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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1 Written by on March 16, 2019 | 9 Comments

One more, the musical adventure begins anew. ESC Insight puts all 41 songs looking to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in the dock to be judged. 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.

The National Final weekends are over, but Juke Box Jury is here to fill up the eight weeks between now and the Song Contest’s arrival in Tel Aviv . Once more we’ll make sure we’ve reviewed all the songs before Insight lands in Israel to start our coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Before then, just the small matter of listening to every song that will be at the Contest, and answering a simple question. Hit, miss, or maybe?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #1
with Samantha Ross and John Paul Lucas

Azerbaijan: Truth, by Chingiz.
Montenegro
: Heaven, by D moll.
Austria
: Limits, by Pænda.
Hungary
: Az Én Apám, by Joci Papai.
Australia
: Zero Gravity, by Kate Miller-Heidke.

As May draws ever closer, you can stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunesGoogle Podcasts, and SpotifyA direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

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

  1. Mio says:

    Azerbaijan is a Maybe for me: energetic and engaging music, “ freakin” juvenile lyrics.

    Montenegro is a Miss for me: soothing music for the elevator.

    Austria is a Hit for me: personal, authentic, yes “fragile,” and insightful

    Hungary is a Hit for me: tender, loving, and authentic. I think it is even better than Origo which was one of my favorite songs and performances in 2017.

    Australia is a Miss and a Mess for me: maybe the staging changes will imporove it, but right now it reads more as a depiction of a manic episode with disorganized musical styles, grandiose dress & crown, and delusional ideas of living in zero gravity.

  2. Chance says:

    Chingiz – Truth – I really like this song. But I can’t dhake the fact that it makes me think of Robbie Willaims every time I hear it. Not that it sounds like a specific RW song, but just his vibe. But it’s still a HIT.

    D mol – Heaven – a MISS not even worth the words.

    Pænda – Limits – When I watch the music video I can’t stand it. I find completely boring and forgettable. When it comes up in my ESC 2019 playlist I really enjoy it. So for that I have to give it a MAYBE.

    Joci Papi – Az En Pam – This song is great, unsurprisingly. Joci has one of the most instantly likebale voices and stage presence. But it’s not as immediate as Origo. So I struggle to feel confident for it. My guess is 7-10 in the semi and 17-20 in the final. Sadly it’s a MAYBE.

    Late Miller-Heideke – Zero Gracity – Can’t ignore the loss of 2000 & Whatever, which would have been huge contender to win. This song is enjoyable but it feels like an attempt to replicate things others have done successfully so I can’t get behind it. It’s fine, but nothing more. MAYBE.

  3. dimitris esc says:

    Australia winning eurovision with “Zero Gravity”? Oh well…

  4. Eurojock says:

    Welcome back JBJ!

    Azerbaijan – Modern radio friendly/jury friendly song with a strong hook. This is their strongest entry for some years. It has a decent chance of making top 10. HIT

    Montenegro – Hell! MISS

    Austria – I rather like this but it is, as Ewan says, a ‘small song’. In terms of the tone and the lyric it is similar to The Netherlands in the same semi and it suffers from this comparison . Limits could be one of 8 entries competing for the last qualifying slot from this semi. If it is to get that final qualifying slot, a great deal will hinge on Paenda’s performance. She has to get the emotion of the song across and make the audience feel her pain. At best a MAYBE.

    Hungary – Could be one of 7 songs in contention for the final 3 qualifying slots in Semi 1. Ewan summed up the limitations of the song very neatly. To make it through it may be relying on a personal vote for Joci or a regional vote/Roma vote (is Joci Roma? ). MAYBE

    Australia – Strong, inventive song that may suffer from juries’ dislike of popera. A lot hinges on the revamped staging. Audiences need to be reminded more of Kate Bush and less of Elina Nechayeva. Qualifier, but Grand Final finishing place could be anything. MAYBE

  5. AZERBAIJAN: HIT
    Great pop song, performed by a very charismatic singer. The best Azeri entry IMO since 2011 if you ask me. However, since last year’s up-tempo successes of Israel and Cyprus, more countries joined that very same bandwagon: Malta, Cyprus, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium. It will be pivotal to see how Azerbaijan will stand out among those entries. And currently I have somewhat higher hopes for Switzerland.

    MONTENEGRO: MISS
    Enough said. This reminds me of children’s music from 1997.

    AUSTRIA: HIT
    Underestimated classy act this year from Austria. If Netherlands 2014 truly owned the stage with a sincere calm moment in a sea of loud acts, then this could be seen as its natural follow-up. Yes, musically this is entirely different from americana/country, yet in this Kate Bush-esque genre ‘Limits’ excells. Paenda to me seems a very artistic woman, and I bet they have a clear idea on how to stage this. Also, like The Netherlands, Austria is back in form in the past years. They know how to excell with staging without expensive directors like Sacha Jean Baptiste. A dark horse in the making.

    HUNGARY: HIT (but barely)
    This will surely be on top with North Macedonia in the Balkan televote. Joci is an uttermost charismatic man, and he ‘does’ something with everyone’s emotions. He’s extremely likeable on stage. And to me I think this could do slightly better with juries than the 2017 entry. I also like the whistling in between. A shoe-in for the final.

