2017 Review: San Marino

When I first heard San Marino’s 2012 entry, I facepalmed and I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the keyboard in the school computer lab before coming up with words to yell at Ralph Siegel.

In 2013, I screamed when I heard Valentina Monetta was returning to the contest, but I eventually warmed up once the song came out, even feeling a bit disappointed when she missed out by one place in the semifinal.

In 2014, I didn’t even react when SMRTV announced she was coming back for a 3rd time; pretty sure the only reason to send her at the time was to finally bump San Marino into the final. And she did. It was only 24th out of 26th, but it was a spot in the final and she got to perform twice that week.

Fast forward 3 years to 2017. San Marino’s sent two 16 year olds from JESC building singing about building a potential fire hazard and a Turkish Jeopardy host singing disco. They’ve been memed on Twitter into the country that sends artists from countries that don’t participate in Eurovision, or even the country that sends reject national final entries.

Well they didn’t send a reject national final entry (How would they select it? Through OGAE Second Chance? A national final similar to Twitter contests? And how weird would it be if Loreen represented San Marino?). Instead they announced that one person would be from the EU and another person would be from outside the EU. Enter Valentina Monetta for the fourth time and American-singer-living-in-Germany Jimmie Wilson.

If the US could vote in Eurovision and people participated in neighbor voting, then this would be the one country that I would vote for despite not being that big of a fan. Even though I could also choose between Albania (Lindita lives in Georgia), Denmark (Greenland is part of North America), Iceland (the closest country in Europe on the Atlantic side), or Russia (Sarah Palin can allegedly see Russia from her house). However, Jimmie Wilson happens to be from Detroit. I live in southeast Michigan. That’s close enough.

As for the song itself, I listened to it for the first time and guessed that it was a Ralph Siegel entry. No surprise. Given that a lot of people on Twitter have been complaining about the number of ballads, being an uptempo song, albeit an uptempo disco song from the 70’s and/or belongs on a cruise ship and/or Schlagerfeber might have fun singing this, should give San Marino a bit of an advantage. At first listen the voices don’t seem to mesh very well, but that appears to be due to accents. Valentina Monetta, being from San Marino and not speaking English as her first language, still sings English with an accent. Jimmie Wilson, on the other hand, is from Michigan and doesn’t have an accent at all. There’s also the factor that their voices have really different textures- one is smooth (reminding me a bit of Leslie Odom Jr. or Guy Sebastian) and the other not as smooth.

The conversation that they’re having in the song seems kind of awkward at first listen, but at the same time I haven’t paid much attention to the lyrics. It probably would not matter as much, as the few groups that do pay attention to the lyrics are a) the small group of fans who learn all the lyrics, b) whoever puts subtitles over the live performances, and c) Buzzfeed, which proceeds to mock lyrics over the said subtitles.

While I do think SMRTV should find someone else that isn’t Valentina Monetta to represent the micronation (or at least give her a jazz song to work with for once), this isn’t bad and there might be another borderline qualifier for San Marino this year. However, if they don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised.

2017 Review: Switzerland

I didn’t watch the national final. The choice was between Switzerland’s Grosse Entscheidungsshow, one of the semifinals for Latvia’s Supernova, or doing my chemistry homework. While I was seriously considering watching Supernova to find something weird to blast at work, I chose my chemistry homework (and still managed to not finish it).

*Apologies to my professor. I really need to catch up and actually be able to focus…*

Eventually the ticket to Eurovision went to the 2/3-Romanian group Timebelle and their song “Apollo,” allegedly the only half-decent song in the selection. Disclaimer: I’m not the one to judge which ones were decent because I never listened to any of the songs yet.

