Monday, 7 May 2018

Eurovision 2018

Eurovision 2018

Last year's win for Portugal's Salvador Sobral was a win for "authentic" (i.e. old and boring) music.

For this year's competition in Lisbon a few entries have followed suit, but thankfully there's still the typical mix of anthemic ballads and Eurodance. The usual countries are likely to be on top - expect top finishes from the Scandis for sure - but there are some surprise entries here that could throw a curveball.

The likelihood is that we'll all be partying in Tel Aviv next year after an Israeli win - this year's weirdest, quirkiest entry that's currently odds on favourite - but keep an eye out for Cyprus too. Fuego!

As for the UK, this year is our strongest chance in a long while, but let's not get too excited eh?

All aboard the hype train!

Eugent Bushpepa - Mall

Albania don't have a great track record since they joined Eurovision in 2004. This song won't change that: a bland acoustic rock song from a performer with a decent voice.

Sevak Khanagyan - Qami

Armenia are well known for their dramatic, moody entries and this is no different. The song's title "Qami" means wind and the yearning chorus melodies soon whip up a frenzy with strings and screaming guitars and piercing vocals. This could cause a storm on the night.

Jessica Mauboy - We Got Love

Another reality show entry from Australia here. Mauboy has a load of awards to her name since featuring on Australian Idol in 2006 and an equally impressive voice. The song is an enjoyable enough ballad but is lacking that magic quality needed to win. But then, I'm still bitter that Dami Im didn't win in 2016.

Cesár Sampson - Nobody But You

Is he really singing about "hot tuna" in the opening lyric? Sampson is clearly a fan of James Blake owing to the production here, but then it turns jarringly into a cheesy gospel-tinged chorus. The choir's nice though.

Aisel - X My Heart

It's a soaring electro-ballad from Azerbaijan this year. It euro-bangs, but it's nothing new.


The video for this song is full of images of blood and pain, which reflects how I feel listening to it.

Sennek - A Matter Of Time

This sounds like a 90s Bond theme, which is fitting for a singer who participated in the 50th anniversary celebration of the franchise. Interesting voice, 90s synth bass, and orchestral strings rip off "Tomorrow Never Dies" in a very enjoyable manner.

Equinox - Bones

Bulgaria are serving electro goth-pop this year. The group consists of five performers who have joined forces especially for the competition, so hopefully this won't result in a confusing stage performance. This one of the most intriguing entries this year.

Franka - Crazy

A fierce singer and a slinky, sexy song. It's perhaps too much of an acquired taste to do well, but it makes an interesting contrast to the rest of the competition.

Eleni Foureira - Fuego

This could do very well indeed. Albanian born Foureira is already a huge star across Cyprus and Greece and "Fuego" is a tailor-made summer hit in the making, seemingly snatched straight from the European charts. Tropical beats, sing-along hooks and the traditional pop "hey!": this is literally fire.

Czech Republic
Mikolas Josef - Lie To Me

If Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty To Me" was performed by an irritatingly smarmy Czech boy, it would be this.

Rasmussen - Higher Ground

Viking Les Mis.

Elina Nechayeva - La Forza

Opera star in a big dress. But she's no Cezar from 2013.

F.Y.R Macedonia
Eye Cue - Lost & Found

The worst named act ever? This ska pop-rock track actually has a decent chorus, but it takes far too long to get there.

Saara Aalto - Monsters

UK fans will of course recognise Saara Aalto from X Factor. "Monsters" is the lead single from new album 'Wild Wild Wonderland' that's chock full of Eurobangers. With its synth sound, hook-laden chorus, diva vocals and campy video, this is arguably the catchiest, most Eurovision song of the night. Top five for sure.

Madame Monsieur - Mercy

France have recently been putting in some brilliant entries. This song from Madame Monsieur is a lowkey banger with its emotive melodies and understated synths, its catchy repetition of the song's title "Mercy" in the outro perhaps an intentional double-entendre on the French for thank you. How very Français.

Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao - For You

Ethno-jazz does not a winner make.

