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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7 Written by on April 29, 2019 | 10 Comments

Five more songs face the judges looking to see if they get a hit, a miss, or a maybe in the latest Juke Box 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.

Sometimes Juke Box Jury goes deep into musical theory. This is not one of those weeks, but it is a chance for the community to remember that the voting public can be a fickle demographic.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7
with Rob Holley (@RobHolley) and Dan Clarkson (@daniel_veronica).

Romania: On A Sunday, by Ester Peony.
Russia: Scream, by Sergey Lazarev.
Serbia: Kruna, by Nevena Božović.
France: Roi, by Bilal Hassani.
Georgia: Sul Tsin Lare, by Oto Nemsadze.

With rehearsals for the Contest are less than a week away, you can stay up to date with all the Eurovision news by listening to the ESC Insight podcasts. 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 (

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

  1. Harriet Krohn says:

    Disclaimer: I do not follow national selections (with about 3-4 exceptions) and I rarely watch official videos, so I judge only on … well … the songs. (Am I weird?)

    Romania: MAYBE
    I quite like it. Yes, it’s slow, but it really sticks in my head and has done so from the beginning. “Loving you is a hard price to pay” – that’s something I can relate to. I’m not sure if it’ll qualify, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s not going to do much on the Saturday though.

    Russia: HIT
    So here we finally are at my prediciton for the televote winner. “The East” (which exist as much or as little as “The West”) will want revenge for what they perceive as a stolen victory, and there are so many Russians in the West as well. Plus, even if you don’t know Sergey Lazarev you can connect to him because he is a likeable guy and he is such a professional that he will not miss a single camera he’s supposed to look into. Alexander Rybak said Lazarev would win this time “because of art, not because of Russia”, and I don’t think that’s true. The song is certainly more interesting than “You Are The Only One”, the staging is going to be exceptional (again) and I could imagine juries going for it more, but it’s not the best song in the contest. So if Russia wins, it’s still mostly because of Russia. (By the way, the lyrics are “acid rain from your fingerprints” – not fingertips – and that simply doesn’t make any sense at all.) I was a bit disappointed when the song was released because I had expected more, but it has grown on me incredibly and it’s one of my favourites by now.

    Serbia: MAYBE
    I’m not usually one for Balkan ballads, but I like this one. Maybe that’s because it’s not really a Balkan ballad, it’s just a ballad from the Balkans. I do however think it’s not intense enough to qualify, even if Nevena is a fantastic singer with a wonderful voice. Maybe the juries will push her through, but I don’t really believe in it.

    France: MAYBE
    You very much summed up what bugs me about the French entry – it’s all about Bilal and not about “Roi” at all. And I understand that if you’re part of his target group it’s great to have him on the big stage, doing his thing, but I’m not. [That’s not saying I don’t think it’s great that everyone gets represented on Eurovison, only that is doesn’t have the same meaning for me personally.] And for me it’s just an okay song by a not really good singer. With a weird mix of English and French – “je suis free” has me cringing every time, although I admit the rest is sort of okay. The juries only had him in 5th (?) place at DE – yes, that’s one I watched – and it’s only his social media fans that pushed him through. The French are not allowed to vote for him in Tel Aviv, so I don’t know how that will translate. I see a mid-table placing, possibly scratching top ten, but maybe also a right-hand side finish. I’m still playing “Allez leur dire” on heavy rotation.

    Georgia: MAYBE
    I didn’t even know this had an official video, I only know the live version from Georgian Idol. I find the song quite intense and I think if I knew what it was about I’d like it less. But as I don’t and haven’t yet tried to find out, I do quite like it. At the very least it’s interesting and not something you hear on the radio every day, which is always a plus. I don’t think it’ll qualify, but I have never yet skipped in on my playlist.

  2. Eurojock says:

    Romania – The diaspora are not likely to come out for On a Sunday, so itcould struggle to qualify. MISS to weak MAYBE

    Russia – Agreed with everything the panel said expect one thing. For me the song is not much better than average. But for the reasons given by the panel a podium position is likely and a win not out of the question. HIT

    Serbia – Good singer. Boring song. Borderline for qualification at best. MISS to weak MAYBE

    France – Conchita got there first and the boy can’t sing. This will do well to get on the right hand side of the board. MISS to weak MAYBE

    George – Will come last in its semi. MISS

  3. Hans says:

    You’re lucky. I can’t even make it play.

  4. Ewan Spence says:

    File hosting server is down ( so give it some time and it’ll pop back up Hans!

  5. Shai says:

    Romania –
    It seems they have enjoyed the first ever non-qualification in 2018 and have decided to have another go at non qualifying. Because this song just lack anything that makes you want you to hear it once more.
    It’s not a bad song and there is something nice about the way it is built It will work well as a radio filler.
    Unfortunately it lacks any wow factor that will help it cross the line to Saturday-MISS

    To say I wasn’t a fan of Russia’s 2016 song is an understatement but in comparison to this entry, “You Are The Only One”,was a masterpiece.
    This a song that goes from crescendo to crescendo and never stops. You are supposed to be impressed, but does it has any emotional connection, no, with a capital N.
    It is rather all very calculated and there is no doubt it will be jaw dropping staged. But as a song it’s dreadful. If this was coming from a different country this would have been butchered by everyone and would have never been even considered as a candidate for the win – (a huge) MISS for me / HIT(for the contest)

    First of all-That “NeKa Mi” in the beginning of the chorus, threw me back to the Croatian entry from 1998, which I love very much.
    The change from Serbian to English, caught me quite of guard on first listen, but somehow it’s been done in a very tasetfull way so it’s almost a non issue.
    I think I like it more than I should and it somehow resonates with me to a certain degree – somewhere between MAYBE and a HIT

