Eurovision 2015: Golden Boys

Having covered the duets and the ladies, it’s now time for me to channel Louis Walsh and cast a greedy eye over the Boys. Memorability hasn’t been a strong point here either: as I start this article, I can’t remember how the songs from Moldova, Belgium, Montenegro, Azerbaijan and Australia go after 1-2 listens each. I couldn’t recall Daniel Kajmakoski’s Lisja esenski after 2-3 listens since its selection way back in November, and only after having heard the superior English version can I now recall the chorus. So out of the 9 songs I’m covering in this article, that’s 6 that went in one side of my head and straight out the other like a sniper’s bullet. (My experience won’t be universal – so tell me about yours, assuming you haven’t been listening to all the songs up and down for weeks, you masochists…)

Which male entries (oo-er) did pass my memory test? I absolutely can remember Israel’s Golden Boy after two listens – though unfortunately for Nadav, it’s not the fantastic Timberlake-esque first minute that sticks in my head, but the bottom-drawer pop-folk chorus that disappointingly follows it and that I think sinks the song. I can remember Cyprus, with its touching quietude. And I can’t forget Måns Zelmerlöw’s package, despite myself; both song and performance are precision-designed to be memorable, unlike much of the field.

Right. Cup of tea, hour on Youtube reacquainting myself with the songs, here’s what I think.

Relevant to any assessment of Moldova’s Eurovision chances is the fact that Ukrainian singer Eduard Romanyuta is widely suspected to have bought victory in the national final: if he didn’t win over Moldovan viewers and juries on merit, what chance Europe? I Want Your Love is so fresh out of 1998 that you almost want to pop down Woolworth’s and get the CD single – it’s passably competent for its genre, but it’s a genre that peaked around the millennium and this is a dated rather than a retro effort. Moldova’s staging record is good, but that was with Moldovan acts (the country opened its Eurovision preselection to artists from other countries for the first time this year), and for the past 3 years with Pasha Parfeny at the helm. Opening the first semifinal, this seems very likely to go under; it strikes me as jury anathema, will struggle to get enough televoters on board, and Moldova’s decent qualification record is in large part due to its long run of engaging, original, well-staged songs that often conveyed an appealing flavour of national identity. This isn’t even Moldovan, and millionaire Romanyuta’s team are paying for the whole thing. (This sort of arrangement isn’t new; in 2007 Natalie Barbu’s team funded her participation on the understanding that TRM would only reimburse her if she made the top 10, which fortunately she did. But this year, there’s a sense that the broadcaster isn’t even calling the shots.)

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for Belgium’s Rhythm Inside in certain quarters, but for me it’s too cool for school and I think viewers will react the same way. With its esoteric feel, off-kilter verse and power chorus, it’s very much the male twin of Aminata’s Love Injected and shares its strengths and weaknesses, including a failure to engage the listener in the first minute and a lack of immediacy overall. Juries should respect it, but it’s no sure-fire qualifier – performing 3rd out of 16 countries in the first semifinal is hardly a helpful draw with a song this avant-garde (and arguably less emotive than Love Injected), though the weakness of the first half of the semi helps it stand out. But it’s no Love Kills.

Lisja esenski’s rebirth as Autumn Leaves is the most I’ve heard a Eurovision song improved since Euroband’s This Is My Life (the original Icelandic version overcame hilariously tacky production to win its NF before being transformed into the dark eurodance banger we know and love). I thought Lisja esenski was totally mediocre when it triumphed over Tamara Todevska’s exquisite ballad and caged bear Dimitar Andonovski at Skopje Fest, on the back of Kajmakoski’s X Factor victory. I think Autumn Leaves is majestic and soaring but in a way that perhaps remains a little too generic, a lot like Children Of The Universe last year. If it looks and sounds good on stage it should sail through to Saturday, but if and when it gets there my concern is that it won’t quite stand out enough – the improved production and arrangement have lifted it hugely, but I think they really need to sell it on stage for it do to well in the final. Gimmick idea: cover the stage with the titular autumn leaves, which Daniel writes the word “love” into using a crotch-mounted leaf blower.

I want to like Knez’s Adio more than I actually do, the problem being it feels very much like Željko by numbers; Joksimović is rehashing his tried-and-tested musical formula again here with diminishing returns. It’s a well-written song that performs Balkanness for a European audience with plenty of melody and rhythm but without as much heart as the Željko-penned entries of 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2012, or indeed Sergej Ćetković’s entry last year. (In fact, Montenegro’s Balkan boyband ballad ten years ago had more drama.) But while Daniel and I are fatigued of this kind of entry, will viewers be, or is this kind of song still a novum for audiences, especially given its uniqueness in a bland Westernised field? If Sergej Ćetković can qualify in a semi with no other ex-Yugoslav countries voting, and Samo Shampioni can come 6th out of 17 in the televote in a semi with only one other Slavic country, this absolutely has the potential to speak to televoters (and is also helpfully positioned after two bland entries in the semifinal running order) – but it’s juries’ response to it that will decide its chances. I’d provisionally expect it to follow Moj svijet’s trajectory, possibly better given the right staging. Here’s Knez shirtless.

To my ears, the first 60 seconds of Nadav Guedj’s Golden Boy are the most thrilling, invigorating, contemporary, soulful and downright hip minute of music in this year’s contest… then after the incredibly promising buildup, the song takes a running jump off the top of the Golan Heights and lands in the patio of Ralph Siegel’s holiday villa, impaling itself on a parasol. Early-2000s Justin Timberlake sounds as great today as it did then, but the same can’t be said of early-2000s bad Eurovision ethno-pop… the mix of the two makes Israeli’s entry a splice job as bad as Pred da se razdeni or Sámiid Ædnan. Israel hasn’t qualified since Harel Skaat in 2010, and the chances for this don’t look good – Golden Boy is light years from Milim, and not as cohesive, competent and credible as recent non-qualifiers Rak bishvilo and Same Heart. As for “Before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv?” – more like “This song is w***, please don’t mention the West Bank…”

Elnur Hüseynov’s Hour Of The Wolf is strong, really classy and will be well-performed, but how meaningful is that from a betting perspective when Dilara’s similarly strong, classy and well-performed entry came 22nd last year? While Start A Fire came a deserved 8th in the jury vote, it was the collapse in Azerbaijan’s televote that sealed its fate. There’s very strong circumstantial evidence that Azerbaijan bought televotes from 2008–2013 but didn’t bother last year, hence this drastic change in fortune. But why, and what does this augur for this year?