Anyways the song’s not bad. I’ve found myself humming the refrain, especially “I will never let you down” and “I’ll follow you Apollo” despite not knowing the lyrics as well as I should (yes, I’m already disappointing myself as an ESC fan XD). It’s got slight Melanie Rene vibes from the rhythm of the song and seems to follow a similar format to Time to Shine; as a result, as a decent, middle-of-the-road/standard Eurovision ballad entry, I’m going to predict the song on the edge of not qualifying (9th-12th in the semi) or like Melanie Rene, dead last, especially if placed next to a marmite or hyped entry. (I hope I’m wrong though.)

Also, is it just me, or does Miruna’s dress look REALLY uncomfortable?

My friends watch Mello

Well then. The final’s going to be next week, and I’ve been super lazy with reviews. There’s already…23 songs out now? And at the same time, I’ve managed to watch all 4 semifinals (thank goodness UMK didn’t take place on a Mello Saturday). On the other hand, my writing drive is still hovering around zero, so instead of a fleshed out review (which I’ll probably do for the final) here are some random thoughts while watching (or re-watching) the semis with my friends.

They’re not Eurovision or Mello fans, but I’ve been hanging around them long enough that they know it’s national final season right now, and they know some of the entries already.

SF1

  • Boris René: Her Kiss (AC >> Final)
    • Does he wear socks while he performs? Because if you don’t wear socks your feet stink. He probably does when he plays football but is he wearing them right now? I’d be concerned for his backing dancers if he didn’t.
    • Did he say “I wanna get her kids?”
  • Adrijana: Amare (6th)
    • This isn’t trashy enough for Eurovision.
  • Dinah Nah: One More Night (5th)
    • That outfit does NOT look comfortable.
    • Looks like she’s going for a football halftime performance?
    • But it’s a really good performance. I really like the rap part when she’s laying down.
  • De Vet Du: Road Trip (AC>> out)
    • Johan looks like the pharmacist that I work with
    • But he also looks like Bobby Flay!
    • *bobs head to the instrumental after listening to it for the 5th time straight to see what was going on*
    • That does not look safe if they were actually going on a road trip.
    • Wait, they’re wearing traffic cones on their heads? I thought they were hats at first.
    • DJ Hunk is just there for the fan service and it’s not even that good. Wait, is he there just to DJ and wash the car?
  • Charlotte Perrelli: Mitt Liv (7th)
    • She’s playing guitar. But I can’t hear any guitar…?
  • Ace Wilder: Wild Child (Final)
    • Looks like she woke up, couldn’t find a stage outfit, covered her pajamas in glue, and threw glitter all over herself.
    • Those aren’t pajamas, wouldn’t you be cold if you wear crop top pajamas to bed?
  • Nano: Hold On (Final)
    • He looks like the guy who sang the Mother song…

SF2

  • Mariette: A Million Years (Final)
    • I want to be her backing dancer, those bungee cords look fun.
  • Roger Pontare: Himmel och Hav (5th)
    • He didn’t qualify because he’s not trashy enough
    • No, he didn’t qualify because everyone who failed his anatomy class refused to vote for him
    • If she didn’t give a f/ why don’t they let him qualify instead?
  • Etzia: Up (6th)
    • She’s from the US? No wonder she didn’t qualify.
    • She has a lower voice than I do!
  • Allyawan: Vart har du Vart (7th)
    • Um… was there a song?
  • Dissmissed: Hearts Align (AC>>out)
    • It’s a pretty good song, the outfits are just aesthetic.
  • Lisa Ajax: I Don’t Give A (AC>> Final)
    • No, she does give a f/ because she cared enough to find a decent stage outfit.
    • Looks like sparkly crop tops are in season.
  • Benjamin Ingrosso: Good Lovin’ (Final)
    • He looks like he’d fit in on the cast of Dawson Creek
    • Did they pull him off the Disney channel
    • Wait, he’s only 19? I thought he was in his mid 20’s already!

