VIENNESE VERDICTS | The EBJ Jury Reviews (Part 4)

Being all about that bass is so passé. Right now, at least within the Eurovision sphere, it’s all about those Eurovision 2015 reviews. That’s why I barely let you finish reading one installment before I publish another. Case in point: this is Part 4. Yep, we’re halfway through already!

Under the musical microscope today are Sweden, the UK, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Romania; and on the EBJ Jury today are an Australian, another Australian, and me – also an Australian. Pay careful attention to how our points stack up, because that might give you an insight into where the Aussie points will go come May 19th, 21st and 23rd. Or not. Actually, that’s very unlikely. Forget I said anything, okay?




Mrs. Jaz: She’s back! Louisa Baileche lookalike and mother of me, Mrs. Jaz refused to stop her review count at five. Hang on a second…no, that was me. I refused to let her stop at five. Anyway, she’s joining the EBJ Jury for the second and final time today to offer opinions from a non-fan, outside-of-the-bubble perspective. How she rates the entries from Sweden etc could be a gauge as to how they’ll fare in the final (if they make it that far) when all of the casual viewers drop by and vote for the songs that make the best first impressions.

Fraser McEachern: “Hello Europe, this is Fraser from Adelaide calling! As one half of the the record-breaking escTMI Eurovision review show (well, in our minds anyway) I have loved the Eurovision Song Contest since I first laid eyes on it back in 1998. I recall turning the TV channel over to see Dana International performing Diva, and from that moment, I was hooked – and I haven’t missed a contest since! My love for Eurovision culminated in Loreen’s 2012 win, which led escTMI to attend the show in Malmö in 2013. We loved it so much that this year, we’re heading to Vienna to join in the fun all over again. My favourite Eurovision songs of all time tend to be the same ones, just in different positions. At the moment, #1 is Invincible by Carola, #2 is Quedate Conmigo by Pastora Soler, #3 is Je N’ai Que Mon Âme by Natasha St-Pier, #4 is Je T’adore by Kate Ryan, and #5 is Rise Like A Phoenix by Conchita Wurst. As I said, these change regularly. However, there have been many brilliant songs (and remixes) over the years that I have become addicted to!”

escTMI on YouTube | escTMI on Facebook | Follow Fraser on Twitter

Jasmin Bear: “Yes, it’s me again. Just face it, I’m not going anywhere! I’m also not going to tell you a Fascinating Eurovision-Related Story Masquerading As A Regular Bio today, as I’m still trying to figure out which one I should publish next: a) a tale of all the times I thought I heard a Eurovision song playing in a shop but it turned out to be something else, and the ensuing disappointment; or b) a three-hundred-word mini essay weighing up the pros and cons of Dana International’s Gaultier fixation. They’re both so very scintillating, I can’t choose between them.”



We’re a fabulous trio, as far as I’m concerned (in fact, I think we should form an Alcazar-esque pop threesome and represent Australia at Eurovision next year, should the opportunity arise). I’m sure you’ll let us know if you agree or disagree with that once you’ve checked out our views on Måns, Electro Velvet, Loïc, Marta & Václav and Voltaj (and their songs, obviously). Let’s get started!




Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw


Mrs. Jaz: The first thing I thought when this song twanged into gear was ‘Have Mumford & Sons defected to Sweden for some reason?’. The folky/country intro reminds me very strongly of their kind of music. Then, things swiftly took a poppier turn and became anthemic and uplifting. This song boasts great choruses with a slick production sound and simple but effective lyrics that had me singing along by the second run-through. The remaining lyrics aren’t the world’s greatest, but that hardly matters when every other aspect is much more than mediocre. The staging visuals take the package up a notch, and I have to admit, the visual of Måns (he has a great voice and everything, but LEATHER PANTS!) helps too…7 points.

