It’s Top 40 Time! My first full ranking of Eurovision 2015
At last, we’re done and dusted, folks. Every Eurovision 2015 entry has been submitted to the powers that be, all ready to be stuck in the CD player in the wings of the Weiner Stadthalle (or however it works. I’m not down with the kids and all their new-fangled technology). I repeat, AT LAST!
Hotly-anticipated reveals from Albania, Azerbaijan, San Marino, Australia (*hollers like a bogan on a boozy Balinese holiday*) and Montenegro earlier in the week rounded off this year’s selection season, with some of us (me) still basking in the glittery aftermath of Saturday’s Scandi finals at the time. That evening saw my favourites in Sweden and Norway take out Melfest and NMGP respectively, making for vigorous victory dancing in my bedroom at six o’clock in the morning.
Now that all of the participants in the 60th ESC are decided, we can all drop whatever we were doing (exams, work projects, giving CPR) and put those all-important Top 40s together. That’s exactly what I’ve done for the purposes of today’s post.
If you’re anything like me, your Top 40 will change about a hundred times between now and May (let’s not even get into how much it will have changed come Eurovision 2016!) and the first one is often the hardest of them all to figure out. Seriously, rankings of this magnitude can make you question your existence and shock you to your very core. Kind of.
That’s why having a helping hand to improve the accuracy of such things is always welcome. I’ve used ESC United’s invaluable song sorter, which is back after being equally priceless in 2014, to generate my first-but-not-final top 40.
Without further ado, I present to you the results, and invite you to share yours in the comments!
The top 10
After the weekend of Scandi shenanigans gone by, something drastic has happened to my favourites list. Namely, I have a brand new #1. Gasp! When it comes down to it, though, things are so tight between my top three they’re technically all on top.
1. Norway – This gave me chills the first time I heard it, and has continued to do so ever since. My body hairs were standing up just watching the voting recaps during MGP. My eyes were a little moist too, but I’m sure that was just dust or something *sniff*.
2. Italy – The only reason I’ve relegated Italy in favour of Norway is because A Monster Like Me triggers a marginally greater physical and emotional reaction in me. Rest assured (I’m talking to you fellow Grande Amore fans here) that I still love Italy like nobody’s business. I am awaiting the ESC edit, hoping no build/drama has been sacrificed in the journey from three minutes forty-something to three minutes even.
3. Sweden – There are not enough positive adjectives on the planet for me to express my appreciation of this entry. I will say, there are a lot of other countries who should be taking notes on how to bring their A-game based on Sweden.
4. Romania – After hearing the (not bad) English version, I thought to myself, ‘If only Voltaj would send a mixed language version to Eurovision.’ I guess they heard me, because they are now sending De La Capăt (All Over Again), which is a smart move. This song might be boring to some, but I absolutely love it. Good riddance to the round pianos and awkward hugs!
5. FYR Macedonia – This entry = one of the best English rewrites I have heard in my time as a Eurovision fan. I suspect the English version was written first, or at least early on, since Daniel sang the chorus of Autumn Leaves in a post-NF win interview. That could be why the English lyrics fit so well. Whatever the explanation, I want to high-five Macedonia big time.
My other favourites
The songs in this category round out my top half at the moment. There’s a good chance some of them will make my top 10 eventually, in a year of a) many growers and b) me being as fickle as ever.
12. Estonia – I’m not sure why this has dropped down so far. I’m still a big supporter of Stig and Elina, and I still find Stig oddly attractive (but the less said about that, the better).
13. Georgia – The release of the music video, along with the “new and improved” version (it’s exactly the same to my untrained ear) has rekindled my enjoyment of this Warrior. I haven’t liked a Georgian entry this much since…well, ever. JESC not included.
16. Montenegro – I was expecting something with a higher ‘wow’ factor from Knez, considering his song’s composer. Nonetheless, this is a classy Balkan ballad, ethnic to an extent we desperately needed in the Viennese line up.
18. Israel – I’m unsure about the mish-mash of styles present in Golden Boy – not to mention some of the lyrics – but this is a song that wakes me up and makes me want to join Nadav on the dance floor. This kid’s voice is like honey on very smooth bread, applied with a knife manufactured by angels.
