EBJ’S TOP 10…national finalists of the 2015 season (plus the rest of the best!)

Hi. I’m Jaz, I’m twenty-three years old, and I think I need to be admitted to national final rehab after the week I’ve had.

No, I haven’t been watching every single NF of 2014/15 back-to-back, only leaving the me-shaped crater in my mattress to get food and let the other occupants of my household know that I’m still alive. That would be crazy!

What I have done is listen to almost every single song entered in a 2014/15 national final, on and off for quite some days, in order to determine my favourites of the season. Subtract the reasonable-sized bunch I was already acquainted with (mostly those hailing from Scandinavia) and you’ll see how that’s a much less crazy thing to do. Still, I need the rehab. Just to make sure I’m re-energised enough to haul my butt out of bed for 3 x 3am Eurovision installments next month (!).

Those of you not currently receiving NF-induced therapy get to enjoy the fruits of my labor today, as I present my top 10* national final songs of the season just gone – plus the thirty-odd others that I would recommend you add to your must-hear playlist, if you haven’t heard them yet.

Hit me up with your personal preferences in the comments, and let me know if there are any gems I should give a second chance to (or third, or fourth…I’ve had an intensive time, guys).


* If I’m honest, it’s actually a top 11 (as if you wouldn’t have noticed). I got to the point where the prospect of relegating one more song to the ‘rest of the best’ pile was causing me physical pain, so I decided to throw the rulebook out the window and adopt the attitude of ‘my blog, my rules!’. And my rules dictate that a top 11, in a time of need, is a-ok. And now I’ll shut up and get on with said top 11.


My favourites, from A Dal to UMK (and quite a few finals in-between)!

Counting backwards for maximum suspense levels.

#11 | I’ll Be Fine by Molly Pettersson Hammar (DNQ, Sweden)

In what shall henceforth be known as The Swedish App Fiasco of 2015, lady-in-red Molly failed to even make the second chance round of Melodifestivalen, allegedly due to first-time-use issues with the voting app. Up until my ears were exposed to eventual winner Heroes, I was convinced the Land of Abba had let their best chance of Eurovision success go in this scandalous manner. Now, though I couldn’t be happier about Måns heading to Vienna, I still see/hear this song as a retro-flavoured masterpiece, performed with a level of diva-ness that Dana International could only dream of reaching.


#10 | Nefelibata by MNTHA (4th, Latvia)

Tracks like this – i.e. weird alt-pop songs – aren’t normally my cup of tea, but for some reason, I’m drinking them down like there’s no tomorrow at the moment. MNTHA’s high-pitched vocal on Nefelibata (which apparently means ‘cloud-walker’) adds delicacy to a song that makes you wonder where it’s going, even when you’re listening to it for the third time in a row. It’s an attention-grabber of the non-OTT kind, and I appreciate that very much.


#9 | S’të Fal by Lindita Halimi (3rd, Albania)

You might not expect feverish EDM to come out of Festivali I Këngës. Even if you did, you might not expect it to get such a good result. Lindita Halimi pulled out all the vocal gymnastic tricks she could muster (but failed to pull a pair of pants out of her wardrobe or use a hairbrush) and ended up bringing both of those things to the sometimes-stuffy FiK with S’të Fal. I really like the pace of this song, how edgy it is, how it builds, and how surprisingly well it works with a live orchestra.


#8 | Wechselt Die Beleuchtung by Laing (Result unknown, Germany)

You can always rely on Germany (‘always’ meaning ‘for the previous four or five years’) to provide a national final full of interesting, atypically-Eurovision (per the stereotypes) entries. The superior of the two songs Laing threw into the Unser Song Für Österreich ring, this one is dark, moody, and also cutting edge. It lends itself beautifully to the German language and comes armed with an über cool performance feat. a costume reveal and…desk lamps. Translate the title of the song, and that addition will make sense.


#7 | Human Beings by Karin Park (Result unknown, Norway)

The woman behind Margaret Berger’s I Feed You My Love decided to have a bash at representing Norway as singer and songwriter this year, and it made for a triumph – if not results-wise, then in musical magnificence. Who knew a song with such sentiment behind it could be so lacking in cheese? Human Beings has the same kind of cold beauty that captured Europe’s votes when M. Berg oozed it on the Malmö stage (sorry for that mental image). It’s a Karin Park trademark. How Human Beings didn’t make the MGP super-final is beyond me.


#6 | Glück by Alexa Feser (Result unknown, Germany)

What do you know, here’s Germany popping up in my top 10 11 again! And ich liebe es big time. I would like to direct all people who believe German to be a harsh language to Exhibit A: This Song, if Laing’s didn’t already convince them otherwise. Glück, which according to Google Translate = ’good fortune’ (which means it probably actually translates to ’unripe bananas’ or something) is slow-burn piano pop at its finest – pretty, calming and authentic.


#5 | Frozen Silence by Fahrenhaidt (DNQ, Germany)

I swear, this is the last German national finalist I’m going to prattle on about. Yoda would say hauntingly beautiful this is, but I’m going to say that it’s hauntingly beautiful – so I guess Yoda and I are in agreement. Like Nefelibata, Frozen Silence isn’t a big, brash, in-yo-face number, but it draws you in and holds your attention nonetheless. This could have been a spellbinder on the stage in Vienna (though in the scheme of things, I’m grateful for the more up-tempo Black Smoke).


#4 | Det Rår Vi Inte För by Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone (DNQ, Sweden)

I’ve been listening to this more or less non-stop since it got booted from Melfest – in favour, mind you, of a performance that incorporated a selfie stick (though in Samir & Viktor’s case, it was technically a groupie stick). Rap interspersed with vocals isn’t to everyone’s taste, but something about this – the anthemic atmosphere, the drums, the hilarious way Behrang says ‘ehhh’ at the beginning, perhaps – gets me every time. I find it particularly powerful when I’m struggling with a workout, as it has an amazing ability to push me towards the finish line. #forreals.


#3 | Crossroads by Satin Circus (2nd, Finland)

This. One. HURT. I thought Satin Circus had UMK ’15 in the bag with their irresistible pop-rock singalong song for le youth…but alas, PKN pipped them. Crossroads came a close second to Aina Mun Pitää, and as a result, I can’t listen to it without tearing up and wailing ‘If only!’. But I continue to listen to it anyway, because it is the bomb, and in my Eurovision fantasies it goes down an absolute treat in Austria. Tonight we CAN be young!


#2 | Fjaðrir by SUNDAY (5th, Iceland)

Every year, Iceland passes up the chance to send something that’s more Björk than bland; i.e. a piece of quirky pop perfection that even the haters would have to admit is unique. This year, SUNDAY’s Fjaðrir (or Feathers, in its slightly-less-awesome English incarnation) was that sacrifice. I freaking LOVE it – it’s weird and mystical and so contemporary it shouldn’t even exist yet (I’m not exactly sure what I mean by that, so don’t ask). The song makes much better use of its three minutes than Unbroken does, and she-SUNDAY’s voice is perfect for the style. Brilliant stuff.