Fraser: I had big expectations of Måns in the lead-up to his performance in Melodifestivalen, and for the first few seconds of Heroes, I thought ‘Crap! What has he done? It’s a country song!’. Moments later, I realised he was just channeling the Avicii-esque sound that is big across the world at the moment, and that it’s a hook to get us into the fabulous pop song that follows. ‘We are the heroes of our time’ speaks volumes to a bit of a trend in Eurovision songs of late focusing on positive messages (think Rise Like A Phoenix and this year’s Beauty Never Lies) which I think will help it resonate with the voting public. If it doesn’t, Måns’ leather pants and background animations surely will! I love this song and I have a feeling it will do exceptionally well in the contest. DOUZE POINTS!!!

Jaz: BACK OFF, MUM. I SAW HIM FIRST. Ahem. Forget me being biased about Australia – it’s when I start talking about Sweden that my impartiality goes flying out the window with the greatest of ease. Despite my lack of Swedish roots, I feel particularly attached to the home of Melodifestivalen, and cannot help supporting them no matter what they send to Eurovision. Fortunately, for the past five years running Sweden has chosen my favourite Melfest entry to represent them in the ESC – so my fervent flag-waving has been out of genuine appreciation for their song. And lo and behold, they’ve just done it for the sixth time in a row. Just when I thought Sanna Nielsen’s 7th-time-lucky win couldn’t be equaled in terms of how much it excited me, Måns Zelmerlöw goes and triumphs on his third Melfest attempt. I’ve been a Måns fan since the Cara Mia days, but I always felt like that song, and its follow-up Hope and Glory, were a bit too schlager to succeed in a contest that was outgrowing that style. Not to mention the fact that they required dance moves that came at the expense of Måns’ vocals. Heroes is different. It’s more dynamic, more accessible (i.e. not overstuffed with schlager) and more of an anthem. Plus, the intriguing countrified intro is not only trendy, but gives Måns a chance to focus on his vocals (with a little attention reserved for the cartoon man). And his vocals absolutely soar on this infectious track that is ideally suited to raising the roof off an arena. His entry has everything going for it, even with the controversy over the graphics (which the delegation seems to be taking as a chance to make the staging even better) and Eurovision 2015 is Sweden’s to lose as a result. DOUZE POINTS!!!

EBJ Jury Score: 10.33




Still In Love With You by Electro Velvet

Programme Name: Eurovision 2015 (C) BBC - Photographer: Sarah Dunn

Mrs. Jaz: Aaaand straight to the 1920s we go, with a song that would definitely be on the soundtrack of a movie entitled Flappers Go Mental. To quote Kath and Kim (hoping that someone outside of Australia will get the reference) this is different, it’s unusual! I won’t say it’s noice too, although the love story is cute, if a little too sweet and mushy at times. I like how unashamedly retro the song is, and the fact that it’s been infused with some contemporary sounds. But even so, that cosmic-sounding bit caught me off guard – it’s a weird inclusion. As a duet, Bianca and Alex work well together as they Charleston and scat their way through some amusing lyrics. This entry isn’t perfect, but it’s endearing and energetic, and the UK expat in me is giving it 6 points.

Fraser: Unlike with Sweden, my expectations for the UK are always low. They are so erratic with the quality of the songs they send, it’s just plain confusing. Enter Electro Velvet – wow! I had my toes tapping and my spirit fingers shaking (I’m not scatting for anyone). The video is rich and fun, and I have enjoyed the unique sound each time I have listened to it. Today, however, I’ve found the recorded version on Spotify, and it sounds like they have slowed it down by a third. I can only hope this is not what they will perform in Vienna [UPDATE: Fortunately, it isn’t]. I’ll give them some points for trying, but it’s all a guess until we get to see it performed live. 6 points.

