Here we go again. Another year, which means another Eurovision Song Contest. Undoubtedly one of the most exciting events in the world, especially if you’re European. It’s another year where the gays in Europe amongst other Europeans scream, shout, dance and sing for a whole night whilst watching the largest singing contest in history.
This year it’s in Kiev, Ukraine following Ukraine’s win last year with Jamala’s ‘1944′. Of course this kicked off some controversy across Europe with a lot of people stating that Bulgaria, Australia and Spain should have won, and of course being quite controversial in Russia for obvious reasons.
There are 2 returning countries this year, after being absent from last years competition, so we can expect to hear and see from Portugal and Romania, but unfortunately we see Bosnia & Herzegovina withdrawing due to financial difficulties.
Due to Ukranian laws, Russia will not be performing in Kiev this year, and will be performing via satellite. More as to why, and the official statement from the EBU can be read by clicking here.
Here are the countries participating in alphabetical order, and their entries, along with a little bit about the entries themselves and what I make of them. If you want to listen to this year’s Eurovision entries, you can do so by choosing the country’s entry you want to listen to, and clicking on the country itself.
First Semi Finals
Lindita – World
Lindita Halimi, 27, is a singer-songwriter who rose to fame after winning the sixth edition of the competition Top Fest. In 2016 she won the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Festivali i Këngës, and will represent the country in Kiev.
A good entry from Albania this year. A powerful memorable number. I wouldn’t say it brings anything unique to Eurovision, but it’s catchy, and sticks in your head after the first listen which is always a good tac tic when having a Eurovision entry. It would be good to see this qualify for the finals, as it would be a good song to watch being performed, but I don’t think Albania are the winners this year.
Rate /10: 7
Artsvik – Fly With Me
Artsvik will represent Armenia in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest after winning the Armenian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Depi Evratesil, in December 2016. Her song is called Fly With Me.
This is certainly unique to Eurovision. Unlike anything you’d associate with Eurovision, or anything in the charts, the song itself certainly is something new. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything from the production to lyrics and the vocals, everything is actually pretty good. I do believe it’s a grower, so I think with enough promotion around Europe it may do well. I’m sure the performance of this song during the final would be great too.
Rate /10: 7
Isaiah – Don’t Come Easy
With a population of only 5000 people, Moama, just outside of Melbourne Australia, is hardly the kind of place you’d expect to find a superstar. Well, no one told Isaiah that. In just two years, the talented teen has transformed from a small town singer with big dreams, to one of Australia’s most promising artists. Along the way he’s won The X Factor Australia and released a debut single, It’s Gotta Be You, that charted all over the world and notched up millions of international streams.
Phenomenal. Every year since Australia debuted, I have always been anxious with their entries, even though this is their third consecutive year. After last year’s entry, I thought it would be merely impossible to send another song as amazing as Dami Im’s ‘Sound of Silence,’ but they did, and this guy’s voice is incredible. At the age of 17, his voice is just indescribable. The song is excellent. Australia are smashing that semi-final, and have a real strong chance of going top 5.
Rate /10: 9
Dihaj – Skeletons
Dihaj graduated from the Baku Music Academy in 2010 and moved on to The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London. While in the UK, Diana got involved with the local underground music scene by singing in a progressive trance trio Looper & Mancus. Around that time, she decided to start her own band. In 2014, she created Dihaj, an electronic music collective from Baku.
Azerbaijan taking a more dark sinister approach towards Eurovision this year compared to last years. I can’t say I paid much attention to this one as it just got a bit too boring halfway through. It doesn’t appear to be anything we haven’t seen before and seems quite predictable after the first 45 seconds or so. I honestly think so far, this is one of the songs not going through the first semi-finals.
Rate /10: 6
Blanche – City Lights
Blanche, aka Ellie Delvaux, will represent Belgium in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song City Lights.
Not quite sure what this is about… Probably the most boring entry I’ve heard so far. When I picture Eurovision, I picture it to be fun, colourful, energetic and this has none of that. It reminds me of that cup of coffee that someone’s made you and you don’t want to drink it because it tastes horrible so you let it go cold and stale.
Rate /10: 4
Hovig – Gravity
In 2009 Hovig participated in The X Factor Greece. In 2010 and 2015 Hovig tried to represent his country in the Eurovision Song Contest by competing in the national selection, reaching the final on both occasions. This year broadcaster CyBC internally selected Hovig for the 2017 competition. This year he collaborated with composer Thomas G:son with the song Gravity.
