Eurovision (ESC) Thursday – ESC22 Then & Now – Part 1

Preface:

As I mentioned in a previous post (Random Thoughts Thursday: Eurovision), I’m going to start reviewing and making my predictions for ESC2022 as countries begin to name their artists and release their songs.

I figured that I would do a comparison of what I thought about the songs when they were first released and what I think about the songs now since we are about 1.5 weeks away from the big day. Keep in mind for my “now”, I’m factoring in several things – preparty performances, general personality, and of course the song.

Since there are 40 countries competing in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, I’m breaking this topic down into two parts. Here’s the first half of the list in alphabetical order by country.

Albania – Ronela – “SEKRET” (Song Review Link: ***)

Then:

Now:

OMG, she pretty much embodies everything that makes Eurovision great. I would even say that is the most well-rounded artist in the contest. If there was some sort of Miss Congeniality award for Eurovision, she would be my top choice.

Armenia – Rosa Linn – “Snap” (Link to Music video ***)

Then: Did not review

Now:

Australia – Sheldon Riley – “Not the Same” (Link to my review ***)

Then:

Now:

I’m not really sure why, but Sheldon lost power with me over the past couple of months.

Austria – LUM!X & Pia Maria – “Halo” (Link to video ***)

Then: No review

Now:

Kind of like the song, but I was kind of surprised that Pia Maria’s live vocals were not as strong as they were on the studio version (I guess this happens frequently). My three stars are pretty much based on the song along because it’s one of those songs that will get you dancing or bopping your head at least.

Azerbaijan – Nadir Rustamli – “Fade To Black” (Link to music video: ***)

Then:

No review. Sorry, but this was the last song (there are 40 songs for ESC2022) released, and I think that I was all reviewed out.

Now:

I will admit that I originally thought this song was a snoozefest. Like I said earlier, I think I was all Eurovisioned out by the time Azerbaijan released this song. That said, the song has grown on me and Nadir seems like a fun individual to hang with. In some ways, he reminds me a little bit of someone I used to date . . . even down to his “gingerness”

Belgium – Jérémie Makiese – “Miss You” (Link to music video: ***)

Then: No review

Now:

I think he is one of the strongest male vocalists in the contest, and I am a fan of the strong R&B vibe of the song. That said, I do not know much about him. He hasn’t been as active as other performers so it’s tough to get a sense of who he is. I wonder if it’s an English language thing for him. For instance, I’m not sure if he feels comfortable enough with the English language to put himself out there in these ESC streets. I fear that this might hurt him in the contest. But then again, most ESC viewers do not really pay attention to the contest until semi and final week.

Bulgaria – Intelligent Music Project – “Intention” (Link to my review ***)

Then:

Now:

I have to admit, I think that I let the public opinion influence my original thoughts about the song. While the song is a bit dated, I do not think it’s THAT bad of a song. Actually, the song has made it onto a couple of my running playlists.

Croatia – Mia Dimšić – “Guilty Pleasure” (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

Eh, my opinion has not really changed too much.

Cyprus – Andromache – “Ela” (Link to music video: ***)

Then: No Review

Now:

Another case of loving the song but not knowing much about the artist. It seems like she is not too invested in ESC2022, which is fine. I assume that some artists would rather focus on themselves, their songs, their staging, etc during the weeks leading to Eurovision. She had a couple of interviews that gave me a bit of an “oh that’s weird” vibe. In an interview, she was asked about Greece’s ESC2022 song, and she said that she hadn’t heard it. As most know, Greece and Cyprus are pretty much cousins in this contest because they tend to give each other high points. Also, she (like most folks from Cyprus) is Greek. I dunno, but it seems strange that she (at this point) has not heard the Greek song. In another interview, she was asked if she’d be willing to do a collaboration with Chanel (Spain). This question was asked because a lot of folks from Spain like her song. And she responded that she did not know who Chanel is. I’m not mad that she does not know Chanel. BUT, for ESC2022, if you were to ask someone to name five artists from this batch, most folks would say (in no particular order) – Chanel (Spain), Ronela (Albania), Mahmmod & BLANCO (Italy), Ochman (Poland), and Sam Ryder (the UK). So it’s kind of strange that she responded in that manner. Then again, maybe she meant more of an I do not know her personally as opposed to not knowing who she is.