SF3

  • Robin Bengtsson: I Can’t Go On (Final)
    • This is a good performance.
    • Wait, but no one gives a f/ when he swears??
    • Was that crotch shot necessary? Nope.
  • Krista Siegfrids: Snurra min Jord (7th)
    • That top doesn’t look very comfortable
  • Anton Hagman: Kiss You Goodbye (AC>> Final)
    • It’s not trashy enough for Eurovision.”
  • Jasmine Kara: Gravity (6th)
    • “But we gravity”?
  • Owe Thörnqvist: Boogieman Blues (Final)
    • *stares at screen for next 3 minutes*
  • Bella & Fillippa: Crucified (5th)
    • I thought Sweden wasn’t very religious?
  • FO&O: Got a Thing About You (AC>>Final)
    • Are boy bands a thing again?

SF4: Confession: I only showed them 2 songs out of this semi.

  • Jon Henrik Fjällgren ft. Aninia: En Värld Full av Strider (Final)
    • She looks like she’s having fun…
    • Wait, this is your favorite of the semi?
  • Alice: Running with Lions (5th)
    • *didn’t show them the song*
  • Les Gordons: Bound to Fall (6th)
    • *didn’t show them the song*
  • Wiktoria: As I Lay Me Down (Final)
    • Well I like her hair. And her dress. Looks like something I’d wear.
    • But are you going to go to bed in that?
    • She didn’t bring a mattress or a blanket or a pillow!
  • Axel Schylström: När Ingen Ser (AC>>Out)
    • *didn’t show them the song*
  • Sara Varga & Juha Mulari: Du får inte ändra på mig (7th)
    • *didn’t show them the song*
  • Loreen: Statements (AC>>Out)
    • Okay, so it’s interpretive dancing, and more interpretive dancing, and more interpretive dancing…

2017 Review: United Kingdom

So the UK actually selected their entry before Finland’s national final, and I didn’t get to watch it because I was at work. From what I heard off Twitter, the contest You Decide was somewhere between really awesome (by people in the venue sitting in close proximity to some VIP’s) and a vocal trainwreck with microphones breaking (by people watching the contest on BBC2). In the possibility that it was the latter scenario, BBC at least made its national final a bit more of a priority than last year by moving it from BBC4 to BBC2, and they pulled over one of the judges from Strictly Come Dancing for extra viewership.

After a few hours back at work I returned to Twitter at break time and saw the winner Lucie Jones perform her song “Never Give Up on You.”

Well it’s definitely not going on my work playlist because it’s way too calm, though it might work when paired against a dental drill. Otherwise I’d have to prepare myself to be in the right mood before listening to it, possibly while sitting in a café with a hot drink sometime.

Unlike the song that comes to mind when looking at the first three words (i.e. click here to be rickrolled), it’s a ballad a la Mikael Saari at UMK last year: vocals on point stripped back to just the artist, a simple backing track with strings, and lights. There’s no backdrop, no dancers, no backing vocalists. I partially questioned whether all the extra frills were just excluded from the budget, or whether the staging was supposed to be this simple. Maybe it would work in Kyiv if performed in a similar fashion, with a simple backdrop that doesn’t clash and a lot of dry ice on the ground that doesn’t flood Lucie Jones from the performance.

I guess the Beeb and a lot of the fandom decided to promote more that she’s an X-Factor artist who performed in the same year as Jedward (and finished one place lower than the duo who later went on to represent Ireland 2 years in a row), but why not also promote that she’s been a West End performer since 2010, debuting as Cosette in Les Misérables and currently playing in Rent? Adding that would have had a greater effect than “Former X-Factor artist performs song co-composed by 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest”, and the focus would be on Lucie rather than her song’s composing team.

On a completely separate note, some people have been comparing “Never Give Up on You” to the Common Linnets’ “Calm After the Storm.” I don’t see any similarities. CATS has a driving beat, while NGUOY doesn’t. CATS is a duet, NGUOY is a solo. CATS is American-country-ish, NGUOY is Broadway/West End.

2017 Review: Finland (+ UMK2017 Review)

Ahh, yes, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, one of the best Lunar New Year’s presents this year outside of red envelope money…  (Kiitos, YLE!)