Another catchy little number. It makes a slight turn in what Cyprus offered us last year with Minus One. This is slightly more pop/electro. Slightly basic lyrics and production, and again, nothing unique however it’s a good song, and this guy has this look to him which makes him seem like he’s a cheeky guy and that normally goes down well in the Eurovision world.
Rate /10: 7
Martina Bárta – My Turn
Martina Bárta is a new discovery on the jazz scene, endlessly traveling between Prague and Berlin. She will represent the Czech Republic with the song My Turn in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
Aww. This one’s cute. It’s subliminal message is quite obvious, I mean, it’s a love song. It’s actually a really cute song, and the music video actually makes the song a little more enjoyable. It’s great, but this is a Eurovision entry. Now, Eurovision fans and others of the general public do like a ballad, it’s been proven over the last 60 odd years, but whether this one will be quite well received as others, I can’t honestly say. Time will tell on this one.
Rate /10: 7
Norma John – Blackbird
Norma John is an indie-spirited pop band formed by Leena and Lasse, two long standing friends. Their music is full of strong cinematic feel, visuality and Scandinavian rugged beauty. The duo are musical soul mates and share a quirky sense of humour. In January 2017 Norma John was in the Contest for New Music (UMK) with nine other participants at the Espoo Metro Arena. The song Blackbird brought them a clear victory and Norma John is now Finland’s 51st representative in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Well. This is stunning. This haunting track really excels and ups the game for Eurovision entries and it’s good to see that Finland are taking the contest a bit more seriously this year than sending generic pop songs like they have done in the past. The lyrics, production, and those vocals. Spine chilling. Beautiful.
Rate /10: 9
Tamara Gachechiladze – Keep The Faith
Tamara was member group selected to represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, Stephane and 3G. Later Georgia withdrew from the contest. In 2015 she won the TV talent contest Your Face Sounds Familiar and since 1997 she has been a soloist in the Tbilisi Concert Orchestra.
Cue song about world peace. No seriously, of course we could all do with a bit of reassurance from a song every now and then, but it seems to be mandatory about having a song about world peace in Eurovision. Eurovision is pro peace and that’s amazing, but it’s like your grandmother giving you your favourite flavoured ice cream every week, and after a while you just fancy something different for a change. A good song, with a good message, but just too predictable.
Rate /10: 6
Demy – This Is Love
A gifted young musician, singer and actress, Demy has gained both national and international acclaim since 2011 and will represent Greece in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song This is Love.
Er… I’m not entirely sure whether Greece know what they’re doing anymore when it comes to Eurovision. So, this song is the typical Eurodance crap that gets recycled every year in Eurovision, and you’d think after seeing Moldova not do so well last year for making the same mistake, you’d think they’d avoid that move. No. I must admit, it’s certainly a lot better than last year’s mess ‘Utopian Land.’
Rate /10: 4
Svala – Paper
Icelandic singer Svala has been singing since she was 7 years old. Since then she has become a songwriter, judge onThe Voice, fashion icon and toured the world! This year she represents Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest with Paper.
If Sia and Bonnie Tyler had a love child, it would be Svala. What a great song, and a great voice. It’s a 80s song with a modern twist, and I pictured so many artists from the 80s singing this, but felt this was a more Bonnie Tyler era type song. I also pictured Sia being behind a song like this, as I also would believe it’d suit her too. I love how it has a different sound, and after Iceland being robbed at last year’s contest, this song is sure to get them through to the final!
Rate /10: 8
Triana Park – Line
Triana Park is one of the most extravagant acts from their homeland – Latvia. Their sound is unique and eclectic as it combines pop and electronic with hints of hip-hop and some bold rock vibes. The band was founded in 2008 by Agnese Rakovska, who is also the leader of the band. She is backed up by Arturs Strautins (guitar), Edgars Vilums (drums) and Kristaps Erglis (bass). To date they’ve released two records; their debut, EnterTainment, in 2010 and an EP, Triana Park, in 2014.
If you were to ever have a dance version of Die Antwoord these guys are definitely them. They’re as unique and eclectic as the South African duo themselves but combine their dance/pop sound together to create a more Eurodance underground sound, and it actually falls together pretty well. As far as Eurovision entries go, this one definitely is unique, and isn’t really comparable to any of the entries released in recent years to even be able to guess the publics reaction. I think it has a moderate chance of passing through the first semi finals.