Jaz: The first time I heard this song, I literally facepalmed. I thought the 1920s theme was cringey, the scatting was awful, and that no song that makes mention of ‘nasty diseases’ should ever have the chance to take to the Eurovision stage. All in all, I was pretty close to grabbing the UK by the shoulders and shaking them violently, while politely enquiring at the top of my lungs as to what the bloody hell they were thinking, voluntarily choosing to have this nightmare represent them on an international stage. But then I listened to it again, and don’t ask me how or why, but I found myself digging the ridiculous trip back in time. It is bonkers, but it definitely livens up a contest full of songs on the opposite end of the spectrum – i.e. down-tempo and vanilla. Alex and Bianca look and sound great together (I’m choosing to ignore the reports of lacking chemistry from those who’ve watched the pair’s live performances) and I love the parts they play that correspond with the lyrics. Competing against angsty, moody duos such as Stig & Elina and Mørland & Debrah Scarlett, Electro Velvet’s effervescence will be welcomed. Having said that, I do like the Estonian and Norwegian entries more than Still In Love With You, and I suspect both of those countries will leave Vienna with a better placing than the UK’s. But first impressions never last, and as I really like this song now, I hope it gets somewhere on the scoreboard. 8 points.

EBJ Jury Score: 6.67




Rhythm Inside by Loïc Nottet


Mrs. Jaz: I’ve been informed that I’m the 987426th person to say that this is very Lorde – but there’s nothing wrong with that! There is so much to enjoy where this entry’s concerned. The music and lyrics are really good, and the overall ‘sound’ really draws you in and takes you on an interesting journey. I wanted to keep listening (not the case with some of the others I’ve heard) and I would be happy to listen to it again. It’s my favourite of all the songs Jaz has forced me chosen for me to review! 10 points.

Fraser: Wow, wow and wow! I can completely understand why Loïc did so well on The Voice in Belgium. This song is not normally my sort of thing, but I really like it. He has soul and sauciness in his voice, and teamed with this song, I think he will be able to deliver some really good points for his country. Even if he doesn’t, we will keep watching the video – it’s hot! 10 points.

Jaz: Belgium is one of those countries that fail to impress year after year, making the majority of us think ‘Why bother?’ (or, in last year’s case ‘Why Mother?). Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they strike gold and send something epic. They most recently did so in 2013, putting their faith in teenage The Voice winner Roberto Bellarosa, who was duly rewarded with a place in the final, then a result that was one of the best Belgium had seen in a long time. In 2015, they’ve selected…well, a teenage alum of The Voice. And Loïc Nottet, as the alum is known, is peddling a freaking fantastic song, just like Roberto – only Rhythm Inside is superior to Love Kills. This is one of a bunch of this year’s songs that wouldn’t be out of place on the radio right now, and not just on mainstream stations. It’s a little alternative, but it still possesses so much of what attracts me to a pop song  – infectiousness, pared-back verses that contrast with big choruses, lyrics that may make little sense but are in no way lame or cheesy…it’s all there. And, like Fraser, I am left with no questions as to why Loïc had such a great run on The Voice. His pipes are as unique and enjoyable to listen to as his song. He may be just nineteen years old, but so was Lena when she won Eurovision in 2010 (and do I even have to mention Sandra Kim?). I’m not saying Belgium’s going to win the contest. That would be a huge ask, even if Loïc locked Måns in the Stadthalle basement on final night. All I’m saying is that I reckon their song is the bomb, and so is their artist – and that’s a recipe for success. I desperately want this to make the final, and as the overall package is stronger than the one Belgium put forward in Malmö (and with this being a weaker year than 2013) if they do qualify, a top 10 finish is within their reach. That, for Belgium, is more or less a win anyway. 10 points.

EBJ Jury Score: 10.00




Hope Never Dies by Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta

Czech Republic

Mrs. Jaz: Well, this is all terribly, terribly dramatic, isn’t it? What a trés tragique, OTT ballad it is. In spite of all that drama, it didn’t really do anything for me – I spent most of the three minutes waiting for the END of the three minutes, which I’m guessing isn’t a promising sign in terms of potential Eurovision success. Just thinking about it makes me want to yawn, actually. I know they’re trying to tell us that hope never dies, but mine definitely did! I hope someone’s in the wings come contest time, ready to drag this pair off stage with one of those giant hooks reserved for drunk, off-key karaoke singers. 3 points.

