Support ESC Insight on Patreon

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6 Written by on April 12, 2018 | 7 Comments

Our next five  songs from the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 face the prospects of being hits, misses, or maybes. 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.

Eurovision 2018’s Juke Box Jury, round six. Ewan Spence is joined by Lisa-Jayne Lewis and Dan Hudson to talk wheelchairs, lopers, and beards. Looking for hits, misses, and maybes are Lithuania, Israel, Russia, Montenegro, and Denmark.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6
with Lisa-Jayne Lewis and Dan Hudson (A Gay And A NonGay)

Lithuania: When We’re Old, by Leva Zasimauskaité.
Israel: Toy, by Netta,
Russia: I Won’t Break, by Yulia Samoylova.
Montenegro: Inje, by Vanja Radovanović.
Denmark: Higher Ground, by Rasmussen.

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 (

Read more from this author...

You Can Support ESC Insight on Patreon

ESC Insight's Patreon page is now live; click here to see what it's all about, and how you can get involved and directly support our coverage of your Eurovision Song Contest.

Share This Post

If You Like This...

Have Your Say

7 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #6”

  1. James says:

    Wow, lots of heated emotions here in the podcast. Okay so here’s my take:

    -Sweet, innocent, a bit slow, the staging in Eurvizijos Atranka was quite simple, which I expect the delegation to replicate in Lisbon minus the backdrop. I think what makes it much more authentic is the last two verses Ieva sung live in Lithuanian. I would have put this a complete HIT but the English lyrics aren’t as questionably composed as some of the other non-Anglophone English-language entries.

    For me, it’s a MAYBE.

    -Hype aside, I can appreciate the efforts of Israel to mix ethnic and contemporary sounds that manage to work well and taking the risk of playing a digital instrument live. Hopefully the live performance is worth the excitement because that will make or break “Toy”. Netta has proven to be quite the live performer in Rising Star so my expectations are high.

    No doubt a HIT, but will it win? We will have to see in May.

    -I’m surprised at Lisa-Jayne’s thoughts on the music video*. I have a completely different interpretation of the narrative they were trying to show there (Yulia is as strong as a moment and “will not break” no matter the challenges”. The song is quite alright, if not totally generically safe. Her live performance in Lisbon is gonna be quite interesting indeed.

    While I have no doubt that Russia will qualify either way, this is going to be a big MAYBE for me.

    *As a professional video editor, it breaks my heart to hear people use the word “photoshop” inappropriately, lol. Hehehe. Anyway, the right term to describe that scene is “masking”. The editor in post-production placed a footage of Yulia’s full bodyshot over a shot of a mountain, and then place a mask around her head to make it look like she is popping out of said mountain as the camera zooms out.

    -Very epic, very Scandinavian, and very relevant to the times (being that Vikings and Games of Thrones are still hot TV properties at the moment). It has a lot of good going on in there so there’s not much that needs changing with the transition to Lisbon. I think it’s gonna do well.

    So simply put, it’s a HIT.

  2. Harriet Krohn says:

    I don’t understand the point about juries wanting to prove they were right last year in backing Norway by voting comtemporary again … you are aware that the people on all the different juries are not the same as last year, right? If I was in my country’s jury this year, why would it matter what the person who had my job last year voted? Why would *I* want to prove *they* were right? “The jury” is not a homogenous group, it’s 43 randomly mixed groups that change from year to year. So I don’t understand that argument at all.
    Onto the songs now:

    Lithuania: Such a sweet little song, totally endearing. It’s very simple and I agree it doesn’t leave a lasting impact, but if she can bring that love (that is obivously real) across on the stage in Lisbon, I wouldn’t rule out a qualification for the big night. This is, after all, Lithuania – they’ve managed to get into the final with weaker songs. For me it’s a strong MAYBE.

    Israel: Difficult. It’s very catchy and Netta has great energy, but some parts, especially the beginning, can easily get on one’s nerves as well and seem ridiculous to casual viewers. I don’t know how much these viewers will care about her using a looper on stage (I certainly don’t), and I feel a bit like with Italy last year – everyone’s saying this is the winner and I don’t really understand why. That’s not to say I’ll be right again, maybe Israel will win, but I won’t be shocked if it doesn’t. It’s a minor HIT for me.

