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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #3 Written by on March 21, 2018 | 9 Comments

Five more songs from the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 step up to find out if they will pick up a hit, a miss, or a maybe. 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.

It’s round three of 2018’s Eurovision Juke Box Jury. Ewan Spence is joined by Lisa-Jayne Lewis and John Egan to discuss the hit, miss, or maybe potential of another five songs that are heading to Lisbon for this year’s Song Contest.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #3
with Lisa-Jayne Lewis (ESC Insight) and John Egan (58 Points).

Latvia: Funny Girl, by Laura Rizzotto.
: Viszlát Nyár, by AWS.
: Hvala, Ne, by Lea Sirk.
: Monsters, by Saara Aalto.
: O Jardim, by Cláudia Pascoal.

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

  1. Shai says:

    I like the understated nature of the song however in a way it disappoints me because you expect a bit of a “bang”at the end, but this “bang” is never delivered. It is a word driven song and the minimal arrangement is just to serve and support the lyrics.
    She sell the song and she seems to know how play the camera to her advantage. I think it will get a bit lost in the competition but it might have some life beyond Eurovision-MAYBE(on the verge of HIT)

    I’ll be the first to admit that rock is not my gener. I can’t listen beyond the massive guitars sound and the voice of the lead singer just irritate me to the point I want to smash my speakers. I’ll be glad if this stays in the semi-MISS

    It’s a bit monotone and underdeveloped. It’s miss something that will keep me interested, The NF performance doesn’t help me understand the song. I don’t mind it’s in Slovenian, however it’s not making me get involved in the song in a way that will cross the barrier of the language-Maybe(on the verge of MISS)

    On the basis of the 3 songs and their respective video’s, I think Saara Aalto wanted to sing “Monsters” in Lisbon. But when the video got published it was obvious it will toned down to make it accessible to a wider audience.That’s said, I think it may have less wider appeal and is targeting itself to certain audience of Eurovision(meaning the gay one, as gay person not a bad idea. But you don’t win Eurovision only with the gay vote) What we got was the disaster that was the NF performance, Shakey vocals , a too dark staging and a staging that doesn’t tell a good story.
    I admit it’s catchy and has a nice built up but it is fishing in the same pond as Cyprus, Azerbaijan and to less extend Greece so it need to be top noch on all departments in order not to be stranded in the semi. . As it is it’s a MAYBE(with a potential to be a HIT)

    It’s sweet and melancholic at the same time. It’s very Portugees but unlike last year it misses that extra thing that touch you and move you the way Salvador did. In a field of 26 songs, with stronger competition around, it may not have enough in to get good result – MAYBE

  2. Harriet Krohn says:

    Latvia: Nice. In a “I’m not skipping the song, but I never go directly to it either” way. It’s growing on me a bit, but I can’t see myself voting for it in any kind of scenario. But since it’s not a bad song at all, it’s a MAYBE from me.

    Hungary: Funny how you all say it’s accessible – I find it extremely hard to access this song. And I’m not even anti-rock, I just don’t get this song. It starts out okay but then in the last minute I always feel that two minutes would have been enough. (And I will never understand what the big deal is with key changes …) MISS/MAYBE (I think they’ll qualify, but I find it impossible to rate their chances in the grand final.)

    Slovenia: Now this one is among my favourites this year. As I don’t watch NFs or videos I can’t judge her performance on stage, but she seems very strong in the way she sings and I’m confident it’ll look good at Eurovision. I have my doubts about a top ten or even top 15 result, but I’d happily be proven wrong. HIT

    Finland: Since I don’t watch NFs, Saara Aalto means nothing to me as a person or singer, I’m only judging the song and I quite like it. Not my favourite, but one I find myself singing along to every time it comes on. (I also added it to my sports playlist but found it didn’t really fit in, but I’m not holding that agains Saara. ;)) I don’t see this as a contender for the win, but it should easily qualify and get a decent result. MAYBE/HIT

    Portugal: Love, love, love this! It’s so beautiful and special and very … fragile in a way, and I appreciate that Portugal doesn’t bend over to fit some “rules” about what Eurovision is like, but just stays true to what it is. I don’t always like the songs, but that’s okay. This time they’re sending a big HIT and I hope for a left-hand result (although that might be very difficult given how un-showy this song is).

  3. mk says:

    Latvia – I like it, probably in my top 15. MAYBE

    Hungary – it’s OK, I can listen to it, but not my piece of cake. Reminds me of Georgia 2016 that was predicted not to qualify from the semifinal and it did. MAYBE

    Slovenia – while I like it, I don’t think it’s anywhere near their 2015 entry. That was a HIT for me, this is MAYBE

    Finland – this is sort of commercial stuff. Probably it will qualify, while last year’s entry that I loved did not…MISS for me

    Portugal – this is beautiful, I liked it instantly and she has an angelic voice. HIT for me. And I was no fan of Salvador last year.

