The title of this post pretty much says it all – besides letting you know that I actually haven’t got the time to review and predict the Estonian or Polish finals. I do have time to pass judgment on the songs that have become Eurovision entries since last Saturday, however. And to unveil my first official ranking of the year. AND to put Melodifestivalen’s Andra Chansen round under the microscope to see if I can guess who’ll walk away with the four performance slots in next weekend’s final. So all of the above is what I will do – right here, right now.
Well…in a minute.
Just so you know I know what’s going on in the Eurovision bubble over the next few nights, here are my traditional bullet points.
- Estonia’s Eesti Laul – the final (will there be a Stig and Elina-style runaway winner? I suspect not)
- Lithuania’s Eurovizijos – the semi final (believe it or not, the end is in sight)
- Poland’s Krajowe Eliminacje – the final (Edyta, Margaret, or neither to Stockholm?)
- Sweden’s Melodifestivalen – the Andra Chansen round (eight must become four)
- Romania’s Selecția Națională – the final (Mihai Traistariu’s chance to redo Eurovision)
- Macedonia present their song for Kaliopi (and she’s got her own big shoes to fill)
Now, let’s talk about the select stuff I have the chance to cover.
The songs and artist selections of the week, summed up in a sentence
Because ain’t nobody got the freedom for a full-length analysis – not with the week we’ve had.
- LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan (Armenia) I don’t know if I’m impressed or disappointed by this unstructured, ethnically-tinged vehicle for Iveta’s raspy vocals.
- Dami Im (Australia) She’s no Delta Goodrem (sadface), but X Factor champ Dami has the talent and dress sense to stand out in Stockholm – the only missing piece is a spectacular song.
- Sing It Away by Sandhja (Finland) This reminds me of Belgium’s entry, but I prefer Laura to Sandhja (though I am glad Finland didn’t send Saara Aalto).
- J’ai Cherché by Amir Haddad (France) Oui, oui and OUI.
- Pioneer by Freddie (Hungary) Hot singer + hit song = something that could be powerful on the Eurovision stage, and very successful for Hungary on the scoreboard.
- Made of Stars by Hovi Star (Israel) If a song could be on the soundtrack of a West End musical, but a) isn’t, and b) isn’t Bohemian Rhapsody, then I’m not particularly interested.
- Nessun Grado Di Separazione by Francesca Michielin (Italy) Classy, effortless Italian pop is a grande amore of mine, and this song is no exception (but please, please sing in Italian, Francesca!).
- Heartbeat by Justs (Latvia) This is just/Justs brilliant, and features one of the most latch-able choruses of the year so far – Aminata, you’ve done it again.
- Falling Stars by Lidia Isac (Moldova) The studio version, I’m keen on; the live version…well, Lidia positions herself right in the heart of screechy territory.
- The Real Thing by Highway (Montenegro) This scares me and kind of appeals to me at the same time, but I expect it to perform terribly in its semi final.
- Slow Down by Douwe Bob (The Netherlands) Bob’s style isn’t my bottle of Heineken, but even I can hear that Slow Down is a good example of folk/country that will do a decent job of leaving the Walk Along incident in its dust.
- Icebreaker by Agnete (Norway) It’s incredible how Norway is managing to send two different songs to Eurovision 2016 without breaching any rules or regulations.
- You Are The Only One by Sergey Lazarev (Russia) Sky-high expectations not met by a song that could have been lifted straight out of Eurovision 2006.
- Blue and Red by ManuElla (Slovenia) You’ve got to do better than a Taylor Swift: 2008 Edition impersonator to impress me, Slovenia – what a step down from Here For You.
If you were wondering where the songs I’ve summed up here would factor in to a ranking including the rest, you’ll find that just below. If you weren’t, then feel free to skip to the Swedish section.
It’s here, and it’s uncertain! My first ranking of the 2016 season, revealed
I did put a ranking together a few days ago (not for publication’s sake but out of curiosity) and it was considerably different to the one below. What can I say? I’m fickle. This latest and first-to-be-publicised list includes all of the songs confirmed for Stockholm AT THIS PRECISE MOMENT – so Malta, who are still deciding whether Ira Losco should be a Chameleon or something else (I like to think they’ve got a backup track entitled Komodo Dragon waiting in the wings) is not included.
