2015 Review: Malta

So I wasted a bunch of time deciding how to write this post (mainly because of unwanted personal issues over winter break)…anyways, Malta selected their entry right after Junior Eurovision to maximize their stage at Malta Shipbuilding. After hearing that the festival lasted approximately 4 hours (mostly from countless ads for Mediterranean Bank or interval acts), I decided to wait for the results the next day. Eventually, the jury and televoters awarded full points to Amber and her song “Warrior.”

Wikipedia informed me that Amber (last name Bondin) had already participated once at Eurovision as one of Kurt Calleja’s backing vocalists, as in the female singer who sang two lines after the dubstep bridge and into the final refrain. But this year she’s not doing dance/standard Swedish pop. Instead, she joined forces with Matt Muxu Mercieca and Elton Zarb, the team behind Gaia Cauchi’s JESC win and Federica Falzon’s 4th place to sing an emotional power ballad.

Due to my crazy Six Degrees of Separation though processes,  the first thing I thought of after listening to Amber belting out “Break through the silence” was “If you get mono and your spleen explodes, you’re in big trouble because there’s a major artery there.” Random thoughts aside, the song is more relevant when talking about meltdowns and controlling emotions. What Muxu calls “suffering silently” I call “turning it off,” both of which are bottling up inside a pressure cooker and never getting a chance to let it all out except for the occasional hell dream. Eventually everything has to come out, and it might shatter the world as you know it. But one day it’s going to get better.

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2015 Review: Belarus

After years of switching songs after their national final (and finally breaking the trend last year), I wonder if Belarus is going to start a new trend of sending songs that actually sending EuroFest winners. Let’s see if Uzari and Maimuna actually go to Vienna with their entry, “Time.”

Like the Macedonian entry, part of me was going “yes!” (cue fist pump)after learning that I had heard of the winning artist Uzari (pronounced “You-zari”) before the national final. Cue another fist pump for remembering that he co-composed one of my favourite 2014 Junior Eurovision entries, “Sokal” (which undeservedly received 7th place).

I didn’t watch the national final, so I only heard bits and pieces around the Internet that “Alexander Rybak’s group MILKI didn’t win”, “the song sound[ed] kind of disappointing”, “the violinist reminded [blogger or commenter] of Lindsey Stirling”, and “the graphics were great.”

After watching the performance, I couldn’t remember the lyrics besides “Time is like thunder-uh-uh-uh” and didn’t really understand why it was like thunder.  But as others mentioned, the visuals were great. The background was definitely pretty cool (despite the huge floating clocks reminding me of Israel’s 2012 entry), especially when huge numbers quickly counted on the screen and a “battle” scene between Uzari and Maimuna that reminded me of Peter Hollens and Lindsey Stirling’s Skyrim video.

So they’ve definitely got the visuals down. Now it’s time to work on the vocals. Also, does anyone who listens to Celtic Thunder think Uzari looks like Ryan Kelly?

 

Eurovision Sightings all over Uni

Even though my family’s tried bribing me to stop watching/listening to/talking about ESC, I don’t think it’s even possible today because it’s completely bled into uni…

I swear my professors all look or sound like Eurovision participants this semester:

  • My anatomy lecture professor looks like Trijntje Oosterhuis (Netherlands 2015)
  • My anatomy lab professor looks like Daria Kinzer (Croatia 2011), just minus the smile
  • My biology professor looks like Imaani (UK 1998). It’s probably because of the hair. And that she said she sings when she isn’t teaching. And because I sit in the back of the classroom because I’m almost always running late.
  • My chem lab professor looks like Vanessa Chinitor (Belgium 1999). Once again, it’s the hair. But she’s more likely to give me nil pointe for bad lab procedures than start singing…
  • My communications professor sounds like Mei Finegold (Israel 2014).

I think I need to limit my YouTube time, otherwise people in real life are going to start looking like people on TV. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

2015 Review: (FYR) Macedonia

After only qualifying once in the past 7 years and realizing after 3 internal selections that choosing their country’s most famous pop stars doesn’t always mean getting into the final, MRT went back to selecting their Eurovision entrant through the national selection Skopje Fest. After a little bit of scandal (which has to occur every year otherwise tabloids will probably ignore the contest), the winner turned out to be Daniel Kajmakoski, the winner of the 1st season of X-Factor Adria.

I was pretty happy that I already knew who Daniel Kajmakoski was (or at least that he existed in ESC circles) before the national selection, since his X-Factor coach was none other than Balkan superstar Željko Joksimović, and the two posted a song on Youtube shortly after Kajmakoski’s victory:

Due to the collaboration between the two artists, and that the title Lisja Esenski (“Autumn Leaves”) reminded me of the mixtape in The Perks of Being a Wallflower containing a lot of ballads, my first assumption was that the winning song was going to be another Balkan ballad. However, after a few seconds that was not the case. Instead, the song sounded more like a Swedish ballad that one might hear at Melodifestivalen. (After looking up the composers, I also learned that Joacim Persson is Swedish, so…yeah…) Besides getting surprised by the song structure, the only other thing I noticed was his golden shoes (*cough*Diggiloo-Diggiley*cough*). That’s probably the last of the Swedish influence until the song possibly gets revamped before the song deadline.

I really enjoyed the song from my first listen, since the song reminded me of something warm and fuzzy even though I couldn’t understand any lyrics besides a few words picked up from other ex-Yugo entries. All I could guess was that it was some sort of a love song (which the translation showed it was)…no wonder it felt like he picked up a piece of his soul written in his own language and was handing it to the audience.

Now let’s see how he does it in Vienna. And $5 says he lives closer to the Wiener Stadthalle (5-10 minute walk from where he lives) than the Austrian entrant…

 

2015 Review: Netherlands

My first impulse was to start a full review of the Macedonian entry, but I decided it was a better idea to work with an English-language entry and then look up the lyric translation sometime later. Also, I connected to this song much more quickly than the other entries so far.

Overall, the song appears to be in good hands: AVRO/TROS left the power to Anouk, the first Dutch entrant to reach the final since 2004. She then wrote the entry “Walk Along” for Trijntje Oosterhuis, who’s currently a coach on The Voice of Holland. (I can’t comment on how famous she is because I live in the US and had never heard of her until the official Eurovision announcement.) It’s also a really catchy, Ohrwurm-y tune that sounds like a commercial radio hit that I’m guessing should get the audience’s attention in less than one listen. As seen by her performance on The Voice, she can definitely pull it off live.

While I have no problem with the tune, I’m not a fan of the lyrics. It’s not that the lyrics are really repetitive or that the “why-y-y-y” could sound grating to some people’s ears after a few listens, but the lyrics pretty much retells my high school love story without any metaphors. If the “why-y-y-y” gets replaced with me not being able to concentrate on schoolwork and almost failing class, then it’s almost the same thing. And because of that, in my opinion the lyrics sound really stupid.  Instead of something like “I tripped on a refrigerator cord at Lowe’s and had to buy it, but then it froze everything in the garage and my family saw nothing but a load of freezer damage,” the story turns into, “There was this guy in class that I liked, but when I asked him if he liked me he wouldn’t talk to me for over a year, and I spent that time being really confused. And it also negatively affected other aspects of my life.” Personal bias aside, the song shouldn’t do too badly if the Dutch delegation chooses effective staging. And even if I don’t like the lyrics, I’ll remember the song for at least a month after my last listen.

Taking a break

I’m not really sure who reads this, but due to uni and issues at home, I’ve been forced to take a break from B.E. for an undetermined amount of time.

Hopefully this isn’t the end, since there are so much more that I wish to talk about. Thank goodness for being able to write things down…