It’s only us, your ever helpful OnEurope preview party go-ers. We’re back to spew forth our thoughts on the songs competing in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. We like to think that we trump all those professional shows, mainly because we’re not afraid to swear should the occasion merit – and fuck, but this year it does.
One day, you’ll remember where you were when you first uncovered our Countdown ‘shows’.
Today, it’s the third part of the first semi-final. We’ll hear these songs on 9 May.
Portugal – Salvador Sobral – Amar pelos dois
Phil– This is a very rare beast indeed. A song, in a contest of songs, that isn’t written by Swedes, that’s performed in it’s native language by someone who had it written by his sister. It connects with the audience from second 1 to second 180. It harks back to a time where a song just needed to be sung. Salvador makes me cry because of the simplicity and rawness of the performance, and yet some “tweens” on the net have gone as far as to say this is “hideous”. I say look at the title of the contest. This is a SONG, not a show, or a performance, or Swedish, or Schlager. It’ll walk out of its semi final (and I will be standing and cheering and clapping and crying). If there is any justice, it will melt the hearts of all those who believe the contest is just pap. This is not pap. This.Is.Beautiful
Phil’s score: There is only one score it can get … 12 Points
Mo – This really confuses me. It absolutely grabs every ounce of my attention, it aches with beauty, I’ve rarely seen a more captivating performance. And then I remember this is Eurovision 2017. If the world tips on an unusual axis for just three minutes in May, it could storm the board, but I can’t see it myself. Shame. Because it should.
Mo’s score: 8 Points
Valentina – I have to agree with Mo here. It’s a very classical, elegant sound and Salvador sings it beautifully, but my biggest fear is that it sounds hugely dated. Why didn’t they send this calibre of entry back when this style of music was very much in? From a purely personal standing, it’s not my favourite song this year. But I can and do appreciate the poetry of the performance and it’s a dead cert to qualify. Could this be Portugal’s year at last? Wouldn’t that be lovely!
Valentina’s score: Le Portugal, 6 Points
Monty – As much as I love this, and as much as I’d love it to finish in the top 5 or even – whisper it (no, don’t tempt fate) – there’s a hesitancy in me. This is so Portuguese it’s easy to see how it appealed domestically, and to those of us with a Lusitanian bent. But I’m not convinced it’s going to have quite the same support internationally, however charming Salvador can be. It’s up there near the top of my leader board, but I can equally see it struggling to connect sufficiently to get out of the semis.
Monty’s score: 12 Points
Greece – Demy – This is love
Phil – This is just your bog standard Euroclub stomper, which most broadcasters believe Europe likes. As Cascada proved, you can’t enter any old disco shit and expect people to vote for it. This is very run of the mill disco with an average performance and it doesn’t do a lot musically. There’s a very weak ending. For me, this will get a Cascada-style result … if it gets to the final but even that isn’t nailed on.
Phil’s score: An average 4 Points
Mo – Before I heard a note, it was obvious this was going to be a better song than the bucket of shite ERT chucked at the stage last year. I’d heard so much about what an engaging personality Demy has, and how she knows how to work the stage. My expectations were high. And perhaps she’s better live, because there’s nothing like that on show in this video. ‘This is love’ comes over here as a fairly charmless, workmanlike slice of generic pop. The verse and build far outweigh the dreary chorus. It just isn’t doing it for me. And I did want it to.
Mo’s score: 5 Points
Valentina – Oh the hype! Oh the expectation… oh the let down… I’m sorry, for someone who usually loves Greek Eurovision entries (even last year’s debacle grew on me somewhat!) I struggle to find anything in this that I like. It sounds like it’s trying to be pop, trying to be a ballad… and in the end, it results in being a wash out. Such a shame…
Valentina’s score: La Grèce – 4 Points
Monty – It starts by fooling you into thinking it might be a ballad but ratchets up a gear for the chorus into a pop stomper, the like of which is most welcome against all the ballads the women are churning out this year. There’s nothing ground breaking here, and there are several more contemporary pop songs on show, but there’s a comforting familiarity and for the duration of its three minutes it perks me up no end. We know the Greeks can throw all the bells, whistles and shirtless wonders they can muster at their staging, so there’s every reason to hope that this will be a jolly burst of telly and a hit in the EuroClub.
Monty’s score: 10 Points
Poland – Kasia Moś – Flashlight
Phil – Poland will, as is proved on previous occasions, hit the televote running and score a bazillion points, but this year the juries may well like its pomposity. It’s full of self-confidence to the point of obnoxiousness, and Kasia (and TVP) clearly think they just need to turn up to get a result like last year. Bad news is that Michel Spack had friends all over the shop because he was known in his home country. I fear that Kasia isn’t. Ballad, big, brooding … and bollocks. It should qualify because of its diaspora and chums, but not because of the song, which is sub-par and something that has been done to death.