Finland’s national final as of 2012 has been my favorite national final since I started watching NFs seriously in 2014, primarily because a) I get access to the songs on YouTube a month before the national final starts and have some time to process the entries, b) UMK in recent years is pretty similar to Melodifestivalen (which I also really like) in production terms but I don’t have to download an app to watch the show, c) there’s actually some variety in song genres so it doesn’t sound like 30 minutes of the same song playing over running water. Also it definitely didn’t hurt that Krista Siegfrids was hosting, and the show ended up trending #3 on Twitter that night.

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So despite having an exam to study for and a lab report to write, I put down my school stuff for two hours and tuned into YLE’s stream. Even better at the time: The rest of the family was out and I didn’t have to put on headphones or watch the performance on silent. And then the program started:

Circle of Light:

Emma’s WDM “Wooden Dance Music” entry was the immediate fan favorite on social media once YLE posted all the UMK songs on YouTube. A folky tune sounding a bit like Denmark 2013 meets Belgium 2003, the song contained a nyckelharpa (which I originally thought was a hurdy gurdy due to the clicking keys and drone string) and would probably fit in at the local renaissance festival. I debated whether to put Circle of Light as my #1 or my #2 but eventually decided on #2 due to calculus class. As Emma sang, “Nothing bad will ever cross the line, let me draw you a circle of light,” I couldn’t help but think of the circle of light as the domain where Bad=0, and the nyckelharpa’s instrumental solo reminded me of the protective dome in Atlantis, that there might be a protective surface above the domain created using a combination of magic and double integration (probably using r dr dθ because the domain’s a circle and because square rooting trig functions sucks). Math class blues aside, I didn’t get to see Emma’s live performance because my stream froze. I did get to see a few rehearsal pictures beforehand of her standing in a circle of flames similar to Maria McCool a few years ago in Ireland’s national final, wearing a floaty blue coat/dress holding a torch like in her music video. Unfortunately, her in-ears didn’t work as well as expected, she was thrown off rhythm, and her flame went out mid-performance. Rakas, we are not fine, I guess. However, despite her troubles on stage, she still earned enough points for a respectable placing, and maybe she’ll come back to another national selection in the future (3rd)

Arrows:


Each year in national final season there always seems to be at least one 16-year-old from some country that manages to sneak their way in. Not that it’s illegal (the limit is 16), but I just get really jealous. Two years ago UMK had Eeverest, last year they had Attention 2, and this year they had Alva. Her act was the first performance I got to see without the stream freezing (yay national final problems), and I could definitely see the Melodifestivalen influence as “Arrows” seemed like a very Mello-like song performed by a person who was a cross between Isa in 2015 and Krista Siegfrids. I didn’t care for the song as much as it didn’t immediately grab my attention, but after watching a few ranking videos, I had the “I’ve been shooting arrows, arrows, arrows,” hook stuck in my head. Alva seemed a bit off-key but it was most likely due to in-ears but visually it was a solid performance. (6th)

Love Yourself:

Yes, this is from the same guy that did the Ding Dong/ “You touched my tralala” song. Before I mention anything about the Günther and D’Sanz’s entry, I’d like to mention that there is a guy in one of my classes who looks just like Günther, minus the moustache. (He seemed really happy knowing about it). Anyways, this song is annoyingly catchy and it’s Marmite. I despised it at first listen, questioning why the hell a) YLE would ever send a Swede to UMK, and b) why a song about…self-love…would be okayed by YLE staff. My rational side wanted to keep “Love Yourself” in my bottom 3; however, the non-rational side decided otherwise. After about 3000 listens, about 80% of which came from the Ohrwurm Network, 10% to shock my friends (which only resulted in one friend talking about the seemingly super-low-budget video where according to him, “the backing dancers had to sell their clothes to be able to pay for Günther’s chair”), 7% because I needed something to stay awake at work/school which wasn’t System of a Down, and 3% because I was driving on a really cold day and the song just happened to appear on shuffle, the irrational side decided that this was going to at least be a guilty pleasure. Fast forward to the day of the national final and “Love Yourself” was the first performance that didn’t have any in-ear issues. D’Sanz sounded a little bit different because of the autotune in the song but the black and white-themed performance was slick and Günther didn’t sound like he’s snoring in the live performance anymore. So as an apology to my rational side, I’ll say it’s the performance that brought the song up. (5th).