    As a song, it has something. There is a melody there, lead by the piano and it’s quite catchy and it works. The biggest problem is Bilal’s voice that doesn’t match the song. I can only imagine what Conchita, for example, would have done with this song and how far this song could have gone, if someone with a more powerful voice, would have sung this.
    The fact that he was placed 5th by the juries at the French final, should be of concern. The fact that his fans, who actually made sure he win, will not be able to vote for him this time, doesn’t bod well-
    MAYBE with a slight tendency to HIT

    Credit to Georgia – it is very Georgian, if only for keeping it in Georgian.
    But it’s all very aggressive and shouty and I keep asking myself-Why is he angry?why does he shout at me all the time?-MISS

  6. Jake says:

    I wouldn’t be the first time that Russia would win with a pretty boy pop superstar returning to the contest after just barely losing it all a couple years earlier, but this time coming with a more overwrought and melodramatic song that will be saved by some memorable stage show, beating more radio-friendly pop bangers. They clearly saved all the money on Julia to spend it now on Sergey. The biggest difference is that Dima’s only male ballad competition in the final was Boaz from Israel and Sergey will have plenty of like-acts. I still prefer Sergey’s voice, performance style and overall personality to Dima any day of the week, but Dima had a much easier road.

  7. Mark says:

    I agree with Eurojock. ‘Scream’ isn’t such a great song. Fire is rhymed with drier. I could have done better than that and I think that jury members will come to the same conclusion.

  8. mark dowd says:

    The hype over Russian televote prospects: remember there will be no Bulgarian or Ukrainian vote this year….that’s quite a lot of points in what might be a tight finish. It is still a “song contest” and no matter what the staging does, this song as a construction is not convincing.

  9. Maclaren says:

    The withdrawal of Ukraine is a blessing for Sergey. Maruv was a televise magnet and, similar to Jamala in 2016, could have split the Eastern vote. Now there is only one destination for it. Back in 2016 and now in 2019, at his European concerts, Sergey routinely bows to the audience, thanks them for their televote and reminds on zeros from respective jurors. His constituency has been programmed on what to do when he comes back since 2016. And 12 points from Latvia is as good as 12 points from Portugal.

    In regards to jurors. He scored seventh in the recent Eurojury (a proxy for the eventual jurors vote in May), but he was separated only by 10 points from place 4 and 5 (Switzerland and Greece respectively). He aims for place 3-5 the jury probably.

    Basically, yes, he can do it. Will he? Let’s see the staging first and what others bring to the party

  10. Ben Pitchers says:

    Romania: MISS. The good things are that Ester has personality and a defined visual style, and it isn’t a cookie cutter song. However, it takes a few listens to get into and the ending of the song peters out a bit. I don’t think it has a memorable enough hook. It’s not impossible for it to qualify, but Romania is lacking some of the support it would need. Last year proved they don’t always automatically qualify. If it does I think it would scrape through and not score well outside of the diaspora in the final.

    Russia: MAYBE. Watching the video makes me realise how few times I’ve seen it because I’ve not had the compulsion to keep going back to the hear it. The composition isn’t exciting and is fairly minimal; it barely develops and then just ends. I’m glad they didn’t just do a carbon copy of his last entry, but at least that one was fun and entertaining. All the hypocrisy bugs me too (which I know the general audience won’t be aware of). Kirkorov swearing off the context after 2016, only to return last year and again in 2019. The announcement of Sergey and him trying to pretend he was only a candidate, and feigning annoyance that everyone had correctly guessed he’d been asked to represent Russia again, with the exact same team as last time. The claim they’re not going for revenge but discussing exactly which juries did and didn’t vote for them/sank their victory. I do think this will qualify however. Sergey should be able to pull this off live (no an easy feat) and is a very well known and established artist. I do wonder about the staging. Will they have learned from last time and keep it simple, or conspicuously throw money around to distract from the song? I don’t think he’ll do as well as 2016 as I don’t think he’ll get the televote support in the west he had last time. The juries may even have him lower than in 2016, especially as there’s lots of other great songs to give points to. Probably top 10 but not top 3.

    Serbia: MAYBE. Another ballad by a talented singer who is very reliable live. I like it when I’m listening to it, especially her voice, but it isn’t one that stays with me after I hear it. I think qualification isn’t guaranteed but it is good enough to warrant it. I think it will do better with the juries. If it does qualify, I think it will be a similar placing to last year’s 19th.

    France: MAYBE. Bilal has a great personality and will be among the dominators of the social media aspect of the contest. I like the song, especially the chorus. It’s easy to understand what it’s about and he pronounces his English very well. There’s also a positive tone about self-acceptance, and a joy to it which will be relatable to the audience. Visually he is unique this year and a hugely positive representation for the LGBTQ community. My concern is that he isn’t as strong live as in the studio version and this may affect his final position. I thought France would do much better last year than 13th, so I think this could sink a to a lower mid-table position than Mercy.

    Georgia: MISS. While I’m glad Georgia have a second consecutive entry in Georgian, I wish they’d have chosen one with more of a chance. Watching the national final performance, Oto cam across as very inaccessible. He and the song just came across as angry and bleak. Looking at the lyrics, I can see that it’s trying to be an encouraging, patriotic song and thus we can understand why it appealed to the Georgian audience. The fact they know him well would have helped him win too. I think the audience and juries won’t give it many points and Georgia tends to struggle for support anyway. Last year’s entry was much more enjoyable and still came last. I think last place is very likely for a second year in a row.

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