Fraser: This is stating the obvious, but it’s very musical theatre. I love musicals, but I don’t really like this one. I don’t think their voices work well together – his is so deep and manly, hers is less so. Not for me, sorry. Czech Republic, you won’t be troubled in 2016. 4 points.

Jaz: The Phantom of the Opera is heeeeeeeere…competing in Eurovision 2015, apparently. He’s buffed up, gotten some ink and no longer requires his white mask, but based on the melancholy, theatrical sound of Hope Never Dies, it’s him, alright. Now, don’t get me wrong: I too love musicals, and the actual Phantom of the Opera soundtrack is as good as they come (thanks to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber). But this song is so painfully ESC circa 2005, and so over-dramatic, that it doesn’t compare favourably. I do like it more at this point than I did after my first listen, but there’s no aspect that really grabs me. Nothing makes me love it. The Czech Republic hasn’t returned to Eurovision with the bang I was hoping for, so I think they’ll remain one of the weakest-performing participants when the 60th contest has concluded. It’s a shame, as it may dissuade them from trying again next year. Still, I won’t be sorry to see them left behind in their semi-final. 4 points.

EBJ Jury Score: 3.67




De La Capăt (All Over Again) by Voltaj


Mrs. Jaz: Nice…very nice. This makes for a soothing listen, and I got a lot of emotion from it without having a clue what the subject matter was. I was curious about the topic at hand though, so I was pleasantly surprised by the language switch. The English part may not communicate the intended meaning explicitly (I’ve been schooled on that meaning by a certain someone) but it gave me a better understanding, and I think it will help the non-Romanian speakers of Europe connect with the song too. 8 points.

Fraser: I don’t mind this one. It’s a nice, mid-tempo song that will do something around the middle of the field in the contest. It doesn’t really go anywhere as a song, but it’s nice enough to hum along to. I am happy that they appear to be singing mostly in Romanian in the competition, then the end in English with that hint of ESL in his voice! 8 points.

Jaz: I’ll get straight to the point (which is something I rarely do): I’m in love with this. As soon as I heard Voltaj were the favourites to win the Romanian final, with a song that had already been a domestic hit, I had to give it a listen. After all, that was the case when Mandinga won the same NF in 2012, and Zaleilah was amazing. I had high hopes for what was then known as De La Capăt, and they were exceeded. This song is beautiful. You definitely don’t need to speak Romanian to know that there’s a message here; or to enjoy how nicely the song’s been constructed, with a lovely minimalism to the verses. You wouldn’t think Romania would go for minimalism of any kind based on the ostentatious entries they’ve been selecting recently – Miracle, It’s My Life, and even Zaleilah – but it’s great to see them opt for a change of pace. I’m very glad Voltaj are taking a bilingual version of their song to the ESC, rather than the fully-English one. Both versions are surprisingly good, but Romanian is so well-suited to music (and native tongues are so sparing in this year’s contest) that I think they made a good choice. With Romania’s 100% qualification record, I’d have no worries about Voltaj making it out of their semi if it wasn’t for one thing – lead singer Călin’s vocals, specifically during the national final. Considering how long his band has been around, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was having an off night. If so, and the staging is simplistic enough to allow the song to shine, Romania should find themselves in the final. Unfortunately, though, I’ll be surprised if De La Capăt (All Over Again) outdoes last year’s tacky, try-hard Miracle. 10 points.

EBJ Jury Score: 8.67



Well, that’s another round of highs and lows taken care of. But just how high were the highs, and how low were the lows? Here’s a recap in case you’ve got an incredibly short memory, and/or you’re too lazy to scroll back up and check.