Reach Out for the Sun:

Well I recognized Anni Saikku’s face from “my top 10” ranking videos  and Eurovision fan sites, and the performance where her face was blown up a la Jüri Pootsmann’s face at Eesti Laul, but I didn’t recognize her song. When I did after the voting recap played 3 times before the votes were announced, I decided that this was probably the best dental office song out of the night’s UMK entries: enjoyable while the song was playing, and that there was some movement in the music to the point where patients wouldn’t fall asleep but it was still relaxing enough so patients wouldn’t bounce around in their chairs. Well she did have that 3D light cage, which I guess counts as an upgrade from Brinck’s 2009 stage backdrop? (7th)

Caveman:

I think I might have listened to the song once in a “My top 10” ranking video and then totally forgot about it. All I remember is the ranking put Knucklebone Oscar (and the Shangri-La Rubies) last, complaining that the song was noise. After watching the well-performed live performance I vaguely remember the general feeling of the song, all I really remember is a lot of bright colors in the visuals, so probably like a WTF American football halftime interval act. ESC Pulse mentioned that Knucklebone Oscar looked a bit like Gary Glitter (yay, middle school band flashbacks playing the Hey Song), and I guess due to people dropping their phones from shock and forgetting to vote, someone had to get the wooden spoon that day. (10th)

Blackbird:

This entry is probably to blame for putting out the review over a week late, because I didn’t know how to describe the song’s angst without repeating myself or copying Wikipedia’s current description of “[X title] is a song performed by [X artist] representing [X country] in [X year]” without expansion. Blackbird was my 4th place in studio behind Lauri, Emma, and Club la Persé (please don’t judge; or if you have to judge, just glare coldly into your screen where I can’t see you), but given all the technical issues and tragic stagings in the contest, everything fell into place for Norma John. Seated between two upbeat songs, singer Leena and pianist Lasse worked their magic, pulling a Mikael Saari. No audio issues, no visual issues, just the two working their magic, pulling Adele-ish vibes on a Norway 2015 meets Norway 2014 entry. The staging was pretty simple: Lasse on piano and Leena standing a few meters away, Leena asking the blackbird representing a former relationship to fly away so she could grieve, Lasse slowly flooding the air with so much tension so that it might as well have been as dense as maple syrup. In that case, it was probably a good thing for Leena to wear a floor length dress, so that no one would ever know whether she was standing or floating. (1st)

Helppo Elämä:

This was my favorite UMK entry this year. With an integral-free (*cough*CircleOfLight*cough*) entry of Avicii meets Justs meets Pall Oskar’s more recent stuff performed in Finnish (ugh, all that R-rolling…Orz), I couldn’t help but listen to the song at least 100 times prior to the competition to the point that my manager would have banned the song from the work playlist if not for the fact that I could keep my feet still. It’s also 100% self-composed, which is also a bonus. While I completely understand that it’s impossible (or technically, highly unlikely) for the results to match perfectly with my personal ranking, did Finland really have to rank Helppo Elämä 8th out of 10? I suppose the (IMO, tragic) staging had an effect on the scores, but this was not bottom 3 material.  Thank you, Sweden (the country that I thought was most unlikely to give a Finnish-language song 12 points) for giving Lauri Yrjölä the credit he deserves. And even though he’s not going to Kyiv, I’m keeping the song in my playlist until my coworkers and I can all sing along to the words. (8th)

My Little World:

