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Saturday, May 23, 2015

I Won't Sleep Tonight

So, I got 9 of 10 qualifiers in the 2nd semifinal (missed Lithuania for Ireland) and 17 of 20 total qualifiers. Calling this not bad.

I went to the jury final last night and it's hard to call a winner from that because I could barely see. Sweden has the most visually stunning performance but it's hard to get if you're not at the right angle - luckily everyone at home is. Israel was the crowd's favorite but it's a very fan favorite sort of song.

As for a winner prediction, it's probably Sweden for a combination of visuals plus accessible song. Right now I don't care who wins, as long as Slovenia gets their best result ever and France gets their best result in 5 years.

Good luck to everyone competing and let's hope the rain clears up by the time everyone has to leave the Wiener Stadthalle!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reactions and Predictiond Separated By An Ocean

The first Eurovision seminal passed and my predictions were pretty good 8/10. I missed Albania and Hungary instead of Denmark and Finland. Not a bad result - looking forward to seeing Hungary again. There's no real shocking result other than some of the camerawork. Some shots were 50% flags.

Tonight's show, the second semifinal, is special since it's the first one I will be attending live. Since the second semifinal begins in 6 hours and I have to get over there in 4, here are some predictions:

Good luck to all the contestants!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Semi 1 Predictions

In less than 2 hours Eurovision 2015 will kick off, and in about 4 hours we will know which 10 songs will be seen again and which 6 won't. Here is my prediction for this evening's qualifiers:


Good luck to all and reactions to follow.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Can't Say Goodbye to Yesterday

After all these weeks and months, here are my top 5 Eurovision songs this year. As always, I hope beyond reason that they will do well.

5. Belgium
Loic Nottet - "Rhythm Inside"
Reaction: There has been a lot of comparison to Lorde's "Royals," but this is better. Loic's unique voice and accent add to the coolness of this song. The chorus is catchy, mysterious and sexy.
Best Part: Plinky, creepy piano part post-chorus
Rating: 5/5

4. Sweden
Mans Zelmerlow - "Heroes"
Reaction: It's not the schlager goodness of "Cara Mia" or "Hope & Glory," but this is much more accessible and current. I would listen to Mans sing the phonebook anyway. The chorus is repetitive but it builds such motion and tension that it doesn't matter.
Best Part: "We are the heroes of our time/but we're dancing with the demons in our mind" is a great lyric
Rating: 5/5

3. Estonia
Elina Born & Stig Rasta - "Goodbye To Yesterday"
Reaction: This song has a depth and ambiguity to its lyrics that is unique among breakup songs in this venue (although it's not really a breakup, since you can't break up what wasn't together). The two vocal parts have chemistry - that is, they play off each other well. The jingly retro feel lends credibility to its existence in the larger world.
Best Part:"As I got outside, I smiled to the dog"
Rating: 5/5

2. Slovenia
Maraaya - "Here For You"
Reaction: This is three tight minutes of pop perfection. It has a bubbliness that might say "summer hit," or at the very least "summer jam." Could this get Slovenia's best result yet? Fans of Slovenia's output have been burned before (see: every other time I put them in my top 5) but this is a truly polished entry.
Best Part: Piano riff
Rating: 5/5

1. France
Lisa Angell - "N'oubliez Pas"
Reaction: Though there are other songs that are bigger favorites, I have listened to this song more than all others combined. A beautiful power ballad, with a beautiful voice, sung in a beautiful language. The song steadily builds in power until the last minute when it explodes into epic diva belting, with sorrow and hope in one strong message.
Best Part: The whole last minute
Rating: 5/5

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Don't Deny

The bottom half of my top 10 Eurovision songs this year. Rehearsals start tomorrow, and it's always interesting to see when underestimated songs rise (like a phoenix) to the top and overhyped songs fall flat.

10. Armenia
Geneology - “Face the Shadow”
Reaction: Yes, it's very theatrical, and the for-the-contest group don't all blend together well, especially when comparing solos. By the second chorus when the group is singing together, it's a powerful show of emotion. The subtext is barely hidden, and the lyrical content is nothing short of gutsy, which reached a perfect height with the song's previous title, “Don't Deny.” Also, they get bonus points for including among the six members a J-pop performer who did a Gundam theme.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 4/5

9. Georgia
Nina Sublatti - “Warrior”
Reaction: This song has the most colorful use of SAT words in the contest, though the grammar wouldn't earn a passing grade. The melody is simple, but the driving beat and full production make this cool. So cool that the chorus has an air of “Frozen” about it (now that we have to clarify, Madonna not Disney).
Best Part: “Fighter/oximated”
Rating: 4/5

8. Ireland
Molly Sterling - “Playing With Numbers”
Reaction: This is high-level teenage poetry, with complex imagery and all the overanalysis of doubt. This piano ballad is deeper and more sincere than many of Ireland's recent entries.
Best Part: “I made the mess in your vision/and I see debt to be paid”
Rating: 4/5

7. Latvia
Aminata - “Love Injected”
Reaction: This slow jam is fairly avant-garde for Eurovision, but despite that it's pretty catchy. Even if this somehow doesn't come across well on the Eurovision stage, it would be great as the background at your favorite hip clothing store/restaurant/bar/party.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 4/5

6. Italy
Il Volo - “Grande Amore”
Reaction: This is popera at its most polished and calculated. Il Volo looks and sounds like a trio of Italian boys who are going to love you then break your heart. Where some others have failed (Latvia 2007 and France 2011), this succeeds. The delivery is believable, and the composition is crafted to play with your emotions.
Best Part: Ending
Rating: 4/5

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sixty Candles on the Forty Cakes

...and that's terrible. It's finally May and time for the top 15 Eurovision songs of this year. This is also the debut of Australia, of all countries.

15. Montenegro
Knez - “Adio”
Reaction: It sounds like any other Zeljko Joksimovic-penned entry, which is usually very very good. Other than the too-long intro, it's an epic Balkan ballad standby.
Best Part: Second chorus
Rating: 4/5

14. Australia
Guy Sebastian - “Tonight Again”
Reaction: This is a jazzy feelgood MOR song in the style of Danish acts that light up the scoreboard. Normally that would be annoying, but it's so well done and all hook. The chorus is a barely-hidden message endorsing Austrialia's continued participation in Eurovision beyond this year.
Best Part: “Forget tomorrow, we can do tonight again” Suuuuuure....
Rating: 4/5

13. Azerbaijan
Elnur Huseynov - “Hour of the Wolf”
Reaction: This haunting ballad is beauitfully delivered. The lyrics too are haunting and mysterious. The choir that joins in on the second chorus gives the song a full, almost spiritual feel.
Best Part: “They whine and roar, hungry for more/Yellow glowing eyes, I’m hypnotised”
Rating: 4/5

12. Germany
Ann Sophie - “Black Smoke”
Reaction: By far this is the biggest earworm of the competition. The chorus of this song gets stuck in my head at least once a day. This breakup song sounds more sexy than angry.
Best Part: “Two hearts are left to burn/Do you know, we're only left with smoke“
Rating: 4/5

11. Israel
Nadav Guedj - “Golden Boy”
Reaction: In the televoting-only years, this would have been a guaranteed top 5. Surely, it's better than “Shake It Up Shekerim” and “Qele Qele.” The early Justin Timberlake style verses explode into a big catchy ethno-pop chorus. There's a playfulness running through the song that lends itself well to the singer's age. The title makes me think of this anime, though (someone please make an AMV).
Best Part: "Ok we gotta go, 3 minutes, bye bye"
Rating: 4/5