  1. Sweden (10.33)
  2. Belgium (10.00)
  3. Romania (8.67)
  4. United Kingdom (6.67)
  5. Czech Republic (3.67)

Congratulations and jubilations go to Sweden, sitting pretty (so very pretty, ifyaknowwhatimean) on top of this party of five. Commiserations go to the Czech Republic, whose 5th place here will probably be hailed as a raging success after they’ve finished 16th in their semi final (having beaten nobody but San Marino).

Drop by again in a few days’ time as Matt – Fraser’s escTMI co-host – and Rory from ESC Views return to review Malta, Georgia, Lithuania, Albania and Spain. If you’re lucky, I might throw in that mini essay I mentioned earlier too.

In the meantime, why not revisit the first three installments of the Viennese Verdicts?

  • Part 1 feat. Russia, Austria, France, Ireland and Serbia
  • Part 2 feat. The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Iceland and Switzerland
  • Part 3 feat. Cyprus, Poland, Italy, Montenegro and Armenia

And don’t forget to let the EBJ Jury know how you’d rank today’s scrutinised songs. Sweden may be on top with us, and in the betting odds – but who’s your favourite of the five?




12 Responses to “VIENNESE VERDICTS | The EBJ Jury Reviews (Part 4)”

  1. AmyBBuzz

    Re: American football helmets
    One day I shall work in a very bad, trying, Dan Marino reference (quarterback of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins 1983-1999) for San Marino. Otherwise, oh my, Austria 1981….did she wear the helmet so friends, family, and casual people on the street wouldn’t know she was part of that performance?

    If Voltaj were singing about the plight of children forced to sing a Ralph Siegel dirge on an international stage, they would have my full support. 😉

    Moldova might turn out being so bad (in a good way) that they squeak through to the final. I honestly can’t wait to see what breaks loose. Trijntje, aka Boobra Dex, on the other hand, I’ll be keeping one eye open and the other shut until I know it is safe to look. *proceeds with caution*


    • Jaz

      Hehe. I actually know Dan Marino as a result of watching Ace Ventura. I’ll wait for the day you work him into a Euro context.

      Watch out for that Siegel-themed song in 2016! I wouldn’t put it past Siegel himself to write it.

      It looks like the Netherlands’ boob express has left the station. Thankfully Trijntje’s seen sense and swapped the slashed number out for something less WTF.


  2. Ali Nella Houd

    Just be careful what you wish for, ladies:

    The last (and, thus far, only) time an American football helmet featured in an ESC performance was when Marty Brem sang ‘Wenn Du da bist’ for Austria in 1981, accompanied by (inter alia) a leotard-and-leggings-wearing female vocalist, who – bizarrely and inexplicably – was also sporting said helmet.

    Marty got 20 points and came 17th, in those days very much a bottom half result.

    Just saying …


  3. AmyBBuzz

    Well I’m finally here to give the jury rankings a bit of a tumble, brace yourselves!

    If it’s possible to be Måns-ed out, I’m there partly thanks to social media. It’s not like I’ve listened to Heroes on repeat either. Getting past the western-like beginning is my stumbling block and it is a HUGE deal for me. Those first 0:35 induce a bit of suffering. After that the chorus helps measurably to pick it up, despite more twanginess later in the song. If that was all of the country/western to it, outside of the beginning, I could appreciate having fun with that sound in this piece. If perchance you cannot read between the lines so far, I despise country music. Heroes overwhelms me with too much twang initially and consequently leaves a musty feeling of what could have been. 5 points

    United Kingdom
    Ten years on and now the UK finally submits a song I’ll listen to post-ESC. I love the quirky-ness of the electronic sound with the 1920s swing. And I’ll be disappointed if there are no neon glow-in-the-dark dance bit sequences. This is my “popcorn” song of the competition. I do have a minor quibble with the scat (not a fan), but it’s not out of context either. If they have as much fun performing it as I do listening/watching the video then all is good. 8 points

