Since we are more or less in the quiet season, I can soothe my Eurovision itch by watching some of the previous contests. Since I’m at my computer all day and my workstation has three monitors, I figure that I could devote one monitor to ESCs while working on the other two. Yes, I know there is a Junior Eurovision, but I’m not a huge fan of children-based competitions.
From Netta’s win with “Toy”, Eurovision 2019 brought us to Tel Aviv, Israel. Overall, I think this has to be one of my favorite editions as a casual viewer. I’ll say that Israel did an amazing job from start to finish . . . at least with the grande final (I haven’t watched the semifinal rounds). I don’t know, but I think this might have been the year where the staging was really elevated. I mean, I think all of the performances had really good staging and lighting effects.
As some might know, the video postcards are one of my favorite things about Eurovision. I really enjoyed watching the performers do various dance routines with an Israeli dance troupe in different parts of the country. To be kind of shady, some of the video postcards were better than the contestants’ actual performances.
Here’s a little taste
Since I am a bit short on time, I’m gonna do a quick recap of my thoughts about the various performances. Unfortunately, folks in the US cannot see the full finale unless you watch using a VPN, but this YouTube provides clips of all of the qualifying and non-qualifying songs.
What Europe Thought:
Image courtesy of Eurovision World (***)
What Kwame Thought:
In terms of countries that were on the left side of our scoreboards (our top 13 performances), it looks like Europe and I agreed on only eight songs/countries (Sweden, Norway, Australia, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Italy, Russia, and N. Macedonia). I’m quite surprised with the actual placement of Isreal (#23), Spain (#22), and Australia (#9).
Malta: Chameleon by Michela – I loved the lighting effects and the overall staging; however, I thought her vocals were a bit pitchy in certain parts of the song. Perhaps, it was nerves being the 1st to perform, which is a tough spot to be in. The song is catchy but the lyrics are really basic.
Albania: Ktheju Tokes by Jonida Maliqi – I love the ethnic vibes from the song even though I have no idea what she is singing about. I wish more countries would send more ethnic songs or songs in their native language(s). While the song was nice, I thought the staging was a bit plain.
Czech Republic: Freind of a Friend by Lake Malawi – Oh the Czech Republic’s answer to the Jonas Brothers. Eh, not really my cup of tea, but I will say that they had a great stage presence, and I did enjoy the staging.
Germany: Sister by Sisters – A women empowerment theme; you go girls . . . er you go WOMEN. While separately the two singers have decent vocals, they don’t really blend or harmonize very well (at least to my ears). Also, I think they could have brought a stronger stage presence because this performance was giving me karaoke. To keep it real, it looked like they came up with the concept for the performance on their flight from Germany to Israel. 😉
Russia: Scream by Sergey Lazarev – Is this his second or third time in Eurovision? 😉 I’ll give it to the Russians and say that they always bring it when it comes to staging.
Denmark: Love is Forever by Leonora – Eh not really my cup of tea. That said it was a cute song, but I’m not really into sappy songs.
San Marino: Say Na Na Na by Serhat – What an earworm. In this case, I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Speaking of good or bad, folks will either love or hate Serhat’s raspy voice. Because of the timbre of his voice, I think he would make a great Dracula.
N. Macedonia: Proud by Tamara – Didn’t really do anything for me, but I did have to use the bathroom.
Sweden: Too Late for Love by John Lundvik – My personal winner. I loved everything about the song and the performance . . . especially when The Mamas (his backup singers) joined him on the main stage. Man, I wish ESC 2020 was not canceled, so we could have seen what The Mamas would have brought to the stage. He was so close to winning, and it was quite clear that he was VERY disappointed once the final televotes were posted . . . I’m sure a chair was thrown or a table was flipped backstage.
Slovenia: Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gasper Santl – Seemed like a very sensual song, but it did not really go anywhere for me.
Cyprus: Replay by Tamta – Cyprus never fails when they send a bop. It seemed like they were trying to keep the momentum going from Eleni’s Fuego, which came in second place in ESC 2018. Unfortunately, Tamta’s Replay does not have the same ‘fuego’ as Eleni’s Fuego. It’s kind of interesting to send this song because the song pretty much has the same structure as Fuego. Well, at least we know that they will receive 12 points from Greece
The Netherlands: Arcade by Duncan Laurence – What an earworm, but in a good way. I’m sure this song will be stuck in my head for the next 24 hours at least.
Greece: Better Love by Katerine Duska – I don’t get it! Greek is such a beautiful language, I don’t get why Greece doesn’t send more Greek language entries. I mean, they should do a combination of English and Greece at the very least. Since she asks the question “What are you waiting for?” My response is going to be I’m waiting for the song to end.
Israel: Home by Kobi Marimi – Hands down one of the best voices in this year’s contest. I thought the backup singers did an amazing job. I’m not a huge fan of message songs, but this one kind of touched me.
Norway: Spirit in the Sky by KEiino – This is my jam! Ok, I changed my mind, I think KEiino would have been my winner. Actually, I take it back a little bit, but I’m a bit biased. Ok, I’ve listed to the studio version a million times. However, I think the live version’s vocals are a bit weaker compared to the studio version. Actually, I take that back again. I think the two lead singers voices got better after the halfway mark. Perhaps, they had a moment to catch their breath while the bald-headed guy was doing his part. Yes, I know that I should have looked up the individual names of the group members, but I’m lazy.
The UK: Bigger Than Us by Michael Rice – I must have missed this one because I don’t even remember this performance.
Iceland: Hatrio Mun Sigra by Hatari – Not my cup of tea, but I love the fact that there is some musical diversity in the contest. I didn’t think it was too cool of them to hold up this sign (knowing the relationship between Israel and Palestine).
I think it’s perfectly fine to disagree with a country’s foreign practices. If you have a problem with how a country does things, then don’t travel to said country. I’m not sure when Iceland had its national final, but everyone knew as soon as Netta won in May of 2018 that ESC 2019 was going to be held in Israel.
Estonia: Storm by Victor Crone – I liked the song even with the shaky vocals, but I HATED the special effects.
Belarus: Like It by Zena – The backup dancers are dancing their asses off. Pretty decent bop
Azerbaijan: Truth by Chingiz – He must work out a lot. 😉 Oppps, I was too busy looking at his physique rather than paying attention to the song. 😉
France: Roi by Bilal – Eh.
Italy: Soldi by Mahmood – Ok, generally speaking, I kind of like the song. Like I mentioned several times (I think), I’m not a huge fan of how some male Italian singers have a nasal voice while singing. Keep in mind this comment is coming from someone who has a somewhat nasal voice. But the song is a banger Soldi, Soldi *Clap, Clap*
Serbia: Kruna by Nevena Bozovic – Shoot, I wasn’t even paying attention. Eh, I don’t think that I was missing much.
Switzerland: She Got Me by Luca Hanni – Wasn’t really feeling this until the dance break during the 1st chorus. The lyrics (and the vocals) are kind of meh, but the chorus really brings the song to life. You know, his performance energy reminds me a bit of Ricky Martin.
Australia: Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke – What a masterpiece of a performance. Ok, some say that Kate flying all over the place is kind of gimmicky. While this might be true, it’s definitely a unique performance, and she has the vocal chops to back it up. Y’all know that I love opera (even if it’s pop opera) in this contest.
Spain: La Venda by Miki –What an energetic performance. I’m quite impressed that his vocals were not breathy due to all of his jumping and running around the stage. I’m a bit surprised with Spain’s placing in this year’s contest, especially with going last. I don’t know, this song seemed like a perfect way to end the contest.