A look over at Türkvizyon shows a similar pattern. While Azerbaijan won the contest in 2013 (a regional journalist who attended the event told me “everyone knows” they bribed jury members), they didn’t even qualify to the final in 2014. Can we infer from this that the Azeri state has got Eurovision and Türkvizyon out of its system, having won both and hosted the former (and in light of its vote-buying shenanigans being newly clamped down on by the EBU)? The same regional journalist has suggested to me that Azerbaijan has indeed ‘moved on’ and that its overwhelming PR focus is now on the inaugural 2015 European Games to be held in Baku this June. The fact that the country didn’t even bother with a national selection this year, for the first time since 2009, also speaks volumes given the marathon selection processes of recent years. All the signs suggest they don’t care anymore – but nevertheless, this is a decent entry, as much as it sounds like a typical Irish entry of yore (Father Dick Byrne’s “The Miracle Is Mine” springs to mind) or something from a musical. Qualifying, of course, and a decent jury appraisal in the final is deserved, but where it ends up on the scoreboard will very likely be down to how many televotes it receives on merit alone.

Sweden’s entry is 100% ‘song as meme’. At the same time though, it’s a bit like the Easter egg I demolished last weekend: great at the time, but you’re hungry again immediately afterwards. To me, Heroes and its performer just feel too calculated, too cynical – and while I said similar about Undo and Gravity, I think it was their relative simplicity and minimalism both musically and visually, combined with outstanding vocals and ‘goddess’ staging, that helped them do so well. By contrast, the feeling I’m left with after consuming Heroes is akin to the post-orgasmic sense of emptiness and meaninglessness that sets in instantly after bad sex or a disappointing wank. It’s a great light show, it keeps you what Slavoj Žižek would call “narcissistically amused” for 3 minutes, but is there enough there on an emotional level for viewers to hang onto? Less than any recent winner, that’s for sure. All triumphant entries of late have that little injection of darkness or melancholy, however nominal – Rybak’s unrequited love, Ell and Nikki running scared, Loreen lost in the storm, Emmelie’s teardrops, and Conchita rising from the ashes to seek retribution. (Going back further, Šerifović and Bilan overcame darkness through prayer and belief, while Lordi took the frightening idea of monsters and demons and made it fun and safe.) While Lena is the obvious exception here, she rode to victory by carrying her song on sheer vibrant personality – the one thing totally in absentia in Måns’s entry. Eric Saade’s genuine boyish charm had room to roam in Popular, and there was a sense of ad-hoc fun and energy to the whole thing; by contrast, Heroes doesn’t give its performer the space to emerge as much more than a tightly-choreographed pretty face. And if Eric’s heady, sexually-charged quest for popularity is easy to see as a relatable “overcoming darkness” narrative, what does “We are the heroes of our time” actually mean? Who’s ‘we’ – me? Everyone watching? Brian Sewell? Malala? If it is us, why are we heroes – and why do we apparently have demons in our mind? The lyrics are so inscrutable as to be meaningless, especially in the verse, where in direct contrast to the chorus, Mans describes himself as the “only hero” and appears to impel listeners to shoot him. (“What if I’m the only hero left? You better fire off your gun once and forever.”) Are we the heroes or aren’t we?

Compared to other recent entries with standout staging gimmicks like Farid’s Hold Me and Mika Newton’s Angel, Heroes lacks the same artfulness, possibilities of meaning, and live performance element – a smirking singer executing precision-rehearsed dance moves in front of a pre-recorded video backdrop doesn’t provide us with the same affect as Farid’s tormented soul or Kseniya Simonova’s narrative of loss, or indeed 2013 Britain’s Got Talent winners Attraction (from Hungary), who won the hearts of a nation with their genuinely affecting live shadow-theatre performances based around generational narratives of love and loss. Another live synthesis of musical performance and high-tech video animation that I think beats Heroes hands down on similar territory is The Killers’ rendition of Human at the 2008 MTV European Music Awards, which I find captivating and deeply affecting rather than just titillating. For me, Farid’s box, Mika’s sand, Attraction’s shadow theatre and the above Killers performance are human; Måns is dancer. The elegance and artful, non-technological nature of Farid’s staging in Malmö stood out in a way that I don’t think ‘dancing in leather trousers in front of a cartoon’ will – plus Farid’s visible nerves and youthful inexperience made him relatable and got you on side; by contrast, Måndroid the pop-bot is just too Teflon, there’s no relatability or crack of vulnerability. Every Eurovision song is a product, but I think Heroes is too visibly and cynically a product to notch up another Swedish victory – and the song not strong enough (if it were, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be writing this.) Country-EDM as a genre seems to have peaked in 2013, the year that Avicii’s Hey Brother and Wake Me Up and Pitbull & Kesha’s Timber all date from – and if Heroes were as good as any of those catchier, more rounded, more emotive and less generic songs, I’d probably be cheerleading for it. In the hook desert of Eurovision 2015, Heroes is broad, accessible, likeable and memorable enough to be a shoo-in for top 5, even top 3, but can it win? I don’t think it has the human touch.

From spectacle to intimacy now as we dabble our toes in warm Cypriot waters. Mike Connaris’s stripped-back ballad is unlike anything else this year – it’s gentle, magical and really draws you in. That the young singer is likeable but looks more like an IT worker than a stage school graduate works further in its favour. It’s so obvious to me that this is this year’s Calm After The Storm in spirit that I wonder why its odds are so high. There’s a real narrative here, and a powerful sense of regret that’s very effectively brought out when the accompaniment halts and John sings “I should have been there for you” four times with understated yet palpable sorrow, the anguished repetition and absence of music creating a raw theatrical and confessional moment that lays bare the regret gnawing away at his kind but broken heart. Sailing through to the final and doing well, possibly very well, when it gets there. Songwriter Connaris also penned Lisa Andreas’s Stronger Every Minute which came 5th in 2004, as well as a couple of fabulous reggae songs that came 2nd in the UK national final in 1998 and 1999. Like Daniel, I feel One Thing I Should Have Done also has a peer in Jostein Hasselgård’s I’m Not Afraid To Move On, which came 4th for Norway in 2003 in an unusually homogenous field of generic pop.

Warmer waters still now as we finish down under. Guy Sebastian’s Tonight Again is the cat among the pigeons in every sense this year. A top 10 or top 5 placing is expected and deserved, but I can’t see this winning, not because it’s Australia but because of the song and package. It’s competent and engaging, smartly goes against the downtempo grain, and for its genre I much prefer it to either Cliché Love Song last year or Bruno Mars’s output. Juries should like this, Guy is an excellent performer, and the Australian delegation – though staging a Eurovision performance for only the second time – will want to make the most of their 3 minutes having lobbied for years to participate. So we can reasonably expect this to do well, though for me there’s not enough emotional content or a strong enough hook or narrative in the song for it to go all the way.

