, I did a bit of a scoring game in this Jukebox Jury ;-). I attributed points to each personal outcome:

    0,00 points — “MISS”
    1,25 points — “MISS/MAYBE”
    2,50 points — “MAYBE”
    3,75 points — “MAYBE/HIT”
    5,00 points — “HIT !!”

    So far, when we include Ewan Spence, Boog Biagi, Ron Middleton, and all other 8 people who posted their results in the comments section, then this is where we stand:

    43,75 POINTS –> The Netherlands
    42,00 POINTS –> Latvia
    38,75 POINTS –> Bulgaria
    35,00 POINTS –> France
    33,75 POINTS –> Israel
    05,00 POINTS –> Ireland (I feel so sooo sorry for poor Brendan 🙁 )

  12. A thoroughly entertaining show this time – if ever I was on JBJ, I’d have to say that my views align quite closely with Ross and Boog, so I suspect you’d put me on with someone else!

    Two things I’d like to point out before I give my ratings – Ireland are in SF2 and not even Father Ted ended up talking about rubbing one out…

    Israel – MAYBE
    Israel alternate back to party song territory with “I Feel Alive” – Imri has an great voice, a look to appeal to both sexes and if the party can be transferred to the Kyiv stage, this will be a very memorable entry. Pity about the ‘brick wall stop’ at the song’s end though. I have it as a maybe as it is in SF2, where there are several uptempo entries with it.

    France – MAYBE
    “Requiem” is a very catchy piece of Europop, the rhythm of which thumps away throughout and Alma has a ‘distinctive’ singing style and superb stage presence for such an inexperienced artist. Having said that, the intermingling of French and English is the chorus is annoying and unnecessary, and the exhilarating pace set dies away when it should be climaxing. Totally agree with the jury.

    Bulgaria – MAYBE
    Beautiful lyrics in a love song do not always make for a classic Eurovision entry. Even though this reads as an amazing poem, the deathly slow pace of the music together with Kristian’s vocals, superb though they are, does not endear me to this. Unfortunately “Beautiful Mess” could be the banner headline for this song in Kyiv.

    Netherlands – HIT
    We will be hearing some of the best harmonies for years when OG3NE start singing in Kyiv – the Vol sisters could bring The Netherlands yet another ‘dark horse’ Eurovision entry with this wonderfully evocative and emotive song that has amazing vocals and even a crowd participation clapping section. A possible winner for me. Boog needs to watch the live performance that Ross was talking about and you will see vocal gold – this is also the song in Kyiv that has a backstory to it (written about their mum who is ill?), which might be picked up by the big media corporations and commentators.

    Latvia – MAYBE
    There will be nothing visually more contemporary than Triana Park in Kyiv but “Line” relies heavily on Agnese’s vocals to make this a hit. I have seen one live ‘car crash’ and one live ‘masterclass’ – the band’s amazingly energetic gig performance will not be enough if the singing goes bad. This will not win SF1, Ross! That’ll be Sweden…

    Ireland – MISS
    This extremely slow paced ballad that is so ‘Louis Walsh formulaic’ it hurts is likely to flounder in the SF in Kyiv, leaving poor ‘sacrificial lamb’ Brendan to wish that his fellow Hometown boys were there to share the load stone of this entry – but what else could be given to him to sing? At least he might have a stool to sit on and ‘stand up with effect’…

    Looking forward to the next one after we have heard “Line” and “Beautiful Mess” sung live in London…

  13. By the way, I did a bit of a scoring game in this Jukebox Jury ;-). I attributed points to each personal outcome.:

    0,00 points — “MISS”
    1,25 points — “MISS/MAYBE”
    2,50 points — “MAYBE”
    3,75 points — “MAYBE/HIT”
    5,00 points — “HIT !!”

    So far, when we include Ewan Spence, Boog Biagi, Ron Middleton, and all other 9 people who posted their results in the comments section, then this is where we stand:

    48,75 POINTS –> The Netherlands
    44,50 POINTS –> Latvia
    41,25 POINTS –> Bulgaria
    37,50 POINTS –> France
    36,25 POINTS –> Israel
    05,00 POINTS –> Ireland

  14. John Crofton says:

    I note your’e distaste for the Irish song . I’ve listened many times now and also saw him singing live at the different eurovision parties and oooh boy he can sing. The song is different and will do well. A big ballad, well sung will do well.
    You spend too much thinking time on the fact he has a female voice, which will help him.
    Irish culture?
    Where did you drag that one up. I think you were reviewing Walsh, not Brendan. He is 20 and his voice is well broken. Listen to his speaking voice.
    Top 10.

  15. Martin says:

    Thankfully, living in the US, I am protected from having to see Louis Walsh with any regularity (I wish I could say the same about Simon Cowell). His lamentable involvement in the Irish selection this year, is not going to do him any favors, but Brendan will have to live with his error, whereas he can move on.

    I fear Brendan will live to regret his involvement in the same way that Josh Dubovie regrets being involved with another couple of industry veterans and experts.

  16. Edmund says:

    Israel: MAYBE – This was almost a hit for me, but this year I think I’m having pretty high standards for hits. It’s definitely like their 2015 entry in terms of being upbeat and very danceable, and I think it’ll definitely qualify and do fairly well in the final. It will definitely stand out from the ballads, but it still doesn’t have anything special enough for me to call it a hit.

