Watched by 200 million people over 50 countries, the state-spanning song contest is once again upon Europe (and some other honorary countries). Today I am going to be writing up the review as it happens. To the uninitiated, the opening catwalk is a great metaphor for the contest as a whole:it's camp and ever so slightly ridiculous.
Being hosted in Stockholm, Sweden, this year's theme is apparently "come together". How lovely! It mirrors the original sentiment of the first show which was started as a way to rebuild relationships post World War 2. Sure, make friends by having a competition(!) Genius.
Anyway, it's starting! Let's get ready for some Euro-centric fun.
Note:Each song is being reviewed as I listen and in show order. I've not heard any of the entries before, and after a brief blurb they'll be given a rating out of 5 Euros (5 being Euro-rific, 1 being Euro-trash).
[Belgium] Laura Tesoro - What’s The Pressure
Is that a Rapper's Delight sample I hear. No. .it's managed to be just different enough to avoid getting sued. The song's opened up to warmer sounding disco-pop style. Really reminiscent of Fleur East's Sax . Nice, but weak. Missing that Boom boom POW.
[Czech Republic] Gabriela Gunčíková - I Stand
Diva moment. Oooh, dramatic starting. She's got a slight rock edge to her timbre. Hoping it's going to come through stronger when the climax hits. Well there was a a fleeting moment of belting, but once again, there was no punch for me. Maybe it's my speakers. Let me crank them up.
[Netherlands] Douwe Bob - Slow Down
A dude and a guitar. I don't think this is going to be for me. Touches of country, but nope. No thanks. That gap in the song was totally unnecessary. Kinda makes me dislike the song even more for teasing me with the promise of it being over.
[Azerbaijan] Samra - Miracle
Pop song. She sorta looks like Ariana Grande and it sorta sounds like Chandelier. The vocals sound shaky to me. Look, fireworks and fire!It's over.
[Hungary] Freddie - Pioneer
Oh God, I'm so not a fan of a gravely delivery, particularly when it sounds affected. OH NO, now there's whistling- y'all should know I hate whistling in songs! Compared to the other up to now, the chorus has the best contrast to the verse, giving some much needed drama. Good bridge, let's hope it goes somewhere....held note. One of the better brides so far.
[Italy] Francesca Michielin - No Degree Of Separation
First non-English song of the night. Doesn't really, matter, ain't listening to the lyrics anyway! I'm like the build up and the relaxing sound of the music. Hmmm, the chorus is sweet, but there's a flatness to it all. Definitely a few tuning issues. Ohhh, switched to English. Maybe I am paying attention to the words. Song lost steam half way through for me.
[Israel] Hovi Star - Made Of Stars
Ok, looking at this dude in the promo before the song, it looks like it might be dramatic. I'm exciting. I'm getting Adam Lambert teas. I think I'm liking! Ok, the lyrics are corny, but it's building nicely. This better have some crazy vocals, or an awesome bridge. My body is ready. Here it comes, tempo increase, drums kicking in. YAAAS! This is what I like. Darn him, where's the big note after that bridge. That was a let down.
[Bulgaria] Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime
Sounds like the most contemporary song, yet. I could probably dance to this in a club. I wouldn't love it, but I could. For a song so dance-y I'm shocked the stage isn't crammed with dancers. Good for her. I spoke too soon. Here they come.
[Sweden] Frans - If I Were Sorry
Oh he's one of those singers. From Sweden, but somehow sounds like Ed Sheeran. This is too corny for me. I'm sure there are girls out there fainting at the sight and sound of this, but I ain't buying it. NEXT!
[Germany] Jamie-Lee - Ghost
A pixie has appeared! This is sounding good. Quiet start, but confident vocal keeping my interest. Here comes the beat. The chorus is dreary and not very catchy, shame. Little bit of belting in the concluding chorus, lifts it a tad. Started well, died quickly.
[France] Amir - J'ai Cherché
Tempo is good, and the melody is nice. Ahh man, why did it have to go all Mumford on me. He looks like he's having the time of his life, which is awesome and the vocal is consistent. The catchiest so far, with a lot of elements of what make a great pop song.
[Poland] Michał Szpak - Colour Of Your Life
Now this looks like a character. He's feeling the lyrics, and the voice sounds good.He better slay the vocals on the bridge. Here we go, music has fallen back, giving him space. Damn it. Key change gone to waste. That was the perfect moment to take it and run. Another Key change, shame it sounds to have taken him out of his comfortable range.
