Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fandomentals Calling for Eurovision: Semi-Final Two, First Half

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It’s that time of year again! Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is only a week away, and for all of you Euro-faithful, Kori and Dan have put together a preview week to review every song! Today is covering the first half of semi-final two, so settle in, enjoy some music, and let us know what you think in the comments below! Spoilers: Kori and Dan have wildly differing opinions this year.


#1. Norway

Kori: That’s how you guarantee you won’t win a second time at Eurovision! Let’s be real, the choices for Norway this year were a little lacklustre to begin with, so Rybak’s fun little ditty was at least charming. But between now and then, Norway apparently decided they were going to stage this live performance “seriously”. This is not a song you suddenly try to be serious with. It’s fun, but the live performance has all the potential to be a bomb.

Dan: I actually love this song more than it probably deserves. It’s corny as all hell and not particularly special but, damn it, it’s so much fun, which is something that seems rare in Eurovision. Might do well just cause it’s gonna be stuck in people’s heads. Plus that bass line is thicc as hell.

#2. Romania

Kori: We have the female rock element this year! Well, soft rock, maybe? The song sounds a bit dated to me, but I’ve watched them live on the pre-Eurovision circuit and they’re a group that really connects in that element. I don’t know if it will make the final, but expect a good show from the Humans.

Dan: Really not anything special, in my opinion. The big voice and the cello just scream cliche arena rock. And even in a field where cliche arena rock isn’t really a bad thing, this is super generic. The Humans offer simple drums, boring guitar, and vocals from Cristina aiming more for power than finesse. Not a big contender when compared to the standouts this year.

#3. Serbia

Kori: Unlike FYR Macedonia, Serbia is not so great at melding genres into a song. Don’t get me wrong, I always love when a country really showcases its music’s ethnic sounds and the vocals are on point. But it sounds like two songs that are haphazardly sewn together and it’s a little too disjointed for me.

Dan: Another example of a song actually trying to sound like it’s from somewhere, in this case reflecting Balkanika’s commitment to Serbia’s musical history. The drums are heavy and form a solid beat under vocals that soar like they’ve descended from the peak of Mizdor. The magic of Flute Gandalf will carry Serbia far.

#4. San Marino

Kori: Bad news, she’s keeping the robots. Worse news, this song is still a big puddle of meh, and Jenifer still seems like she’s just showing up out of nowhere to drop a line because reasons? Sorry, San Marino, I think you’re headed for another year of non-qualifying.

Dan: San Marino has made the interesting choice of adding no-flow white girl bars to a dime-a-dozen feel-good pop number. It’s kind of a shame because Jesskia Muscat has a heck of a voice on her. It’s wasted on what she’s been given. Those robots, however, could go all the way.

#5. Denmark

Kori: This song frustrates me so much because I love it. But it’s definitely a “Eurovision” type song and seems like Denmark couldn’t decide if they wanted to pay tribute to Vikings or Game of Thrones and spliced the two together. It’s made for cosplay gatherings, LARP events, and ren-fares, and yet I can’t stop listening.

Dan: Hell yeah let’s pillage a monastery! The minute I saw Rasmussen on stage I knew his song was gonna rule. And it DOES. It’s not as heavy as I expected, and I think I’m just going to come up short this year in my desire for some metal at Eurovision. However, this song makes up for it with some truly unique chanting and a very pretty voice belied by his barbaric appearance. If Fuego didn’t exist, this song would be my personal pick to win. As is, it should at least make the final.

#6. Russia

Kori: If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the short story. Julia was set to perform for Russia last year, then Ukraine said no because she’d previously sung in the disputed territory of Crimea. So Russia at least kept their word and let her sing another generic ballad this year, and she’s literally bringing that mountain set to stage. Hopefully, they work on vocals, because the rehearsals sound like they didn’t go well at all.

Dan: Saying “this is who Trump wants” is an easy joke but…c’mon. Hopefully, Julia looks a little more engaged in her performance, which will be the first time a singer in a wheelchair has competed since Poland in 2015. This rather basic pop number is a little out of place for Julia, who usually goes a little harder in her music, but it’s not anything special. Combined with the politics surrounding Russia right now, I doubt this does well, but it MAY make it out of semis.

#7. Moldova

Kori: This song and DoReDos grew on me as Eurovision season progressed. The three are just genuinely fun to watch in interviews, and the song is dumb fun. Even better, DoReDos, unlike Rybak, know their song is dumb fun and seem to have come up with an equally engaging stage show to go with it. Fingers crossed this goes through to the Grand Final.

Dan: I guess if you split Enrique Iglesias into three Moldovans, you get DoReDos. I actually like this song for being upbeat and summery in a field of relative darkness. They also used three singers very effectively, including in some very pretty triple harmonies. Staging should be interesting for the band, and I think they’ll do well. The lightweight nature might hurt their chances in the long run, though.

#8. The Netherlands

Kori: Country music? In my Eurovision? It’s more likely than you think. At least when it comes to the Netherlands. Another return performer, Waylon is going solo this time with “Outlaw In ‘Em.” As someone from the midwest, this is pretty generic rebel country, but it should stand out musically in Europe. Now his reported mess of a stage show, however, that’s a different story…

Dan: Aah, the golden days of the Wild Wild Netherlands West, when men could be men, horses could be horses, and outlaws like Calamity Jan and Ruben the Kid rustled cows on the wide open spaces of the Low Countries. It’s this completely fictitious era of Dutch history that Waylon pays tribute to with this, admittedly not terrible, bit of alt-country. Sadly, outside of the influential Sam Elliott vote, I don’t think “cowboy” is going to play well at Eurovision.

#9. Australia

Kori: I stan a queen. Not gonna lie, I might have cried a little when Australia revealed they were bringing Mauboy back for a chance to compete. I love everything about her. “We Got Love” sounds formulaic on the recording, but Mauboy is a queen of live performance. She can fill up a stage like nobody’s business and she feeds on audience energy like an electric current. And she’s a performance veteran to boot. Her last gig? Singing at the Commonwealth Games. Expect her to soar through to the final.

Dan: This is a really good piece of pop music that, like “Fuego”, could catch on as a chart-topper on its own, even stateside. It’s super cool that Australia is sending an another Indigenous-Australian to represent them, but Mauboy isn’t a diversity selection. She’s got a great voice and a song that uses it perfectly. This song is gonna do well, I think, and I’ll be lowkey rooting for it. It’s SO HARD to pick a favorite!

Image courtesy of the EBU

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