YLE is really weird when it comes to selecting tweets to display on UMK. When someone told me my tweet made it onto Finnish TV, I thought it might have been a tweet about how my coworkers probably hated me for blasting Club la Persé’s entry at work or how I was confused about why there were random Japanese characters on the backdrop or how hard it probably was for Mr C*** to breathe through their pig nose. But nope, it happened to be this one:

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Anyways, this is another guilty pleasure, but I’m not afraid to tell anyone that this one was my top 3 in studio because it has a good beat and I was really easy to sing along with. The lyrics were pretty straightforward with explaining my life as well. Yep, my little world is smashed to pieces and going nowhere; it’s trashed, useless, and doomed according to *certain family members* as well. So excuse me, I’m going to go sing didididididididididi now. (9th)

Perfect Villain:

Twitter had it right: Australia 2015 staging + Malta 2015 staging + pole dancing shirtless guys a la Slovenia 2016= Zühlke’s staging. She had a good voice and the performance was definitely very stereotypically Eurovision, but the lyrics were pretty random. Not as in the lyrics were badly Google Translated, since the composers were from Norway, but that everything was grammatically correct but didn’t make sense. For starters it would probably get a lawsuit from mentioning the X-Men and Kryptonite, and second those are from two completely different universes. I also didn’t bother listening to the song more than twice before the national final, and as a result I was definitely surprised to see her receive such a high score. (2nd)

Paradise:

This song would have been great if I used my first pair of headphones, i.e. the pair that allowed me to hear instrumentals but not vocals after some wire inside broke.  Maybe that’s why out of the 10 entries this song had the most listens on Spotify. The backdrop was pretty memorable as well, with the neon lights. However, the lyrics were terrible, cringe-y, and a bit explicit (Hmmm… “I wanna kiss your paradise?”); I’m waaaaaay too ace for this. I told one of my friends that if My First Band placed in the top 3 I would scream. Thankfully they placed outside the top 3, but it was really close. (4th)

_ _

Unlike the past two years, in which the juries and televoters went separate directions (PKN vs Satin Circus and Sandhja vs Saara Aalto in 2015 and 2016, respectively), both the juries and televoters decided to give overall maximum points to Norma John.  I was a bit surprised that Zühlke obtained so many points (probably due to the performance and vocals), but overall I was okay with the results. No screaming about My First Band placing higher than it should, though I’m pretty sure I quietly flipped off the computer screen a few times when France and Israel decided to split a point on Lauri’s performance and when he only received 15 televoting points. But overall, Norma John should do Finland proud with a song that seems pretty likely to get into the final as of so far, if they amp up the piano instrumentals and keep the performance at Eurovision similar to their UMK staging.

*Image credits: Miikka Varila/YLE (taken from Eurovision.tv)

2017 Review: Belarus

Last year a lot of people were complaining that Belarus actually planned on voting for NAVI but read the letters in the opposite direction than intended and voted for IVAN instead. This year there won’t be that problem, since NAVI (or NAVIBAND, as the official Eurovision site is calling them) is going this year with the song “Historyja Majho Zyccia” (“Story of My Life”). Note: the English translation has no relation to One Direction.

Even before listening to the song I was already excited for NAVI since this is the first time history that Belarus has presented an adult Eurovision entry in Belarusian instead of English, WTF/Google Translated English, or 3% Spanglish. (In contrast, Belarusian has appeared four times in Junior Eurovision, in 2003, 2004, 2008, and most recently 2014).

belarus-participants

Given that it was the jury that pushed for Nadezhda Misyakova’s JESC entry back in 2014, I’m not surprised that the jury (read: broadcaster/government) votes boosted NAVI from 5th place to 1st. I’m not saying that this may or may not be a slightly political move away from Russia given the relationships between Russia and neighboring countries, but yay to NAVI for confirming that the song will remain in Belarusian. They also have a point that Belarusian and Ukrainian (and according to YouTube comments, Polish) share a lot of similarities, so things could get interesting in the cultural voting bloc.