#1 | Ne Engedj El by Kati Wolf (Result unknown, Hungary)

Leaving What About My Dreams? – and her poofy-haired, satin-clad self – behind, Kati Wolf made a triumphant return to A Dal in 2015…at least as far as I’m concerned. The A Dal judges were more like ‘whatevs’ when it came to the crunch, failing to put the Wolfster and her emotive ballad through to the final four. Ne Engedj El (Don’t Let Me Go) would have been my ideal representative for Hungary though, because, unlike Boggie’s cry for peace that leaves me cold, I can feel the feelings Kati invests in it – feelings that were well-portrayed in her performance.


The rest of the best (according to moi)…

Get these babies on your music machine of choice STAT, people. Unless you hate them all, in which case just do your own thing. Whatever. I can’t help you improve your terrible taste.

AUSTRIA: Absolutio by Johann Sebastian Bass (5th)
BELARUS: Supernova by Janet (14th)
CYPRUS: Stone In A River by Hovig (4th)
DENMARK: Suitcase by Anne Gadegaard (2nd), Tæt På Mine Drømme by Julie Bjerre (3rd), Manjana by Babou (5th)
ESTONIA: Burning Lights by Daniel Levi (2nd), Superlove by Elisa Kolk (3rd), Exceptional by The Blurry Lane (8th)
FINLAND: Hold Your Colours by Solju (4th), Ostarilla by Shava (8th), Mustelmat by Siru (DNQ), Love It All Away by Eeverest (DNQ)
HUNGARY: Fire by Ív (Result unknown), Mesmerize by Passed (Result unknown), Gyémánt by Vera Tóth (DNQ), Ősz Utca by Gergő Szakács (DNQ)
ICELAND: Fyrir Alla by Cadem (6th), Aldrei of Seint by Regína Ósk (DNQ)
ITALY: Fatti Avanti Amore by Nek (2nd), Adesso e Qui (Nostalgico Presente) by Malika Ayane (3rd)
LATVIA: Take Me Down by Markus Riva (2nd)
MACEDONIA: Brod Što Tone by Tamara Todevska (2nd)
MALTA: Rush by Christabelle (2nd), Breakaway by Glen Vella (3rd), Stop Haunting Me by Raquel (DNQ)
NORWAY: Next To You by Jenny Langlo (Result unknown)
ROMANIA: Superman by Lara Lee (7th), Chica Latina by Aurelian Temișan feat. Alexa (9th)
SWEDEN: Jag Är Fri (Manne Leam Frijje) by Jon Henrik Fjällgren (2nd), Make Me (La La La) by Dinah Nah (12th), Där Och Då Med Dig by Emelie Irewald (DNQ)

That’s all of the NF-ness I’m going to provide for now, ladies and gents. But rest assured that after Vienna, I’ll be taking a look at which national finalists could – and maybe should – have been sent to Eurovision, based on the results of the songs that were (á la this post from last year).

Don’t forget to tell me your standouts of the 2014/15 NF season. I’ll open up my can of DO IT NOW, FOR THE LOVE OF LORDI!!! if I have to.

Until next time…




23 Responses to “EBJ’S TOP 10…national finalists of the 2015 season (plus the rest of the best!)”

  1. Ali Nella Houd

    Danke schön, lieber Wolfgang!

    Loving your work.

    Wow — the ol’ wailstrom really had some powerful dragging-down power on those LLBs in your list … 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. But then the bad boys ended up at the bottom.

    “I don’t like screaming and shouting in songs.” — I want to put that straight onto a T-shirt and wear it at the Euroclub!

    And then you have coined the “bagging” expression of the decade, IMO:

    “This is not a song you can get your dog outside with.” !!!

    I have never heard that. Did you just make that up, or is it something one actually says in Germany? What a classic! What does it even mean?? So many scary layers — But “T.I.N.A.S.Y.C.G.Y.D.O.W.” (or Tina Syčgydów?) now has to go straight into the EBJ ESC dictionary, pretty please Jaz? Poor Molly — the inaugural winner of the “Tina”!

    BTW, my top 20 will land very soon, hopefully within 24 hours … Who knows who my no. 1 might be. Maybe I actually think Molly deserves a “Tia” rather than a “Tina” …


    Bis bald!



    • wschmidt1206

      Hey again,

      thanks for the flowers, what would you like to drink next? 😉

      I like your idea of that T-shirt! Can I please have one of them, too, it can also be worn on non-Eurovision partys, can’t it? Such a general and universal wisdom! ;D

      But I love your ‘Tina’ very much, this should definitely a part in our ‘Eurovisionary’ (short for Eurovision dictionary) ;-))). I’m still laughing about it, that was such a good one, I’d give the full ‘douze’ for it! By the way, Tina Sycgydów sounds somehow like the next Eurovision artist of FYR of Macedonia, or is it Croatian? I always mix that up, my fault!
      We should have her next year in Helsinki to hand over THE AWARD, but please without a lady beard! 😉

      But please don’t say “poor Molly” – it’s an honour that we grant her this award as THE inaugural winner. Nothing to complain about, and maybe that’s more of an honour than she will receive in Vienna! Who knows? Maybe we should give her a “Tia”, too, together with the award, bien sûr.

      Well, that “dog thing” is my translation of a German proverb, which means that something is so boring that even the dog remains lying and yawning on the carpet, nearly falling asleep!

      So you see Roman as a ‘bad boy’, that is a totally new perspective for me! I thought he’d better belong into the children section, as let’s say the better Junior Eurovision contestant, where he should be joined by Anita & Michele, just that we have the children all together ;)!

      Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland,

      Good night and bye bye,

      Wolfgang 😉


  2. wschmidt1206

    Hello again,

    Wow, what a shocker!!! To see 3 songs from the German NF in your Top 10! When did that happen the last time?! Did it ever?!? ;D

    I’m also very, I mean VERY impressed that you listened to all of the national final songs 2015 available. I wish I had the time to do so, too (insert a sad face here!)!

    When I look at your favorites, your Top 10 (I mean 11!) to me seems like that there is “all kinds of everything” in it! I also liked Molly, MNTHA, Karin Park and Sunday very much, while Laing and Lindita Halimi do not belong to my list of favorite NF songs.

    With Alexa Feser I would have gone for her second song “Tomorrow’s gold”, because I like the lyrics that much.

    And I am not a big fan of Rap music, so I just like the ‘Victor Crone’ part in “Det Rär Vi Inte För”!

    But with Fahrenhaidt, Satin Circus and Kati Wolf I am absolutely on your NF boat, which you will see in just a moment. Awesome songs, all of them ;-).

    Now you like to take a look at my NF Top 10 (of course, 11 according to your new rule), right? So let’s go for it and here they are:

    [#11 Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Jag Är Fri (2nd, Sweden): I really like this kind of ethno-pop very much and thought this was very original and well performed. And it would have been something completely different to the usual Swedish entries at Eurovision.
    I would have liked this in Vienna, too. Maybe we can do another Eurovision with the rest of the NF songs afterwards ;-)?!]

    #10 Barrice – Ela (RU, Greece): I am a fan of the Greek Bouzouki, that’s why I like this song much, and its last minute simply is the best part of it ;)! No need to say that this is by faaar better than the depressing lady ballad the Greek have chosen as their entry for Vienna. I have a lot of question marks about their qualification with that song this year?!?