Czech Republic – WE ARE DOMI – “LIGHTS OFF” (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

Going into the season this was one of my top songs. After seeing the group’s performances in the preparties, I was surprised by the weak vocals compared to the studio version and the Czech Republic’s national selection. Ok, the five preparties’ venues had a lot of issues with sound and technical difficulties. That said, other performers did fine with the same difficulties.

Denmark – Reddi – “The Show” (link to my review ***)

Then:

Now:

Estonia – Stefan – “Hope” (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

I still really like the song and the performer. While this song was released early in the national selection season, it pretty much has stayed in my top ten since it was released.

Finland – The Rasmus – “Jezebel” (Link to video ***)

Then: No review

Now:

Right now, the song just really does not do much for me, but maybe that will change once I see the band on stage. I will say that out of all of the national finals, this band had the best LED staging.

France – Alvan & Ahez – “Fulenn” (Link to my review ***)

Then:

Now:

After viewing France’s national selection, this group was one of my tops. However, the group’s performances during the preparties leading up to ESC2022 week have been less than stellar. In my opinion, Alvan (one artist) and Ahez (a female trio) have not been really cohesive in some of their live performances. For instance, it sounds like they are singing two to three different songs even though they are now one group. While I like the song, I feel that the women in Ahez do not have a commanding stage presence, which is a huge contrast while looking at Alvan jumping all around the stage.

Georgia – Circus Mircus – “Lock Me In” (Link to video: ***)

Then: No review

Now:

Unfortunately, I have not been able to get on the Circus Mircus train. At times, I feel like the group is a bit too gimmicky for my personal tastes. That said, I think the song, which reminds me a bit of Beck’s old stuff, is ok. However, I’m not sure that the song will qualify for the final.

Germany – Malik Harris – “Rockstars” (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

This one has lost a bit of power for me. The other day, I was thinking about the songs from the Big 5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) and completely forgot about Germany’s entry. Like, I actually had to think very hard to remember the song and the artist. While the other members of the Big 5 put up strong entries this year, I think Germany is the weakest of the group. Since Germany is part of the Big 5, Malik will automatically qualify for the final; however, I do not see a strong finish for him. 😦

Greece – Amanda Tenfjord – “Die Together” (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

I have no words that reflect how much I enjoy listening to this song.

Iceland – Systur – “Með hækkandi sól” (With the rising sun) (Link to my review: ***)

Then:

Now:

This trio definitely has grown one me over the past couple of months. While it might be a long shot, I really hope that they will qualify for the final. I wonder if they plan to include some English in this song as a way to connect to a larger audience.

Ireland – Brooke Scullion – “That’s Rich”(Link to video: ***)

Then: No review

Now:

Originally, this song was not my cup of tea (actually, it’s still not my cup of tea). However, I am quite impressed that Brooke’s vocals (and performances) have drastically improved over the past couple of months. Depending on her staging, I think the song might have a shot at qualifying. LOL moment for Brooke (maybe now it’s an LOL moment). When traveling from Ireland to Spain for one of the preparties, she lost her passport and had trouble entering the country. There’s video of officials in Spain’s border control office viewing her videos as a form of identifying her.

Israel – Michael Ben David – “I.M” (Link to my review ***)

Then:

Now:

Actually, I think my rating now would be a 2.5, but I guess that I gotta round up. The song just does not work for me as much as it did when was first released. However, word on the ESC streets has been saying that his rehearsal staging is really good and elevates his song and performance.

My complete rankings:

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