Oisin’s Eurovision Reviews – MALTA: Christabelle with ‘Taboo’

Welcome back to another ESC 2018 song review, and this time we’re reviewing Malta. Malta will be represented by Christabelle Borg, a veteran of the Maltese national final scene, with the Thomas G:Son (hi) penned ‘Taboo’. The song is apparently a reference to the taboo and stigma of mental health, and how we need to break this taboo. I mean I agree, what a lovely message, but does the song stand the test?

This is the first entry that I’ve reviewed twice, as I already gave it a review in the MESC 2018 reviews. I wasn’t sold on it altogether, I thought it was one of the stronger competitors but wasn’t really good enough to win the MESC. Instead I wanted Eleanor, with her passionate and catchy Back To Life, but on the night Christabelle surprised everyone by bringing a light show on stage, which effectively won her the contest. Unpopular opinion: she won cos of the light show, and not the average song.

The song itself is reasonable in quality. Starting off with long synths, provoking quite a dark feeling to the song, and the instrumental is produced fantastically, with atmospheric noise and having been revamped only slightly to improve this. However, then the chorus hits. It changes chords, going from B minor into a happily clappily G major standard pop chorus. Oh, the promise disappears. If Christabelle had gone the whole way with something a bit more like the verse for the chorus, she might be getting higher marks, but unfortunately she didn’t.

There are definitely a few nice touches to this song. The instrumental noises, as I said, are lovely, and the drop at the end, though I criticised this for being a standard pop song, is actually quite enjoyable, and if staged as well as it was in the MESC national final it could be a make or break moment for this song’s live performance. However, the rest of the song drags it down to the level of a bog standard pop song.

In conclusion, this is a decent attempt by Malta, definitely better than the unbearable snoozefest that was Breathlessly, but not nearly as good as their criminally underrated (pun intended) Walk On Water in 2016.

In a word: Disappointing.
Will it qualify: Well it’s in a weak semi, so I could see it scraping a pass. Yes.
How well will it do: I’m willing to guess definitely right hand side, probably 15th-20th.

MY STAR RATING: 3 STARS

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Oisin’s Eurovision Reviews – CYPRUS: Eleni Foureira with ‘Fuego’

Welcome back to another one of my Eurovision 2018 song reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing Cyprus’s entry.

This year, Cyprus have sent a very well known name all around Europe in Eleni Foureira. There were serious rumours of her involvement around two weeks before she was announced, and Cyprus’s odds hardened considerably after the rumours came out. Anyway, Eleni will represent Cyprus in Lisbon this year with her song ‘Fuego’.

When I first found out Eleni would be going, I expected very little. I predicted a poor quality pop song that I wouldn’t enjoy at all. And even after the first listen, I thought it was just a watered down version of Margaret’s ‘Cool Me Down’ (or should I say, Jenifer Brening’s ‘Party Shore’). But after a few listens, I was absolutely hooked!

The instrumental is fantastic, including some traditional sounding instrumental elements, an acoustic guitar and claps in the percussion part to boot, and Eleni’s silky smooth vocals fit in brilliantly. I wasn’t sold on the buildup before the drop at first, but it’s really grown on me. In all honesty, this is the best entry Cyprus has ever sent (sorry Ivi Adamou and John Karayiannis, no offense or anything) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this beat their best ever result of 5th, after 14 years of not coming higher than 16th.

To recap, this is a fantastic entry which I’ll certainly be dancing to in Lisbon. She’s got the fire!

In a word: Fire.
Will it qualify: Yes.
How well will it do: Top 10 surely?

MY STAR RATING: 4.5 STARS

Oisin’s Eurovision Reviews – GEORGIA: Iriao with Sheni Gulistvis

Now, I’ll begin my latest project. I’ll be reviewing each Eurovision 2018 song one by one, in a randomised order. I won’t reveal exactly what order this is in, but this order dictates I’ll start off with the Georgian entry.