19. Australia – Clearly, I’m not overly-biased. I don’t love Tonight Again to death, but I think we Aussies can be proud of this entry. It’s energetic, very true to Guy’s style, and the kind of song that will be better live than in studio – meaning it should go off in the arena. If you’re skeptical, remember: Australia could easily have sent another ballad. But we did not. We freaking SAVED you, Europe!
The ones that are keeping me confused!
There’s a sizeable chunk of entries I keep changing my mind about – either that, or I haven’t decided how I feel about them yet.
21. Azerbaijan – It’s less dreary than Start A Fire, at least. You can never discount Azerbaijan, but their 2014 result was proof that they have to try to succeed, and I’m not certain they’ve tried hard enough here. Elnur’s voice is as amazing as ever, though, and I can see myself liking Hour of the Wolf (cool title alert) a lot more in the future.
22. The Netherlands
23. United Kingdom – If the Class of 2015 was full of peppy, fast-paced pop songs, I’d probably dislike Still In Love With You without thinking twice. But in reality, it’s one of the few songs offering up a fun three minutes, and therefore I’m leaning towards joining the Electro Velvet Brigade, if there is one.
25. Belarus – The music video of Time is fantastic, and taught us all to avoid coming to Maimuna’s rescue. The revamped version of the song itself is less fantastic, but because I love Uzari and his violin-wielding sidekick so much, I can’t bring myself to be too negative about it.
27. Poland – This has already made the leap from ‘meh’ to ‘hmm, I rather like this!’. It is very pretty. But the boob-shaped hole left by Cleo – plus her butter churner and laundry lady – is a big one, and this doesn’t go far in filling it.
30. Russia – We all knew this was the B-side to What If based on the snippet alone. I prefer the melody of that, but this is slightly less cheesy. Polina is stunning, and if she can sing as well outside of the studio as she can in it, I won’t mind sitting through this at all.
32. Lithuania – This does nothing for me. It’s cute and catchy, but I can’t muster up any enthusiasm for it.
The receivers of my ‘Oh Dear’ awards…at this point
By the time the contest is over, I’m usually tolerating (at the least) every single song that competed. Apparently I have the magical ability to stop hating something if I listen to it enough. Time will tell if that’s going to apply to the following…
35. San Marino – As glad as I am to see the back of Valentina Monetta and the front of Anita and Michele, San Marino have set themselves up for a fall giving two talented young singers this bizarre, disjointed and dated cheese-fest. There’s a reason nobody else will let Ralph Siegel write songs for them anymore.
36. Czech Republic – Eurovision 2005 called, and it wants its song back.
37. Greece – Something is seriously wrong when we can’t even count on Greece to get the party started. This is more like a funeral march than a floor filler.
38. Serbia – They’ve never switched to English before, and they never should again. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Bojana’s entry originally, but now that it’s known as Beauty Never Lies, I want to kill it with fire. Not Bojana herself, to clarify…just the song.
39. Armenia – A change of song title hasn’t diminished my disdain for this pompous and bland ballad. It’s like all of these great artists combined somehow cancelled out what should have been a masterpiece.
And that’s my Top 40, ladies and gents, albeit a temporary one. Now it’s your turn to get ranking, if you haven’t already (what are you, crazy? NOTHING is more important than this!) and comment your list – or some of it – below. I look forward to
totally trashing respectfully agreeing or disagreeing with your opinions.
Until next time (in this case, a pretty damn exciting post you won’t want to miss)…
6 Responses to “It’s Top 40 Time! My first full ranking of Eurovision 2015”
Probably the first time I’ve ever done a full top 40!