    #9 Erika Selin – Break me up (3rd, Ireland): I would have preferred that fresh pop song by Erika to that lame piano ballad by Molly Sterling. I think that the chances of qualifying would have been much higher with a faster song than with this LLB! I see the Irish song already drowning in the sea of non-outstanding entries this year. Maybe Erika also sounded a bit too Swedish for the Irish people?!

    #8 Erlend Bratland – Thunderstruck (2nd, Norway): I really thought, no I was sure that Norway would send Erlend to the Eurovision this year. Normally I don’t like songs entitled “Thunderstruck” (you know what I’m talking about, right!?), but this one is pretty awesome. And Erlend did a really good job on stage with his great voice. But I am also very happy with Kjetil & Debrah and their musical crime story. That should also do very well in the contest.

    #7 Fahrenhaidt – Frozen silence (DNQ, Germany): I am absolutely with you, this is a great song and my favorite one from the first round. The presentation and performance were awesome, too, with all those images of water and snow. By the way, I think I’ll take this song for my 3-minute-underwater-performance, okay? But I definitely have to change my mind to go back to that 1-minute-rule then, cause 3 minutes under water seems a bit too long for me. Maybe I should practice that before to “One last breath”?! Imagine that! 😀

    #6 Kati Wolf – Ne Engedj El (RU, Hungary): this would have been my choice for Vienna, too. Vocally speaking, Kati was much, I mean MUCH better than in Düsseldorf 2011. And her song sounded awesome in the Hungarian language! This entry would have been much more original than the old-fashioned anti-war-ballad with a cheesy stage performance. A shame that Kati did not get that second chance this year. 😦

    #5 Emelie Irewald – Där Och Da med Dig (DNQ, Sweden): my first impression during the live show of Melfest was: oh, here we have ‘Mary Stuart’, Queen of Scotland, with the MOST impressive dress of the night, singing a little chamber song from a medieval [Shakespearean] drama on a beautifully enlighted stage. With all this surrounding and the side effects I forgot to listen to the song!
    My second impression fast forward a few weeks (getting serious for just a moment): when I listened to this song from my Melfest CD for the first time, I immediately felt something familiar in it. Without knowing any words of Swedish (or just very few), I understood exactly what she was singing about (Don’t ask me why?). When I then realized that she was telling ‘my’ story in this song, those words fell really hard on me, like heavy rain in a thunderstorm, and it got me completely out of control!!! An unbelievably intense and scary moment, that’s what “Där Och Da Med Dig” did to me.
    Most of the time music is big fun and very entertaining, but sometimes a song can also be a mirror of your soul or remind you of something that you’d wish to make it undone. Damn … I think I love and hate this song at the same time, if that makes any sense???

    #4 Andreas Kümmert – Heart of stone (1st, Germany): I am still not over it yet (sigh)! And it feels so strange to write 1st in brackets! It’s no secret that I was an “Andreas” follower and like his voice very much, so this was my favorite song in the German national final this year. If you listen to this song, you can hear why he won “The Voice of Germany”, not having the perfect looks, though. But that doesn’t matter anyway! I hope it does not mean a break in his career?!

    #3 Satin Circus – Crossroads (2nd, Finland): I am absolutely on your boat here; I think the Finns have missed the opportunity to send their best song this year, maybe of all-time, to the Eurovision. And again, I was quite sure they would make it to Vienna. This is the biggest failure in a NF decision this year which I am really sad about. The ‘song’ Finland has voted for this year is only good for a (short) toilet break, unfortunately!

    #2 Mariette – Don’t stop believing (3rd, Sweden): this dark and mystic kind of ballad was my favorite song from Melfest 2015. I would also have loved to see this on Eurovision stage, too, because it’s such a great song with a hopeful message and Mariette looked gorgeous on stage in her beautiful dress and her hairdo. I also loved her hands language much. All in all, everything fitted perfectly to the song. That’s why it had the whole package, IMO!

    #1 Nek – Fatti Avanti amore (2nd, Italy): not that I don’t like “Grande amore” by Il Divo, I think it’s good, but when it comes to Nek, I would always choose him as a performing artist at Eurovision. I think he’s not less than the greatest Italian artist of today and I love his music ever since his first European success with “Laura non c’é” in the 90’s. Ever since then I am a big fan of him and FAA is my favorite song at the moment, hearing it just about 500 times a day :-), not getting tired of it! I think he really deserves the title “THE Italian Sting” and also the win of the San Remo Festival this year. Such a shame that he got 2nd again, like with “Laura non c’é” in 1997! What a destiny! … And I like le clip vidéo à la piscine! 😉

    So, that’s pretty much it for today. Thank you so much for this great block and excuse my very belated NF Top 10; it took some time to put it together.

    I am very much looking forward to your reviews of the class of 2015, and I am already curious to read them soon on EBJ.

    Have a great week and until next time,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Ali Nella Houd

      Hey there Wolfgang,

      Were you going to let us have the benefit of seeing your 20-40 ESC 2015 rankings sometime? — or did you already do that and I’ve somehow missed it? — I’m interested in where all those LLBs landed for you. If you show us your bottom 20, I’ll show you my top 20!

      (Jaz, I’m sure you don’t mind your subscribers ‘talking amongst ourselves’ whilst you’re otherwise engaged … (;0P … )




      • Jaz

        Go forth and converse, Ali!! Just remember…if you say anything bad about me, I can see it!! And hell hath no fury like a Eurovision freak scorned, as they say.

        PS – Loving the ‘if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine…’ 😉


      • wschmidt1206

        Hi Ali (and Jaz, of course),

        no, you did not miss anything! It was just a matter of time that I haven’t posted it yet. And I must admit it was the harder part for me to get them into the right order, so it needed some time (and listens) to get it ready. 😉

        So, “bottom half against top half”, if that’s the deal, I’m in! 😉

        I guess I have to deliver first then, so let me start with the better ones:

        #21: Slovenia – this song is a grower in my ears! At first I didn’t like it much, but after some more listens I think it’s quite good. Maraaya’s voice reminds me somehow of Duffy and Paloma Faith. This one may be a big surprise in the contest this year, but then again, I think it’s rather overrated by the bookies at the moment. I can’t see this ending up top 10 in the final.

        #22: Cyprus – I think this is a nice little singer/songwriter ballad that should qualify to the final. THE “one thing” Giannis “should have done” before his stage performance is change his glasses. I expect a soft performance with the spotlight just on Giannis and his song, but also have the fear that it won’t be enough to qualify this year.

        #23: Germany – well, you already know that I am not the biggest fan of Ann Sophie, and still that hasn’t changed yet. I think her song is O.K. and by far better than “Jump the gun”, which I absolutely disliked. The only good about her is that she is a strong performer on stage and plays with the camera, that could make an impression internationally! And her song is not an LLB, which is an advantage, too. But I don’t expect any good results with her; I see her, same as Elaiza last year, around places 15 to 20. And everybody knows already that she was second-best and that Germany did not vote for this song to be performed in Vienna; that will make an impression, too!

        #24: Czech Republic – this (a bit) dark rock ballad is a good song, although a bit over-produced and not that original. It sounds as if we have heard it already in other ESCs a few times before. But on the other hand, this is the best entry the Czechs have ever sent to Eurovision, IMO!