Phil’s score: 4 Points
Mo – Poland always seem to score more than I think they deserve, and I expect this year to be no exception. It starts out really badly, but I did end up sort of liking/tolerating it. Even if it oozes pretension. ‘Flashlight’ feels like it has a pulse which is a massive plus in what must surely be the drabbest semi-final in Eurovision history.
Mo’s score: 6 Points
Valentina – To echo both Phil and Mo, this is going to score well whether it deserves to or not. Almost feels pointless critiquing it in that respect! I’m not a fan. I can’t find a hook into this song to like it on any level. Poland has sent some fantastic Eurovision entries over the years. Sadly this is not one of them.
Valentina’s score: La Pologne – 3 Points
Monty – Kasia has a dramatic ballad with lush string arrangements. She’s doing the archetypal Eurovision rhyme: fire, desire – only she’s adding in a higher, and – wait for it – a wire as well! She’s had a hand in the lyrics and you can tell she’s pleased with herself about that one. I’m just a bit bored by it. If she was representing another country I’d say she’d struggle, especially being in the first semi-final with four other female ballads to beat.
Monty’s score: 4 Points
Moldova – SunStroke Project – Hey, Mamma!
Phil – This will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: “Epic sax guy“. Cue gazillions of YouTube videos rick-rolling him. However as no one will have seen the preview video, a bit of that will have been lost. It’s uptempo and makes you smile and is guaranteed 20 points from Romania (Switzerland getting the 24 as she IS Romanian). It’ll be all over the stage like a rash but it really is just a low budget average pop song that is a one trick pony, but what a trick!
Phil’s score: an epic 5 Points
Mo – Does he sing ‘you will never have but to finger me’? It’s a thankfully jolly song that feels welcome in among all the earnest soundalikes. That doesn’t make it good. It will most likely qualify (and then sink without trace) as it’s at least entertaining. And it does have the daftest video.
Mo’s score: 4 Points
Valentina – Hurrah! Something a bit upbeat in this semi! I think this was selected purely on the hype and popularity that surrounded SunStroke Project after Oslo. It’s not a bad song per say, but for me it does exude lazy writing. Very much a “we know you’ll love whatever we send, so here’s a track shoe horned around a saxophone sound so what’s-his-name can boogie to it” kind of affair. Still, it’s an enjoyable ditty either way 😉
Valentina’s score: La Moldavie – 6 Points
Monty – It’s got a knowing charm and cheekiness to it, with an upbeat tune and the return of Epic Sax Man, lending it that familiar SunStroke Project trademark sound. I like this a lot. It’s about time straight people came and had some playful fun at Eurovision, we can’t keep a monopoly on it for the queers. Will it revive flagging Moldovan fortunes, seeking their first qualification since Aliona Moon in 2013? I hope so. They have a later semi-final 1 draw and will stand out as a bit of fun amid all those ballads, but it’s not going to mount a serious challenge should it get to the final.
Monty’s score: 8 Points
Iceland – Svala – Paper
Phil – Initially, this song can be describes as something of a bore-fest with a one word song “paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaper” set to a three-minute backing track. She also looks a bit weird which may (or may not) be the actual issue with the whole package. Her father Bo entered in 1995 with an infinitely better number.
Phil’s score: a confusing 3 Points
Mo – The fanz were banging on about this for months, so I was expecting big things. No sooner was it picked for Kiev, than everyone seemed to stop caring. I get the Sia comparisons, but the songwriters feel to be trying too hard to pick and mix ‘stuff that sells’. ‘Paper’ lacks personality. The lyric is laughably bad. And to top it all, Svala runs out of steam half a minute before the song actually ends – never a good thing. If ever I’ve heard a song destined to under perform, then this is it.
Mo’s score: 2 Points
Valentina – Now this is an odd one… I want to like it, particularly because of the story and message behind the song. But the delivery isn’t great, a touch repetitive and drawn out. Yes, I suppose it does sound contemporary and I know it has a solid fan base. But if last year’s song couldn’t get Iceland into the final, I’m not convinced this will fare much better…
Valentina’s score: L’Islande – 5 Points
Monty – Svala has an electronica sound that’s perfectly passable as an entry, but is never exactly exciting. A fashionista with an interesting collection of tattoos, Svala has, it would suggest, the opportunity to be styled anywhere on a scale from cutting edge to Barbara Dex. It’s something I fancy could be key to how well she sells her performance, as this could easily be a third year stuck in the semis if she looks too naff.
Monty’s score: 5 Points