Well, obviously your #1 outrages me. IN NO WAY. It’s nice to be on the same page with somebody in one respect! I can’t argue with Sweden, Latvia, Italy and Belgium being in your top 10 either. And Australia third? Might we be getting a few votes from yourself, perhaps? If so, I hope they aren’t the only ones we get…
I can’t help being surprised when someone doesn’t have Finland on the bottom, but different folks, different strokes. Moldova aside (I know no one loves that trash like I do) I can get on board with your bottom four. I can’t imagine San Marino getting anywhere with Chain of Light, which is so disappointing. I always get so excited when JESC alumni make it to the adult contest, and with those two together I thought we could be in for something special. WHY GOD WHYYYYY did SM let Siegel anywhere near their entry…again?? Just because they managed to qualify last year. I still don’t believe that was due to people thinking Maybe was any good.
All in all, I wouldn’t mind the actual Vienna top 10 looking something like yours!
Hej Hej Jaz,
so here we are with about all the stuff that makes the Eurovision 2015 complete!
A bit sad cause national final season has come to an end, but I’m already very excited until I hold my Eurovision 2015 CD in hands, which I cannot await.
By now, I have some first impressions on the countries entries: some of them are very similar to yours, but some are also quite different which I will point out then.
So here we go, on with the countdown:
#1: Sweden – absolutely surprising and impressive how Mans ran through the MF final on Saturday. Even after the third jury vote it was totally clear that he would win last Saturday, by leaving not the slightest chance to any other competitor in the field. That was massive and I did not expect that high (according to the points) victory. To me that leaves no other conclusion open that he will win the whole contest because of his whole package.
#2: Australia – Disagree!!! I think that man and his catchy song are awesome, and to me the only competitor that can be dangerous for Mans. Who needs Bruno Mars, when we can have The Soulman himself on Eurovision stage? I truly think that Top 5 is guaranteed for him, and if it works really well, a win seems not impossible. I think Australia did everything right with its awesome choice.
#3: Estonia – I feel a bit sorry for leaving Elina & Stig on third place because I still love this song sooo much and I would feel very happy about this one winning this year. It would be well deserved. I also like the video clip of it. This must end up Top 10, otherwise it would leave me very disappointed. Please promise me to vote for this in the 1st semi, cause I can’t because we’re not in for voting ;-).
#4: Spain – another awesome package, IMO! This is not less than the best Spanish entry in the last 10 years or so. I really like this song a lot, although there are some similarities to Shakira and one can hear the spirit of “Euphoria” out of it, while not being too similar to the winning song 2012.
#5: Malta – how I wish Malta could go all the way to the top! Only once, please! This was my clear favourite from a few weeks ago. But I also would criticize that this new sofly washed out orchestral version of the song is not all mine. Please bring the original version back on stage in Vienna!
#6: Azerbaijan – and now it’s “The hour of the Wolf” (That is me!). Hope you don’t need an hour to read through this?! Well, I didn’t expect much from the announcement that Elnur would come back to the Eurovision this year, because his 2008 entry (with Samir) belongs to my list of the worst entries at the Eurovision in history, and I just thought: not another “Heaven and Hell” opera please, that was so awful and creepy! So I was really surprised in a very positive way about THOTW. It’s a beautiful song, Elnur’s 5-octave-voice is really impressive and it’s a song that Eurovision winners are made of. It’s a bit anthemic, getting higher step by step and in the end it all comes out. Maybe this is an outsider, or a secret / silent favourite. I am very curious about his live performance already!
#7: Norway – I had about the same feelings about this song as I had while listening to “Silent storm” for the first time. In a line-up full of ballads it’s very difficult to stand out with one. But this one is outstanding and THE best ballad of 2015, IMO! And that reduced stage performance got me, too! This Norwegian sung crime story made me shiver, but has it all for another Top 10 placement. It also deserves being your No. 1 (at the moment).
#8: Romania – this is absolutely NOT boring, but a very well composed and good pop song that is not the usual type of Eurovision song. And also important: the message they want to transport via their song should be heard all over Europe. A very strong and couragous entry this year from Romania. Applause from me, I am already a fan, too.
#9: Belgium – ever since Loic Nottet was announced to be the Belgian artist for this Eurovision, I was quite excited; I think he is a pretty good artist and I liked ths one really much: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQTZ2YCEPlQ
But now, as we know his song for Eurovision, I must say: yes, there is “Rhythm inside” of it, and no, he does not sing like the Belgian version of Justin Bieber. It’s a very catchy song that stays in mind, and I think he will qualify with it, at least. If he can do another “Bellarosa” success, I am not quite sure. We will see in May!