This year, Georgia will send their own version of Il Volo (or actually, more like the Georgian Klapa s Mora) in IRIAO, with their song ‘Sheni Gulistvis’, which in English means ‘For You’. Georgia kept us waiting longest for their entry, releasing it only on the 13th of March, which left a lot of people thinking it might be an absolute masterpiece. Sadly, a lot of people were disappointed, when they released this entry.

To be fair, I quite like this. It has its own little charm. Props to Georgia for sending something really Georgian and ethnic, even after The Shin and Mariko flopped horrifically with their 2014 attempt, ‘Three Minutes To Earth,’ which placed last in the semi. However, lightning could very likely strike twice in Lisbon, and Georgia could end up there again this year.

The best parts of this are the vocal harmonies and the instrumental. The vocals in this are very strong, and are probably the part that draws me most to this song, and the drums in the background are a great touch to the song. Sadly, the song itself doesn’t seem to go anywhere and isn’t much of an eyecatcher. The nicest part of the song is the Sheni Gulistvis refrain, but even then it takes a solid 2 minutes and 40 seconds to get to that part, and after that the song finishes.

Another thing I’m not sure of is how this will be staged. If Georgia have learnt anything from the last time they sent something like this it’s that they need to up their staging game. But how can they do that? I have no doubt that the vocal performance will be fantastic on the night, but what will they do to stage it? And don’t tell me they’ll have an onstage paraglider.

To recap, this isn’t the worst entry Georgia have ever sent (2012 hihi) and it’s nice in its own little way, but unfortunately it’s not good enough to make any waves in Lisbon, and despite its placement in the weaker semi final, I can’t see this qualifying, and instead I can see it fighting with Iceland for last place in the entire contest.

In a word: Ethnic.
Will it qualify: No.

MY STAR RATING: 2 STARS

OISIN’S EUROVISION REVIEWS

In this page you’ll find links to each of my Eurovision reviews, ranked by star rating.

5 star:

4.5 star:

4 star:

3.5 star:

3 star:

2.5 star:

2 star:

1.5 star:

1 star:

 

Still to be reviewed:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • FYR Macedonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Melodifestivalen 2018 – REVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

Ah, finally, it’s time to review all of the songs that made it to the Melodifestivalen final. As most Eurovision fans are aware, Sweden are an absolute powerhouse in this competition, but I don’t think I’m the only one who’s finding this a very weak year. Anyway, onto the songs!

Méndez – Everyday:
I should absolutely hate this. I should despise it, because I usually hate Spanish pop, but I think I like it. Though the song is very similar to a mashup of Despacito (urgh) and Faded by Alan Walker, the music is well produced, modern and enjoyable. My only concern is Mendez, having heard his live performances I can tell you he’s not the best of performers. He rarely hits his own notes, has a tendency to forget his own words, and generally looks depressed and miserable onstage, so if he’s improved on this, it could make or break the performance.
Prediction: 5th

Renaida – All The Feels:
I think this was the first entry in Melfest I listened to, when the snippets were released. It left a good impression anyway. Renaida, originally from Tanzania, has the voice that reminds you of exactly that, pouring soul into the song. The whole ‘All The Feels’ theme is not what I expected it to be, less ‘Feels’ by Calvin Harris and more sexual adventure. From the vibraphone touches and the bass drop, this song is a good shot, but second in the running order will kill this.
Prediction: 8th

Martin Almgren – A Bitter Lullaby
This is different, but I love it. Martin is a charismatic and likeable performer, and brings character to this performance. A lovely little folk pop song enhanced brilliantly by Martin’s powerful deep voice, this is a very well done attempt, and at first I dismissed this and thought it’d be confined to Andra Chansen at best, but after a few listens I was delighted it went Direkt Til Final. With a good live performance, this could pull off a key sweep with the juries.
Prediction: 4th

John Lundvik – My Turn
Well apparently, John Legend has moved to Sweden and made a few changes to his surname. Honestly, this is a sweet little song, but it was John’s live performance and vocals that saved the song in the semi final. The song in itself is nothing too special, and brings nothing special to the table, other than being another male ballad. I would have much rathered if Sigrid qualified from this semi with her more upbeat number than this.
Prediction: 10th