    Russia: Again, difficult. I hated her song last year and I think this one is quite a bit better, if not good. As repetitive as it is, it’s also quite catchy and I have found myself humming it while doing the dishes. Her live performance in Moscow was horrible, but from what I have heard and read she’s not as bad a singer as she showed on that occasion, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say it won’t be such a car crash in Lisbon. This being Russia, I can easily see this ending up in the top ten – for me it’s a weak MAYBE.

    Montenegro: Balkan ballad, snore … this is an okay one, but it’s just not my genre. I quite like his voice, but when the song comes on it always takes me a short while to remember what that is again. Just a MAYBE.

    Denmark: Can I please have shortbread instead of Denmark? And again with the key change … heavens, if I never have to hear another key change at Eurovision I won’t miss a thing. I’m also really tired of all the viking romanticism, tough guys agains the elements, I hate Game of Thrones and all that, and pacifist vikings aren’t a whole lot better. At least the helmets have no horns. 😉 To me it’s everyhing I have seen too many times at Eurovision, including there not being anything authentic about it. But at least it’s better than last year’s Danish entry. MAYBE, but barely.

  3. Shai says:

    This is really sweet and gentle. It may not have the soaring element but that’s not to say that this can not reach or touch the audience. If we talk about authenticity, this come the closers to that. If they can create the right magic and come out as sincere, this can really do well. The fact it’s sandwiched between 2 uptempo songs can be to its advantage but also to its disadvantage. Personally, I like it but not sure how this will fare-MAYBE

    I love it. I think it’s a good, contemporary slice of pop song. it’s not bland or beige. It dares to sound different and take risks.Add the fact that she is not your typical female singer and you have a package that stands out above the rest of the packages around it. I’ll acknowledge that the are questions marks regarding the live vocals and the staging, but if they get it right, than nothing will stop this song from the achieving the crown. Comparisons to Italy 2017 are valid point. There are similarities but there are also things that set the 2 apart-Needless to say this is a HIT.

    It comes from the same writers team of Russia 2017 and it sounds every bit the same song, albeit slightly better but not that much better. I don’t think Russia want to win this year. They have the World-cup on their head and they don’t need or have the time for another headache, involving in organising the contest.
    I was trying to figure out why the choose her again and I think that by choosing her they are presenting themselves as a country which keeps its promises. I think that correspond with Ewan was talking about Russia soft politics in regard to the contest.-MISS(for me) but this being Russia-MAYBE

    A good Balkan ballad does it for me. The problem that they are becoming a bit safe and a bit too recognisable in their sound and built up. This is no exception but this one does its thing in a way that I actually like.It goes from A to B in a familiar way, which may not be a bad thing. If the NF performance was live singing, than he can sing this live but on the other hand he lucks something in the charisma department. I hope they bring it live in a good way-between MAYBE to HIT

    GoT want its song back. I have a mix feelings regarding this song. Sometime I just don’t like it and sometime I think this is better that I originally thought it was. It is catchy and stays in your head to the point you just don’t want to hear it anymore.It has a key change but it it is there in order to bring the song to an end and it does sound a bit forced.
    I understand that this is a MF reject-The irony and bemusement if this does better than the Swedish entry.Not going to happen, nevertheless…-MAYBE

  4. Eurojock says:

    Lithuania – A rather sweet song (a sort of solo version of this year’s Spanish entry) sung by a voteable young woman, which may do surprisingly well with juries and televoters. However, the strength of the first half of semi one and the running order position could be a big drawback. MAYBE

    Israel – The Youtube hits total is indication enough in itself that this is going to to very well indeed and could well win. However, it is currently too short in the betting odds given the potential negatives. Too aggressive, too mad/scary, too fat, too Israel. Also, we don’t know how this looper business is going to work live. The indications from the Israeli preparty were that it could make the staging too static. Everything will hinge on first rehearsal. HIT