        #25: Switzerland – this song also grew on me during the last weeks. I think the Swiss tried hard this year to send something untypical to Vienna. That should be worth a qualification to the final, and I think it will work well in the semi final, hopefully! At least they did not send “Swiss cheese” again! 😀

        #26: Russia – not a bad song at all, that reminds me a bit of PINK, but those lyrics?!?
        I wonder where Russia always gets these lyrics from? Last year they already got my “lyrics award” for “Shine” by those “Hanni and Nanni” twins, which was sooo awful. And Dina’s lyrics in “What if” weren’t much better. But I am sure this will easily qualify in the 1st semi final (the strong eastern connection, you know!), not because it’s such a good song, but because they always qualify no matter who or what they send to Eurovision.

        #27: Armenia – with this entry I am biased: on the one hand, Armenia has 6 great singers sending to Eurovision, on the other hand, 6 great singers do not make a perfect song automatically! I think the song is quite chaotic with all these sudden changes, and the message is not what one wants to hear on Eurovision stage. I think it will qualify to the final, but then anything can happen!?

        #28: Denmark – with this entry it went opposite side! At first I liked the song a lot, but after a while it got a bit boring and annoying, because it’s really repetitive! But it’s a very radio-friendly track that is already played on German radio stations, which is quite clever. So the guys get some support from a few radio stations, which also could mean a few points from their German neighbours.

        So, now we come to the IMPORTANT part – a.k.a. the lame lady ballad section:

        #29: Poland – the Polish singer Monika has a really good voice and she already is a star in Poland, too. But the song does not touch me in any way, it leaves me absolutely unimpressed and cold. I think it’s an average ballad we already have heard a thousand times before in the 80’s and 90’s. I think just the story behind Monika is not enough to qualify this year, I’m sorry! It is too forgettable!

        #30: France – this song is on the same level as Poland! The singer is good and I like songs sung in French language, and France is my favorite Eurovision nation if I take all entries of all-time. But this song does not mean anything to mean; it’s boring and so ‘yesterday’. It could have easily been an entry from the Eurovision in 1984 or so. And yes, we will never forget the Second World War and their victims, but do we want to hear that as a message at Eurovision??? I am again disappointed about France and their entry this year.

        #31: Greece – and here we have the next LLB! What else can I say about our Greek power mum? This is so depressing and ‘before yesterday’ that I hope the wind machine can do some drive 😀 to her performance. Actually, I expect some Dion-esque stage performance to this entry, which would fit to this stage drama. I would have taken “Ela” by “Barrice” which was the best song to me in the Greek national final.

        #32: Georgia: let’s go on with the ‘fight club’ now! This song simply is not my cup of tea, and I think it’s not a good composition. Even not one you can win a song contest with!
        In contrast to Georgia, I am a big fan of Malta’s “Warrior” which is one of my favs this year.

        #33: Ireland – coming back to the LLB’s again, this is again so boring and unappealing that I doubt this could qualify at all. In the 90’s maybe Ireland would have won with this song, too, but since we already have 2015, this is not a song you can get your dog outside with. Some of these lame songs must die the “ballad death” this year, and I think Molly will be among them. It was my number 4 out of 5 from the Irish national final; I would have taken Erika Selin with a much faster song, although knowing that “Heartbeat” did not qualify to the final last year.

        #34: Latvia – I don’t like screaming and shouting in songs, BTW! So I don’t have much “injected love” for this song. Not that I am a great fan of Latvian entries anyway, but what has this song and singer got to do with Latvia? Pretty nothing!? This is an entry I wouldn’t misss in the final, if it didn’t qualify.

        #35: Belarus – normally I like songs entitled “Time”: the one by ‘Culture Club’ is one of my favorite songs of the 80’s, and the one by Lionel Richie (from the same entitled album) belongs to my favorite songs from him. But with this “Time” there is nothing I like about the song. It is repetitive and Uzari’s voice gets on my nerves. The only good thing about this song is the violin part. And we have learned from the interview done by Jaz that they like their own song best, what else?!? With that conviction nothing can go wrong in Vienna! 😉

        #36: Hungary – OMG! How could Hungary have voted for this! This is sooo old-fashioned: the song sounds 70’s, the performance looks 80’s and the message would be just right for the Ukraine, I guess. But since they are not in the contest this year, who should vote for this. The only award I see with this entry is the prize for best dress (of Boggie), at least no ‘Barbara Dex’ contestant ;D!

        #37: United Kingdom – my first thought was: what’s thaaat??? My answer: that’s the worst British entry since “Cry baby” by Jemini, IMO! I can hear some “electro” in it, while missing the “velvet” completely. I think that the BBC shows by choosing this entry that they are not really interested in the competition. They are so lucky this year that they are already in the final and don’t need to qualify. One can only hope that there will be a very good performance on stage by the dancers, because this song is so cheap and poor that I don’t believe that this will get any points from any country. This could easily be another last place in the final again. And then … this song reminds me very much on that “Doop” number (by ‘Doop’) from the 90’s, which I hated as much as this one!

        Is there really no better British artist available in the UK that wants to attend at the Eurovision; I don’t understand that?!

        #38: San Marino – I am soo ‘happy’ that Ralph Siegel is coming back to this year’s ESC through the ‘San Marino backdoor’ again ;-)! Honestly, I feel sorry for Michele & Anita that they got this poor and cheesy song. Was there really no better song for them available or how much did RS pay them to perform his song? It’s totally clear that they won’t reach the final this year with that song. But no problem, they can come again the next years missing the final just by a point or two in 2016 and qualifying in 2017 then, with Valentina Monetta as their backing vocalist, of course. Better luck next time/year!
        P.S. There are some cheap ‘chains of light’ available at IKEA at the moment, to make the stage look a bit nicer, though! 🙂

        #39: Moldova – here we have a little boy singing ‘I want your love’ in an awfully bad English! In my opinion, this is absolutely embarrassing and ridiculous, and I can’t take this entry seriously. This is just a bad ‘Justin Bieber’ copy with absolutely nothing that keeps me watching or listening; the video, by the way, is embarrassing, too. All in all, the worst entry of them all this year! But wait, there is still one country left and that is:

        #40: Finland – no surprise at all, that is! With this entry there are just two opinions possible: either you like punk rock music and this song very much, or you completely hate it. I belong to the latter fraction! I see this as a protest voting just to have something outstanding and very different from the rest. Unfortunately the Finns have missed to send their best song to Vienna this year, that would have been “Crossroads” by Satin Circus. Such a shame!

        So, now I’m through and you’ve seen them all!
        By the way, did you notice that they changed this year’s motto from “Building bridges” to “Violently happy” with Björk singing the opening song in her “swan dress”! Okay, she’s no Austrian and the song is a little bit old, but that would fit perfectly to a lot of the other songs this year, not?
        Maybe we should call Pharell Williams to give us some more ‘hapiness’ to it on stage?!

        Now I’m pretty curious about your top 20 and very excited about what will be your ‘numero uno’! I guess it could be Slovenia or Azerbaijan? Or something totally unexpected? Hope I can read it soon here! 😉

        Last but not least, I want to say thanks a lot for your ‘like’ on my last very confusedly written comment, which I appreciate much.