  4. filmfifty2 says:

    Latvia – I MUCH preferred Esamiba, but c’est la vie. I enjoy Funny Girl. It was one of the songs in the internet vote I gave a thumbs up. I like it. It’s in my Top 10. But I can see a path to non-qualification. MAYBE.

    Hungary – I ADORE this. So much fun. They’ve had a decent run of qualification and I don’t think there’s any danger of that being interrupted here. HIT.

    Slovenia – In my Top 5. A solid banger. Native language. She has great stage presence and can perform it well. HIT.

    Finland – Queen Saara is ready to snatch another second place. HIT

    Portugal – This song almost gets me to care about it. But I have a distinct feeling we’ll be seeing a repeat of the Makemakes. MISS.

  5. togravus says:

    I have never been a fan of Saara Aalto and think that she has terrible taste when it comes to picking songs. I did not like any of the 3 songs she presented in UMK. On the other hand, I love the Hungarian and Portuguese songs. Slovenia can go either way depending on the live performance and Latvia simply leaves me cold.

  6. Eurojock says:

    Latvia – Personally Funny Girl is one of my favourite five or six songs of the contest. I agree with John and Ewan about this struggling in the televote. However, I think there is something there for the juries, particularly in the context of Semi 2 where there are few alternative good quality jury songs. I also disagree strongly with John and Ewan about Laura. Not only is her vocal good but she sells the song down the camera very well. I have few doubts about her ability to deliver. The summit of Funny Girl’s ambitions is qualification and, although difficult, it is not entirely out of the question if it gets jury top 5 in the semi. On that basis MAYBE.

    Hungary – Another one where the only real question is qualification or not. As Ewan says it has authenticity in its favour, but on balance I’m with Lisa-Jayne that this brand of hard rock may alienate too many jurors and televoters. MISS

    Slovenia – For me the best part of the entry is the staging. The song itself lacks a strong and melodic enough chorus and is not helped by being in the native language rather than English. Then there are the practicalities of escaping semi 2. Slovenia is against some big televote songs and also several diaspora big hitters, so I can’t see this getting anywhere near top 10 on public vote. Will the juries go for it in a big way? I doubt it. Non-qualifier and MISS.

    Finland – This might be an another example of that classic Eurovision phenomenon – great video shame about the live. I’m surprised how no one on the panel mentioned the detrimental effect of the loss of the children’s voices. Last night, for the first time, I also listened to all the songs in semi one together. It was very revealing. In what will be a qualification bloodbath several songs stand out as different and should qualify. Then there are others that are very much in competition with similar styles of song. In this respect Finland is up against Azerbaijan and Cyprus and I don’t think there is room for all three to go through. So a lot will depend on the staging we get in Lisbon. Monsters could do anything from Non-Qualification to Top Five. So, very much a MAYBE.

    Portugal – The song took a while to grow on me and this will be a problem for the public vote. It does stand out though and should get a measure of low jury support. If I were Portugal I would do something about the purple rinse and the keep the woman in the straight-jacket in the green room. Probably a right hand side finisher, but should have enough to escape the bottom 5. MAYBE

    PS: I was beginning to worry you had fired Lisa-Jayne for real. Stranger things have been known to happen on these Eurovision Fan sites. But I’m so glad you’ve been reconciled and I would respectfully suggest from now on the pre-podcast consumption of half a bottle of vodka is mandatory for all juke-box jurors.

  7. Guys you always forget Hungary has his diaspora in semi final 2 with Romania, Serbia, Ukraine,Slovenia in these countrys there are living 2 million hungarians who will vote

  8. Ben Pitchers says:

    Latvia: MAYBE. I was quite impressed by this from the first time I saw it. Laura has a good stage presence and the staging at Supernova suited the song. Hopefully it won’t be changed too much by the time we get to Lisbon; some nice camera angles and lights should work with the back-to-basics stage. The only thing that’s keeping it from being a hit is I’m not sure how it’ll do at the contest. SF2 is the weaker one and being in the second half should help its chances to qualify. Assuming it gets to Saturday night, it could get lost.

    Hungary: MISS. Even though this isn’t a genre I particularly like, I don’t hate this entry. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a competitive one and is extremely unlikely to qualify. The people who like this genre aren’t necessarily people who watch a Eurovision semi-final and the fact it’s in Hungarian means that its lyrics will be lost on most viewers and they’ll only hear screaming. Considering it’s on the same subject as Germany’s song, it comes across as much more genuine. I do commend Hungary for varying the types of entry we have at Eurovision with this authentic, if challenging song.