While the song might get a bit repetitive after a few consecutive listens, it’s a breath of fresh air and should *hopefully* do well next to the Top-40 pop entries and the “the world is shite”-themed ballads. Even though Ikea’s never going to agree to my suggestion, this is something that should be on the café playlist instead of the same loop of Michael Buble, Katy Perry, and 4:33 paired with screaming infants. It’s upbeat and it’s going to get me moving around a bit, though not to the point that I’ll be bouncing around the floor at work so much that I can’t hold a stock bottle still.

On a completely separate note, outside of the Eurovision world Navi is the annoying advice fairy from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Similarities between Belarus’s NAVI and OOT’s Navi is that both shout “Hey!” a lot. (However, I haven’t heard NAVI yell “Listen!” yet.)

The ocarina already appeared in 2004, in a similar act consisting of a male playing guitar and a female singing. Hmmm…

belarus-ocarina

In that case, who’s sending Link?

2017 Review: Georgia

Last year one of my friends (let’s call him SF, short for Serhat Fan) told us how despite taking a year of Spanish in high school, the only things he knew were “si”, “no,” “rojo”, “¿Cómo estás?”, and “mi llamo es Taco.” (For anyone too lazy to put the phrases into Google Translate, they are: “yes”, “no”, “red”, “how are you”, and “my name is Taco.”)

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He wasn’t kidding about the tacos. Apparently when the teacher asked SF to pick a name he picked Taco as a joke; as a result the person next to him picked the name Burrito or Enchilada or something food related.

Unfortunately, maybe someone should now tell SF: had he been in Georgia (country), Taco wouldn’t have been a guy’s name.

Following a 25-song national final, Georgia picked Tamar “Tako” Gachechiladze to represent the country with the song “Keep the Faith.”

When I first saw the results at work, my initial reaction was something on the line of “WTF Georgia, another ballad?” A complete 180 from last year’s entry, she was dressed like Conchita Wurst, yet her song reminded me a bit more of Cristina Scarlat’s “Wild Soul” (minus the hair extensions removal) and Maria Elena Kyriakou’s “One Last Breath”. I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics (still haven’t as of this posting), but based on the backing images the song’s content seemed to be something like a combination of Finland 2005 and Ukraine 2016: still bitter about the past, announcing that the world was currently shite a la Hungary 2015, but the people had to hold on, be strong, and keep the faith in order to keep going. Okay, so a diva peace ballad it was then. Also, yay for being a 100% self-composed entry:

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Later I found out more about the artist: Tako Gachechiladze was one of the backing vocalists of Stephane and 3G, who almost represented Georgia in 2009 before getting disqualified. Their song, “We Don’t Wanna Put In” was interpreted by the Russian broadcaster as a political response to Vladimir Putin the war in Ossetia the year prior and deemed too overtly political to be performed at Eurovision. While the lyrics to “Keep the Faith” aren’t as explicit, Gachechiladze (or whoever designed her stage backdrop) decided to make an extremely unsubtle political jab:

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Given that the host country typically has a bit more say in what’s “too political”, and that the current host Ukraine isn’t exactly on best terms with Russia right now, I would guess that the song will not be disqualified. However, like the Israeli broadcaster IBA complained about the Hungary’s stage backdrop in 2015 posting facts about the Gaza strip, Rossiya-1 is extremely likely to make similar complaints about Georgia’s backdrop, and the images will have to be changed.

It’s currently too early to tell whether Georgia will qualify or not since only 3 songs have been released. However, it’s pretty likely that there will be a lot of “the world is shite” ballads this year due to 2016 drama, so “Keep the Faith” might end up as a borderline qualifier if more countries send similar entries. One thing is completely certain though: Just like Macedonia (FYR) was swamped by donut (or less commonly, döner) memes, someone’s going to start spamming taco memes because of the artist’s name. So much for being named for Tamar the Great…