Rate /10: 7
Sunstroke Project – Hey Mamma
Sunstroke Project incorporate violin, saxophone and dance music. In 2010 the group represented Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest alongside Olia Tira. It was after the 2010 contest that saxophonist Sergey Stepanov became a YouTube sensation known all over the world as the Epic Sax Guy. The video of him performing at the contest went viral and has been watched millions of times.
Well excuse me. I wasn’t expecting that. Moldova have just sent their best entry in their history of entries. It’s dance euphoria, and this song will have the whole stadium on it’s feet and having the Eurovision party in full swing. This is important because it will leave a huge impression of the public. I’ll be sincerely shocked if this song doesn’t pass through to the final.
Rate /10: 8
Slavko Kalezić – Space
Artist. Theatre. Music. Movies. TV series. TV media. X Factor. One man show. Vegetarian. Cosmopolitan. Those are the words that have been used to describe Slavko Kalezić will represent Montenegro in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Space.
Please please please do not let the first 40 seconds of this song fool you. I did, and I was ultimately surprised. At first I thought that this was going to be messy as you like, but actually it was the most camp surprise I’ve ever heard in a song and I was scalped. Once Slavko goes in, he goes in. This song will go down so well in Kiev, and I hope to the gay gods this one gets through to the final. This song is what Eurovision is about.
Rate /10: 8
Kasia Moś – Flashlight
Kasia Moś was born in 1987 into an artistic family. She is the daughter of Marek Moś, a conductor, violinist, chamber musician and director of the chamber orchestra AUKSO. Joanna, Kasia’s mother, is also a musician and plays the violin. Kasia’s brother, Mateusz, is a violinist and composer and produced her debut album.
Taking yet again, another sinister dark turn, Flashlight see’s a more rock approach from Poland this year in comparison to last year’s pop ballad ‘Color of Your Life’. I find this one quite boring. Like asking for Madagascan vanilla but only getting milk vanilla. Quite plain Jane.
Rate /10: 5
Salvador Sobral – Amar Pelos Dois (For The Both of Us)
Salvador Sobral is a singer who manages to put across a unique musical sensibility and magnetism on stage. He will represent Portugal in Kyiv with the song Amar Pelos Dois (For The Both Of Us), penned by his sister Luisa.
Another cutesy little number. Reminds me of something you’ll see in a Disney film like Lady & The Tramp or something. I must admit, it is a very beautiful song, however eccentric Salvador is and his voice, it was still very enjoyable and transported me elsewhere for a very pleasing 3 minutes. Nice to see you back, Portugal.
Rate /10: 7
Omar Naber – On My Way
Omar Naber’s music may be best described as melodic pop/pop-rock with the emphasis on a strong vocal delivery. He will represent Slovenia in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with his song On My Way.
Apparently this guy is known as a ‘rockstar’ in Slovenia, but this song could not make those accusations any more false, even if this was a collaboration with Slash. There was nothing rock star about this whatsoever. The song in general was boring, it lacked any sort of hope for even entering the final I believe. This ballad was just not meant for Eurovision.
Rate /10: 4
Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
At the age of 13, Robin started playing the guitar, after having played trumpet for years. In 2008 at 17, he entered Swedish Idol and literally blew the judges away with his soulful and mature voice. Everyone agreed that there was something very special about his voice and personality! Since then he has toured with his band, written music, released a couple of singles and not least gained lots of experience.
Here’s my problem. Sweden had the opportunity to vote for this song, as well as others, of course, and one of those others was a song called ‘Statements’ by Sweden’s 2012 winner Loreen. The reason why this is a problem, is because the 2012 winning song ‘Euphoria,’ which was obviously performed by Loreen is without a doubt one of the best songs in Eurovision history, and in music history in general, and I kind of feel like they threw away another winning opportunity for this. Now, in all honesty, this song isn’t half bad, but this guy seems to be the most stuck up guy I have seen in Eurovision history, I mean, he may not actually be stuck up, but he certainly appears it, so singing a generic pop song and winning the Swedish choice over Loreen, which could had lead them to another win, actually baffles me. And what are those dance moves? This isn’t the first time Sweden have done something like this. I remember this exact situation happened last year when Molly Sanden entered with the Swedish choice with a song called ‘Youniverse’ which was amazing, and Sweden chose ‘If I Were Sorry.’ Like, Frans did a good job, but I feel like Molly could have done better, and Sweden have gone and done it again. Confused.
