Israel: Eden Alene – Set Me Free
Martin: I’ve been trying very hard not to compare 2020 with 2021, but it’s hard to avoid with Israel, not least since “Feker libi” was one of my not-so-guilty pleasures in last year’s line-up. I thought it suited Eden’s personality and style so well. Sadface.
Still, “Set Me Free” is what we have to work with– and unlike many fans (or at least the louder ones?), I thought it was the obvious choice from Eden’s three-song national final this year, even before the revamp.
Incidentally, is there a more overused word in the fandom than “revamp”? It seems to be applied to the slightest of production tweaks these days, not just the Albania-style overhauls that justify it. Here, though, it’s not out of place – “Set Me Free” has been rejigged to a decent extent compared with that initial version, including eradicating sections that many liked (myself included) and adding some high notes toward the end that Minnie Riperton would be proud of.
Unfortunately, they’ve managed to turn a disjointed song into something perhaps even more disjointed. No wonder it’s viewed as a borderline qualifier at best. But even in a semi-final with competition in this genre, I can still see a path for Eden if she’s placed centre stage in a performance that lets her smile and shine.
Shi: This song is what I call a context song: a song that isn’t strong enough on its own merit, and its success (or failure) depends on other things – say, being in a ballad-heavy semi, which this is not. In that vein, if it does make it, it will be only because of Eden as a performer.
Felix: I really like Eden’s voice, and the entry has a few good moments. But put together, it just doesn’t fit, to the point that I don’t even see a “song” there. If I got the structure right, it’s especially the chorus that’s the weakest part of it. Mediocre at best.
video and title image source: eurovision.tv