    Slovenia: MAYBE. She has a great stage presence and confidence that does justice to the song. Lea wrote the lyrics herself and their insistence on forging your own path is conveyed well. This is another entry that feels authentic. Yet again, I’m not sure how it will do. Slovenia tend to find it pretty tough to qualify but I think this could squeak through in 10th but would be in danger of coming last in the final.

    Finland: HIT. I really like this song and have only enjoyed it more as I’ve listened to it. It’s quite a challenging song to do justice to live, as we found out at UMK. Saara will need some help from some good backing singers to round out the sound and help her if she’s dancing a lot on stage. I get the impression from Saara that she’s very determined, so she’ll be putting in the work to get the vocals and choreography right. As long as YLE find a way to stage it that allows her to feel confident and enjoy herself, I think it’ll get to the final fairly easily. She has the chance of getting top 10, which would be a great result for Finland.

    Portugal: HIT. Another beautiful entry from Portugal. It’s a very delicate song, aided by Claudia’s delivery. It stays with you after you listen to it. The only thing I’d like RTP to change is to find a better way of introducing Isaura into the performance, rather than just having her sitting on a chair with her back to audience for the majority of the song. Swivel chairs give me bad flashbacks to Las Ketchup! I think it could do surprisingly well, definitely better than last year’s home entry for Ukraine. Maybe it’ll even get top 10.

  9. Martin says:

    Lisa-Jayne gets to fan-girl Saara, this is the JBJ where I get to ‘fan-guy’ (is there such a phrase?) my #1 this year, so one review will not have any rationality to it at all!

    Latvia – HIT. Okay, we get my biased review out of the way. This is the complete experience for me – the lyrics are superb, Laura is absolutely amazing vocally and she is a seasoned live performer who knows how to work the camera. It does sound dark but there is a narrative here about unrequited love that connects us all and loads of passion linking into that wonderful jazz/pop arrangement. No idea what Ewan and John were looking and listening to but it was obviously not their cup of tea (or maybe the vodka had softened their senses!). I think this will qualify and will get a decent placing on Final night – for Latvia’s purposes, it is a hit. Laura Rizzotto is also an artist that I will be following after the Contest, unlike many of the other 43.

    Hungary – MISS. I have nothing against this genre as my musical tastes are very wide and varied, as befitting someone who has lived through the 1970s/80s/90s/00s/10s. I can listen to this all the way through and not switch it off but I cannot honestly see where this will get enough votes to qualify. Juries might value this higher but that isn’t even guaranteed as AWS were miles away from the top 3 in A Dal before the Super Final – the jurors there didn’t rate this at all. This is not accessible to any other those who really like this sort of heavy rock, despite the excellence of the muscianship. Ewan, you can sell this all you want but this ain’t qualifying.

    Slovenia – MAYBE. I like this clubland head-bobber, it does stick in your head, despite there not being a real hook to the music or song. The real USP of this is Lea herself – she was superb at EMA and had an amazingly well-worked routine. She also connected with the camera throughout, has bags of attitude, was sassy and carried the vocals entirely on her own. Likely to be on after an interval or closing SF2 – as for how successful it will be will depend on whether that routine is replicated in Lisbon and whether the Slovene language hinders the viewer’s listen, because the lyrics are so powerful when you understand them. Possible qualifer for me and potential opening slot if the draw is right for the Final, lower mid table finish once there.

    Finland – HIT. Saara is always really vocally assured with everything she does but her theatrical sound does sound a bit odd with a clubland banger. She is hugely confident on stage and her tv experience should give her a huge foot up as far as connection is concerned. At UMK it all got a bit shouty and pitchy and the staging was a bit pants there – staging can be changed easily and her vocals should be superb live. This should be an easy qualifier and this should give Finland their best result since Softengine but unsure how high up that would be.

    Portugal – HIT. Beautifully sung, a wonderful message and aspect to the words of the song (the grandmother angle) that has no politics, no social treatise, a song of love and regret. A lovely touch for Isaura to be involved but to support Claudia with the passion and emotion of this song, transmitting it all to the audience – you commiserate with the singer, you become totally immersed with the ambiance of the music, it is as slow as the fall of water from a watering can in that garden. The visual power of how Claudia puts herself into this song creates a whole – I have gone for a hit because apart from last year, getting a mid-table Final placing would be a massive result normally for Portugal and that is where I see this finishing.

    Not so sure about the comedy, guys…

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