Eurovision 2016 – a full review.

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So, here it is, a full review of all the songs from this year’s carnival of camp that is the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever on SCRIBLIX. As you probably know, on my old blog, I used to make this an annual event. And, for the first year I can remember, there are hardly any dull and boring ballads, which makes a refreshing change from previous years. There are still some, though, but most of the songs on offer this year are fabulously upbeat.

Furthermore, Romania have had to drop out due to an unpaid debt, and will no longer be able to perform on the night or broadcast the show. I will keep my review of the song here even though I wasn’t a fan of it to begin with in honour of the artist. I feel gutted for them and I hope they come back stronger next year.

Anyway, here goes…

ALBANIA (Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale): Oh, Albania, when will you learn that your best effort at Eurovision was when you sent a screeching woman with big hair singing in Albanian? You came fifth that year. The Albanian version of this song was so much better. A revamp in English made it worse. No final for you again this year. See you in the semis.

ARMENIA (Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave): Ooh, I actually quite like this. It makes a refreshing change from the dirge they sent last year. I still don’t know how that made the final. There were much better songs that should have qualified instead. This time, however, they should have no trouble making it.

AUSTRIA (Zoë – Loin D’Ici): Poor Austria. They shared the wooden spoon last year with neighbouring Germany having both scored the dreaded ‘nil points’ so, this year, they’ve sent a young girl singing in French in the hope it gets them some points. And I actually quite like the song as well. It’s a nice little ditty and it would be nice to see them at least get some points this year.

AUSTRALIA (Dami Im – Sound Of Silence): Who told the Aussies they could invade Eurovision for the second year in a row? Seriously though, Australia’s second ever entry isn’t quite as upbeat and funky as last year’s stunning debut, but it’s still a good song. They almost had to re-write the song, as some people thought it contained product placement (which isn’t allowed), but it was found not to, so there was no need for it to be rewritten anyway. Still, it is a good song, and I hope it qualifies from the semis this year.

AZERBAIJAN (Samra Rahimli – Miracle): For the last two years, Azerbaijan have sent nothing but dullness to Eurovision. This year, they’ve sent an upbeat dancey-sounding song that the Swedes would be proud of. Well, it IS in Stockholm, after all. Nice one!

BELARUS (Ivan – Help You Fly): Every year since 2013, Belarus have sent a song that is a bit, well, questionable. And this one is no exception. This guy wants to perform naked on stage surrounded by live wolves and thinks he can rock but, actually, he looks a bit of a twat. A creepy one at that. And he can’t sing either. Sorry Belarus. I’m out. Does anyone have LiteSound’s number?

BELGIUM (Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure?): Oh dear Belgium. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You sent a good song last year which came a respectable fourth in the final, and now you send something that won’t even get past the semis this year? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (Dalal and Deen feat. Ana and Jala – Ljubav Je): Whilst I’m happy to see Bosnia back at Eurovision, I’m not keen on this song. I don’t do rap, nor does it do well at Eurovision. Vukašin Brajić from 2010 is still my favourite ever Bosnian artist and he was much better. Less rap, more rock please. Thank you.

BULGARIA (Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime): The Bulgarians (and Poli) are back with a banger! WOW! I’ve loved this song from the start and it’s one of my top 5 songs this year. Welcome back Bulgaria!

CROATIA (Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse): Blimey, Croatia have actually sent something half decent on their return to the Eurovision stage instead of a snoozefest like in previous years! I’m impressed! Well done Croatia… and welcome back!

CYPRUS (Minus One – Alter Ego): WOW CYPRUS! Just… WOW! Being something of a rock chick, I fell in love with this song almost instantly (it’s just outside my top 5) and, after years of sending dross (except in 2012 when they sent a dance banger) to Eurovision, the Cyprians are learning after all and may just do well with this song. I can’t see them winning to take the great glass microphone back to Nicosia for the first time, however. There’s still too much competition at the top but I can see it doing better than expected.

CZECH REPUBLIC (Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand): Last year, the Czechs sent a borefest on their return to the Eurovision stage. This year, they’ve sent a stormer of a song in the hope they at least reach the final for the first time ever. I hope they do it – it would be nice to see the Czech Republic (or is it Czechia?) in the final for once!

DENMARK (Lighthouse X – Soldiers Of Love): Another song I’ve liked from the start is this one. In previous years, Denmark have won on Swedish soil to take the trophy back to Copenhagen. Unfortunately, I can’t see that happening this year. Whilst I like the song, I’m afraid it will probably get lost in the midst of all the uptempo stuff around it, which is a bit of a shame. They should have sent Simone or Anja if they wanted to win in Sweden again. Sorry Denmark!