The extent to which Europeans from Vilnius to Valetta will be motivated to vote for Australia is an open question. Over and above the UK-Australia love affair, people right across Europe have connections with the country via their national diasporas. While many viewers will no doubt react with bafflement as to why Australia is participating, many others in western and eastern Europe know the country as a place that allowed their loved ones to prosper, even if they haven’t been there themselves. With trips to visit family and friends in Australia being out of the financial reach of many Europeans, could voting for the country in Eurovision be a transactional way for people to reach out to loved ones who’ve emigrated there and show them their support? We’ll find out next month.

Do continue the debate in the comments section below.

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94 comments to Eurovision 2015: Golden Boys

  • Montell

    To win Eurovision you don’t need to have something in common with previous winners. All you needs is to be better than your competitors. People are always looking for something new, something spectacular and entertaining. You have to be the best at satisfying these needs on Saturday night and you’ll win. It will be interesting to see how everything will sort out this year but I think it will be similar to 2013. In 2013 Denmark was favorite all the time. I remember most of sofabet commentators had doubts whether Denmark could win because it was lacking something that previous winners had. Odds for Denmark where similar to Sweden’s odds this year. Most punters including Daniel didn’t see value or feel confident betting on Denmark. Eventually Denmark won. I think the same will happen with Sweden this year.

  • Montell

    I’d be happy if Sweden won. I could put Heroes to my favorite Eurovision winners list 🙂

    My favorites and IMO worthy winners in recent years are:
    Euphoria (2012)
    Satellite (2010)
    Fairytale (2009)

    The most disappointing and unworthy winners:
    Rise Like a Phoenix (2014)
    Running Scared (2011)
    Believe (2008)

  • Sweden’s worth an each way bet on the outright markets, but I honestly don’t expect it to win. Top 4 though, definitely.

    I’d almost agree with Montell’s list. Only Teardrops, Euphoria and Satelitte are my favourite winning songs of the last few yeas. Rise Like A Phoenix was a great song, but I still feel like Conchita could have gone out and sung the telephone directory and she’d have still won. So I do think it was an unworthy winner. Fair play to everyone who made a political statement, or who wanted to give both barrels to Putin & Co. but if that song was sung by anyone else, I do not believe that it would have won. Likewise I have Running Scared and Believe in that list, the latter in particular.

    • Conchita did have a gimmick, but behind that it did have emotion, strong songwriting and an equally strong voice. I don’t think it was an unworthy winner by any stretch of the imagination.

      I’m not convinced Sweden will win, but I’m not convinced it won’t either. On a personal level I’m hoping for Estonia because (a) I have a bet on it, (b) I think it’s a genuinely good song that carries itself without the need for gimmicks and (c) Estonia would be a lot cheaper to visit in May 2016 than Sweden.

    • Ron

      Conchita would not have won if she’d gone with her 2012 song “That’s What I Am”, a surprisingly dull pride anthem. “Rise Like a Phoenix” wasn’t the greatest song ever, but along with the staging and Conchita’s six-month PR campaign, it was enough to get her there.

  • Also, Eurovision in Concert on Saturday. Who on here will be present – Daniel I’m assuming, but anyone else? Obviously lots of lessons to learn from last year, particularly over the huge reaction Molly got not translating into points six weeks later!

  • Donal Ryan

    Molly got a huge reaction last year because she was the first credible effort from the UK in many years and people, myself included became overly optimistic about her chances. It was a good song but not immediate enough to engage the Eurovision audience and switched off as she was the last performer of the night….. she deserved better than her 40 points suggested.

  • Shai

    Sweden at Eurovision won’t look like what we have seen on Melodifestivalen. They had to drop the video art work due to copy rights issue. In addition they will need to work out what they do with the backing singers.Will they show it on stage or will they,again, hide them way behind. No doubts they will come up with a solution for this, nevertheless it will not be the same as it was when it has been selected.
    Speaking about Eurovision in Concert – The Swedish team has stayed away from that event, as they saw it as unnecessary.I wonder why the have changed their mind and decided to participate this year.

    Israel – despite its flaws, it’s the only song of its kind this year, so It could be in their favour but they need to get everything right(live vocals and staging), and that’s too much to expect from Israel

    • Yes, the whole copyright issue is something I haven’t even touched on here… I think it’s fair to assume that the combination of video animation and choreography we saw at MF will be technically possible in Vienna, but it may take on a different form – they might just have made minor changes to it or might have created a whole new animation. Typically as Swedish entries go, what we see in the Melodifestivalen final is the finished product, so I wouldn’t expect massive changes. Obviously depends on legal situation. Surprised they’re doing EIC, wonder if it’s to get the gays on board after the whole “Mans is a homophobe” thing?

      • RogerL

        Måns is the kind of artist, and Hero a type of song that easily can do some smaller venue live shows.
        – personality
        – performance

        I am not sure that Loreen suits either…

        After the fiasco in Norway SVT has become very good at PR
        – what to do
        – how to do it

        What are this artists and songs strengths and weaknesses?
        + Måns is a true performer
        – Song is only a gimmick
        – Ridiculous homophobic claims

        What I expect will be seen at EIC
        * Acoustic performance without projection

    • Ron

      Christer Bjorkman says that legally they would be ok to use the original animation, but they also know that it would be a foolish move to fight it. They’ll be changing the look of the animated figure and replacing his umbrella. The rest of the animation will be more or less the same.

      As for backing singers – Melfest allows the backing singers to be hidden offstage, Eurovision doesn’t, so they’ll obviously have to be on stage somewhere. Most likely at the side, leaving Måns the central focus.

      • “Christer Bjorkman says that legally they would be ok to use the original animation.”

        His pronouncements don’t make law fortunately. Legally it would not be OK to use the original.

        • RogerL

          Legally it would probably be OK to use the original in contest. But they might run into problem afterwards if the performance artist that made that performance (hat, umbrella) claims copyright infringement and sues SVT/recording company for a million € (not unreasonable considering the budgets of the shows).

          This is what SVT wants to avoid. And even worse might a claim after the semifinals be (often comes with cease clause from a court – stop or it will be even more expensive)

          Of cause this might already have happened (but as far as I know no ruling in court yet that SVT can not use it). Up to this point it probably is a problem only for the recording company as a Melodifestivalen rules state

          “C9. Upphovsmannen/-männen svarar vidare gentemot SVT och tredje man för att upphovsmannen/-männen har rätt att upplåta erforderlig nyttjanderätt, t.ex. i förekommande fall har klarerat rättigheterna med eventuella samarbetspartners och rättighetshavare såsom musikförlag och skivbolag.”

          i.e. it is not SVTs problem if all rights are not fulfilled.