Jessica Andersson – Party Voice
You go girl! Jessica Andersson is a Melfest veteran, and even at the age of 44 she’s as good as ever, with this party anthem. Party Voice is brilliantly arranged and catchy, reminding you of the kind of chart topper you’d get back in 2010 – usually this isn’t a good thing, but this is pretty good. My main concern is Jessica’s onstage outfit – I mean come on, surely you can pull off something more dangerous than a Spandex suit from head to toe.
Prediction: 6th

LIAMOO – Last Breath
The ante-post favourite before the songs were released, I’m not sold on this. The song itself seems more kids motivational music than an actual Melfest song. I don’t find his rapping in any way enjoyable, and even his singing parts are nothing too special. And the lyrics are rather cringe worthy, with a non fitting chorus to top it off. Altogether, this would be one of the biggest disappointments of Melodifestivalen for me.
Prediction: 9th

Samir and Viktor – Shuffla
After Groupie and Bada Nakna, my initial reaction to Samir and Viktor returning to Melfest was, ‘Oh, not these two again!’, but with this song they’ve changed my mind. This is a good song you can dance to, it’s incredibly catchy and very well produced. It does the chorus superbly, all the way up to the chorus, and then the cherry on top of this song is the sax solo. Samir and Viktor are very engaging performers, though they have a tendency to miss notes, and they’ll bring this performance to life in the final. I’d love to see this do well, but the juries will likely kill it.
Prediction: 2nd

Mariette – For You
Sadly, Samir and Viktor seem to be stuck in the middle of a disappointment sandwich. I was expecting something purer and less risky, like A Million Years, but Mariette underwhelmed me slightly with this. But altogether, it ain’t half bad. The block synthesisers in the background are rather enjoyable, and the vocal effects in the chorus are a great touch. Altogether, I was slightly underwhelmed. But it’s not bad I guess.
Prediction: 7th

Felix Sandman – Every Single Day
And onto the shock of the year. I expected a catchy pop number a la Gotta Thing About You, but I got better. I absolutely love this. Felix, with a voice like Zayn Malik, pours emotion into this broken hearted ballad. The instrumental in this is gentle and sweet, but sends shivers down my spine, and by the time the instrumental before the final chorus kicks in, I’m holding back tears. If Sweden picked this, I’d be a very happy man, and the juries could be what saves this, if Felix has recovered from his cold.
Prediction: 1st

Margaret – In My Cabana
Ew. No thanks, no thanks. This song is not what I expected. I was expecting another latch onto Spanish pop – but clearly Poland doesn’t do pop well. Uhhh. It’s awfully disappointing at the first chorus, when we’re expecting a climax or a bass drop or something, all you get is the words ‘Oh boy, oh boy.’ Margaret offering to dance with you in her cabana may be a tempting offer for some, but I’m gonna pass on it.
Prediction: 11th

Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
The penultimate song (and the last serious entry, you could say,) has been given a fantastic place in the running order, and is in the frame to win. Seamlessly produced and catchy, it does the Swedish pop vibe brilliantly. The bassline and Benjamin’s falsetto vocals remind you of a Charlie Puth song. He utilises LEDs quite a lot in his performance, but in Lisbon I doubt he’d be able to replicate this, little do the Swedes know. Anyway, a good song.
Prediction: 3rd

Rolandz – Fuldans
Sweden, why? You could’ve given someone serious the last spot in the running order, and you gave the ROLANDZ the spot! Jesus. Rolandz bring a bit of fun to the competition with this absolute mad entry, but musically and in general, this is a joke entry and nothing more, and I’m expecting it to do an Owe Thornqvist, and be ruined by the juries but not flop completely in the televote.
Prediction: 12th

PREDICTIONS (partially what I want to happen, partially what I think will happen)
1. Felix Sandman – Every Single Day
2. Samir and Viktor – Shuffla
3. Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
4. Martin Almgren – A Bitter Lullaby
5. Mendez – Everyday
6. Jessica Andersson – Party Voice
7. Mariette – For You
8. Renaida – All The Feels
9. LIAMOO – Last Breath
10. John Lundvik – My Turn
11. Margaret – In My Cabana
12. Rolandz – Fuldans

Anyway, I think this’ll be my last of the National Final song reviews for quite a while, so thanks to all you guys for all the support on my reviews. It really means a lot, and to get 600 visitors on your blog in the first month is a great achievement for me. You guys rock!