    Oh laawd (as I refer to her) I wish I hadn’t read that comparison. Loïc is delivering a song that is 100% better than anything I forced myself to listen to from her. Kudos to Mrs. Jaz for giving it 10 points as most of the, ahem, more mature, folks I know that hear it are universally unimpressed. This rhythm has stayed inside my top 5 from the beginning. Loïc draws me in easily and then with the chorus exploding and the “rap’rap’rap” clincher = SOLD! I’m not holding my breath that most voters will place it in the top 5, but I don’t think top 10 should be out of the question. The video also offers the best eye candy and I’m not talking about Buff Selfie Guy (no complaints whatsoever about him), rather the football player jamming on the headphones. I find him incredibly adorable in a non-cougar type way. 11 points

    Czech Republic
    I’m trying to forgive the lame title as my hope is growing for this song. At a snail’s pace albeit. I feel like I’m waiting for the wind to sweep me away in a torrent of emotion. *checks feet* Nope, still firmly planted on the ground. Václav’s voice is one I’m accustomed to hearing fronting a rock band, but I’ve come around to be okay with it for this over blown melodrama. 6 points

    I feel heartless saying this, but nothing at all connects with me from Romania this year. “Sleepy” was the first descriptive word that came to mind. As far as social awareness/conscious issues go, “Running” from Hungary (2014) is my personal measure, which would be difficult for any song to live up to. The only thing going for De La Capăt is that they keep it mostly Romanian. Otherwise I’ll be gently falling asleep until the next act takes the stage. 2 points

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jaz

      *braces self as per instruction*

      I guess I’ll have to rethink sending you my 101 Greatest Country Hits compilation, then…JK, I own no such thing. Although I don’t mind a bit of country music here and there. I find a lot of it quite soothing, and for some reason it reminds me of being on holiday. That has nothing to do with my love for ‘Heroes’. I kind of understand your reaction to the Western intro and flavour elsewhere in the song. When I first heard it my brain went ‘What. The Heck. Is. This. Måns?’. But I like how it works with the rest of the song.

      I don’t doubt that Electro Velvet will have fun on stage. Hopefully we do too, watching them. Like you, I’m not a scat fan, but you can’t blame them for wholeheartedly embracing the 20s/30s theme. It’s like Moldova going all the way down Trash Avenue instead of attempting to turn up Sophistication Street at the last minute. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

      My mum’s not a regular mum, she’s a cool mum (MEAN GIRLS REFERENCE ON EBJ WOOHOO) hence her big score for Belgium! I totally agree with you on this one – I’m just a bit concerned about Loïc’s top 10, and even final-making potential. If he doesn’t make it to Saturday, I (and my mum when I tell her later) will be crushed.

      BTW, the football player is all yours if I can have Loïc. He’s adorable too! Though again, I’m a teensy bit older than he is in a not-quite-gross-but-almost kind of way. I might stick with older man Måns, actually.

      I will begrudgingly accept your POV on my beloved Romania ;P Until I see it happen, however, I will not accept the assumption of many that their 100% qualifying record is about to come undone. I don’t expect Voltaj to do much in the final, but I do expect them to get there.


  4. Ali Nella Houd

    Ok, I think I’m getting the hang of this …

    Using the Jaz-and-her-fellow-EBJury-members method, which seems to be more like a rating out of ten (but using the ESC-points method, i.e. 9 = 10, & 10 = 12), well I give:

    Czech Republic – three points:

    It’s not one that I would put on ‘repeat’, but I’d love to see them get through though, and ‘wow’ us with their delivery. Hopefully their costumes will be a bit less drab than in the video — and some Common-Linnets-esque camera work would probably help them too.

    Belgium – four points:

    Again, not one I would listen to repeatedly, but I do hope it gets through, just because it’s a bit different, and has created a bit of a rahpp-ahpp-ahpp buzz.