Michael Schulte - You Let Me Walk Alone

Michael Schulte delivers a very traditional and safe piano ballad. It's sparse and emotional, the storytelling slowly drawing us in. But does it have enough immediate impact to rise up the rankings?

Yianna Terzi - Oniro Mou

This is a great mix of the modern and the traditional. Sinuous melodies and ethnic instrumentation with epic synth production and grand sweeping melodies. Yianna has served up one of Greece's best entries in years.

AWS - Viszlát nyár

Lordi aside, rock hasn't always faired well at Eurovision and this nu-metal entry is unlikely to change that.

Ari Ólafsson - Our Choice

The schmaltziest ballad of all.

Ryan O'Shaughnessy - Together

Folky singer-songwriter stuff that's more interesting for its queer video than the song itself.

Netta - TOY

If last year's winner was all about authenticity, then this year's likely winner is embracing bizarre pop. "TOY", a.k.a The Chicken Song, is the one to beat. At the very least it's the most memorable of all, with its quirky vocals, Jewish strings and dance beats. Its wackiness may turn some off, but its campy fun is inescapable.

Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro - Non mi avete fatto niente

A political ode to refugees that's musically...horrible.

Laura Rizzotto - Funny Girl

Can we just have Aminata back please?

Ieva Zasimauskaitė - When We're Old

This is far too subtle to do well.

Christabelle - Taboo

The Gladiator / Game of Thrones video is giving some serious melodrama to what is otherwise a pretty standard Eurodance club banger. A solid entry, but not distinct enough to go the distance.

DoReDoS - My Lucky Day

This is a very silly summer song that's about ten years out of date.

Vanja Radovanović - Inje

The orchestral bombast of this is an assault on the ears. Between the grand instrumentation, the almost operatic melodies and the frequent key changes, there's just too much going on.

Alexander Rybak - That's How You Write A Song

The man with the violin is back. The return of this Eurovision favourite seems like a cheap way to get noticed, but "That's How You Write A Song" is thankfully a much more modern track than his 2009 winner. It'll be popular on the night, but it's not a deserving winner.

Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer - Light Me Up

This club track is just too generic and forgettable to do well.

Cláudia Pascoal - O Jardim

Two years in a row? Nope.

The Humans - Goodbye

Early 90s U2-esque stadium rock ballad. Anthemic tbh.

Julia Samoylova - I Won't Break

Another controversial entry from Russia - Samoylova was meant to be last year's entrant but withdrew after she was refused entry to the Ukraine. Now she's back with a new song. Russia have been very consistent in recent years so this could do well, but it's by no means the country's best.

San Marino
Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening - Who We Are

This lacks the sophistication of other entries this year and ends up feeling dated.

Sanja Ilić & Balkanika - Nova deca

An atmospheric opening of two beautiful voices in harmony singing Slavic melodies ruined by some male singer and generic beats. Disappointing.

Lea Sirk - Hvala Ne

The non-chorus has become a staple in modern pop. But is it really appropriate in a songwriting contest?

Amaia y Alfred - Tu Canción

Time to put the kettle on.

Benjamin Ingrosso - Dance You Off

The traditionally brilliant entry from Sweden. Its electro-funk production is impossibly polished. It takes less than twenty seconds to get to the chorus. It's smooth and cool. It's catchy. The singer is cute. They just make it effortless don't they?

ZiBBZ - Stones

This is the best Swiss entry in a long time, all industrial beats and blaring horns. It should get them back in the competition after failing to qualify ten times since 2004, though it won't be in the running to win.

Waylon - Outlaw In 'Em

Of all things, Netherlands are serving up some American blues-rock. Waylon is popular in his homeland, but is his music too much of an acquired taste across Europe?

MÉLOVIN - Under The Ladder

Once the beat kicks in this is a fun sing-along, but the vocal just isn't strong enough to sustain it.

United Kingdom 
SuRie - Storm

An incredibly polished pop song with shades of Katrina and the Waves' feelgood message and a strong vocal from SuRie. Dare I say it - our best chance in a long time?!