          But EBU might not want to send anything questionable as they require to be the only copyright holder of the shows.

      • Shai

        Melfest allows to have the backing singers to be pre-recorded.In Eurovision it must be live, on stage or hidden but live, not pre-recorded.

        On, they have replaced the video of Sweden. They do not use the one from Melfest any more, but a generic, black and white video with the lyrics of the song.
        For me that suggests that Sweden need to do more than just a cosmetic changes for their presentation and they need to work fast and get ready with it before rehearsals start. And if they change one thing they will need to change other things so it will look coherent.

        • Dash Berlin

          The “official” video has been changed to just the lyrics. So they obviously have an issue with the original.

          I think they’ll try and change it as little as possible, keeping it ‘legal’ and go with that. Its far too calculated for them to rip it up and start again.

  • PurpleKylie

    Sweden is the only big betting favourite where I’m pretty confident (pre-rehearsals) it’s top 5 minimum (most of the other betting favourites I could easily see flopping hard on a bad day), and pre-rehearsals it’s our most likely winner. I’ll be interested to see if something comes along in rehearsals that could knock them off their perch. (Drifting off topic here, but my tips for potential dark horses are Belgium and Iceland, but again subject to how the performance/staging goes in May)

    I can see Belgiums performance being more of a tv event, if it’s very very good then as I’ve mentioned earlier I reckon it can be a dark horse. Funnily enough my Belgian friend is convinced his country won’t qualify, looking forward to doing my “I told you so dance” when they do.

    I can also see Cyprus doing suprisingly well, if it qualifies and gets a 2nd half draw then it could mop up the mum vote and sneak top 10.

    I personally don’t get the fuss over Azerbaijan, I’ve heard it 5-6 times and I can’t remember most of the song other than the “I won’t sleep tonight” bit

  • I’d be happy if Sweden won too 😀 Got most of my action on Mans.

    By the way, My favorites and IMO worthy winners in recent years (since 2000) are:
    Wild Dances (2004)
    My Number One (2005)
    Hard Rock Hallelujah (2006)
    Fairytale (2009)

    The most disappointing and unworthy winners:
    Running Scared (2011)
    Believe (2008)
    Molitva (2007)

  • sonovox

    Well, I’m cheerfully going to disagree with most of today’s article.

    Israel – for me the opening is so much tedious fill (and isn’t it comparably ‘dated’ to Moldova?), with the eventual beat a relief. OK, I’m a sucker for low-rent ethno at Eurovision (loved ‘Aphrodisiac’ and ‘Solayoh’), but must concede this is a step down in class from Israel’s last two entries. Likely NQ and don’t think the first minute salvages any votes or jury.

    Belgium – agree it’s no Love Kills, mainly because I think it’s about a thousand times better. Disagree that the first minute doesn’t engage – it’s one of the very few songs that I did find immediate on first listen – but in any event, I think there’s bags of potential to stage this memorably and make it impossible to ignore. I think everything has to go wrong between now and the semi for this not to qualify.

    Sweden – bit perplexed by what you’ve written here, it seems like you’re inventing reasons to be sceptical about this one. Nobody’s going to care who or what the heroes are meant to be, they’re going to be watching the animation. (Loads of people love songs without having any idea what the lyrics are, loads of successful songs have nonsensical lyrics (‘undo my sad’), and you yourself have noted many times the lack of thought that the average voter puts into their vote). In any event, I think the human connection you’re looking for finds its way into ‘Heroes’ through the song’s broad appeal to mythic narrative and archetype, even if that narrative isn’t particularly well-defined and doesn’t hold water when you start taking it apart. Things that seem epic often engage, and I think that the single line ‘we are the heroes of our time’, together with the wordless followup lines and animation, is probably Sweden’s victory ticket. The ‘we’ connects, it doesn’t have to make sense, it’s a strong enough affective instant to carry votes. The rest of the production just props this up. Yes, it’s calculated, but even knowing that it hit me straightaway – the first Eurovision since ever in which the pre-contest favourite has also been mine, hence my feeling more confident than usual.

    Azerbaijan and Cyprus are complete non-entities for me, particularly the latter. Um, I don’t think that Cyprus is this year’s Calm After The Storm in spirit or anything else (I had to check this twice when I read it). Azerbaijan I find overall weaker than last year’s entry, and since we don’t know what the delegation is doing, as you say, I think it’d be a brave person who invested much in its chances either way.

    Australia – top 5 for me on merit, but very uncertain about its ability to pull votes. I suspect the phenomenon you envisage will be very limited, and probably swamped by other factors. Also I agree with whoever it was that said it will be very tempting to stick this on first if it gets a first-half draw, just to make sure Guy doesn’t go all the way, forcing a reinvitation.

    Nothing to add on the others – pretty much agree on those.

    PS Iceland is great, travelled there twice with hopes of another visit soon. A puritanical nanny state it ain’t.

    • Dash Berlin

      It was me that suggested Australia will be put in first 🙂 Even a second half draw wouldn’t see it landing a good slot, I just don’t think the producers or EBU have any interest in Australia doing really well.
      I don’t get the love for Australia either, I’ve heard it a few times and don’t remember the song at all. I remember it sounded pretty average when I was listening to it

      • Have you two not considered that perhaps the EBU do want Australia to do well and stay on? Why would they let them in if they didn’t? That makes no sense.

        • Montell

          EBU let Australia in because they wanted to make 60th anniversary of Eurovision special. They also wanted to elevate the meaning of “Building Bridges” slogan. That’s all.

          • If Australia do well it validates the EBU’s controversial decision to invite them. Also the EBU have been enlarging the competition not reducing it.

        • Agree with Henry. They say Australia’s participation is a one-off, but they’ve also been quite transparent about what happens if Australia win. Of course that’s a question that was going to come up regardless, but their answering it so immediately suggests to me that they’re lowering them in gently so as to not horrify the purists any more than they already have.

          I was talking about the idea of Australia participating in a Facebook fan group which was met with lots of existential crises, scepticism and laughter from the 40-50 something year old fans. Well who’s laughing now? 😛 It would be naive to take the EBU at their word and believe Australia will be thrown under the bus and politely walk away in 2016. That’s the same sort of conservative delusion that blinded us from seeing Conchita’s win.

