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Line-up check 2016: The automatic finalists

by | May 1, 2016 | 2016 reviews, Uncategorized

Line-up check 2016: The automatic finalists

by | May 1, 2016 | 2016 reviews, Uncategorized

It’s the final part of the escgo! line-up check for 2016, which means it’s time for our editors, Felix, Martin and Shi, to turn their attention to the countries that are automatically qualified for the grand final of ESC 2016: the “big five” and the host country, Sweden.

Just like in our previous articles, each entry has been randomly assigned to one of the three editors. They’ll give their views briefly, followed by an arrow that represents their feeling about the song’s chances in the contest and an emoji or two that reflects their own personal taste. Then the other two editors will get a quick “right of reply” in which they can agree or disagree with what’s been said!

Now let’s see what our team thinks about the six songs that will definitely be appearing on the big Saturday night show – in alphabetical order, starting with…


Felix: Well, I definitely “get” why a lot of people think this can win. It’s a good song, it’s catchy and has a positive vibe. But does it stand out? And how important is it to have the song title in the chorus? Or I better ask: Will people remember it even if the song title is not in the chorus? I dare to say, to win, it’s crucial to at least have some of the title words in the chorus. The last winner that didn’t have words from its title in the chorus was Nocturne. Before that… go research yourself.


Martin: Interesting point! In any case, there are other things (staging, lead/backing vocals) that will prevent this otherwise deserving song from winning.

Shi: While it’s just out of my personal top 10, I would be delighted if that won, and one can only hope that they WILL actually get the staging and vocals right.


GERMANY: You got style, I think I'll make you mine

GERMANY: You got style, I think I’ll make you mine

MartinLook, I get it. Jamie-Lee is young and quirky, she likes Japanese street fashion, it’s a distinctive look and it’ll help her to stand out from the crowd in the grand final. All well and good – but there’s no use in being noticed if the response you get from most people is “Why is that girl singing such a serious song while looking so silly?” I suspect “Ghost” would be in trouble on the scoreboard anyway – I do quite like it, it’s just too low-key and slow-building to make any real impact – but the fashion clash will seal its fate.


Shi: I liked this song ever since Jamie-Lee won The Voice with it, but that’s probably why I can’t judge it properly. I am coming to terms with its upcoming bottom 5 appearance.

Felix: More colourful than the typical German entry, but too boring on first listen. There are some nice moments, but by the time you notice that it’s gonna be too late.


MartinI try not to automatically love Italian entries, I really do, but they have a habit of worming their way into my affections regardless. “No Degree Of Separation” is no exception, a gorgeous atmospheric slow-burner with some touches in the arrangement to die for – and unlike many people, I actually think the brief switch to English for the second chorus works well. I’m a little concerned about Francesca’s live vocals and her connection with the audience, but if they can get it right, this quality entry should be richly rewarded by the juries at least.


Felix: This chorus sounds like she’s still not sure what she wants to sing. It’s like going back and forth the supermarket shelves. Should I buy this or that chocolate? Weak.

Shi: One problem with artists you like doing Eurovision is that you know their other songs and sometimes you like them better. But once I got over that, I realized I really like this.


Shi: For the first time, there’s (almost) no Spanish in the Spanish entry, and as much as I love and miss the language, it doesn’t bother me too much, because their English track is a lot of fun. It’s upbeat with a good groove and cool beat (and yes, some questionable choreography). I have it filed under “songs that can finish anywhere” and I honestly don’t know. I do think Barei is a likable performer who can make the song noticed – enough to get a safe mid-table result, at least.


Martin: I’m also quite clueless about how this will do. It could get a bottom-quarter result, but if it quietly made its way to 9th then I wouldn’t be surprised either. I enjoy it, anyway.

Felix: Annoying on first listen, but now, later, I quite enjoy it, and – by Eurovision standards – it sounds quite 2016, too. I like its energy now. Could go anywhere, results-wise.


SWEDEN: Little child, your look, it pains me

SWEDEN: Little child, your look, it pains me

Shi: “If I Were Sorry” is one of those songs that sound like I should like them, yet I don’t quite get them. I’m not sure if it’s because I think the song is not good enough or the uncanny ability of Frans to be off-key when speaking through an entire song, but to be honest: it doesn’t matter. In a year of current, modern and samey songs, it manages to be current, modern and stand out from the crowd, which should be enough to do some damage to the top 10.


Felix: Oh god. Now that boring, bland stuff from the charts reached the Eurovision stage. Sorry, not sorry, sorry, glory, wtf. This is the last I want to win, behind Russia.

Martin: I realise the song is quite artificial and something of a pastiche, but I do think it will have a niche all to itself in the voting. Consecutive wins for Sweden are not impossible.


United Kingdom
Felix: Yes. My big favourite. This is the one song this year that makes my heart beat higher. So much natural positivity and charm, so much juvenile energy, and such a strong song on top of it all. Cute guys, too. I don’t know why this isn’t the big favourite to win. It would make so much more sense than certain other favourites for victory. However, I trust my fellow Eurovision experts enough, so I don’t expect too much, results-wise. In my little world though, it already won, and if only my whole Eurovision heart.


Martin: As a Brit, I love that someone has the UK as their favourite! It’s a step in the right direction for the BBC, but I fear it’s a bit too simple and amateur to do well.

I will be immensely surprised if they managed to get out of the bottom 5 despite the track being quite lovely, but I hope they do, somehow. They are adorable.


And that’s it! Just in time for the rehearsals to begin tomorrow, that’s the end of our line-up check of the 2016 entries. Have we helped you to identify the winners and losers? Will our emoji predictions match reality or will we be wide of the mark? We’ll soon find out!

In the meantime, stay tuned to escgo! over the next two weeks, both here on our website and on social media, as we give you our thoughts on the rehearsals, our final predictions for the shows, and plenty of betting tips and other content too. Here’s to a great ESC fortnight!

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