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Line-up check 2017: The “big 5” + Ukraine

by | Apr 30, 2017

Line-up check 2017: The “big 5” + Ukraine

by | Apr 30, 2017 | 2017 reviews, Eurovision

Images: Raul Tejedor RTVE, RAI, Charlie Clift

Just in time for the first day of rehearsals and our website revamp and relaunch, it’s the final part of the escgo! line-up check for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. And there’s no better way to end than with the songs we’ll definitely be encountering in this year’s grand final – namely the entries from the “big five” pre-qualified countries plus host nation Ukraine.

Without further ado, then, let’s see what our editors – Felix, Shi and Martin – think about the songs personally and how they rate their chances in text and emoji form…


FRANCE: Shadows dancing slowly on my wall

Shi: Sometimes in Eurovision there are songs I think are really good and I know I’ll keep listening to, but also quickly get a sinking feeling they won’t really work on the night. This is one of those cases. Alma, sweet and lovely as she is, never really convinced me that she can sell this live and make people pay attention to her three minutes, resulting in people heading to the kitchen to get something to drink instead while this nice background tune is playing. Decent singer at best, I’d imagine it’ll score something gloriously mid-table at best with the juries.


Martin: I initially thought this was cannon fodder, but it’s grown on me. I also suspect it’s more of a jury fave, but they could like it a lot.

Felix: I never found any access to this song. There was a moment a few weeks ago when I thought I “got” it, but apparently it slipped away again.

Martin: Having changed their preselection format in the hope of avoiding a third successive last-place finish, Germany have ended up with an entry that… might finish last again. I actually quite like it – it’s a perfectly competent slice of radio pop. And it won’t be the worst song in the final. The problem is Levina is a good but not outstanding performer, and “Perfect Life” is a good but not outstanding song. While it might attract some low jury points, you can’t imagine any televoter seeing it and thinking: “Yes! That’s my favourite, I must vote for it!” Ergo: doomed.


Felix: Badly written song, as simple as that. For example, the chorus begins as a vase and ends as a telephone book. Dull and irrelevant. Will bomb.

Shi: I won’t fast forward this if it comes up on shuffle. I’ll probably also not realize it’s even on, though.


ITALY: Der Unterschied zwischen Menschen, zwischen Affen und Primaten

Martin: The bookies’ favourite, the fans’ favourite. But is it a Rybak, a Lazarev or an Amaury? The pro arguments: The video just topped 100 million (!) YouTube views, Francesco is crazy charismatic, and the gorilla is fun. The contra: Those views might mostly be local, the lyrics are overly intricate even if you do speak Italian, and the gorilla will be seen as a gimmick. Then there’s the three-minute edit, which many hate but I think is quite sensible, focusing on the chorus and synth riff instead of All The Words. Turin 2018? Maybe. But karma can be a bitch.


Shi: Wasn’t my favorite in Sanremo, isn’t my favorite here, I don’t really care much for it, but Francesco is cool and it would make a fun winner.

Felix: I kind of get it now. Still, I feel like people make me watch a movie with them, and tell me “it’s so funny you’ll ROFL”, and I’m like “okay…”

Felix: Right now, I have two options about what I’m doing next. Doing the laundry or writing about Spain? As much as I try to procrastinate, the empty space glaring at me here still screams “YOU STILL HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING ABOUT SPAIN 2017”. Argh. I don’t like reggae. I don’t like national final decisions depending on one single person, unless that single person is Pierre Kartner. And I don’t like this song, period. It isn’t bad, it isn’t repulsive, it isn’t annoying, it is NOTHING. And on top of that, the performer is uninteresting too. Not gonna end up top 15.


Shi: To be fair, I think it’s more the live performance of this that doesn’t really work rather than the song itself, but that’s a problem when you still have to perform this live.

Martin: I’m actually really fond of this song (and how much it winds up the Spanish fanboys), but I’m acutely aware of its flaws. I’d love it to succeed, but… yeah.


UKRAINE: Time will pass and die, unlike me

Shi: Why do I keep getting all the songs that have no discernible melody? I’m fairly certain the only positive thing I have to say about this is it beat that horrible song that was the favorite in the Ukrainian national final and saved me from it. And I do recall they had a styling that made me think about suicide bombers for three minutes (yes, I know your song is called “Time”, that’s really not a good enough reason to wear ticking clocks as fashion accessories). Luckily for them, not much ambition to win on the Ukrainian end this year, so who cares.


Martin: I care! Not much, but I do like this well enough. It’s a “third single from a decent but unspectacular album” kind of song, though, which isn’t great for ESC.

Felix: I get a few “Deli” vibes from this, and ever since I realized that, I can enjoy it a bit more. Still, it’s far away from “Deli”.

United Kingdom
Felix: My relationship with this can be divided into three phases.
Phase 1, beginning with the UK final: “I hate it. I much preferred Holly or Olivia. In my bottom five.”
Phase 2, beginning with me watching the preview videos some weeks later: “Oh, is this the UK? Heck, it’s NICE, what did I previously think? I like it!”
Phase 3, beginning with the ChatVote: “How did the UK song go again? I can’t remember”, alternating with “UK is stuck in my head”. All in all, it’s quality, it might go anywhere on the scoreboard, just probably not first or last place.


Martin: As the Brit on the team, I’m just happy to have a UK entry I’m not ashamed of. Lucie is great and this shouldn’t totally bomb even with the Brexit factor. Hopefully…

Shi: She’s classy, a great singer, and emotes this perfectly without ever going overboard. I think this will do well.

And that, dear readers, dear friends, is that! Our line-up check for 2017 is complete. Who will win this year? Who will crash and burn in the semi-finals? Our words may have shed a little light on proceedings, but as always, the beauty of the Eurovision Song Contest is that it’s good for a few surprises (or even more than a few).

Whatever happens over the next fortnight of rehearsals, semis and the grand final itself, whether you’re travelling to see the show or watching it at home, we hope you have an awesome time – and stay tuned for more content and analysis as we start hearing and seeing what’s happening on the big stage in Kyiv!

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