          • sonovox

            Actually, what makes no sense to me is the rulebook-trashing of the invitation itself. It’s only justifiable as a one-off 60th/’bridge-building’ (hah) gimmick, as Montell says. ESC rules will need to be rewritten if Australia sticks around, otherwise the exclusion of dozens of other countries can’t be justified beyond sheer favouritism. I don’t think those rules are going to get rewritten, and I have no idea who benefits from Australia regularly taking part.

            Also, the idea that Australians have been lobbying for participation is quite laughable. We’re just as bemused as everybody else. The whole sequence before Jessica Mauboy sang last year was received as embarrassing. A few people in our delegation were probably gung ho about it, sure, but overwhelmingly we only pay attention to ESC for three hours a year, as a joke, and maybe this year that’ll go up to six.

            If one still insists on seeing it in terms of ‘reward’ or ‘letting Australia in’, then the invitation itself far outweighs any draw decision, which I believe the EBU doesn’t make anyway. Maybe what’s ultimately likeliest is a middling slot that doesn’t display either obvious favouritism or undermining.

          • I think if you justify Australia’s participation once, putting the “60th” thing aside, which they have done, you can justify it for good. There’s a massive audience for Eurovision in Australia and a long history of broadcasting the event, as well as great enthusiasm shown by SBS. Other countries simply cannot boast that. Insisting that participation must therefore be equally open to the likes of China or the USA is pure idealism that comes from being a big fan of the contest, which we all are. We have to see things from the perspective of people who aren’t. Australian people might see it as a bit of a joke but so do the Brits. It still pulls in audiences rivalling our biggest reality shows. The rules won’t need to be re-written because the case for Australia has already been made. It isn’t favouritism, it makes sense. When friends and family ask me why Australia is participating, I don’t go into detail. I just say “the short answer is – they love it.” and that’s actually quite enough for everyone.

            Israel has been part of the contest for decades and every now and then the whole “but they’re not in Europe!” thing still comes up, even if you mention Morocco in 1980. This is where the Eurovision nerd has to step up and say “but they’re in the broadcasting area.” Because that literally is the only thing that justifies it. Now, ask yourself, if you were a person who doesn’t follow the contest closely, what justifies a country’s participation more? A geographical technicality, or “because they love it”?

          • “I have no idea who benefits from Australia regularly taking part.”

            Er… the EBU. Obviously.

            Money in the pocket. Eyes on the screen. Simple.

            Who’s harmed?

          • Can’t argue with these arguments. Bollocks to the fact it’s called Eurovision, I don’t give a shit. It’s a competition for people who love music, straight, gay, brown, black and pink with yellow spots on. I’d rather have a programme of entrants who love the show rather than just because they were in Europe.

          • sonovox

            Great. Let’s just ignore all the possible ramifications of turning well-defined eligibility criteria into ‘you can come if you love Eurovision enough’. Because that couldn’t be abused or go wrong in five or ten years’ time.

            Who’s harmed? If you can’t see that Australia’s inclusion is actually a massive exclusion (especially if it becomes permanent), then I think it’s you who’s high on pure idealism.

            If it were that profitable, then wouldn’t the EBU be on a drive to popularise the contest in other associate nations with a view to admitting them? Does anyone actually know what sort of money is at issue here? I’m very sceptical that this is as simple or decisive as you claim.

          • I totally agree with Ben and the others. Who’s being excluded here? Central Asian oil dictatorships that would, yes, send great music (as they do to Turkvision) but who’d also buy votes and use the contest as a propaganda showcase? North African and Middle Eastern countries that the EBU has encouraged to take part but whose governments won’t let the broadcaster show the contest unedited due to Israel’s presence? Don’t get me wrong, I love the pop music from these countries, but I’m really not sure that’s the way forward.

            Apropos lobbying to participate, no-one was implying the Australian people have been crying out to participate, but SBS did lobby the EBU to take part, as outlined in this interesting behind-the-scenes article on how the country came to compete this year:

          • Sonovox, the EBU are not going to start accepting any and every country that just goes “Oh yeah we LOOOVE it.” Please don’t reduce my points to pure absurdity to mock me. The biggest thing that Australia has going for it is its people. About 85% of European descent. I would happily take a rough guess in saying that’s slightly more resident Europeans than the UK currently has!

            If Chinese TV was broadcasting the contest for 30 years and pulling in, say, 30 million viewers, relative to their 1 billion or so population, that’s also a very strong case to let them participate or at least vote. They’d be missing the background of European culture that makes them feel like a natural addition and that’s more open to debate.

            Brazil and South Africa on the other hand, I know they’re fairly enthusiastic, and with such strong ties to Portugal and the Netherlands respectively, if they also did what Australia are doing, I’d welcome them with open arms too.

            Nothing’s getting abused. Eurovicious is right. Australia are a much better fit in the Eurovision Song Contest than Tunisia or Kazakhstan. Put down your clipboard and try to see it from a human perspective.

          • john kef

            EBU for some years now has the copyrights of the Eurovision format for the other continents. If other countries like the ones you have suggested are interested to participate, then the best thing to do would be to organize Eurovision-Asiavision-Africavision-Americavision and then take lets say the Top 5 of each contest and make a Worldvision show. Maybe thats the big goal for EBU for the 5-10 next years.

            A show like that would bring loads of money and interest for EBU. Maybe the presence of Australia is a tiny opening to the world to see if other countries are also interested.

      • Ron

        Remember that the EBU don’t determine the running order – the host broadcaster (ORF this year) does, and it’s done to make a good television show. The EBU have final veto over the running order, but according to Sietse Bakker, since this system started in 2013, the EBU has always accepted the broadcasters’ choices and have never made any changes.

      • Gert

        I’m getting a bit tired of “The EBU doesn’t want this country to win, so they gave them that slot”.

        It’s foremost the organizing production team who decides the running order. Once that has been done, the EBU quickly looks into it, but they never veto it.

        Actually, I do think it’s a wish from the EBU that Australia is going to win. A victory for Australia would strengthen their view on expansion of the contest outside Europe. And that means: More money.

    • Chris Bellis

      sonovox – agree with your sentiments about the entries, but not about Iceland. It really is a puritannical nanny state. Wait till you have been fined for smoking a cigarette near a bus shelter, or for drinking a can of (2.2%) beer in a public park. Lovely scenery, nice people, nanny state, would hate to live there.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I’m reminded of Simon Cowell’s decision to support Attraction in their triumphant incursion on BGT the other year.

      I recall SB posters discussing the whys and wherefores of that SYCO strategy.

  • Dash Berlin

    Although I kind of like Belgium, the first couple of times I heard it, after 1 minute of the song, I was bored and ready to move on. I fear on the night, the audience might feel the same.