ESTONIA (Jüri Pootsmann – Play): Oh, Estonia. I didn’t like your song from last year (and still don’t) and I don’t like this one much either. Where’s Ott Lepland or Getter Jaani when you need them?

FINLAND (Sandhja – Sing It Away): Well, at least it’s much quieter than last year’s shouty shit (Lordi were much quieter when they surprised everyone by winning Eurovision ten years ago), but it’s still rubbish. They still didn’t listen to me and sent the wrong song to Eurovision. Next!

FRANCE (Amir – J’ai Cherché): Oh my word, the Frenchies have actually sent a decent song for once – and it’s a song that’s bound to do so much better than in previous years as well! Bravo! About time they came back into the 21st Century!

FYR MACEDONIA (Kaliopi – Dona): Her song in 2012 was rubbish. This one’s a total bore-fest. Yawn! Still, at least she’s not singing about Sky News journalist Kay Burley this time (fellow fans of Bristol’s finest comedian Russell Howard will get that reference), so that’s a bonus.

GEORGIA (Nika Kocharov and the Young Georgian Lolitaz): My worst song of the lot this year. I like a bit of rock but this just isn’t my thing and, once again, Georgia are way down at the bottom of my personal top 43. Sorry guys.

GERMANY (Jamie Lee Kriewitz – Ghost): Gut gemacht, Deutschland! Your song is MUCH better this year than the Ella Eyre-written one last year. You know, the one you got ’nul points‘ for? It’s still not as good as Satellite or Glorious, mind you, but it’s still good enough for me.

GREECE (Argo – Utopian Land): I don’t want to diss the Greeks, as the assistant manager at one of the Cancer Research UK charity shops I work in is originally from Greece and we get on well with each other, but this song is a bit dire and Eurovision won’t be returning to Athens any time soon. With this song, I can’t see them making the final either. Sorry Greece, but you can do better than this.

HUNGARY (Freddie – Pioneer): Hmm, I’m not sure about this one. I don’t like it but I don’t hate it either. I’m still middle of the road on this one at the moment. Sorry Hungary.

ICELAND (Greta Salóme – Hear Them Calling): The Icelandics have yet again sent a good song, along with someone who has previously represented them, back to Eurovision in the hope they get back into the final this time. They were robbed blind last year!

IRELAND (Nicky Byrne – Sunlight): MY FAVOURITE SONG OF THE YEAR! In previous years, I’ve always supported the Scandiwegians or the Maltese due to my second country letting me down in terms of sending dodgy songs or puppets that can’t sing (and yes, I’m including Jedward in that category) to Eurovision so, this year, they threw the rulebook out of the window and send someone who has previous Eurovision experience but has actually read out the votes for RTÉ rather than sung on the big stage. And if someone who is well-known all around Europe for previously being in one of the world’s biggest boybands can’t get into the final for Ireland, then who can? I’ll be digging out my large Irish flag on semi-finals night and will be voting too since Nicky will be in the semi that us Brits get to vote in. GO NICKY! YOU CAN DO IT!

ISRAEL (Hovi Star – Made Of Stars): Sorry, Israel, but this one bores me stupid. Next!

ITALY (Francesca Michielin – No Degree Of Separation): Once again, the Italians have delivered a brilliant song. They never fail to disappoint. Bravissimo!

LATVIA (Justs – Heartbeat): GRRR LATVIA! Just… GRRR! You didn’t send my favourites to Eurovision so now I’m glaring at you. I will admit that the guy you DID send is nice on the eye, however, so I’ll forgive you.

LITHUANIA (Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night): Last time we saw Donny Montell singing at Eurovision, he wore a blindfold and did a few acrobatics on stage. Sadly for him, that song was as dull as dishwater. Now he’s back with a foot-stomper of a song which was an instant like for me on the first listen and is much better than the previous two Lithuanian efforts. Nice!

MALTA (Ira Losco – Walk On Water): The Maltese threw out their Eurovision rule book this year and sent a different song to the one that actually won their national final. Having said that, it is a decent enough song and I hope it does well for them again this year, since poor Malta were robbed blind last year. Last time Ira Losco represented Europe’s favourite tiny Mediterranean island on the Eurovision stage, they came second behind the eventual winners of that year, Latvia. Will she actually win it to take the glass microphone to Valletta? Only time will tell…

MOLDOVA (Lidia Isac – Falling Stars): Hey, Moldova, can you not turn the screeching down a notch? I think my ears are hurting a little. Ta.

MONTENEGRO (Highway – The Real Thing): So the Montenegrins DO rock after all?! Wowzers! It’s not as brilliant as Cyprus’s rock song, mind you, but it’s still good enough for me.