Rate /10: 7
Second Semi Finals
Nathan Trent – Running on Air
Nathan began writing his own songs at the age of eleven, and has continued to develop and perfect his own personal style. Today, he writes, composes and arranges his own songs, including Running On Air, his entry for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.Talent scouts from the Austrian broadcaster ORF discovered Nathan Trent thanks to his debut song Like It Is. After inviting him to submit a demo, they then nominated him directly as Austrian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest.
So typically Eurovision, Austria’s entry is one of those ‘believe in yourself’ type melodies, and offers a feel good, light feeling to it. The video to the song is slightly anti-climatic as he seems to be searching for something important only to then find he was looking for a hill with the beautiful scenery of Austria. Or perhaps it was a very carefully planned ad for Austria itself. Nothing too exciting, but it’s a good song all round.
Rate /10: 6
Naviband – Story of My Life
Naviband are Artem Lukyanenko and Ksenia Zhuk and will represent Belarus in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Story of My Life. Ksenia is described as “a bullet” where as Artem is “calm reasonable”.
I’m not normally a country fan, but this has a little kick to it, and is a feel good number which is bound to get the Eurovision fans in the stadium singing and dancing along. It definitely has some roots of Belarus in there which is nice, and I feel the majority of songs that enter are watered down to make ‘suitable’ for Europe as a collective, so this is refreshing.
Rate /10: 7
Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess
Kristian Kostov may only be 17 years old, but his experience, poise and talent go beyond his young age. He will represent Bulgaria in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Beautiful Mess.
Bulgaria not really delivering this year, and what with last year’s entry, I had high hopes. Bulgaria’s entry last year was one of my favourites, so this year had to be as good, if not better. Unfortunately it didn’t. It was kind of boring, and didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. Although beautifully written and sung, it just doesn’t stand out as some of the other entries. Definitely deserves to pass through to the final at least.
Rate /10: 6
Jacques Houdek – My Friend
Dubbed Mr Voice, Jacques Houdek is one of the biggest pop stars in Croatia and a multi-award winning artist.
Oh dear. Probably one of the worst Eurovision entries for this year. I’ve not a clue as to what’s going on through the entire song. Why this guy feels he needed to sing in two different voices, I will never know. The song is boring, the lyrics are mediocre and his voices are annoying. Had he stuck to the higher pitch, probably would have made it a little more enjoyable for about 60 seconds, but this is diabolical. I don’t think it will go through to the finals. Better luck next year, Croatia!
Rate /10: 3
Anja – Where I Am
Anja finished second in Melodi Grand Prix last year but came back to make her childhood dream come true by representing Denmark in Eurovision Song Contest. She is 21 years old and was born and raised in Australia, but both her parents are Danish and most of her relatives lives in Denmark. In 2014 she won the third season of The Voice Australia.
Wooow. This is a song. From start to finish this song removes each strand of your hair one by one leaving you completely bald by the end. It’s amazing. Her voice is incredible, the song is catchy, the lyrics are a little mediocre but that’s hidden by how amazing the rest of the song is. This has to thrash through to the final.
Rate /10: 9
Koit Toome & Laura – Verona
From Estonia comes the Power Duo of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. This is what happens when the highest performing male singer meets the decade’s most played radio artist and they team up with the country’s number one hit maker! As teenagers both Laura and Koit represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and 1998 respectively. Now they make their long awaited return
I can’t say I was impressed by this. I’m not entirely sure what “verona” is. Is it a place? Is it a person? Who knows. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what this song is even about. The production seems lazy, the lyrics are also average, and there’s nothing that kicks into any oomph. Quite boring actually. Not the worst out there, but it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s nothing exciting whatsoever.
Rate /10: 5
Jana Burčeska – Dance Alone
Jana debuted in Skopje Fest, the Macedonian selection for the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2012 with the song ‘Bi bila tvoja’ and immediately caught the attention of the public with her refined and sensitive stage performance and vocals. Participated again in 2013 and 2015 however in those years the contest was not used to select the Macedonian Eurovision Song Contest entry.