#10: Iceland – I am still a fan of this song, but in the meantime I don’t believe in a win for this any longer. It’s catchy, well written and well performed, but it lacks something to come on top. But hopefully this will end up on the left side of the scoreboard. 😉
#11: Italy – once there were three Italian guys in my top 10, now they moved down to #11.
This is a good song, but somehow a bit too dramatic, although if there is one country being authentic with this type of music, then it’s Italy, land of the opera! With this I want to remind on France 2011, where “Sognu” finished 15th with Amaury Vassilly having perfectly sung his song. This could happen to Italy, too, even if it is THE overall favourite.
#12: Netherlands – I can’t help it, but still like this one much. It’s catchy and an earworm to me! And, of course, it’s the most radio friendly song of them all. That sounds like a hit, but maybe not a big success on the Eurovision stage as we had with the “Common Linnets” last year. But please QUALIFY!
#13: Macedonia – I belong to ‘team FYROM’, too! I think it is the best Balkan song this year.
And I must state here, too, I don’t want an English version for this. Please stay with its original version! It sounds much more authentic sung in the Macedonian language. You know what happened last year with the English entry!
#14: Lithuania – I like this song, although I think Vaidas is a much better singer than Monika is. What is new this year is that most of the duet partners look at each other while singing their song; that we have learned from the “Common Linnets” last year, right?! And if I had to suggest something, i would leave out the kiss during their performance. To me this looks like rehearsed, put on and faked.
#15: Israel – well, who needs Turkey in the Song Contest this year when we have Nadav for Israel sounding even more Turkish than a lot of other Turkish entries from the past. It’s really catchy and hopefully good enough to get through to the final. I hope we don’t have another 2011 til 2014 desaster here; Israel deserves to qualify this year.
#16: Albania – I like the voice of Elhaida Dani, but I’m not too sure of her new song. After the first listen I liked “Diell” more than this one. But still something keeps me hanging on that song. Maybe I was more impressed about that ‘teardrops’ idea in her video than about the song itself. I don’t know, but will find out soon.
#17: Montenegro – I agree, as a Zeljko fan I obviously like this song, but I’m not overly impressed and my expectations were much higher on the song. So I hope this will qualify same as last year’s entry, but I am not sure if It will end up higher than Sergej in a field with so many ballads this year?!
#18: Austria – Congratulations, Austria! I think they did everything right and chose the best song in their national final. To me it sounds a bit like the “Kings of Leon meet Jonathan Jeremiah” who I like both a lot. And I think it’s a song Austria does not need to hide with and complain about. Assuming that there are always at least a few points for the host country, this could end (same as Lena 2011) around place 10. I would not mind, though!
#19: Serbia – Agree! I don’t want the English version either! The new version sounds interchangeable, and there must be a really good show around it to keep it in the game. I fear this may not qualify in English, although I like the song.
#20: Portugal – “It’s the sea that separates us” – what a beautiful title! My favourite title this year! Concerning the song, one must say that Portugal tried very hard this year not to choose another “Fado-related” or “Rumba/Lambada happy-sound/style” song again, but a more modern pop song, which deserves a round of applause. And again, I don’t know what it is in that song, but it always keeps me listening, which is a good sign. For me a strong grower! Hopefully one will work a lot on her performance and the song a bit to make it more catchy. That was all much too dark in the national final, in my eyes!
That was the first part of my early impressions on the songs and performances I love and like more. So I’ll be back soon with part 2 of this countdown, a.k.a. the “LLB” part 🙂
So watch out for it and stay excited 😉
Until next time,
MZW has outdone Loreen in one respect, at least! A massive result for him last weekend indeed. Does that mean he’s a shoo-in for Eurovision itself?? I’m not certain, but he’s got a very good chance. There are some similarities between Euphoria and Heroes (besides the one-word titles) – mainly in the super unique and intimate look of the staging, so that may be an omen of some sort. I really hope Sweden can replicate the Melfest staging in Vienna, because it’s such a huge part of the appeal. The song is great too, though. We so, so needed some uptempo stadium pop, and we got it at alllmooost the last minute!
