I don’t know about you guys, but my ranking of this year’s Eurovision entries has changed more often than Daria Kinzer during a three-minute stint on stage. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve used this life-saving sorter tool (how did we manage to compile top lists before Mr. Gerbear brought us this baby?) three times today alone, and each time, there have been subtle differences in my top 43 – mostly in the top 10. I’m finding many of Stockholm’s songs to be growers, so the more I listen to them, the more I like them and the higher they creep in my estimations…but I don’t want to demote the songs already clinging to the upper rungs of the ladder. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. You know, in a first-world kind of way.
Still, despite knowing I’ll have changed my mind again in a minute, I’m about to present you with my first full ranking of the year. FYI, as there are only a few songs I detest in the 2016 line-up, read the ranking as follows:
- #1-#13 = I’m very close to publicly declaring undying love for these
- #14-#27 = I like ‘em a whole lot
- #28-#33 = I like ‘em a little less…but they’re still pretty good
- #34-#39 = Mediocre, but not offensive music
- #40-#43 = Totally offensive. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING, FFS?!?
So…yeah. Use that as your guide while navigating my top 43, and let me know how I should navigate yours when you copy it into the comments below (because you know you want to).
Let’s dive straight in! *splash*
THE TOP 10
#1 | Ukraine When a song builds up to a crescendo that actually makes you cry (and not because the song is crap and the singer sounds like a cat in labour), you know it’s something special. 1944 has that on lock.
#2 | Latvia One of the most contemporary songs competing this year, Heartbeat is slick, instant proof that Aminata needs to be appointed as Latvia’s official ESC songwriter, stat.
#3 | Italy Put simply, this is another stunner from Italy, even in its bilingual form. Try to out-class an Italian piano ballad, and you will fail miserably.
#4 | Hungary A powerful plea anthem that shows up Wars For Nothing as the limp leaf of lettuce that (I think) it was, Freddie’s gravelly vocals and the whistling thrown in for good measure make this a contender.
#5 | France If France crashes out in the bottom five with J’ai Cherché, there is something terribly wrong with the world, and therefore I will be moving to Mars ASAP.
#6 | Azerbaijan I should hate the fact that Azerbaijan has again paired one of their own artists with a clinical Swedish-penned power ballad. But I can’t, because Miracle is all kinds of amazing.
#7 | Sweden If I’d had my way, Oscar Zia would be fronting this year’s host entry, but I’m a Frans fan nonetheless. It’s nice to see something pared-back representing Sweden.
#8 | Estonia This is the best type of throwback song there is, and Juri’s “creepiness” seems more like intensity to me.
#9 | Bulgaria This is further up my alley than Na Inat, and there are so many great elements to it. The Bulgarian chorus is addictive.
#10 | Germany If Jamie-Lee would stuff the outfit she borrowed from Georgia’s 2010 JESC act in the back of her wardrobe for Eurovision purposes, this would be perfection. Danke for a great song anyway, Deutschland.
THE MUSIC IN THE MIDDLE
#11 | Malta
#12 | Norway
#13 | Lithuania
#14 | Switzerland
#15 | Poland This is a classic example of an entry that gets better with each listen. I’m still not keen on the clichéd lyrics, but the melody is sigh-worthy. Margaret who?
#16 | Belgium
#17 | Armenia
#18 | Russia
#19 | Montenegro Yes, I really do have Highway placed this…well, high. Call me crazy, but I totally dig The Real Thing, and I don’t usually like anything this heavy or noisy. Unless it’s a St. Bernard puppy.
#20 | Moldova
#21 | Croatia
#22 | Georgia
#23 | Ireland
#24 | Israel Thank heavens *star reference* for Israel’s revamp of Made of Stars, which removed the pompous theatricality and left behind a lovely, if not super impressive, ballad – one that superbly highlights Hovi’s vocals.
#25 | Denmark
#26 | Spain
#27 | Cyprus
#28 | Australia I could be deported for ranking Dami so low, I know. But Sound of Silence, while competent and reasonably “now”, just doesn’t have the x-factor (there’s got to be some irony in that given Dami’s background).
#29 | Bosnia & Herzegovina
#30 | Albania
#31 | United Kingdom
#32 |The Netherlands
#33 | Iceland This is fine, and the staging is the bomb. But the been-done Mumford & Sons sound and repetitive nature don’t impress me much.
#34 | Finland
#35 | Austria
#36 | Serbia
#37 | Greece
#38 | Czech Republic
THE BOTTOM 5
#39 | Belarus I don’t think any amount of nudity or wild animals (neither of which are permitted on the ESC stage anyway) could save Ivan from the semi final scrapheap.
#40 | FYR Macedonia Crno I Belo was never a big favourite of mine, but at least it had some grunt, and allowed Kaliopi to be her badass self. Dona is a bore-fest.
#41 | Slovenia I like country music – it calms me. But this is so passé, it’s painful to listen to.
#42 | Romania Moment of Silence in a West End musical? Sure. Moment of Silence in Eurovision? No. Just NO.
#43 | San Marino This is all kinds of terrible, discoed-up or not. But it’s useful to know that San Marino is capable of embarrassing themselves on an international platform without Ralph Siegel’s help. In fact, a Siegel creation would be preferable to this.
And voila – that’s my current top 43! It’s also a sneak peek as to how I’ll be rating the Class of 2016 in my upcoming reviews. How the rest of the EBJ Jury will score them, though, is anyone’s guess (including mine).
Did you disagree with some, most or all of my list? Or do we share some common love/hate for an entry or ten? Tell me all about it in the comments, and don’t forget to post your personal ranking while you’re at it. You’re accustomed to my demanding nature by now, right?
I’ll be back next week with a playlist of top-notch national final songs that deserve some more attention. Then, it’ll be time for those aforementioned 2016 reviews to kick off. It’s going to be a busy but exciting lead-up to Stockholm, that’s for sure, and I hope you’re willing to keep me company along the way!
Until next time,