    Russia – This is going to rely on diaspora if it is to sneak out of its semi in 9th or 10th. MAYBE

    Montenegro – Has a chance of qualifying given it is in the second half of semi two. MAYBE

    Denmark – Ewan, called this authentic. I had another standard Eurovision label in mind – two syllables beginning with F! Juries will hate this and it is competing with stronger televote songs and diaspora big hitters for the public vote – so hopefully it won’t qualify. MAYBE

  5. Ben Pitchers says:

    Lithuania: MAYBE. I really like the song but that only started happening from my second listen onwards. Ieva sings it well live and I think it’ll tug at lots of viewers and jury members’ heartstrings as if it was in this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert. I think it deserves to go to the final but I think it could get lost, especially being early on in SF1 and sandwiched between the Czech Republic and Israel. If staged really well and enough to create a moment, it should qualify and may do ok in the final.

    Israel: HIT. I loved this from the very first time I heard it. The song has such great energy and doesn’t sound like anything we’ve had at Eurovision before and certainly stands out from every other song this year. I do think it seems like the most likely winner at this pre-rehearsal stage. The only thing that could detract from it is how long Netta has to stand behind the looper, because that would make her too static in such an uptempo song. It was hard to tell from the recording what effects the looper was used for. From the live performances, it seems like she only seems to need it for the opening of the song. It’s quite a feat to sing the baka-bakum part without getting tongue-twisted! I’m surprised the EBU allowed her to sing about Barbie and Pikachu – isn’t that advertising? I think it would be a great winner: it pushes the contest forward and could be another winner that is a big hit in a similar way to the positive things Euphoria did for Eurovision.

    Russia: MISS. The only positives I can say are that it’s better than Flame is Burning and the production is pretty solid. I thought her husband wrote a few possible entries for her that were swept aside for the broadcaster’s vision for her. I think they’ve shown a real disregard to her as an artist, but then when you’re an internally selected singer maybe you have little power of what your entry is. If someone isn’t hugely confident in English and its enunciation, why not allow her to sing in Russian? When I’ve read about what kind of styling she’d prefer, it’s a million miles from the video for this song or the styling she had in last year’s video. It’s not a memorable enough song and I think they’ll struggle to recreate the studio version at contest. There’s a real possibility of Russia missing out on the final. Their only hope is diaspora support and that they’re in the weaker SF. Having Moldova, the Netherlands and Australia following them will not do it any favours. If it does get to the final it could be Russia’s lowest placed entry of 18 or lower.

    Montenegro: MISS. I like a Balkan ballad as much as the next Eurovision fan but it’s a bit too heavy and sombre for me, and not one I want to go back to and listen to many more times. It’s improved with the revamp but I don’t think it’s enough to make it competitive enough for the contest. Vanja has a fantastic voice and I’m sure he’ll be a very reliable vocalist on stage. Visually he’s not the most engaging performer – you need to be pretty emotive to sell this song on stage. It’s got a good slot at the end of SF2 but being surrounded by Sweden, Slovenia and Ukraine won’t help. Montenegro tend to struggle to get support outside the Balkans and I don’t think they’ll find it this year.

    Denmark: MISS. This song does absolutely nothing for me; it’s yet another example of Danish blandness. Soldiers of Love with Vikings even. The story behind the song is interesting, but not enough to make a song out of except to make a peace ballad. It also comes across as too much like a song from a mediocre piece of musical theatre. The lyrics about the arrow don’t make sense either – you can’t freeze an arrow in the air, you can only choose whether to fire it or not. Rasmussen has a good voice but he doesn’t get to really show it off. Because SF2 is pretty weak, it might get through to the final but then I’m sure it’d get lost and come very near the bottom of the scoreboard.

  6. Martin says:

    Yep, quick ones here…

    HIT – Lithuania, Israel
    MAYBE – Denmark
    MISS – Russia, Montenegro

  7. Edmund says:

    Btw It’s Ieva with an I (i) not Leva with an L (l)

    also HIT – Israel
    MAYBE – Denmark, Russia (though this one is almost a maybe)
    MISS – Montenegro, Lithuania

Leave a Reply