Thanks so much for your Australia love!! I’m not quite there yet (which I feel kind of guilty about) although I do like our song a lot and I’m very happy it’s nothing to be embarrassed by. Should I be pushing you to vote for us in the final, or is that unnecessary? 😉
I promise I will vote for Estonia on your behalf! I still can’t believe I’m getting the chance to do this kind of favour…lucky for you I’m a GTY fan too.
It’s funny how fans react to revised versions of songs. Half of us are like ‘I love it, it’s amazing! Such an improvement!’ and the other half are like ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?’. Re: Malta, I prefer the new version…whereas you don’t. But you’ve still ranked it pretty high, so I’m guessing you don’t hate it with a passion? I think the new version will sound better on stage than it does in studio, because Amber has one of those voices that needs to let rip rather than be restrained in the recording booth!
I was pretty excited about Elnur’s comeback as I liked the ‘Heaven and Hell Opera’ (XD) more than several Azerbaijani entries that came afterwards. Clearly Samir was the weaker vocalist in the pair, and I think we all knew Elnur would be able to carry his own entry easily. This one’s a grower for me, but it should be epic live performed by THE Voice of Turkey, angel wings or no angel wings. I already like it more than I ever liked Start A Fire. A better result for Azerbaijan in 2015, methinks!
I hope you’re right about Loic, and that he does go on and do a Bellarosa. The difference here is that more people liked Loic’s song instantly than those who liked Love Kills instantly, so if that means Belgium will squeeze into the top 10, then…hooray!
I think there’s a limit to how much you can compare Italy 2015 to France 2011. Grande Amore is more of a fusion of pop and opera than Sognu was, meaning it’s got more mass appeal. It’s much less stuffy and proper, and I think Il Volo are more charismatic than Amaury. They can just smoulder down the camera and they’ll have secured themselves a better result than Emma’s! I don’t believe Italy are destined for the same disappointing fate. I’ll make sure of it, actually, even if I gave to send all of my precious votes their way. Australia should be giving a decent chunk of points to Italy what with our huge Italian population. Greece and the ex-Yugo countries should also expect support from us.
Again, I disagree on the updated version of Macedonia! It’s not that I prefer the English version, but I think the English version is a very good one when it could have been a disaster (like Serbia’s). It speaks to me more now since I know zero Macedonian. I do wish they’d kept some of the anthemic post-chorus chanting in the ESC edit, but overall I am pro-Autumn Leaves.
I’m with you on that Lithuanian kiss. It’s got to go! It’s on par with Julie’s stupid staged laugh for Malta in ’04. Or the kiss Slovenia threw in that year too…but they did get married that weekend, so I think that was a more authentic kiss than Monika and Vaidas’.
Israel should qualify, yes, and Diell is better than I’m Alive (IMO), yes! Diell really showed off Elhaida’s voice, which the new song doesn’t do so successfully.
Austria can be proud of their host entry. It’s good. Not another winner, or even close, but a nice, solid song to rep them on home ground.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Volume I of your rankings. I’m interested to see Volume II, whenever it may come 😀
Here’s my list using the magical Tool:
Hey – our number 6’s match! Nothing else does but isn’t that the wonder and beauty of Eurovision?
Notice something? I have your entry 14 places higher than you do! I think that you have a real chance of causing an upset this year with Guy…
It really is amazing how different musical tastes can be. That is extremely clear comparing our Top 40s! But, I respect yours as long as you respect mine, which I assume you do as you have not abused me for having Norway as my #1 😛
I’m a little embarrassed you have Australia so much higher than I do, but I’m thrilled there’s at least one person on other side of the world who thinks we could do well (please vote for us! We share a monarch! I promise I won’t make you eat any Vegemite because I hate it too!). I expect Guy to climb up my rankings ladder a fair way as time goes on, but I don’t think he’ll hit the Top 5 heights. That won’t stop me from waving my Oz flag so enthusiastically I pass out when he takes to the ESC stage, of course.