    Sweden – seven points:

    Not my fave, as you know, but hey — that certainly did not stop me get my ‘hero-oo-whoa-ohhs’ off to it at the Melbourne preview party on Saturday night … (about which, more later …)

    UK – seven points:

    I’m very glad to have this locked in to the final to mix things up, and take the uninitiated viewers by surprise. Lots of dropped jaws — bewildered guffaws — and then, toes a tappin’!

    Romania – eight points:

    Will they make it through?? Gosh, I hope so, but given it starts in Romanian, so much will hang on whether they can get the story across visually.

    Now, using the Martin method — i.e. how you would rank them overall amongst all 40 songs (again, using the ESC-points method) if you were the entire jury and televoting public in your own little active-EBU-member jurisdiction (or your own little OGAE club), then alas none of these are getting points from AliNellaHoud-istan, as none made my top ten.

    You’re already one post ahead of me Jaz, but I’ll catch you, you wascally wabbit!



    • Jaz

      There’s something about the Czech Republic – and I’ve only just realised this, hence why I didn’t mention it in my review – that reminds me of Iceland 2012. That’s why I’m visualising the Czech staging resembling Greta & Jonsi’s – dark outfits, a lot of purposeful walking, wind (purely of the machine variety, unless Vaclav requests Brussels sprouts on his backstage rider). I.e. nothing that spectacular. But perhaps they’ll surprise us all and come out in superhero outfits.

      As you hope Belgium qualifies, I hope you might send a vote or two their way. I know I will be. I think, if Loïc misses out, that’ll be the one that devastates me. It’ll be like Croatia 2010 all over again *tears up just thinking about it*.

      Again, vote for Romania pleeeeeeeaaaasee!! Maybe this is the potential casualty of semi 1 that will reduce me to a snivelling mess. Best case scenario = both Belgium and Romania make it.

      PS – Hope you had a top-notch time at the preview party! I have final plans involving a private cinema screening party, and I am SO EXCITED. I may even follow your lead and go along as Knez. Or maybe his chopped-up assistant.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wschmidt1206

    .. and on with part 4, here are my points:

    1. Sweden – 12 points: everything is already said! Just three words: THE ‘whole package’ in 2015! And the impressive voting of the international juries at Melfest final already lead him the way. There is “winner” standing on his dressing room in Vienna, I can see that! 😉

    2. Romania – 10 points: I think this could go Top 5 at the end of Saturday night, and it would be well deserved. A good song that stands out, really good vocals of the leading artist and the topic is memorable, too. A very good choice of Romania this year!

    3. Belgium – 10 points: I’d love to see this in the Top 10, too! Loic’s vocal abilities are awesome, still much better than Roberto’s, so this should end Top 10 in the final, IMO!

    4. Czech Republic – 5 points: Marta & Vaclav have one of the weaker duets this year, but still the song is not too bad. I’d wish them to qualify, but also think it could go the other direction, because their song is a bit too dark and not that catchy.

    5. The UK – 1 point: OMG, who wrote those rhymes, some children at the kindergarten in about 3 minutes? In Germany we have a proverb: Reim dich oder ich schüttel’ dich! That is what one should do with these shaky rhymes! And sorry to say that, the music is not even better, plus I expect a weak vocal performance by the two singers on stage. Sorry, UK, but this simply is not good enough to make an impression on me!

    Thank you so much, Jaz, for your great and very entertaining reviews! It is always a pleasure to read them.

    Until next time …



    • Jaz

      So we disagree on the UK then! I’m finding it hard to predict whether Electro Velvet’s result will resemble your opinion or mine more closely.