[Australia] Dami Im - Sound Of Silence
Special guest last year, and they're back to compete again. Who knows why. Who even cares. Thinking this will be good. Me like-y so far. YAAAS! DRAMA! Vocal is sounding strong, you can hear the control throughout. The vibrato is gorgeous. Ok, bridge... GIVE IT TO ME MAMMA......now this is how you do it. It got dirty at the top, but impressive stuff! Great song, great vocal!
[Cyprus] Minus One - Alter Ego
Yay, warning of strobing and flashing lights. Maybe I'll fit. I must be physic, I was expecting a rockier sound from Cyprus- not sure why- and that's what they're giving. Here comes the chorus, and weirdly enough, I'm enjoying this. Sounds Killer-esque HE's HOWLING! LOOL! I LIVE!
[Serbia] Sanja Vučić ZAA - Goodbye (Shelter)
It's going to get serious- song is about domestic abuse. The rock-pop sound feels slightly wrong, but I do like the melody, the voice and the production. Kudos for tackling a meatier subject. Oh wow, a high, a wild, fifth octave belt just appeared from nowhere. The voice was unleashed in the closing half.
[Lithuania] Montell - I’ve Been Waiting For This Night
I wasn't expecting it, from the intro, but I'm liking this. Very euphoric. It sounds like something else I can't put my finger on, but it's catchy. Generic boy-band voice, but it suits the production well. Whoever produced this, did so smartly. Held my interest from beginning to end.
[Croatia] Nina Kraljić - Lighthouse
Look at that outfit! Finally some Eurovision wackiness manifested in costume. Sounds like a spiritual Ellie Goudling song- though her voice is more varied, and stronger. I'm a sucker for ethic-y scales, and this has it. Enjoyable!
[Russia] Sergey Lazarev - You Are The Only One
Wasn't expecting that voice. He's been watching Beyonce's Run This World performance at the Billboard Awards. Happy to see some choreography and interesting staging. I take that back, it's brilliant staging. Maybe too much so, since I just realised I wasn't even listening to the music!
Rating:€€€€€ (for the staging alone)
[Spain]Barei - Say Yay!
Catchy pop song. One so far I'd most likely download. Great energy from her and the musical production is perfect for the show. The voice kept up with the track, being contemporary in its delivery and sound. Crowd sounded like they enjoyed it as much as me.
[Latvia] Justs - Heartbeat
Got that disclosure sound. the vocal isn't matching up to the production for me. Potential was there, but it didn't come together.
[Ukraine] Jamala - 1944
Intense. Already talking about death. The vocal is interesting and emotive, and the backing is pitched right to give the voice centre stage. Clearly a talented singer, sorry Australia, my favourite voice so far. Wow, some whistle notes even thrown in- though they sounded off. But that doesn't matter, most vocally varied and most emotive for me.
[Malta] Ira Losco - Walk On Water
Reminds me of a hybrid of Jess Glynne's Don't Be So Hard On Yourself and Emeli Sande's Heaven. Hold up, the bridge is sounding interesting! Nope. Didn't work. Shoulda just handed the mic to one of the Gospel background singers. They would have slayed that.
[Georgia]Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz - Midnight Gold
Another rockier entry to cut the camp. I'm not buying the look. It, and the sound, comes across slightly inauthentic and stiff- like they're playing rock stars. But the variety in sound is appreciated. Just got better, with the track filling out with various noise. Not bad. Not bad at all!
Rating:€€.5 (I can't do no half Euro)
[Austria] ZOË - Loin d'Ici
I'm thinking this going to be very sweet. I was right. Got that Euro-dance thump to it- haven't heard that in a while. Too floaty-light for me.
[Britain]Joe and Jake - You're Not Alone
I'm preparing myself for a turd. Let's see if we can buck the trend of previous years. Hmm...it's sweet, but already forgettable. Not sure why they needed two vocalists for this One Direction b-side. Nil points, me thinks.
[Armenia]Iveta Mukuchyan - LoveWave
LAST SONG!! SWEET RELEASE. Please be good. It's a Diva, so my hopes are high. Strange talking intro, but it's building. Look at her working those moves. There's a good controlled edge to the voice and some well supported mid-belts. I need to hear one upper fifth belt to be impressed. Oh there it is. Sounded off, though.
And there we are! Eurovision 2016 is done and dusted!! Phew. The whole show is up on Youtube, if you have two hours plus to spare...As for the winner, watch the video below for the reveal. Great choice. A gold star for the judges this year.