    France: HIT – I can partially understand the gripe with adding English just to add English, but having mixtures of languages proved really well last year (Ukraine and Bulgaria). I truly think that adding the English will give them many more televotes than it could possibly detract from jury OR televotes. And in terms of the production of the revamp, I personally like this version more than the original! The original was great but it was sparse, the intense strings add so much more to this making it so much more epic. And yes it may have gotten darker, but it wasn’t a happy summer’s day to begin with. It already had a pretty brooding and suspenseful feel to it. It was up-tempo but not upbeat in the emotional sense. And I like the new vocals (harmonies and additions at the end) a lot. Ewan you say the revamp “loses the last thirty seconds” but the end of the original was just “ce qui la donne” over an over. I only see the “embrasse-moi tell me that you love me” adding more. Yeah it’s a change from earlier but I think it’s a great swift. Ewan I’m shocked that you said “this doesn’t have anything going that will make it the one you want to vote for.” There’s not other song that moves me the way this does, and the background “ahs”, the strings, the vocals, her looks, and the beauty of this song will make a lot of people vote for it. If a simple revamp makes you go from a possible hit to a miss I don’t know how to please your jurors. This is Top 10 for sure, maybe even Top 5. (P.S. The original version was never “3 minute 40”. You’re thinking of Italy. This song never cut any parts.)

    Bulgaria: MAYBE – This song did very little for me the first time I heard it, but it’s been growing on me and it could be a hit for me soon. It’s well produced and he’s a great singer, but the backing instrumentals just repeat the entire time (the parts where there are no vocals), which most viewers won’t think about but that I feel makes the song less interesting. Being a ballad it will rely on its vocals and production and staging to make it do well. I’m still surprised the bookies have it so high. I mostly agree with all of what you said on this, and I also agree with comparing this to Ireland and Australia (though I like Australia the best out of these three).

    Netherlands: HIT – OG3NE was a great choice for Eurovision! I love the girl group power and their harmonies are absolutely fantastic. I agree that they can do great staging with this. I get them saying that vocal groups often fail, but these sisters have been performing together for so long that I have confidence in them to be great. There is a chance of crashing and burning, but it’s unlikely. And I disagree that there’s no song in there. It’s definitely not the strongest part of this entry but it’s still a good song with meaningful lyrics. Yes this will be a fabulous performance, and the jurors will love it, and I agree that it will need televote support to do well.

    Latvia: MAYBE – Really interesting rock/dance song with great syncopation, but like you said, not sure that this will really connect to voters at home nor so much with jurors. It’s great at what’s it’s trying to be (repetitive electro-dance song), but I think this might have trouble qualifying. But the rhythmic/bass aspects of this song are good enough and it’s different enough that it might squeeze through. (Side note: Ewan I like how transparent you are about talking about how much you like artists who believe in their songs and don’t compromise, but I don’t think most voters care about that, especially ones who haven’t been following the songs.) I do like your point about confidence though, and I see that that’s what you’re going for, but I still think Alma will be confident in her song. (Sorry to bring other songs in her, but you did it first lol). However as I keep listening and realize that this is closing Semi 1, I think this will definitely qualify. However I still call this a maybe as I don’t think it’ll do great in the final. I don’t agree with all of what you said here, but this is one of the songs in which your opinions changed my thoughts the most.

    Ireland: MAYBE – I can see why some people dislike this song, but I really like this song. I agree that it takes a while to build up and the key change is cliché. I know that I like this song largely because, as a low tenor, I’m in complete awe of his really high range, and I also love the gospel choir backing vocals (though that will be hard to replicate live with only 6 singers). I think it will be tough to qualify being in Semi 2, but I hope it does because Ireland has put out a really good (albeit cliché and cheesy) song. (And although I like this song, I must say “Trying to Die” is pretty fun.) I must disagree with Ross about there not being power (he must not be a singer so he doesn’t know how amazing that is). It’s not power in terms of belting, but it’s power in terms of technique and I think that some jurors might recognize it. Honestly if I were actually predicting its fate, I’d say miss, but I like the song enough to make it a maybe in my book. I definitely disagreed with most of your comments on this, and I understand some of your critiques but overall I think you were pretty harsh on this. You’re all making fun of his high voice when that is an absolute gift and I wish I could sing like he could. Ewan you say that the contest and viewership have moved on from this type of music but I honestly like both this type of music and the modern stuff. But my opinion doesn’t matter cuz as an American I can’t vote!!! (Also no stop defending Poland of last year that song sucked I hate that song with all my passion it’s so boring and plodding.)

    But the most important part of this: you’re wrong about France. “Requiem” is a huge hit and will be Top 10 for sure, probably Top 5. Ewan you should’ve given her at least a Maybe and I’m ashamed at all of you for not seeing this song’s greatness(/thinking that the revamp makes this bad). France will beat most of the songs in this Jukebox Jury (Netherlands and Bulgaria being its only real competition). I’ll be here waiting for you to say “we were wrong.”

    Also Boog you need to elaborate about which aspects were “bad” about Jamala last year because I thought her performance was next to perfect and completely deserved to win. But, then again, I can (For once) claim the minority card and that my opinion doesn’t matter as a non-voting American. (Though I agree that there only need to be a few GREAT aspects for a song to get a lot of votes.)

  17. Marc says:

    I love the banter on these podcasts but you’ve ruined “Dying To Try” for me. Now, every time I hear the song I’ll make the association with masturbation!

  18. markdowd1959 says:

    Bulgaria as “Is it true?” Norway 2009……no way…insult to Johanna. Good song, but not in that league…..Iceland 2009 was EXCEPTIONAL!!

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