EMA 2018 – REVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

And for my fourth post in four days, I’ll review one of my personal least favourite selections, EMA of Slovenia. This year, all the songs had to be sung in Slovenian in the semi, so I’ll be listening to all of them in their native language, which stops me from awarding them any points based on using their native language. Anyway, onwards!

Lea Sirk – Hvala ne
A funky entry this, I know from my basic Slavic vocabulary that ‘hvala ne’ means no thanks. And this, though produced seamlessly, misses a lot in the instrumental, and at times completely loses all instrumentals and drums, but for the most part doesn’t have them. But Lea is a very charismatic performer and the staging is engaging, so this could spring a surprise or two. (Another thing I noticed is that this song is saddled with first in the running order, after performing last in the semi. This has also happened in Eurovision the past 2 years. Coinkydink? Think not.)
Prediction: 4th

Indigo – Vesna
Ah, the most forgotten colour of the rainbow has decided to send a song to EMA this year? This is a strange little entry with its crystal synths and rock guitars. I like the feel of this, it’s got a kind of synth-pop sound to it, and in English it would be radio friendly enough. Mid table contender, nonetheless.
Prediction: 5th

Ina Shai – V Nebo
What does the single letter V before a word mean? I need to brush up on my Balkan vocabulary. But anyway onto the actual entry, this is a nice one. Ina sings with passion and emotion, but the buildup is a little bit slow and it takes nearly a minute and a half for the song to really kick on, and even then it presents nothing new as a passionate ballad sung by a woman.
Prediction: 6th

BQL – Ptica
Last year’s robbed group, Bichael (yes I pronounce it like that) have returned to EMA, with glow up guitars to boot. This is one of the favourites, but I honestly don’t find it enjoyable at all. There’s nothing particularly great about it at all, and the fact that they have the glow up guitars on stage takes away more from the act than it gives to it. Nevertheless, the televoters will save this, I’m sure.
Prediction: 2nd

Marina Martensson – Blizu
This Tamara lookalike (in hair only) with a very un-Slovenian name has come to EMA with a midtempo piano based ballad. This is a bit boring to be fair. There’s nothing about this that actually stands out, they bring nothing to the table that would do well at Eurovision. A contender for last place honestly.
Prediction: 8th

Lara Kadis – Zdaj sem tu
An ethnically fused, clicking pop ballad, this is rather enjoyable to listen to. Bringing traditional instruments like the violin at the start in, and blending them in with the nearly industrial percussion is a supremely smooth combination. By the time we get to the end, she’s belting it out, and it sounds fantastic. She sings very well live, which is a cherry on top of this great entry. Even the key change at the end doesn’t change my mind. My one concern is the costume, it doesn’t suit at all. But this is one of my favourites.
Prediction: 1st

Proper – Ukraden Cvet
As this starts, I prefer myself for yet another piano ballad. But thankfully it’s not just that. It’s a reasonably well put together ethnic rock ballad. There’s a lot of ethnically fused stuff in Slovenia isn’t there? Well anyway, this progresses a bit slowly, and doesn’t really draw me in, but the lead singer’s vocals make up for this. This would go nowhere at Eurovision, but I like it.
Prediction: 7th

Nuska Drascek – Ne zapusti me zdaj
And onto our final entry. This starts off rather promising, with some dirty piano minors in there. And as it goes on, the beat gets louder and more instruments are added, and by the time we get to the chorus it’s a toe tapping clapping beat. The key change skips a key and bothers me a lot, but this is a funky little entry, and with its running order it’d be no surprise to me for it to finish near enough the top.
Prediction: 3rd

PREDICTIONS:
1. Lara Kadis – Zdaj sem tu
2. BQL – Ptica
3. Nuska Drascek – Ne zapusti me zdaj
4. Lea Sirk – Hvala ne
5. Indigo – Vesna
6. Ina Shai – V Nebo
7. Proper – Ukraden Cvet
8. Marina Martensson – Blizu

In conclusion, I’d like to see Lara Kadis take the Slovenian ticket for Lisbon. But what do you think, my dear reader? Who do YOU think should be sent? Let me know in the comments!