    AUSTRALIA: MAYBE
    I think this could be the first time Australia will attract more televotes than jury-sympathy. The meme, a popera-singer who showcases her vocals in the best, slightly cheesy way, is bait for people voting at home. Curious how this works out on stage. But a dark horse? Not sure yet

  6. Shai says:

    It is JBJ, which force me to listen to all song properly, for the first time 🙂

    Azerbaijan-
    Is back in form and is serving a modern and very accessible song. If I am hearing correct there are some small touches of traditional instruments in the orchestration. When in it come to Azerbaijan I mostly don’t get them but here I am enjoying very much. This is an easy HIT

    Montengro –
    When you need to revamp a song, it means that it wasn’t good in the first place. They are trying yo make it sounds more Montenegrin but the original song wasn’t good enough to make any impact.
    They clearly haven’t learned the Armenian lesson from several years ago or the Bulgarian lesson from 2018. It is very difficult to make 5/6 individuals sound as 1 group and it is very hard for such group to have any chemistry.
    To be honest it’s a waste of time – MISS

    Austria –
    Delicate and understated and it’s not an easy song to sing.
    I am worried though what will happen if she miss a note, because with this song, it can just happen.
    I like it a lot but I am not sure it can leave any impact. It all depends which songs will be around this one, how this will sound live and how it will be staged -MAYBE(although, more a HIT for me)

    Hungary –
    I am sitting on the fence with this one. It’s melodic and very touching but I can’t shake the feeling that this is a bit underdeveloped. There is something missing to make the song a great one.
    It will qualify but will get lost in the final because there are better song than this one -MAYBE

    Autralia –
    Popera has been done several times in Eurovision and not always with great success. This is a very light popera and It works here to a certain degree but than come the last 30 seconds(or so) of the song, and it is a very repetitive, to the point of annoying. It gives me the feeling I want to smash the TV if that will make her shut up. I think there is a crowd for this, but I am not one of them-MISS for me and more likely a MAYBE.

  7. James says:

    It seems like this episode was made before Montenegro released its revamp for “Heaven”. I was pleasantly surprised with the sudden 180 on the feedback I’m seeing for it online. 😀

  8. Harriet Krohn says:

    AZERBAIJAN:
    There must be something wrong with me as I seem to be the only one who can’t relate to this song at all. I couldn’t tell you how it goes right now and every time it comes up on my playlist I have to check to see what song/country this is again. Oh right, Chingiz. The song is nice enough, I’m not even close to skipping it, but I’m not singing along either and when it’s over I happily move on to something else. Whatever everyone else sees in “Trhuth”, I have yet to discover it. MAYBE

    MONTENEGRO:
    Oh well, there’s nothing much to say about this, really. The one positive thing is I don’t skip it (yet, anyway) and the revamp has actually improved the whole thing – but on a really, really low level. MISS

    AUSTRIA:
    Difficult. Yes, the song is very good and I like the intimacy of it, but I’m not really big on very high female voices. It gets on my nerves at a point, and that comes way before the 3 minute mark. If they can create a magic moment on stage (song and singer both have the potential), this could be another great result for Austria, but I feel it’s more likely the entry will drown. MAYBE

    HUNGARY:
    I absolute agree that it’s not as instantaneous as “Origo”, which will probably be its biggest problem. A perfectly lovely song, with a very likeable performer, but it’s neither loud nor quiet enough to really do the trick for me. MAYBE

    AUSTRALIA:
    God, I hate this one. And yet I find myself humming and singing it while packing my bag or doing the dishes. And then I hate it even more for being so intrusive. 😀 I think the audience is going to love this, they almost always fall for pop opera – my only hope lies with the juries to keep it down a bit. I wouldn’t mind Australia winning, but please not with this. MAYBE/personal MISS

  9. Ben Pitchers says:

    Azerbaijan: MAYBE. It starts out really promisingly. The verses are great, as is the production. The chorus is too lightweight and disappointing and I find it off-putting to hear someone singing ‘shut up about it’ over and over again. That’s all we get for the last half of the song, plus the 20 second musical break that doesn’t help. Chingiz seems like an engaging stage presence but it won’t be easy to recreate the sound of the recorded song live. Azerbaijan is well placed in SF2 in the 2nd half and will probably qualify and I think it’ll land outside the top 10 in the final. There’s better songs doing the same thing this year.

    Montenegro: MISS. When this got chosen I thought it was a basic but serviceable song that was unlikely to do well and qualify. I agree with John that the revamp has made it worse. I appreciate the use of traditional instruments but they don’t fit the song and they feel shoehorned in to me. There’s just too much going on now so it sounds very messy. Battling it out for last place in SF1.

    Austria: MAYBE. I really like the song and her delivery. You can hear the vulnerability in her voice. The chorus is very simple but effective and there is progression in the song. The only reason I’m giving it a maybe and not a hit is because it could get lost coming in the first half of the bigger SF. Also, it is competing with some other very strong ballads in SF2, especially the Netherlands. It could easily have the same fate as Blackbird in 2017. The video is very effective because she is looking directly at you the entire time and that fits the intimate nature of the song. If they can recreate this aspect at the contest I think they should qualify.

    Hungary: MAYBE. I am very that Joci is back and that he’s brought yet another quality entry. The lyrics are beautiful, and even though it’s not in English you can understand the emotion and meaning from his performance. Hungary always seem to qualify lately no matter what genre they send. I think this year should be no exception. I’ve gone for maybe because I don’t think it’s as competitive as Origo was so won’t do as well as that did.

    Australia: MAYBE. The first time I heard it I didn’t like it. When I found out what the song was about and heard the recorded version I warmed up to it more. I like elements of the song. The lyrics in the verses are great and it addresses the subject matter of overcoming postnatal depression extremely well. The choruses risk sounding like vocal exercises; I didn’t even realise she was singing ‘zero gravity’ the first time I heard it. I agree with you that Kate doesn’t really have much to do at the end of the song and the hook goes to the backing singers. Australia have shown they have a vulnerability when it comes to the televote (at least in the final) and last year proved any country can NQ. I think it’ll stand out enough to probably get through but this could be another placing in the bottom half of the final.

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