And so, for anyone who cares, this is my current top 28:
- United Kingdom
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
With fifteen songs still to be premiered or picked, there’s a lot of room for movement in all of our lists. But I want to know who’s topping yours at the moment…and who’s sitting un-pretty on the bottom. Let me know in the comments, and I (might) send you a gift basket.
Meanwhile, in Sweden: It’s time to give out the last remaining final tickets!
Andra Chansen, the stage of Melodifestivalen that’s as fun to pronounce as it is to watch, has arrived. And, like last year (but not the year before that), there are four places left in the Friends Arena final for tonight’s competitors to fight for.
SVT, as usual, have paired up the eight songs placed 3rd and 4th in the semi finals, ensuring that none of those who went to AC together will be up against each other again. In the process, they’ve come up with some duels that can only be described using the letters W, T and F. And that makes a few of them hard to predict. Let’s take a closer look.
Duel 1: Håll Om Mig Hårt by Panetoz VS Hunger by Molly Pettersson Hammar
I’ll start with a confession: I would have bet my entire trip to Stockholm on Panetoz being pit against Boris René tonight (but I’m glad I didn’t). Don’t get me wrong – I’m relieved that both acts now have a shot at progressing from AC. But if SVT wanted to ensure the Melfest final was a variety show, they shouldn’t have given up an opportunity to eliminate one of two songs in a very similar vein. But ANYWAY, back to the duel that IS about to take place…this is a tough one. There are two very different artists and styles butting heads here. Panetoz are the masters of fun, energy, and transferring all of the above to the audience. Molly’s got a hunger, but I’m not sure it’s a hunger to win – there’s something lacking in her performance package (perhaps some of the Panetoz fun and energy). It isn’t vocal ability – she’s certainly got the monopoly on that in this duel. My personal winner is Panetoz, and I think they might have Molly cornered…but it’s not a given.
Who I want to win Panetoz
Who WILL win Panetoz
Duel 2: Rik by Albin & Mattias VS Put Your Love On Me by Boris René
Here we have two repetitive songs up against each other. As much as I adore Albin and Mattias as artists, I have to admit that Rik is repetitive in an annoying, couldn’t-they-think-of-anything-else-to-fill-three-minutes kind of way, whereas it’s purely the chorus of Put Your Love On Me that uses the five title words and basically nothing else. Boris’ song and performance have so much more to offer, and he’s the clear winner of the second duel in my opinion.
Who I want to win Boris René
Who WILL win Boris René
Duel 3: I Will Wait by Isa VS Kizunguzungu by SaRaha
This is perhaps the weirdest pairing of the evening (Molly PH versus Isa? No? Okay then). I’m a big fan of both songs, but I think Isa may be trying too hard to get somewhere. Vocally (and physically), she’s can’t measure up to the lofty standards I Will Wait sets for her. SaRaha, on the other hand, owns Kizunguzungu, and is clearly completely comfortable and in her zone with Afro-pop. It’s not too intense, and she’s not straining to belt it out – which is the opposite impression I get from Isa. I think SaRaha’s ease and confidence (plus her sensational Spotify stats) will see her through to the final tonight.
Who I want to win Isa…SaRaha…I DON’T KNOW!!!
Who WILL win SaRaha
Duel 4: Rollercoaster by Dolly Style VS Bada Nakna by Samir & Viktor
Ah, finally! A duel that makes sense. Almost-novelty against almost-novelty. We need to get rid of one of these acts/songs, and I think Rollercoaster will be the one to get the silver platform boot. The force that is Samir & Viktor shouldn’t be underestimated, despite the fact that they didn’t manage to go direkt this time around. Their fans will be out to compensate for that “injustice” by systematically destroying Dolly Style via a tsunami of televotes. I can totally live with that.
Who I want to win Samir & Viktor
Who WILL win Samir & Viktor
Sadly (seriously, have some tissues at the ready) that’s all I’ve got time for, folks. After all, a good-quality pre-Melfest nap must take priority over not napping.
As always, leave your thoughts on any recent or imminent Eurovisual happenings down below. And – this is not optional – enjoy this second-last Saturday of national final season while it lasts!
Until next time…