        Nice greets from Germany and until next time …



        • Jaz

          Right…if I may respond to your bottom-half rankings??

          #21 (Slovenia) – I definitely hear Duffy in Marjetka’s voice too. I like it. It’s unusual without being plain weird, if you know what I mean. I also agree that this may not do as well as predicted, but I’m not committing myself to any predictions yet. More thought is required!

          #22 (Cyprus) – Meh. I’m not bothered whether this qualifies or not, to be honest. If it does, it’ll be in 9th or 10th place, and I highly doubt it will get any lift-off in the final.

          #23 (Germany) – Funnily enough, you are a bigger fan of Australia than I am, and I am a bigger fan of Germany than you are this year! I really, really like this. But I understand the way you feel about it, especially in light of being an Andreas supporter and voting him to win, which he did, and then…well, we all know what happened next. I’m hoping Ann Sophie does better than Elaiza did, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right and she does end up in that lower-middle range of the scoreboard.

          #24 (Czech Republic) – There’s not that many songs to choose from, but I think CZ’s best entry was in 2007, or maybe 2008. Depends what mood I’m in. And neither of those were particularly great. I was hoping they’d come back with something amazing, but this is so old-school Eurovision it doesn’t fly in 2015.

          #27 (Armenia) – Agree 110%! Great singers with bad, chaotic material. I hope this goes the way of Boom-Boom, but I reckon it’s on the fence.

          #29 (Poland) – I think this is nice, but it is forgettable. I can’t imagine it qualifying, unless it rides the wave of last year’s qualification. Fans might be hoping Monika will add a saucy butter-churner into her performance if she reaches the final.

          #30 (Greece) – Maria Elena is beautiful and has a great voice, but…yeah, I’d call this an LLB! Personally, I think Eurovision 2015 could have done with Jazz & Sirtaki out of the national final. Something fun and super Greek like that would have added some ethnic flavour into a contest badly lacking in that. I also thought Shaya’s Sunshine was quite catchy.

          #34 (Latvia) – I LOVE THIS! Sorry, not sorry. I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I haven’t been this supportive of Latvia since 2007, or maybe even 2005. I think this is contemporary as heck, and the power in the choruses is great.

          #37 (UK) – I really like this too! I felt pretty much the same as you when I first listened to it, but I’ve done a complete turnaround. I want it to do well. It might do okay, based mostly on the ballad-heavy situation. Who knows. So many of us thought Molly was going to do great in Copenhagen, and look what happened there. Perhaps the opposite will happen with Electro Velvet.

          #38 (San Marino) – Yep. Pity for Anita and Michele is high. They are better than their song.

          #39 (Moldova) – Disagree! I think we may be positively surprised by this come May. Don’t be shocked if it qualifies, that’s all I’m saying…

          #40 (Finland) – I didn’t see this coming. NOT! For me, the best thing about this is that it is different, and it proves that Eurovision’s arms are open to diversity in music. I just hope it doesn’t go on and win. #worstnightmare


    • Jaz

      What can I say? Germany really catered to my (newfound) taste for weird and wonderful songs this year! I’ll probably pay more attention to your NF next year as a result – I may even watch it live for the first time (as long as it doesn’t clash with Melodifestivalen).

      Yep, it’s Top 11s all round from now on, if that’s necessary. I couldn’t bear to part with one more song on this occasion. And who’s to say that ten is the be-all and end-all of list quantities anyway!

      My favourites from your top 11 are obviously songs I had on my shortlist or in my own top 11 – Jag Är Fri, Frozen Silence, Ne Engedj El, Crossroads etc…as usual, a bunch of absolute gems emerged from national final season this year!

      So you have question marks over Greece qualifying? I find it hard to imagine them being left behind in their semi…though song-wise, I would make them stay there. If One Last Breath was Latvia’s song (for example) I’d say it was a definite non-qualifier. But it’s Greece. Greece ALWAYS qualifies! *prepares to eat these words on the off chance they don’t*

      Erika and Molly were the best of the Irish bunch (Nikki’s song wasn’t bad, but it was super shouty). In hindsight, Erika’s song would have stood out more in Vienna – and Timoteij would have finally made it to Eurovision! However, I am a fan of Playing With Numbers, even if it is likely to struggle. I’m not going to call it an LLB (I am glad that’s catching on though XD).

      Erlend was good in MGP…Thunderstruck just reminded me too much of Robin Stjernberg’s You – which kind of makes sense as they were both written by the same people. I love You, but I don’t necessarily want a copy of it heading to the contest. Having said that, it wouldn’t have been the worst choice Norway could have made, and again, they would have had the advantage of competing with Sweden-style stadium pop, as opposed to another ballad. Even if the ballad they HAVE got is, IMO, an epic one.

      I look forward to your rendition of Frozen Silence, with all those bells and whistles attached. Make sure your white suit is waterproof, and that you don’t slip when you’re busting out those Saade dance moves! Safety first.

      With you on Hungary, as you can guess. I wish Kati had gotten a second chance too 😥 I wonder, if televoters had been responsible for putting A Dal songs through to the super final instead of the jurors, whether she would have come closer to winning or not. I think the show was mostly Boggie’s for the taking though. For some reason…

      It will be a long time before I’m over Satin Circus not winning UMK! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my mourning.

      Thanks for sharing your NF list. You have (mostly) good taste 😉


  3. Ali Nella Houd

    Yo, Jazzifer!

    Thanks for (once again) doing all the hard yards for the rest of us. Maybe one day you can go one further than Dr Eurovision, and become Professor National Finals? As for me (as you know), I’m still in the NF kindergarten, which is quite fun — unless you forget to go to the potty before your afternoon nap. Anyway, from this limited, mudcake-making perspective, I think the most spectacular thing to come out of this years NFs was Tommy Krångh, especially his heart-attack-defying interpretation of Möt mig i Gamla stan (which was also my fave of the MF tracks). I did like the Molly Pettersson Hammar number: she reminds me of a slightly cuddlier version of Lena, so votes all round (no pun intended) from me.

    I was not happy with what USFÖ produced as a winner. No problem with the band, just with the song. If it had to be the Makemakes, then Million Euro Smile is the one I’d have preferred. We certainly didn’t need another ballad.

    The preponderance of lame lady ballads among the 40 ESC participants has led to a phenomenon I’ll dub the ‘wailstrom’, where its been hard to distinguish one strident scream-fest from another, resulting in a collective dragging down of these entries in my rankings (so far at least), with a few notable exceptions.

    I also note this year’s ESC offerings are (relatively) overladen with themes of destruction (or mess creation) and/or violence. Last year, apart from the themes in Hungary and, arguably. Albania’s songs, we were pretty much violence free (although Pollapönk did de-bully-fy some baddies by zapping them, Armenia had some steering wheel thumping, Teo kicked a cheesecake, and Sebalter accidentally threw spaghetti on his boss). This year it seems every second song is either about being a warrior and/or has a violent imagery in its video.

    So, how did all this affect my rankings — which I still owe you from a few posts ago?

    I’ll give you the bottom half now (in reverse order), and, if pain persists, see your doctor.

