Get ready folks. In less than a month’s time, the extravagant circus that is the Eurovision Song Contest will be rolling onto television screens across Europe and beyond. Last year, following an exciting debut of the new voting system, it was the Ukraine’s Jamala who was victorious with her emotional song “1944”. This edition will be held in Kiev and 42 acts will battle it out on the stage of the International Exhibition Centre for the glass microphone and a place in history alongside iconic acts ABBA, Celine Dion and erm… Lordi. Returning to the contest will be Romania and Portugal, both after a one year absence. After making their first appearance since 2012, Bosnia & Herzegovina withdrew from the contest due to the financial reasons, as has Russia, due to a dispute involving their chosen act and the region of Crimea.
In this post, the first of four, I will be counting down my personal top 42 of this year’s contest. I will also be discussing the chances of all of the entries to win the contest. So without further ado, here are numbers 42-31.
42) Lithuania – Fusedmarc – “Rain of Revolution” – 2.5/10
Oh dear. Lithuania’s entries have never been among my absolute favourites but this is a hot mess from start to finish. Fusedmarc, true to their name, have fused several genres together in the hope that something meaningful emerges. It doesn’t. What does emerge is three minutes of an angry looking lady stomping around the stage shouting either “Yeah Yeah” or “Gun Gun” (yep seriously). This country does sometimes make the final when the song isn’t the greatest but I’m praying that a very good song isn’t bumped into non-qualification by this.
41) Slovenia – Omar Naber – “On My Way” – 3.5/10
There is normally one or two songs that are way too musical theatre for their own good. This is one of them. That is not to say that I think theatrical entries should be out of the contest but if they are included, make sure they are of good quality. “On My Way” sounds like something that was left on the cutting room floor in order to save time. It feels like emotion should be coming out of this but it leaves me colder than the Antarctic. The black and white filter for the verses has also been done better (see Estonia 2013). On the plus side, he has a good voice. And that’s about it.
40) San Marino – Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson – “Spirit of the Night” – 3.5/10
Valentina is back. Yet again. This is Monetta’s fourth Eurovision in six years (2012-14) but maybe she should have rejected this opportunity. There is dated and there is vintage and this echoes the cheese of the 90s; except this cheese has gone off and is smelling funny. I understand that fun songs should be in the contest but I honestly preferred the Social Network Song (Monetta in 2012) to this, which is cheap and cheesy. This will do better with televoting than the jury but expect to see this rooted to the bottom of the semi final.
39) Georgia – Tamara Gachechiladze – “Keep the Faith” – 4.5/10
Part Bond anthem and part peace anthem, Tamara comes offering World peace but gives me a headache instead. The lyrics are inspiring to a point but starts to lose its way around the halfway point and turns into a wall of noise which isn’t particularly pleasant to listen to. Peace songs were two a penny in the contest a couple of decades ago and this could easily be Eurovision 1997 instead of Eurovision 2017; this song is nothing that we haven’t seen before in a better form. This all hinges on the live performance because in the national selection it came off as loud rather than powerful but could qualify if this is sorted.
38) Hungary – Joci Pápai – “Origo” – 5/10
It is always nice when a new flavour is being brought to Eurovision, especially when the contest is moving more towards Swedish-produced pop every year. However when the flavour comes across better than the actual song then we have a problem. The visuals are beautiful and the backing music transports me across the continent. But the song doesn’t go anywhere ultimately and big fans to the contest will know that spoken word/rap is never well received. There is emotion coming out but the forgettable nature of the song overrides this. Expect to see this right on the border of qualification.
37) Croatia – Jacques Houdek – “My Friend” – 5/10
On paper this sounds like an absolute mess, a spoken word quotation of Einstein turns into a Faith Hill ballad circa 2001. With Italian opera. And is that Let It Go I hear in the chorus? I actually find the premise of this song extremely interesting, with Houdek both the opera and ballad singer and this will be translated on the Eurovision stage with two cameras fixed on each half of his face. What I can’t forgive though is how unbelievably cheesy the lyrics are. The live performance will either be a complete success or an absolute mess, with nothing in between. Personally, I have a sinking feeling that it could be the latter and that might extinguish any chance it has of qualifying to the final.
36) Albania – Lindita – “World” – 5/10
Well this woman certainly has a pair of lungs! Lindita doesn’t hold back in her power, especially towards the end of this song. It almost feels like she needs to as it sounds like she is being drowned out by the music before she releases the big notes. This is the major problem I have with Albania’s entry: loud music vs very loud singer = a wall of noise that I just lose interest in. After last year’s mess, this is a better song but it’s all too much. If the song is toned back a little in Kiev then this could be a rare appearance in the final for Albania.
35) Ukraine – O.Torvald – “Time” – 5/10
In a big shock, Ukraine has not chosen yet another wailing woman for their entry, instead sending their first male artists since 2005. This is also the only true rock song in this year’s contest. However I have a big problem with this song and it is one that can be seen in many this year: the song doesn’t go anywhere for me. The clock is counting down on the LED screens and the band’s chests but I end up looking at it to see how much of the song is left. It really helps that Ukraine are automatically in the final courtesy of being last year’s winners because this could have been left out; I don’t see this making any real inroads on the leaderboard.
34) Latvia – Triana Park – “Line” – 5.5/10
One of the most modern songs in the contest and one of the most eclectic presentations comes courtesy of Latvia, who for the third year in a row has gone down the electronic route. I’m really struggling with this one though. The reason that the country did so well in 2015 and 2016 is that it highlighted how good the singers were; this song feels like chains that don’t completely allow the singer to let loose. Once again I hear three minutes of the same but the saving grace is that the song will be closing the semi-final, meaning that it hopefully won’t be forgotten about in the voting.
33) Portugal – Salvador Sobral – “Amar Pelos Dois” – 5.5/10
With all of the countries moving towards a more modern sound in Eurovision, Portugal have done a very smart thing by sending something timeless and magical. The reaction on social media has been extremely positive towards this song and I really hope that we will see Portugal in the final for the first time since 2010. The reason that I have placed it quite low is that it isn’t necessary music that I love in Eurovision, it is more background music rather than a song for a contest, but I can see it wowing the crowds in Kiev with its beautiful showcase of the Portuguese language.
32) The Netherlands – OG3NE – “Lights and Shadows” – 6/10
Here is the first of the songs that I can’t say much for and against them; they are simply extremely middling. This mid-tempo song showcases the synergy of the voices of the three OG3NE singers but the song is a non-starter. I can see why The Netherlands picked this song internally as it is different from most in the contest but I just can’t see this filling up a whole arena, it feels suited to a smaller studio. It is also something we have heard before and sadly for this act, most similar songs are stuck in the 90s.
What do you think of the songs of Eurovision 2017?
Do you agree with my rankings or is there another song that you would put at the bottom?
You can tell me in the comments section below!
Stay tuned for Part Two, where I will be ranking my places 31 to 21.