    I love ‘Golden Boy’ in the same kind of way I loved Geri Halliwell’s first solo album. I knew it was shit, but for some reason I bought it (ok so I might have been slightly drawn to that ginger but musically its the same thing). It could do Ok if people just get into it, but it could easily NQ.

    My favourite is the Autumn Leaves, the original version was a bit strange (and I had no idea what he was singing about), but the re-worked English version sounds very polished. I hope they stage it well, as it could be a top 10 hit

    As for Sweden, I have no financial investment in this song, so can speak relatively unbiased. I agree with what Eurovicious wrote, its Eurovision by numbers. It should easily be top 4/5, but a winner? I wonder how it will be staged and if something that slick and slappy can win. Its not very memorable, and not sure Jurys will be too taken with it. Certainly from a Jury perspective, it would be pretty hard to put it #1
    As things stand, the price is too short at this stage of things, especially when you don’t know how its going to be staged. As Daniel had previously pointed out, its record televote haul is something to respect and the obvious reason its betting price is so short.

  • John

    When I see people arguing why Sweden may fail to qualify it reminds me of the similar noise that preceded Loreen’s Eurovision win. They were trying to come up with reasons, or to convince themselves that the sure thing wasn’t so certain. In the end she still won by a landslide as her song and staging stood out more than anyone else. I get the feeling it is the same with Mans. Heroes has an engaging stage show (which I expect only surface level changes on), a handsome, consummate performer, and competent chorus. There’s a mic only edit of Man’s MF vocal out on the internet and even without backing singers his vocals are very good. The performance also mirrors the song in terms of pace and spectacle and this is vital in creating a moment between the viewer and song. It grips and doesn’t let go.

    Nailed on winner. With perhaps two caveats – Italy come up with an inspired staging to rival Sweden, thus unlocking the potential of a strong, dramatic number with amazing vocals. Or EV’s prediction of a pro-Aussie vote comes true. This is entirely possible, Aussie diaspora is not just a British-Irish thing. They are quite the curiosity this year. The song is good, the package will likely impress the judges, and there’s the chance enough people in Europe will have the same bright idea – ‘Wouldn’t it be funny/weird if Australia won and they had to host?’ I think it’s a shoo-in for a ‘place’ a least. They need not worry about a poor draw either – do you ‘reward’ Australia’s faithful fandom by junking them in the first few slots? I would be VERY surprised.

    Also – Azerbaijan have indeed become an unknown quanitity. Good song but no idea what to expect. Start a Fire was a classy tune. Cyprus lack the Netherland’s mood and atmosphere or last year, and the lad really seems a damp squib. Israel and Belgium will likely stand out enough to qualify despite being a bit trashy and aloof (respectively).

    • John

      Edit – *why Sweden may fail to win*

      • Dash Berlin

        Well John, one of the purposes of the comments section here is to debate the merits of acts between our “brilliant minds” 🙂
        Sweden is the most likely winner at the moment, but it also was this time last year. I see too many people looking at patterns with songs/countries and the prices on offer and comparing them.
        We had 2 runaway winners in recent years in Sweden and Denmark, the trap to fall into is comparing this years with those years based on the market.

        I want to see how the acts are staged and ultimately the final running order before I am certain of a winner. If I thought it was Sweden, then OK, but before then, I am certainly not taking 2.5 to win, with that price offering no value at all. The price is hardly likely to crash between now and the day before the final. At this stage, in my opinion, its finding value in the markets – if you or anybody else think Sweden is good value at 2.5, then good for you.

        • John

          It’s not good value, especially with no profit on an e/w bet. Sweden, with their MF hype, will likely never be great value again, the songs being too close to a finished package by the time their chosen, let alone by the time of the rehearsals. I caught Mans at 6/1 and feel almost blessed in that alone.

          The better value is definitely elsewhere, but not if you’re betting on win only, cos you’ll be betting against Sweden.

  • Peter

    very much agree with your opinion about Sweden and slightly surprised about the attention the song gets. I don’t see it as a winner. As much as I feel both Slovenia and Estonia have the best entires this year, preferring Slovenia slightly over Estonia, I am afraid their performances will not quite live up to the quality of their songs, from what we have seen so far. The one song that really started to excite me more once I saw it performed live is Italy’s. Pop opera is of course a bit of a difficult genre for the ESC as we know from previous years but these Italian golden boys deliver it so well and the song is far more catchy than Latvia’s and France’s efforts in that genre before. With its dramatic staging it even makes sense as a follow up to Conchita. Italy has a strong placement record since its re-entry 2011, they want to win, and it has proven that it wont depend and neighbors. I think its Roma 2016

  • Ron

    A lot of the hype surrounding Estonia and Slovenia seems to be tied to an assumption that the songs will be accompanied by staging that is a vast improvement on their national final performances.

    But we can’t assume that every country with a promising song is going to have the resources to do a “Calm After the Storm” with their staging this year.

  • UnCalquera

    According to this news (Spanish), TVE have not received any information about the stage yet, so they cannot know how much they are going to spend. (!?)

  • Ande

    While I usually find eurovicious analyses sound I find the Sweden section dabbling into too many insignificant details.

    Sure, the song isn’t as strong as Euphoria or Fairytale but those two beat the opposition to a pulp. Heroes has managed to chart in a few countries outside of Sweden which tells us it is competitive enough. Furthermore, while Heroes doesn’t induce as much depth and mystique as Euphoria it does carry enough weight to fool the average Eurovision jury. A good reference point is Saade’s Popular, which failed on the jury vote, you’ll notice significantly more “depth” in Heroes. The staging is (as of yet) the most memorable of all entrants while the song is immediate and the performer more competent than his main rivals (Guy Sebastian lacks something in the charisma department).

    The most impressive feat of Måns, and the reason for his low price, is his Melodifestivalen results. Remember, the Melodifestivalen’s lineup was quite strong this year. Beating Popular’s televote (no.1 in Eurovision televote) and Undo’s jury vote (no.2 with Eurovision juries) at Melodifestivalen despite having 2-3 competitors with the same target audience is in itself enough to warrant the top spot in betting markets. But Måns even managed to break Loreens record with BOTH juries and televoters in spite of receiving less hype leading up to the final.

    In light of this, does Sweden’s current odds represent good value?
    Nah, the odds are too short. There’s a few higher quality tunes than Heroes and at this stage it’s still quite likely that at least one top contender comes up with staging good enough rival Heroes.

    • Dash Berlin

      “Heroes has managed to chart in a few countries outside of Sweden” – has it? I’ve not seen any evidence of this. Its odd how low its youtube views are at the moment isn’t it?