    I tried to be positive, but it seems I must have had my grumpy pants on when I was doing these reviews, although I suppose the ones below are my lowest ranked numbers:

    40 – Russia – Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices – Great voice and performance from Polina, but I find the song drowns in its own faux-pacifist cynicism. Whose are these million voices? Are we supposed to know, or care? Presumably they are not the voices of the LGBTI population of the Russian Federation: that would be at least 15 million voices (if they were allowed a voice). Did you notice if you add the number of persons in active military service in Russia to those employed in the Russian secret service you get … voilà!: ‘a million voices’ …

    39 – Austria -The Makemakes – I Am Yours – Clichéd, repetitive, laboured (but, paradoxically, also lazy!), and lacking in any sense of progression. Started much higher in my list, but collapsed under the weight of its own unlistenability. It really was a million-Euro mistake (at least!) for Austria/Makemakes not to stick with Million Euro Smile.

    38 – Switzerland – Mélanie René – Time To Shine – Knocks itself out with a negative double-whammy: combining the cliché of its being “my time” (à la Jade Ewen, UK, 2009) with the Über-cliché of “shine”. Both concepts should be banned from being used in the lyrics of any ESC song for the next decade.

    37 – Portugal – Leonor Andrade – Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa – After a promising start, this lapses into beige blandness. You can see poor Leonor is trying to make something of it, but the song’s just not letting her.

    36 – San Marino – Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola – Chain of Lights – One theory as to why this on isn’t on the bottom is the old ‘dead-cat bounce’ … or perhaps in this context it should be called the ‘RS bounce’?

    35 – Latvia – Aminata – Love Injected – Alas, despite good intentions, this one got sucked down into the wailstrom. Given their common north-African roots, and similar names, Aminata may have benefited from some more subtle and seductive Amina-like moves (France 1991).

    34 – Armenia – Genealogy – Face The Shadow – Apart from being an uninspiring dirge (and durge!), I had to deduct points for political underhandedness. Yes, it’ll be 100 years on 24 April since a certain ghastly historical event was started, the seriousness of which of course shouldn’t be downplayed, but this is not the way to commemorate it.

    33 – Georgia – Nina Sublatti – Warrior – So, here comes the violence. Sigh! But at least we have the first use of the word ‘oximated’ in ESC history. (I think Oximater is a cheap brand of blowtorch you can pick up at Bunnings.*)

    32 – Malta – Amber – Warrior – The warriors have somehow ended up next to each other. More meaningless noise, and breaking of chandeliers, and stuff. Just don’t ask PKN to clean it all up.

    31 – France – Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas – Pulled down by its own ponderousness.
    As in the (un-broadcast) futuristic “ESC in 2075” half-time act at one of last year’s semis, the EBU could have saved some time this year by having Lisa and Amber sing their songs simultaneously (except that Amber will not be in the final).

    30 – Czech Republic – Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta – Hope Never Dies – After bemoaning the despair of existence for almost the whole damn song, where does their sudden simultaneous change of heart come from? Nowhere! It’s a Damascus ex machina, to coin a phrase. At least the time signature gives it a bit of a lilt.

    29 – Finland – Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – Aina Mun Pitää – I too hate cleaning and washing up.

    28 – Spain – Edurne – Amanecer – Started much higher in my ranking, but like a scene from the Thirty Years War, Spain ended up getting stuck in a wailstrom death spiral with the Netherlands. Ee-ay-ee-ooh indeed!

    27 – The Netherlands – Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk Along – Anouk’s songwriting has not saved this bird from falling down the rooftops, out of the sky like a raindrop. The “why-y-y-y” just gets too annoying after a whi-i-i-ile.

    26 – Iceland – Maria Olafs – Unbroken – Only beats Edurne and Trijntje because Maria doesn’t shout out her diphthongs as mercilessly. The chorus of ‘One step at a time’ is, from a lyrics perspective, a throwback to 1992’s runner up, but with smaller (or non-existent) shoulder pads.

    25 – Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside – So much attitude, so little substance …

    24 – Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One Thing I Should Have Done – Only saved from a much lower berth by being well delivered, and relatively innocent and simple, and having a bit of genuine narrative to it. But poor John really needs to get along urgently to a salon in Nicosia to have his jawline bikini waxed …

    23 – Albania – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive – Managed to drag itself a little way out of the wailstrom thanks to Elhaida’s slightly more interesting voice.

    22 – Moldova – Eduard Romanyuta – I Want Your Love – Again with the violence, shooting police cars … and somewhat reckless driving.

    21 – Germany – Ann Sophie – Black Smoke – “Too hard to say three words?” Is it too hard for Ann Sophie to say them, or for her lover? It doesn’t sound like either of them wants to say the three words anyway, so why should we, the listeners, care? Perhaps for the purpose of the song AS should get “HIGH MAINTENANCE” tattooed on her forehead?

    To avoid overload, I’ll let you have my top 20 another occasion.

    And I promise my comments will be more positive!

    As always, keep up the great work.

    Cheerio for now.


    *For those of you on other continents, Bunnings is a cheap Australian hardware retailer.


    • Jaz

      Professor of National Finals? Now THERE’S the job I’ve been searching for. Cheers for bringing it to my attention!

      You’re right – we didn’t need another ballad from Austria. But I do rather like ‘I Am Yours’, I must admit. I’m sure it will struggle to succeed, but there’s something endearing about it. It’ll probably get some leverage from being the host entry, feeding off the response from the crowd.

      If there was an ESC dictionary (which I’m thinking we should put together), ‘wailstrom’ would make it in for sure. Love it. It’s the perfect way to describe the sea of LLBs (an acronym that would also feature in the dictionary).

      Thanks for sharing your bottom half! Okay, that didn’t sound good. But I of course mean the bottom half of your 2015 rankings.

      On Russia: ‘Presumably they [the million voices] are not the voices of the LGBTI population of the Russian Federation’ = BURN!!! It is a bit hard to swallow the peace-and-love flavoured cheese at the best of times, but when Russia is forcing it down our throats, it comes off as being even more artificial than usual. Perhaps they’re trying to soften their image, but it’s having the opposite effect on a lot of us. If only they’d pack a mullet dress, hamster wheel and gritty, catchy pop song in Polina’s suitcase.

      As aforementioned, can’t really agree with you on Austria. It’s nice, but not too vanilla IMO.

      Portugal is quite anonymous on the whole. There’s something catchy about the chorus that I enjoy, but I can’t see anyone racing to vote for it – even jury members.

      I am not-so-secretly pleased that you dislike Armenia. It just makes me go BLERUUUUCH.

      Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about your top 20. And seeing who’s on top, naturally.


  4. AmyBBuzz

    Whew, I’m glad you made an executive decision and included Molly PH with #11. Emelie Irewald was intriguing and one I (delusionally) hoped to see again in the final. Side note: Molly PH might be the perfect answer for the Would You Rather cape/hair conundrum. The lady cape + perfectly behaved locks leaves hands free for dramatic gestures and microphone wielding! I was thrown into a tizzy with the Berger Braid mention (had not thought of that) and probably devoted a smidge too much brain power to that twist in the plot.

    Fjaðrir was creepy and kinetic. There were noises coming out of my computer in ports that I didn’t know existed. I like it.

    Unser Song Für Österreich will have to be included in future NF viewing.