Kind of reminds me of Tove Lo or Charli XCX this one. It’s an electronic/pop song, and actually I could see it being released outside of Eurovision, and doing productively well providing the right promotion like an advert or something. As far as Eurovision entries go, this one I don’t believe will do too bad. It’s a 50/50 thing for me. People will either dig it and vote for it, or they won’t, it’s literally as simple as that. When you compare other entries, it doesn’t quite rise to the top, nor fall to the bottom so who knows.
Rate /10: 7
Joci Pápai – Origo
Joci’s breakthrough came in 2005 and after he released his first album and was featured in numerous top-charting singles as well. Recently Joci Papai reshaped his musical style, creating an exciting and unique blend of authentic gypsy music and modern pop. This can be heard in his entry for the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest entitled Origo.
Hungary’s entry this year definitely is a one up from last year and it offers a more authentic traditional gypsy sound with a modern pop/dance twist. He kind of reminds me of the The Weeknd in some ways, and as it was one of the first entries to be announced from this year’s competition, it’s since garnered a lot of attention since it’s announcement. and I believe will breeze through to the finals.
Rate /10: 7
Brendan Murray – Dying to Try
Brendan Murray is from Tuam in Country Galway and has been a member of the successful boy band Hometown since he was 17. Hometown’s first single, Where I Belong, became the fastest-selling single from a debut act and the fastest-selling single from an Irish artist in 2014, reaching number one in the Irish charts.The band’s second single, “Cry For Help” was released in March 2015 in Ireland and also reached number one. Hometown have toured extensively in the UK and Ireland and have supported such acts as Olly Murs, McBusted and The Vamps.
And this year’s typical Eurovision ballad comes from Ireland. In the last few years, Ireland have left us dry from the land of luck with not being able to even qualify through to the finals. Although still being the most successful country in Eurovision, so far this last decade, we’ve seen the Irish luck slip, and the Swedish close in on Ireland to being the top country in Eurovision. Ireland have certainly upped their game this year in comparison to the last few, and Sweden seem to have slipped up a little bit this year compared to the last few, but will it be enough for Ireland to qualify through to the finals and win? Well, they certainly won’t be winning, not even Brendan’s distinctive voice will even do that, however qualifying for the finals this year is looking a lot brighter than the last 2.
Rate /10: 6
IMRI – I Feel Alive
IMRI, 25, born and raised near Tel Aviv, won this year’s Rising Star singing competition TV show, and the ticket to represent Israel in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The young singer is already a veteran of the Eurovision stage, as a two-time backing vocalist, for both the “golden boy”, Nadav Guedj, in 2015 in Vienna, and the man “made of stars”, Hovi Star, last year in Stockholm.
It’s so nice to see IMRI stepping forward and representing his country independently rather than take the passenger seat, and rightly too because this year’s entry for Israel is amazing and IMRI does a brilliant job. Not only does he have a great voice, he has devilishly good looks and he can sing in Hebrew and Spanish as well as English. The video is cringe central, but it doesn’t side track that from being an amazing song.
Rate /10: 8
Fusedmarc – Rain of Revolution
Today the band has developed its own style and is certainly an indicator for new music creators. The work of Fusedmarc is not an experiment but a fusion of maturity, true emotions, and inspiring energy. Every concert is a unique experience, a no-compromise combination of different musical genres, bold arrangements, unpredictable vocal explosions and huge live energy.
Didn’t enjoy this one little bit. Reminds me a little of Paloma Faith. Now I love Paloma Faith, but this does sound like something Paloma would do. It’s just… well… weird. There’s no real meaning to the song I guess. The arrangement of it is just confusing. I honestly don’t believe this is something Paloma would send as an entry so therefore I don’t approve. The level of entertainment though, 10/10!
Rate /10: 4
Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly
A unique voice. A million emotions. A girl next door by day and glamorous diva by night with a passion for music and life. That’s how Claudia Faniello, Malta’s representative in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, has been described.
A beautiful composure about, of course, love. Malta have always been notorious for sending out mediocre run-of-the-mill entries, but last year they sent out Ira Losco with ‘Walk on Water’ which is undoubtedly their best entry in their history of Eurovision entries, but this year they have also sent out a great entry. It’s not exactly Ira but this is beautiful and is sung stunningly.