      “The staging is (as of yet) the most memorable of all entrants” – we haven’t seen the staging for any other country yet??

      Too many people use Melodifestivalen as a reference to Eurovision, I don’t understand how the population of Sweden is considered a good demographic of the whole of Europe, when comparing voting numbers.

      At the moment, the market on BF is saying its a 2 horse race. I seem to remember this time last year, the songs that finished 1st and 2nd were 30/1+

      • Ande

        The reason people draw conclusions from voting numbers in the Nordic MPGs is that entrants winning their national finals with comparable numbers tends to win Eurovision as well. Do you have an example of an entry with similar winning margins in the Nordic region that fails to win Eurovision!?

        There’s especially strong correlation in Melodifestivalen. Those who have failed the Eurovision televote (Robin 2013, Anna 2010) also recieved middling numbers in the Melodifestivalen televote. Those who failed the Eurovision juryvote (Anna 2010, Saade 2011) also didn’t fare particularly well with the Melodifestivalen jury vote. On the other hand those who have done well in Eurovision Juryvote (2012,2013, 2014 all top 3) and televote (2011, 2012, 2014) also did well in those areas at Melodifestivalen.

        The only exception to this rule was perhaps Saade’s popular in 2011 which didn’t win the Swedish televote by a huge margin but still managed to win the Eurovision televote (probably explained by 2nd place Sacuedo tapping the same target audience).

        • Dash Berlin

          I wouldn’t disagree that the correlation with the numbers does look like a “trend”. However, it’s a very small sample size and there are way too many factors to take into account for me to get aboard the train.
          Personally, I look at the numbers as interesting. I’m not suggesting Ande, that you are wrong and I am right

          • Donal Ryan

            What sheer numbers don’t examine is the quality of the field in a given contest. In my humble opinion Mans had nothing to beat in Sweden this year.

          • Agreed Donal. It wasn’t an Eric vs Danny, Loreen vs Danny, or Sanna vs Ace Wilder situation. The best thing in Melodifestivalen was Emelie Irewald’s Där och då med dig, but Swedes were never going to go for that unfortunately.

        • Chris Bellis

          Seriously, Ande, don’t waste your time presenting coherent arguments here. They don’t want to hear it. Sweden will walk it.

    • He didn’t beat Loreen’s televote

      loreen 670,551
      mans 545,601

      Anyway I agree he’s a deserved fav but the variable the MF formular can’t include is the other 39 ESC entrants.

      • Ande

        Well Henry, you have to compare percentage of total votes as absolute televote numbers isn’t a good comparison basis. Melodifestivalen televoting (in relation to viewer numbers) has been on a steady decline in recent years and this year SVT also introduced a new voting-app.

        Not including other ESC entrants is a weakness as Estonia and Italy won their respective finals in an equally convincing fashion. However, the uncertainty of proper staging for these entrants makes assessing their chances more difficult.

    • Ben Cook

      Whilst I do see Sweden as one of the most likely winners, if national final results meant anything, Axel Hirsoux would’ve walked it last year.

      • Ande

        The problem with Belguim’s Eurosong is twofold. The first is that the staging at Eurosong isn’t good enough for Eurovision (same problem as Estonia/Italy really). Alex didn’t even make an effort to change the weak staging for Eurovision. The second problem is drawing conclusions from a big win in a national final were the average song quality is very unstable from one year to another.

  • Shai

    @ Ben

    Israel and Morocco are active members of the EBU. Therefore they can participate in Eurovision. Nothing to do with “broadcasting area”. Israel has joined Eurovision in 1973. Morocco only participating was in the year Israel could not participate.
    Lebanon is also an active member of the EBU and I remember they were in negotiation to participate in 2012(I think), and it failed dur to the fact that they couldn’t guarantee that the Israeli song will be transmitted in Lebanon(but that another story).

    Greece’s NERIT could only confirmed participating in 2015, after they became an active member of the EBU, during a meeting last December.They got a special permission to take part in the 2014’s contest even though they were not an active member of the EBU.

    Australia is not an active member of the EBU. They are only an Asociate member.Thecnically they aren’t eligible to take part in Eurovision. Needless to say that if the EBU wants to keep them in the game, they will find a way to do it, though they will need to bend a lot of rules for that.

    • Ben Cook

      But you’re only allowed to be an active member of the EBU if you are in the broadcasting area, so it’s still a fair point.

    • If they make the rules, they can change the rules. I don’t see why that’s such a horrible thing to do. There’s a clear case for Australia, there might be a case for others in the future. So what? I’m with James Martin above – “I don’t give a shit. It’s a competition for people who love music.”

  • Dash Berlin

    Does anyone know when the high streets are going to get some markets up?

  • Martin F.

    I realise this is taking niche analysis to the extreme (hey, it’s April, that’s what April’s for), but does anyone else think the singer’s name might act as a barrier to Sweden winning? Most recent winners have had nice, accessible, easily pronounceable names that people can talk about and write without having to copy-paste – and even when there’s been a “difficult” surname like Šerifović, every European language has the name “Marija” in some shape or form, so she could just be referred to like that.

    “Måns Zelmerlöw”, on the other hand, is a right old mouthful (f’nar), with one letter that most European languages don’t even have, and neither a first name nor a surname that people will broadly recognise as “something we particularly know what to do with”.

    I know one can just search for/type about/talk about “the Swedish entry” and “that Heroes one” and so on, but I wonder if it might just add a certain barrier to proceedings when it comes to the natural spread of momentum – hits, social media buzz, downloads during ESC week – that a winner seems to need nowadays.

    #overthinkingmuch? 🙂

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  • Gert

    At this stage I’m pretty certain it’ll be a two-horse race between Australia and Sweden. I just can’t see another country win the trophy.

    In 2011 I said:
    –> Sweden (until the grand final evening)
    –> Azerbaijan (during the grand final broadcast)
    In 2012 I said:
    –> Sweden, Sweden and Sweden
    In 2013 I said:
    –> Norway (until the grand final)
    –> Denmark (during the grand final broadcast)
    In 2014 I said:
    –> Austria, Austria and Austria

    So I think it’s fair to say that either:
    –> 01. SWEDEN will win (for the 2nd time in 3 years) or
    –> 01. AUSTRALIA will do something that is unheard off.

    And I do think Australia is not prone at all to Eastern or Western European bias. Because it’s Australia, Australia will get extra support from the entire continent.