      Otherwise, you’ll know we’re in sync. That’s douze points from Australia and Germany to Sweden, before Eurovision’s even arrived 😀


  6. Martin

    I don’t think I’d fit in well with you Aussies as far as opinions go with Eurovision…

    Sweden: This is good, it will get to the Final but the song itself is very repetitive and it all falls onto the charisma of Mans and how that translates to the juries and viewers. “Heroes” tour de force was the stage show which was absolutely excellent in Melodifestivalen but he hasn’t got that now – whether this is a winner or just a top 10 will really come down to what Sweden has replaced the stick man with…

    UK: I must announce my bias immediately and when I saw this initially, I was stunned as well! It is catchy though, up tempo in a year of loads of ballads and Alex/Bianca nail this every live performance. This is another where the staging will be all important – I think that we might quietly reach the left hand side of the board this year, which will be a huge success! At least it will get the crowd going in this 60th Anniversary…

    Belgium: wow, wow, wow! This is so out there, so different, so contemporary – and this might all be this song’s problem. It is a huge grower, with all the excellence and nuances being picked up on the second or third sounding – will the viewers vote for this in its SF on a first listen? Hopefully it will get through to the Final and then pick up big votes on a repeat hearing. He sings this amazingly well live too…

    Czech Republic: this duo have the most powerful vocals of this year’s contest and they will be remembered. They also have a superb live chemistry and I really, really hope that they qualify from SF2, which they should do, given it contains some dead weights like Portugal, Poland and Ireland in it. You watch and hear this live and you will be smitten – “Hope Never Dies” deserves a Final place.

    Romania: I think that this is the year that Romania loses its 100% qualification record. It has a noble message and back story but no fan is going to get that in the 90 seconds before the song. It’s all a bit flat, nothing to grip me, for me a definite non-qualifier.

    My points from this five? 5 points for the Czech Republic – Belgium and Sweden will qualify for the Final though. I hope that Electro Velvet do get to the top half this year but it all depends on so many factors…


    • Jaz

      Let’s see how the Australian points compare to the UK points before we say that you wouldn’t fit in with us! Perhaps Fraser, my mum and I are the weird Aussies and all of the rest would agree with you…

      I’ll admit, you’re probably right about Sweden. As an ardent fan, I’m pretty worried about how the loss of Stick Man With Umbrella will affect the stage show, which is such a huge selling point. Personally, I think the song stands up on its own – its arena pop that was much-needed to add some energy to the ballad-heavy field. But it’s not necessarily a winner without the aesthetics to add to the package. We’ve seen a sketch of the new cartoon – Chubby Man With Balloon and Beret (I’m not sure that was the best choice of headwear, but I’ll go with it) but until we see it all come together in its new incarnation, Sweden’s stage show – and how it will affect Måns’ result – will be a bit of mystery. His favourite status with the bookies hadn’t shifted, though. I know that’s not as accurate a forecast as it may seem sometimes, but the controversy and uncertainty hasn’t stopped people from putting money down.

      Electro Velvet will get the crowd going alright! Hopefully not out of the Stadthalle doors as fast as their legs can carry them. I can’t wait to finally see them perform live (well, live on TV) as I’ve heard good things about their delivery. I’d be happy to see your prediction of left-hand side finish come true. I think that would surprise a lot of people.

      Apparently, the semi-final televote comes mostly from Eurovision fans – not casual viewers, but those who have heard the songs multiple times. My fingers are crossed for that to boost Belgium into qualifying range. Of course, the jury may not take to ‘Rhythm Inside’, but they’ve got to give Loïc some kudos for his vocals and the originality of the composition, right? I will definitely be voting for Belgium.

      No, I can’t comment on the Czech Republic’s live performance! But, if it’s as top-notch as you suggest, I’m happy for them. I don’t know if great vocals and chemistry will make me fall in love with the song, but anything’s possible.

      I can justify Romania keeping their record, if the vocals (sorry to mention vocals for the 500th time) are good and the message is conveyed somehow through the visuals. The song is calling out to Romanian diaspora to vote. And it will at least get a big fat douze from Moldova.



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