NORWAY (Agnete – Icebreaker): For once, Norway have actually sent something that ISN’T as dull as dishwater and, once again, I can dig out and wave the Norwegian flag due to it being something at least listenable. YAY!

POLAND (Michał Szpak – Colour Of Your Life): Well done, Poland. You listened to me and sent the one song I actually wanted to win your national final. I know a lot of people wanted a blonde girl with big hair to win with a song that was a load of old overhyped shite (thanks to @julesesc on Twitter for that!) but I much preferred this song. The Poles are learning after all!

ROMANIA (Ovidiu Anton – Moment Of Silence): Oh, Romania, what happened? You’re usually so much better than this. This song is dull and boring and it does absolutely nothing for me. NOTHING. What happened to the upbeat dancey-type songs we’re used to seeing from you? Please can you pay your debts and come back next year with something that I can least listen to without falling asleep? Thank you.

RUSSIA (Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One): Well, hello there Mr. Lazarev, aren’t you a good-looking boy? The song itself isn’t too bad either and I may just forgive Russia* for all the naughty stuff they’ve done in the past. Last year, Russia came second (and I didn’t want them to win). This time round, I’ve put them in my top 5 alongside Bulgaria, Malta, Denmark and Ireland. Do I still want them to win? Probably not, given Russia’s stance on gay rights, but I’ll still hope for at least top 10 in the final (they’ll definitely make it into the final – it IS ‘Mother Russia’ after all). (*not including Putin. He’s still on my naughty list.)

SAN MARINO (Serhat – I Didn’t Know): My second-worst song of the lot this year. I would have put this stone-dead last, with Georgia in second-to-last place, but they’ve discoed it up a bit. It is, however, still crap and no amount of discoing it up can disguise just how rubbish it actually is! (Thanks to @toffeeluce at Last.fm/Twitter for that last bit.)

SERBIA (ZAA – Goodbye): Yes, Serbia, you definitely got the title of the song right. See you in the semis.

SLOVENIA (ManuElla – Blue And Red): I’m disappointed with Slovenia this year. They’ve sent their answer to Taylor Swift on heat but she tries (and fails) to deliver a good country song. I like Taylor Swift but I’m in the ‘NO’ majority on this one. The only thing this cheese-fest is good for is being sent to the doldrums of the semi-finals. Sorry Slovenia, but no finals for you this year.

SPAIN (Barei – Say Yay!): I said it on my old blog about Spain and I’ll say it again: their Eurovision record could best be compared to a yo-yo. One year, they bounce up the table with a decent song, the next they come crashing down to Earth with a massive bump. This year’s song is capable of reaching the Top 10 as it’s upbeat and modern but can it win overall to take the trophy back to Madrid? Watch this space…

SWEDEN (Frans – If I Were Sorry): Oh Sweden. Sweden, Sweden, Sweden. You’re usually better than this. This is dull as hell. Next!

SWITZERLAND (Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind): Last time the Swiss were represented at Eurovision by a Canadian singer, it was in 1988 when they won the whole thing. Sadly, Rykka isn’t Céline Dion, nor is it good enough for Switzerland to take Eurovision back to Bern/Zürich/Geneva in 2017. It is still a good song though nonetheless.

THE NETHERLANDS (Douwe Bob – Slow Down): Two years ago, the Dutchies came an impressive second with a little country number that didn’t quite get as many points as Austria’s Conchita and, after failing to impress with Trijntje last year, they thought they’d go down the country road again, this time getting a male soloist to give it a go. And, on first listen, I was impressed. Hopefully Holland can get back into the final where they belong. We need them there!

UKRAINE (Jamala – 1944): Welcome back Ukraine! However, Eurovision rules clearly state that no song should have anything to do with political views in it. And, unfortunately, not only does your song have just that, you probably won’t get any points from Russia with it due to the Crimean references. Not that you’ll get any points from Russia anyway – not whilst you’re still having a free-for-all with each other. Sorry.

UNITED KINGDOM (Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone): I HATE our song! There, I said it. It sounds like a One Direction throwback and, being something of a One Direction hater, it could explain why I’m not overly keen on it. Having said that, it is better than some of our previous entrants, and it could do well but, as I don’t like the song, I don’t want it to, though it may be our last chance of coming anywhere close in the final if, come June, we vote to leave the European Union. No bugger will vote for us then!

And that’s that! Hopefully the dross stays out of the final this year and we’re left with the bangers. But who’ll win overall? All will be revealed in a couple of weeks.

Stay tuned!

PS: It’s my birthday tomorrow. But you all knew that… right?

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