It is a busy time of the year in the world of Eurovision. The deadline for submitting a song to the European Broadcasting Union is coming closer, so country after country is announcing, premiering or choosing a song. I already wrote about a few countries two weeks ago. Let’s take a look at another handful of the Eurovision candidates we will see in Vienna in May.
Latvia: Aminata – Love Injected
Latvia hasn’t been doing very well in Eurovision lately. Over the past six years, they never made it to the final and even finished last in their semi final three times. Most of the time this was deserved, as their songs just weren’t any good. This year, that is about to change drastically. They are represented by Aminata and her song ‘Love Injected’ and this is actually very, very good! She sounds like the Latvian answer to FKA Twigs and BANKS as her song has a quirky, electronic production that sounds contemporary and interesting. The chorus is huge with a lot of vocal acrobatics and Aminata can pull it off. Her voice is powerful to say the least and by the way, she looks absolutely gorgeous and has great stage presence. This should be Latvia’s first spot in the final sinds 2008 and if Europe ‘gets’ this, she might even bring them back in the top 5 or 10 after ten years.
Spain: Edurne – Amanecer
Spain internally selected another pop diva after the top 10 results of Ruth Lorenzo last year and Pastora Soler in 2012. This year, the country will be represented by Edurne and her dramatic ballad ‘Amanecer’. The song is not necessarily very contemporary, but sounds like a crossover between a Disney ballad for a movie like ‘Lion King’ and Madonna’s ‘Frozen’. The chorus is heavily based on drums/percussion and sounds quite atmospheric. I think this is one of the best songs selected yet for this year’s contest, but my only concern is if there really is a market for this sort of track in today’s Eurovision. Edurne will have to prepare an eye catching performance with flawless vocals in order to make this work. We are counting on you Edurne!
Germany: Ann Sophie – Black Smoke
Oh Germany… What is Eurovision without a few scandals? Exactly, not really Eurovision. So, the Germans had their own national final called ‘Unser Song für Österreich’ and a chap called Andreas Kümmert won with a song called ‘Heart Of Stone’ (quite a nice tune actually). The Ed Sheeran-like The Voice winner however decided that he wasn’t ready or suited to go to Eurovision (why participate in the first place and let people waste money to vote for you? Only to promote new music to a big crowd?) and gave his victory to the number 2 in the contest, Ann Sophie. She has a great pop track with some soul influences called ‘Black Smoke’, that is co-written by British up and coming pop star Ella Eyre. The powerful chorus immediately hit me and I am a fan of Ann Sophie’s style and stage presence. The only thing that could go wrong here is that the song maybe does not stick out enough in a final of 26 countries. Still, this doesn’t mean this is not a good entry, because it is!
Slovenia: Maraaya – Here For You
Slovenia decided to go with a current sound for Eurovision 2015. Maraaya won the Slovenian national final with the track ‘Here For You’ and ever since the country is climbing in betting odds. The song could be described as soulful pop and the chorus is insanely catchy and will definitely still be in your head after hearing all of the contestants, which is obviously a good thing. Her voice is quirky and fits the style of the song well. The only big problem with this entry at the moment is the poor staging. The dancer does not make sense, her dress does not fit the song (by the looks of that thing she sings an old fashioned dreary ballad) and the headphones need to go. Other than that, well done, Slovenia.
United Kingdom: Electro Velvet – Still In Love With You
Almost every year when the United Kingdom presents its Eurovision representative, people are disappointed because it is not a well known pop star. The country has a lot to offer in international charts, but this never reflects in Eurovision. After Molly’s great song but disappointing result last year, the BBC internally selected the duo Electro Velvet with the song ‘Still In Love With You’. It reminds me a bit of the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby, a combination of old school vintage stuff that Caro Emerald is famous for, mixed with electronic music from today. Apart from the annoying bridge, the song is actually not awful and very catchy. Not sure if Europe will fall for it, but at least it is not an utter disappointment like that time when Engelbert Humperdinck put us all to sleep.
Next week, Sweden will select its entry with Melodifestivalen, the biggest music competition of the country. After five weeks of shows, twelve songs are left to compete for the ticket to Vienna. The Andra Chansen show of 7 March sent 4 more tracks to the final, but none of them was remotely interesting in my eyes. In the final, I think Isa and Jessica Andersson, although having nice songs, will not really make an impression and JTR’s song is not strong enough to come anywhere near the top 3 on next saturday. It is hard to predict what Magnus Carlsson’s ‘Möt Mig I Gamla Stan’ will do. The song is doing very well in iTunes in Sweden, but I don’t believe the Swedish people will select such a schlager for the win. He still might reach top 5 though. I believe the top 4 will consist of Eric Saade, Mariette, Jon Henrik Fjällgren and Måns Zelmerlöw. I don’t expect Saade to win, because ‘Sting’ is not standing out enough compared to his earlier ‘Popular’. He will probably do well with televoters though. Then there is Jon Henrik Fjällgren’s ‘Jag är Fri’. The Swedish public seems to love him so he is the favourite to win the televoting, but it is unpredictable whether the international jury will understand this song. If so, he might, if not, it will become hard for him to come anywhere near the victory. Personally I would love Mariette to win, because I just love ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. Her song is not doing very well in iTunes though, so I am not sure if the public at home will vote for it enough. The jury will probably love it though. And then there is mister Zelmerlöw. His ‘Heroes’ seems to be the best choice for Sweden. If they send this, they will probably end up in top 3 again. His performance with the back drop is amazing and the song sounds current in an Avicii kind of way. I think both juries and people at home will vote for him a lot, so he might become the winner. We will know for certain this time next week!