    After watching UMK I couldn’t pick a song that I earnestly wanted to see in ESC. “Well it could be this one” I thought for about 4-5 entries as if I was choosing from least favorite ice cream flavors. I do enjoy punk rock from time to time and PKN doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe it’s going to be as diversionary as odds makers do. When I first saw Conchita last year I knew Phoenix had the right blend of magic.

    Anne Gadegaard’s Suitcase was the biggest omission from ESC, imo. Denmark had a strong MGP, but Anne was clearly packed and ready to go to Vienna. Nothing against Anti-Social Media, it’s a catchy tune and one you don’t mind hearing- just not one you go searching for to hear again and again.


    • Jaz

      See, Molly was just perfection all-round!! Damn that app to Eurovision hell!! I had to include her on my list, which would’ve happened anyway even if she had made the final as (I believe) she should have. I think it was MZW’s time to win regardless.

      When you say you don’t think Finland will be as diversionary…do you mean you think it’ll crash and burn, or go on and win (gulp)? I can’t make my mind up. I feel like it could so easily go either way. It certainly stands out, and in the ballad-heavy field…I’m leaning towards it standing out on the Saturday night too.

      Totally agree with you on Denmark. There were four or five songs I would have preferred to go over ASM’s, actually. Having said that, I have warmed to it considerably since it was chosen (most of my shock and fury has faded) and I appreciate that it’s up-tempo and peppy in the 2015 musical context. But I will continue to imagine what could have been if Anne and her suitcase were headed to Wien.


      • AmyBBuzz

        I’d be surprised if Finland made it out of SF#1. They are in my bottom (keeping with the theme) ten and don’t possess the style and flair of Miss Wurst, to put it mildly. I don’t imagine it connecting with the ESC audience as well as Conchita’s Copenhagen triumph.

        Likewise with your Denmark comments. I heard ASM before catching Anne’s number and thought it was a nice inclusion to ESC. Who knows, Suitcase might have gotten caught up in the LLB’s (a ESC dictionary—yes!) compared to ASM.

        My picks are still lumped into four piles of ten. Looks like I need to start shaping them up!


        • Jaz

          Based purely on the music (if you can call their song ‘music’) I hope you’re right about Finland. Not even having the lead singer (again, if that’s the correct term in this situation) borrow Conchita’s figure-hugging gold dress for Eurovision would give them Ms. Wurst’s style and flair! And Austria once again has the monopoly on facial hair so…sorry, PKN. And yet, I still wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them on the Saturday night.

          No lagging with the LLBs for Anti-Social Media, that’s for sure. Whether that translates into any degree of success remains to be seen. Based on comparitive peppiness levels alone, I can see them qualifying, and that wouldn’t horrify me as they’d liven up the final too (clearly, the post-DMGP fury that led to me tweeting a string of expletives has faded).

          Good luck with your pile-shaping! Feel free to share the finished result 🙂


          • AmyBBuzz

            Glad we are all getting the worsts (or is it Wurst’s?) out of the way first. Without further ado, here is my bottom half:

            40. Hungary: Two words: mute button.
            39. Serbia: So forgettable it still surprises me when I see it listed as a contestant.
            38. Czech Republic
            37. Russia: A cheeky entry. It doesn’t come close to matching the sweet Tolmachevy sisters who I couldn’t help but like despite any undertones.
            36. Armenia: A bloated song. They packed too many voices in and it comes off as pretentious as well.
            35. Lithuania: Feels like…getting beat over the head. There as aspects I want to like yet it’s so chaotic that I grimace.
            34. Malta: not digging either of the Warriors in particular.
            33. Romania
            32. Finland: Change the lyrics and it could be the music in an energy supplement commercial.
            31. France
            30. San Marino: what did these kids do to deserve this “song”? I heard at least five different types of cheese. Surprised to find I enjoyed Michele’s voice more than Anita’s after it was the opposite in the JESC efforts.
            29. Georgia: This Warrior gets a leg up thanks to a darker, synth beat heavy sound.
            28. Portugal: The country I feel like I put up with every year. Surprise in 2015: a likable intro that pulls you into the song. Leonor tries so hard but it’s not enough at the end and putters out.
            27. Montenegro
            26. Austria: An initial recoil because it sounds so familiar. Then it grows by the third and fourth listens to a song I’m alright with.
            25. Greece
            24. Iceland: It sounds like Disney dug it out of their vault, which is acceptable just not very memorable.
            23. Belarus
            22. Azerbaijan: Intriguing and it ranked higher in my mind until the ballads started to clump together. This could jump higher depending on the performance.
            21. Spain: or Poland or Cyprus or the Netherlands. This is the greyest area of the list.


            • Jaz

              You’ve sorted!! For the most part!! I think a lot of us have grey areas in our rankings this year, with so many songs that make you go ‘meh’.

              I had to laugh at your response to Hungary. I heard someone say the other day that ‘Wars For Nothing’ sounds like a charity single, and all it’s missing is a celebrity to wander up behind Boggie and plea for a donation. I hadn’t thought of that before, but I totally agree! I’m not sure I’ll go so far as to mute it, but let’s just say I can understand your P.O.V.

              Secretly pleased by your #39, as I seem to be in the minority disliking it. My gripe is mainly with the English lyrics.

              You hit the nail on the head with Armenia. ‘Bloated’ is the perfect adjective to describe it. It’s like an overstuffed armchair that no one wants to sit on because, whilst it fits in with the decor of the loungeroom, it’s rather uncomfortable (note to self, Jaz…save SOMETHING for your review).

              Your description of Finland is why I have it so much lower in my rankings!

              ‘Chain of Lights’: The Cheese Pizza of Eurovision 2015? I can see that. There’s also a lot of cliches mixed in with the tomato sauce. I have secondhand embarrassment for Anita & Michele already. Still, I have a glimmer of hope that they may surprise us all and at least pull off a performance that isn’t completely out of place in the adult contest.

              I haven’t watched Elnur’s EiC performance (and won’t) but I hear he was top-notch, as I’d expect. I really rate his song in studio, and I can’t wait to see it “live”…i.e. on TV during his semi. I suspect, if Azer climbing higher in your 40 depends on his performance, it will.

              Looking forward to the reveal of your Top 20, whenever/wherever it may come 🙂


          • AmyBBuzz

            If donating to “Wars for Nothing” will make Boggie stop singing then I’ll gladly empty my wallet. It took me three tries to listen to it entirely; the only reason the third time was the “charm” was because I distracted myself with wallpaper removal. Sadly, the job should be finished by the time SF #1 rolls around.

            I really do feel bad for Anita and MIchele. You know somewhere Valentina is secretly pleased.

            The top 20 (with numerous hestiations/editing/wishing I could redo the bottom 20, etc.)

            20. The Netherlands: Squarely in the middle because I have a love/hate relationship with the chorus. It’s like picking the petals off a flower, “I like it, I like it not”.

            19. Cyprus

            18. Poland: The least offensive and most polished of the “wailstroms” (great phrase Ali) which is all it takes to make it this far.

            17. Moldova: It’s nothing special, but I enjoy it for pure pop purposes. The performance must improve from the national final.