Rate /10: 7
JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann – Grab The Moment
Joakim With Steen is the name behind JOWST. At 15 he developed an interest in punk rock and songwriting. After finishing music producer school, where he also worked as a teacher, Joakim started working as a sound engineer and producer. The project Making a Hit was his first artistic concept of JOWST. In a closed Facebook group, he let his friends provide feedback on the whole process of writing and producing Grab the Moment. He creates music with the aim of pushing himself, such as taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Norway providing proof that even they can send decent entries into the Eurovision blood bath of musical delight. JOWST has his own look very similar to Daft Punk and Deadmau5 with the whole mask thing, and Aleksander, the guy on the vocals, sounds very similar and has a way about him to Mike Posner. It’s a eargasming dance number that has chart potential anywhere in the world, and if performed well on the night will sail through to the finals.
Rate /10: 8
Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It!
Ilinca comes from a family of musicians and she has been studying music since she was seven years old. She started with festivals throughout Romania and results gradually started to appear. At 14 she took part in X Factor as a member of a four-piece girl band, reaching the live shows. At 16 she took part in The Voice of Romania, where she reached the semifinals along with Loredana, and she continued to take part with her coach in the national tour and to collaborate with several cultural institutions in the country.Alex Florea started singing since he was 16, when Mihai Traistariu, who represented Romania in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, sent him to a music school and then to festivals. Alex went to the Popular Arts School, under the guidance of Theodor Radulescu. At present, he is studying for a masters degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts, more specifically, in the Theatre Section. In 2014, he participated in The X Factor along with his brother, and he also achieved success in The Voice of Romania in 2015.
I have heard some awful songs in my time but all existence of this song needs to be destroyed. Romania was disqualified last year, and rightly too as their entry was bad last year, unfortunately, they’re not disqualified this year, but definitely need to be. This song is just awful from start to finish. There’s a little 14 or so seconds in the bridge that sound OK but other than that it’s diabolical.
Rate /10: 2
Julia Samoylova – Flame Is Burning
Julia Samoylova is a singer, composer and songwriter. She was born in 1989 in the city of Ukhta (in the Komi Republic of Russia). As a child Julia loved to perform at various family events, and when she was 13 she started to attend a singing club.She has won numerous music contests in Russia and abroad and was a finalist of The X Factor in Russia finishing second in 2013. She also won the Alla Golden Star Award (legendary singer Alla Pugacheva’s Award). Julia performed at the Opening Ceremony of Winter Paralympics 2014 in Sochi.
Russia consistently send out amazing entries year in, year out of which none so far this decade have found to be winners. Honestly? I don’t think this year is any different, despite how inspiring Julia is. The song is good. It’s not amazing, but it’s certainly very good. How it will go down in Europe, we will have to see on the night, especially as it will be via satellite.
Rate /10: 7
Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson – Spirit of the Night
Valentina Monetta is a jazz and funky singer and was born in 1975 in San Marino. She is very well known to followers of the Eurovision Song Contest having participated for San Marino in 2012, 2013 and 2014 where she qualified for the Grand Final. Valentina prefers to sing live with different musicians in Italy and in Europe to promote her music. Currently she’s performing with her band Myfunky Valentine and also collaborating with a jazz band called Live Tropical Fish.
I always feel sorry for San Marino. They literally remind me of the gay kid in school that never wanted to take part in any sports activities but had to (not me by the way). They’ve only qualified for the final once in their history of taking part in Eurovision, and that was in 2014. This song isn’t at all great, but my sympathy for them made it so enjoyable. Eurovision followers will know how much of a queen Valentina is so that may just push them through to the final, but I won’t be surprised if they don’t. I love you San Marino, I really do.
Rate /10: 4
Tijana Bogićević – In Too Deep
Tijana Bogićević is a Serbian pop singer, best known for her song Tražim (Searching) that she recorded in 2010 and has since become a big hit. From an early age Tijana displayed a remarkable aptitude for music and it is no wonder she has chosen it as her career path. She says that meeting musician Vlado Georgiev in 2001 was the turning point in her professional career because that year she joined his band as a backing vocalist. While cooperating with Georgiev, she sang as a backup singer for his studio recordings and performed in concerts throughout the region. At the same time she was working with her own band which has become one of the most popular on the club scene in Serbia.
A drum’n’bass collective, Tijana’s entry for Serbia is pretty good. I can see why she’s successful in Serbia. Again, nothing to shout about, but still a pretty good song. I prefer this year’s entry to last year’s where they entered a song titled ‘Shelter’. Will it qualify for the finals? I think so. I don’t think if they didn’t I’d be shocked, but judging some of the other entries in comparison to this, this should pass.