    Other contenders fr the trophy, albeit slightly less credible. In descending order:
    –> 03. SLOVENIA (absolutely dope entry for Slovenian standards no :-P?)
    –> 04. RUSSIA (most instant ballad of the contest, most universal appeal)
    –> 05. AUSTRIA (guys, did anyone actually SEE this band and its leadsinger performing?)
    –> 06. ESTONIA (fan favourite this year, but I’m still quite positive about the staging)

    So then it’s time for the entire TOP 14 (left hand side of the scoreboard is what counts nowadays no?). I’d say those spots are usually reserved for a few more unique, artistically relevant entries. But also some surprises:
    –> 07. LATVIA (what a gem, what a beauty. Combine France 1991 with Sweden 2012, and this is what you get)
    –> 08. ISRAEL (completely cheesy, and like so many typical Turkish/Israeli pop entries)
    –> 09. AZERBAIJAN (it’s a trend, like last year, also this year the Azeri send something less universal)
    –> 10. BELGIUM (artstical and unique song, but no instant appeal. Bit like Germany 2011)

    And the rest of the left hand side on the scoreboard:
    –> 11. CYPRUS (what happened? do we ignore this song for no specific reason??)
    –> 12. NETHERLANDS (utterly repetitive, but it’s its strength, like Azerbaijan 2011, and will have exquisit staging)
    –> 13. NORWAY (well-crafted emotional song, with heavy lyrics, no TOP 5 material)
    –> 14. ITALY (nicely done, lots of drama and pathos, still not convinced about its universal appeal. it’s pop opera)

    • Ron

      From Twitter reports, it seems that Sweden and Australia were two of the best at Eurovision in Concert.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Probably agree with you, Gert, about Sweden and Australia. Just watched and listened to Sweden and the whole package is thrilling – lives up to the hype.

      Had a watch of Austria, and agree that the lead singer is fab.

      Disagree with your selection for 3rd place, Slovenia. ‘Dope’ is the word, though; just the word that would use to describe her if she were a contestant on The Voice. If she lost the Macy Gray affectation then I’d like her more.

      The mystery of Cyprus. Now I listened to this last night, to find I couldn’t put my finger on why I was resistant to liking this lovely song. Sure it begins with a nod (and continues with it) to the old Extreme classic, More Than Words, but more than that it felt like a musical portmanteau, reminding me strongly of other songs. ones I just couldn’t recall.

      One has just come to mind, now, though. Here’s an old favourite of mine from 1996:

      Maybe I’m unfairly diminishing what is a gorgeous song, and it might just be my ears that are struggling to accept it as its own thing.

      Quality, all the same.

  • Tom Ato

    Aussie Aussie Aussie, OI OI OI! Big day today, Guy Sebastian performing in Amsterdam.

  • Ron H

    I visited Eurovision in Concert yesterday. I estimate that out of the 24 performances, the following acts were best received by the crowd:
    1) Trijntje Oosterhuis (not a surprise, this is Amsterdam calling)
    2) Mans Zelmerlow (very solid and energetic performance)
    3) Guy Sebastian (he’s a great entertainer and the entire audience seemed to know his song by hart)
    4) Bojana Stamenov (to my personal opinion the surprise of the night)

    closely followed by:

    5) Morland & Debrah Scarlett

    and (in more random order and less distinct from the remaining acts):

    6) Elnur Huseynov
    7) Lisa Angell
    8) Monika & Vaidas
    9) Nadav Guedj

    I was a bit dissapointed with the performance (and viewer reception) of Maraaya, which is/was one of my personal favourites.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Thought twice about sharing an opinion here about Eurovision, after the deluge of wrong-headed comments I posted last year.

    Will endeavour to keep comments briefer, less strident and less obsessive.

    On checking out the Aussie entry video on Oddschecker the other day, I was struck by how fresh the whole package sounded.

    To me, it was everything Basim and his Cliché Love Song from last year desperately aspired to be. Apologies if other posters have already made this point. I’ve only just been checking out Sofabet the last few days.

    Everyone will be anticipating the Australian entry anyway. That it sounds like a new chart hit makes it a mighty double whammy?

    A note on Russia. I haven’t heard or seen the Russian entry, yet, but I would like to describe the reaction Russia received most nights in a recent Eurovision event I was hosting.

    Just mentioning the country’s name brought a chorus of boos!

    Comments on this site suggest the Russian entry is excellent but more cynical than ever.

    I wonder if the EV prospects go like this: fear of Russia means its basement position is top 10; but enmity for Russia means its ceiling for finishing position is short of the top 3?

  • Chris Bellis

    Guildo Don’t beat yourself up. I agree about Russia. I am a Russophile and even I find this song nauseating. “Peace in our time” songs from the second largest arms exporting country in the world (USA is the first) won’t go down well, even if they are sung by a classically beautiful Russian blonde.

  • Peter

    Eurovicious, just reread your brilliant article on the semiotics of Eurovision from last year, and I so strongly agree with your arguments on Rybak, Lena, etc. Conchita’s win last year obviously counteracts the thesis about the age of heteronormativity after the introduction of the jury votes, though, because it was Nr. 1 with both devote and juries, right? Did you already write about this somewhere? Curious to hear your thoughts on this. Also, are you Sofabet guys coming to the BBC’s Eurovision conference tomorrow. Hope so! I’ll be on the panel on European identities / nationalities / queer communities

    • Hi Peter, thanks, I only found out about the conference a week or so ago and I’m still in the Netherlands after Eurovision In Concert… just been in a beach club drinking chai latte and watching the sunset. Hope it goes well! Don’t do anyone I wouldn’t do. In terms of a look back at last year’s article or a revision thereof, we’ll have to wait and see what I still have up my spout…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just randomly dipping into Eurovision videos on the Oddschecker page and stumbled across the ace Belarus tune. For the first 35 seconds I wondered if I was listening to a follow-up to Aram Mp3’s Not Alone. But it emerges as an exciting song with it’s own stamp. Charismatic lead singer, too.

    Finland has mystified me. What did I just watch? Why is it 6th in the betting?

    I see from the Russian video the stylists are going the full Disney on suggesting Queen Elsa. Punters beware: never underestimate the power of Frozen!

    The UK gave me a jaunty giggle. Good bit of quirky fun.

    That guy from the Stella Artois Cidre adverts gets about – I thought I spotted him in both the Italian and the Cyprus videos.

    Loving the La Roux vibe of the Latvian girl. Hypnotic and a bit magnificent.

    The Autumn Leaves video seemed like a guess-the-advert puzzle. Beautiful song that wouldn’t be out of place on a Beyonce album. Felt compelled to hunt for a live performance. He’s a gorgeous singer – shame he’s look’s like my hairdresser.


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