            16. Switzerland

            15. Germany: Ann Sophie brings a late ‘90s pop sound—aaahhh! Music to my ears while I still slightly cringe at the voice (a British-sounding tenth cousin of Fran Drescher). Her charisma is a welcome sight; I love it when a performer radiates how much they are enjoying the experience on stage.

            14. Israel: Even though I scoff at how high this ended up in my rankings, I really want to be dance all night and be shown Tel Aviv.

            13. Sweden: The cone-headed friends, while cute, were too distracting for me. I’m all for a simpler presentation that would allow the focus to be on Mans….and the song.

            12. Denmark: Infectious and seemingly appealing to any audience; a well-played performance will bring yet another good result.

            11. Australia: Guy Sebastian wasn’t such a conflicted choice after all. The Bruno Mars comparison is there, but without the raspy Bruno-esque voice I like Tonight Again even better.

            10. Latvia: All I ask if to tone down the shouting at the beginning of the chorus a bit. Otherwise it goes in my quirky song favorite bucket.

            9. Estonia: Probably the most over-shadowed song this year. It won’t fail to qualify for the final, but it’s one that I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up in either top 5 or middle of the pack.

            8. Italy: Usually one, never mind three, guys singing an epic ballad is a recipe for disaster in my ESC cookbook. Il Volo must have a secret ingredient because these guys have stayed in my top 10 since the first listen.

            7. Albania: Elhaida has one of the voices I latched onto immediately. The “ayy y y’s” are simple, soft, and not as ear-threatening as the “why why why’s” from The Neds.

            6. Belgium: I like quirky songs and am exceedingly jealous about how everybody but me can roll their R’s.

            5. United Kingdom: my self-indulgent song of 2015 (Teo’s Cheesecake last year). First impression was of slight bewilderment and after that I was ready to flap around the house like nobody was watching.

            4. Norway: If I were a gambler I bet on A Monster Like Me to win. There is nothing I can add to the numerous descriptions I’ve read so I’ll just say I have massive amounts of pseudo-wannabe Norwegian pride.

            3. Ireland: I still can’t believe the divisive reactions. Playing with Numbers stands out with mature, not your typical ESC lyrics (indeed they were written for her album) and Molly’s incredible 17 yr old voice. Smitten at first listen! I’ve watched Erika in the national comp, to try to figure out the fuss, no less than three times and still can’t tell you a thing about that song. I’m not bored with this (ballad) song at all. My hope is that Molly gets her due and takes a respectable amount of numbers in the final, yes final. It gave me hope that her fellow country woman, Rory, gave it an unbiased 10 in the jury reviews.

            2. FYR Macedonia: Normally I would prefer a country to remain with their native language especially Macedonia, one of my perennial favorites. The original version left me disappointed and under whelmed so much that I eurovisioned it at the bottom. Then, then the leaves changed, unearthed this poignant gem, and instead of falling it soared towards the top of my chart.

            1. Slovenia: #1 from the start. I haven’t wavered since the rest of the field was revealed after Maraaya. From Marjetka’s distinctive voice to the snappy piano to the sassy violin to the headphones, everything about this number made me smile. I’d love to see a smaller country win. Doesn’t Ljubljana sound like a pleasant destination next May Jaz?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jaz

              GIVE BOGGIE ALL YOUR MONEY NOW!! I’ll donate to the cause too. Maybe together we can stop her from performing at Eurovision at all. Then I’ll kidnap Kati Wolf and shove her onstage in Boggie’s place (assuming you’d have preferred Kati to be representing Hungary. Her A Dal entry is my favourite of NF season, and even if it isn’t so highly rated with yourself I figure you’d have to prefer it to ‘Wars For Nothing’).

              Has anyone considered the possibility that Valentina Monetta has cursed Anita and Michele? Two talented, promising singers burdened with one of Ralph Siegel’s worst-ever compositions doesn’t seem to add up (same principle as Anush Arshakyan cursing Genealogy to fail in spite of their star power, due to her jealousy that her twin Inga was chosen to be part of the group). I have mental images of Valentina making an anonymous phone call to Ralph and putting the idea into his head to have one more shot at Eurovision glory. Complete with her insisting that disjointed, early-80s-sounding pop songs are so hot right now.

              Now, on to your top 20…

              17. Moldova – I must admit, I’m pleased to see it ranked this high! This is my guilty pleasure of the year. You’re not wrong about the performance needing a ridiculous overhaul. The Eurovision In Concert performance apparently didn’t demonstrate that a whole lot of change has taken place, but I still have hope that Moldova will pleasantly surprise us come song 1, semi 1.

              15. Germany – LOVE your description of Ann Sophie’s voice. Then again, I was always more amused by Fran Drescher’s voice than annoyed by it. I think the nasal quality fits the song quite well, actually.

              10. Latvia – THANK. YOU. Latvia is so unimpressive usually that I can’t believe they’re sending something so cool and contemporary. The country that sent Brainstorm is back, at least for one contest. I like how shouty the chorus is – it contrasts so much with the verses that the sudden ramp-up has a big impact.

              6. Belgium – Verrrrrrrrry pleased to see plucky little Belgium rating highly with anyone! I hope people can see just how far removed this is from last year’s creepfest, and reward it appropriately. I’m assuming Loïc won’t have a lady-in-black shuffling suspiciously around behind him while he’s doing his thing. I also hope he doesn’t have any toy dinosaurs on stage, á la the rather nonsensical music video.

              5. UK – I had a similar initial reaction to this. I fact, I literally face-palmed. But I’m digging it now, though I have zero idea how it’s going to fare in the final. Happy flapping!

              4. Norway – I’m sure you’re aware that I have no objections to AMLM being praised. It’s a stunner, and I would be very happy if it did win. Again though, I’m constantly back and forth on how I think it will go.

              2. FYR Macedonia – I’m with you all the way on this one. I really liked ‘Lisja Esenski’, but there is a quieter beauty and truer sentiment about ‘Autumn Leaves’ that makes me want to hug Daniel and tell him that everything’s going to be okay. I will be voting for this for sure, and hoping that Australia’s sizeable ex-Yugo population will give it the boost it needs to make the final.

              1. Slovenia – Ljublana would be a wonderful destination indeed! I just don’t know if I can see the credits rolling over this one (a scientific and fail-proof test to separate the non-winners from the herd). But Slovenia taking the win would be great for so many reasons, and clearly it would make you an ecstatic fan.


    • Jaz

      The Icelandic final in general was very good this year – there was nothing that made me go ‘OH DEAR LORDI, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!?!?’, which is always nice. ‘Once Again’, in its original or English incarnation, wasn’t up there with my personal faves, and I was glad it didn’t win over Maria. But it’s still quality. Better than some of the songs actually going to Eurovision, that’s for sure.


  5. Reno Calling

    Awesome playlist! I’m thrilled to hear again 5 of my favorites ( Glück, Nefelibata, Fjaðrir, Ne Engedj El, and Human Beings) and listen to some excellent songs that I did not catch before (especially Wechselt Die Beleuchtung- captivating all around performance and staging).


    • Jaz

      Glad you liked it! And I always warm to someone who appreciates my musical selections (whilst trying to pretend I’m fine with those people who don’t ;P).

      Totally agree on ‘Wechselt…’ – I actually didn’t see that costume reveal coming!



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