Vidbir 2018 – REVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

Third post in three days, I’m getting good at this! Anyway hello everyone and welcome to yet another set of reviews and predictions for the 2018 Vidbir final. Now, in the past, Ukraine have produced some excellent Eurovision songs, and in years like 2013 and 2014, they sent brilliantly produced pop entries, but it was with a completely different style that they sent in 2016 and pulled off one of the biggest Eurovision shocks since Ell and Nikki, with Jamala’s passion fuelled ballad of her ancestors having been oppressed by the Russians. Anyway, having seen some excellent reviews of some of the Ukrainian songs, I looked forward to doing this review a lot. Plus, there’s only 6 songs, which makes it quicker for me!

Kadnay – Beat Of The Universe
We start this song with the sound of what sounds like a car skidding down a road. And though the drums in the song are an excellent addition, this feels a bit empty. It throws in a lot of parts from a lot of different genres at different times, but maintains a feeling of a remixed James Bond theme song, with the funky drums and the excellent orchestral bursts in the chorus. This is pretty good, and would probably be my winner in a selection like the Moldovan one, but in this field it doesn’t seem as strong.
Prediction: 3rd

Tayanna – Lelya
And then, one of the most hyped entries of the entire contest, and of the national final season in general. Having already racked up an impressive 860k views on YouTube, a lot of hype is building about this. This song starts off with a toe tapping beat, complete with metallic instrumentals to ‘keep it real’. The chorus keeps this up and the beat keeps on kicking, the buildup and descent from the chorus are brilliantly done too. I can see this clearly isn’t just hyped because of her fame, and deserves to do well on its own merits. Props to her for singing in Ukrainian, but the key change at the end is a bit bothersome. Other than that, a great entry.
Prediction: 1st

The Erised – Heroes
Fun fact: Erised backwards is Desire. And this rock song, taking the name of the 2015 winner of the contest, starts with a marching beat, complete with marching drums. I’d prefer if the chorus was a little bit less minimal, with the synths coming in at at the start instead of regularly. Not a bad shot, this.
Prediction: 5th

Laud – Waiting
A more mainstream entry than the rest of the entries in this contest. It goes on like any other pop song, and I can’t point anything special out about this honestly. Rather average honestly. Though I like the electric guitars in the background.
Prediction: 6th

Vilna – Forest Song
Another song which I’d heard a lot of hype about, this has a really atmospheric feel to it. It reminds me quite a bit of a better produced Kulm from the Eesti Laul final, and that’s not just because of the ‘hella-hella-hella-hay’ in the song. I can’t say I’m that much of a fan of the style of the song, but for the style, it deserves its plaudits.
Prediction: 4th

Mélovin – Under The Ladder
After last year’s entry, which deserved to win this NF honestly, I had high hopes for Mélovin and with this pop rock entry, bordering into synth pop at times I wasn’t disappointed. This could be a real crowd pleaser, and with a good performance could do fantastic, which I’m sure Melovin will provide as he is a fantastic performer. I especially like the beat, it’s got a lovely feel to it. It’s this or Tayanna for Lisbon!
Prediction: 2nd

PREDICTION:
Well, it was tough to decide the winner between Mélovin and Tayanna. But though I prefer Mélovin’s song, I don’t think Ukraine will, so I’ve gone for Tayanna.
1. Tayanna – Lelya
2. Mélovin – Under The Ladder
3. Kadnay – Beat Of The Universe
4. Vilna – Forest Song
5. The Erised – Heroes
6. Laud – Waiting

Anyway, that’s another set of reviews done. There are 2 shows on Saturday I haven’t reviewed yet, and 2 on Sunday, so I’ll do my best to fit whatever I can in. Most likely, you can expect reviews from EMA or O Melodie Pentru Europa next.