Rate /10: 7
Timebelle – Apollo
With the power ballad, Apollo, Timebelle will represent Switzerland at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The band is named after a famous Swiss landmarkbut Timebelle is also a tribute to a “beautiful time” in Berne, where the band was formed. As the perfect trio, the three band members will be performing from the heart in Kiev in May.
Miruna Manescu is the lead singer and she is a trained musician and actress from Romania. At the Eurovision Song Contest she will be expressing her passion for art and is an avowed chocolate lover.
Emanuel Daniel Andriescu plays the piano, but also teaches saxophone and clarinet. The internationally active musician has been living in Switzerland for ten years. He achieves his goals with a great deal of charm.
The third member is drummer Samuel Forster. The dedicated Swiss-born musician pursues his professional visions with boundless energy and a talent.
What seems to be a fan favourite, Switzerland’s entry sees a promising position in the final. Do I think it deserves it? That I’m not so sure about. In all honesty, I don’t think I care. It’s one of those songs that I’ll enjoy, but only because everyone else enjoys it. I don’t have a burning desire to listen to it, as I don’t think it’s an outstanding song to listen to. It’s a ballad with memorable lyrics and some good hooks and melodies.
Rate /10: 6
OG3NE – Lights & Shadows
The Dutch vocal group OG3NE is made up of three sisters: Lisa (22) and twins Amy and Shelley (21). The name OG3NE represents their mother’s blood type O and the genes that tie the three sisters together. In 2014 they were the world’s first ever group to win The Voice and their great breakthrough in the Netherlands followed in 2016.
The very personal and harmonious Lights and Shadows is a musical tribute to their mother, written by their father Rick, to inspire those whose families are disrupted by illness. Their mother has been seriously ill for several years. The impact on their close, musical family is huge. They support each other and take care of each other, but still there is also a lot of grief.
What a beautiful, emotional song. Still keeping that country vibe that The Netherlands have so very well produced for us the last couple of years, these 3 sisters kill it with their angelic harmonies. From start to finish, this entry is full of emotion, and is also a song for hope, that actually makes you feel hopeful about some problems you maybe facing in your life. It’s amazing and this undoubtedly should smash the semi finals and easily placed in the top 5 of the final. Easily a potential winner in my eyes.
Rate /10: 9
The Grand Final
Alma – Requiem
Digital platforms named her one of the most promising emerging artists of 2017. Alma is a stellar, talented young woman, pianist, singer and songwriter with a unique and ethereal voice. She presents her new single Requiem which reveals her quest for never ending love, with poetic and dreamlike lyrics.
A step down from France’s entry from last year but still a good song. If you know about last year’s entry from France, the guy who wrote that, also took part in writing this one too would you believe? Also a fan favourite, and automatically nabbing a place in the final, this could be a good year for France.
Rate /10: 7
Levina – Perfect Life
Despite her natural charisma, the 25-year-old Isabella “Levina” Lueen is a professional. Bestowed with enormous talent, she won the acclaimed German regional, federal, and national music competition Jugend Musiziert at the age of nine, wrote her own songs at twelve, studied vocals and composition in London, and was promptly awarded “Best Vocal Performer”. Levina lives and works in Berlin and London.
Germany have done it again. They have delivered one of, if not the most boring song for Eurovision 3rd year in a row! It’s dull, lifeless, and after halfways through the song and just zoning out, it’s just noise.
Rate /10: 2
Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma
Hailing from Carrara in Tuscany, where his parents ran the town’s only instrument shop, Francesco Gabbani grew up on music. In 2010 he left his first band Trikobalto to pursue a solo career. Francesco shockingly decided to quit performing to concentrate on composing when, in 2015, his publisher BMG persuaded him to enter a song for the Newcomers section of Sanremo Festival. His song Amen won and subsequently went Platinum in Italy.In 2017, Francesco won the main section of Sanremo with Occidentali’s Karma, becoming the first artist ever to win in different categories of the Festival in consecutive years. Within hours, the success of the viral, Italian-sung smash had started to snowball. Occidentali’s Karma went Gold within a week and double Platinum in a month, spreading to the online charts all around the world while its colourful, ape-featuring video clocked over 50 million YouTube views. Francesco’s third album is due to be released on the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest.
I must admit, when listening to the snippets of the Eurovision songs as they were announced, this was one of my least favourites, however, listening to the whole song, and listening to the lyrics (in which are Italian by the way so you may need a translator) it has easily sky rocketed to become one of my favourites. Francesco isn’t so bad on the eye either, and has a very beautiful smile which also makes the song a little more enjoyable. What seems to be the current fan favourite this year, Eurovision has a huge chance of being held in Italy next year.
Rate /10: 8
Manel Navarro – Do It For Your Lover
Manel Navarro, 21, is a young composer and singer whose music is a mixture of influences from Bob Dylan to Ed Sheeran. Manel, always carrying his guitar, breaks the mould of pop music, with the rhythm of his brilliant songs. The singer and composer performs in the style of the tradition of James Bay or Passenger.Aside from original material Manel’s covers have also performed well on social media. DJ and producer Alan Walker praised Manel publicly for his cover of one of his songs. After success with his first single, Candle, released in 2016, his second single, Do It For Your Lover, has become a radio hit. Earlier this year he won the Spanish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and will represent Spain.
Unfortunately, Spain have taken a low this year with their entry in comparison to last year. The song is literally so basic, and the amount of times I hear the words ‘do it for your lover,’ is ridiculous. I wouldn’t say it’s a horrible song, it’s just repetitive and boring.
Rate /10: 5
O.Torvald – Time
O.Torvald was established in Poltava, Ukraine in 2005. In 2006 the band moved to Kyiv where they began performing live. Zhenia Halych is the band’s front man and and to date, the group have released five albums. The band also have a large audience of fans. In 2015 they toured Ukraine and Europe and last year released their latest album; #OurPeopleAreEverywhere which was produced by Kyrylo Matiushenko from Belarus.
HARD. ROCK. HALLELUJAH. No. I’m absolutely not enjoying Ukraine’s entry this year. Nor did I last year though to be fair, and they still won. Ukraine’s best entry was in 2013 when they sent a little lady out by the name of Zlata Ognevich and a song called ‘Gravity’. That’s the Ukraine I want back.
Rate /10: 4
Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You
Lucie Jones is a singer and actress from South Wales and has a wealth of stage experience, beginning with The X Factor in 2009 where she was a finalist. From there she embarked on a highly successful musical theatre career. Lucie’s credits include playing Cosette in Les Miserables, Kelly in The Prodigals, Meatloaf in the We Will Rock You World Arena Tour, Victoria in American Psycho The Musical and Molly Jensen in Ghost, The Musical.Lucie won the DIMF Best Actress in a Musical Award for her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde the Musical. She is currently playing Maureen Johnson in the 20th anniversary tour of RENT! The Musical. An avid sports fan, Lucie has sung the Welsh national anthem at sporting events in The Millennium Stadium and Twickenham Stadium and God Save the Queen at Wembley Stadium. Lucie is excited and honoured to be representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.
So this is the first entry from the UK since Brexit, so this could be a difficult year for the UK not only politically and in general, but more importantly, Eurovision. It’s been 20 years since we last saw the United Kingdom take the Eurovision crown, and it’s been 9 years since we even saw UK on the left hand side of the leaderboard. I almost feel this song is self sentimental in the fact the song says ‘i will never give up on you, just take my hand and hold on, together we’ll dance through this storm,’ perhaps referencing Brexit and trying to keep a relationship with the rest of Europe. Probably not, but the thought was there. Will the UK win? Most probably not. Again, the UK done what they did last year along with Sweden and picked another song rather than a potential winner. There was a song sung by Nathan Simpson which should have been chosen, but the UK doing what they normally do with decisions, chose the wrong one. This song is cute and all, but sounds like something the UK typically send every time it comes to a ballad, and I don’t even think with Emmelie De Forest being a writer on the track will even help the win this year. Emmelie De Forest being the winner for Denmark in 2013 for those who don’t know. Still, it’d be nice to see the UK even make the left hand side of the board.
Rate /10: 6
The first semi-final will be hosted live on Tuesday, 9th May.
The second semi-final will be hosted live on Thursday, 11th May.
The grand final will be hosted live on Saturday, 13th May.
Check the Eurovision website to see where you can watch the biggest party in Europe on the night!
Please note: All reviews and predictions are all strictly down to opinion. The voting happens live during the events and any predictions that are correct is down to pure coincidence.