It’s a wrap. Eurovision 2015 is done and Sweden took the victory with the song ‘Heroes’ by Måns Zelmerlöw. After a two horse race with Russia it was decided that the contest will take place in Sweden next year. I reviewed the performances and analysed the results!
01. Slovenia: Maraaya – Here For You
Slovenia had the tough task of opening the show with their catchy pop song ‘Here For You’. Marjetka had her headphones on again and her vocals were on point throughout the performance. I am afraid this song lost somewhat of its appeal to people, because they didn’t understand the act or gimmick. People wondered why she combined the headphones with a wedding dress and what was up with that air violinist? This maybe distracted from the catchy tune that deserved a little more.
02. France: Lisa Angell – N’Oubliez Pas
The French song did not impress me when I first heard it, as I thought it was too old-fashioned and predictable. When I saw the staging and heard her sing live, I changed my opinion a bit. I thought the whole performance was quite impressive with some of the best vocals of the night and the visuals on the backdrop fitted the song perfectly. The second starting position didn’t help though as even I forgot about it by the time all songs were performed. Next year we need something more contemporary and appealing to a younger audience, France!
03. Israel: Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy
Israel understood how to bring something young and fun to the stage. ‘Golden Boy’ is in no way original with it’s crossover between Justin Timberlake beats and typical ethnic Eurovision pop, but it worked. The chorus is catchy and something you actually remember after all other songs have passed. His vocals weren’t all that great in his final performance, but it looked good and the crowd was enthusiastic. Exactly the type of song that the contest needs in between all ballads.
04. Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rasta – Goodbye To Yesterday
Oh man, how I love this song! That chorus is one of the best hooks of the festival and the staging was so on point. The trick with the shadows and how they filmed it, it elevated the track to an even higher level. Their facial expressions as well, as they tell the story of the lyrics in an engaging manner. I am still not a big fan of Stig’s live vocals, but Elina’s higher vocal register is gorgeous. They completely deserved their spot in the top 10.
05. United Kingdom: Electro Velvet – Still In Love With You
Oh, United Kingdom, how I want you to do well in Eurovision, if you take the chance to actually send one of your bigger and contemporary pop stars to the contest. They sent Electro Velvet with their style ‘electro swing’. A bit of Caro Emerald and The Great Gatsby soundtrack, but with a not so interesting song. You hear what they try, but it just did not work. The vocals weren’t flawless, the staging with the lights did not come across as cool as they thought and we all knew they were onto another failure in terms of results.
06. Armenia: Genealogy – Face The Shadow
When I watch and listen to Armenia’s song, all I can ask myself is why they put so much effort in finding people with Armenian roots on every continent (all six singers represented a different part of the world), but they didn’t bother to actually compose a better song. The changes in tempo and the screaming at the end, it was all too much to fit into 3 minutes. Of course the Armenian people around Europe secured a midtable finish for their home country.
07. Lithuania: Monika & Vaidas – This Time
The Lithuanian performers Monika & Vaidas came on stage with the cute love song ‘This Time’. Their performance was endearing and the vocals were alright. When they kissed it was so passionately they even missed a line. The song is catchy, but it was too light to really make an impression with 26 other songs.
08. Serbia: Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies
Bojana is a big favourite with the Eurovision fans in Vienna and this became clear during the tempo change of the song, when the crowd went mad. The Serbian mama has a big voice and knows how to sell her song. The track itself was a bit underwhelming if you ask me. We have heard it all before and a little better as well. Still there were enough people that really liked this performance, judging on her placing in top 10.
09. Norway: Morland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me
After the big notes of the Serbian lady, Norway brought serenity back on stage with a moving ballad, written and composed by mister Morland himself. He was joined by the gorgeous Debrah Scarlett and they once again delivered a mesmerizing performance of this dark and twisted tale of love. The vocals were fragile and touching and if you ask me, Norway delivered one of the very best compositions this year. And they reached the top 10 for the third year in a row, which is a great result!
10. Sweden: Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes
You didn’t have to be a psychic to predict Sweden was the one to beat this year. The song is contemporary, the chorus is undeniably catchy and Måns Zelmerlöw has a great voice and carries this tune with ease. Now that is all very nice, but what really made the difference, is his stage performance. The act with the stickman on the backdrop was no less than genious and made this performance even more memorable. It also doesn’t hurt that Zelmerlöw has charisma in bucket loads. This act was ready to slay Europe back in March and we can all agree that the Swedes showed Europe once again how this is done.
11. Cyprus: John Karayannis – One Thing I Should Have Done
Cyprus had a bit of an unlucky starting position in between the favourites from Norway, Sweden, Australia and Belgium. The song just failed to make any impression in between these performances, so I was not surprised that it finished so low. I am all for these quiet and acoustic songs in the contest, but this one just did not strike a chord with me.
12. Australia: Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again
Australia was invited for this year’s contest because of the 60th birthday of Eurovision. They sent Guy Sebastian, quite the pop star in his own country. He performed the contagious, soulful pop song ‘Tonight Again’ that reminds somewhat of the style of Bruno Mars and Olly Murs. Sebastian is an experienced performer and a total professional and you immediately see this when he takes the stage. His act was a bit non-existing and there could have been more happening on stage, but still he deserved a place in top 5.
13. Belgium: Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside
Can I just say how happy I am that Belgium’s song and act reached a completely deserved placing in the top 5. It is SO good to see that his modern, electronic and somewhat quirky style impressed Europe as well. He gave a vocally flawless performance and the choreography looked great. The song is like a mix of Lorde’s ‘Royals’ and ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ in terms of style, but with completely different melody lines. I am very excited to see and hear what this young talent will bring us in the future. Well done Belgium!
14. Austria: The Make-Makes – I’m Yours
It must be quite painful to become last without gaining any points when performing in your home country. This happened to the The Make-Makes from Austria, who brought the quite lovely singer-songwriter ballad ‘I’m Yours’. I was very surprised to see them on the devastating ‘zero points’ at the end of the night as I actually really liked the singer’s voice and the song wasn’t so shoddy either. Poor lads!
15. Greece: Maria Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath
Greece sent a power ballad this year by the Greek Celine Dion, Maria Elena Kyriakou. Impressive vocals? Definitely! ‘One Last Breath’ is a beautiful song, but quite dated as well, so that might be the reason it did not have enough appeal to end up in top 10. When you are from Greece, you know your song is not good enough when not even Cyprus hands you the 12 points, right?
16. Montenegro: Knez – Adio
Of course all other Balkan countries were going to like Montenegro’s song this year. It was written by one of the biggest composers of their area, Željko Joksimović. Knez is an experienced performer with a flawless voice and the song is atmospheric, but I have to be honest and say that in this genre, I have heard many more similar compositions over the years, and this definitely wasn’t one of the best.
17. Germany: Ann Sophie – Black Smoke
Poor, poor Ann Sophie. First she had to represent Germany in Eurovision after she became second in their national final (the winner decided not to go) and now she ends up without any points from all of Europe. And that with the strong and catchy soulful pop track ‘Black Smoke’. I didn’t see that one coming to be honest, as her vocals were pretty much on point. Maybe the song is more of a nice radio song than a track that convinces people to pick up the phone and vote. Anyhow, I really enjoyed her performance and will keep playing that chorus over and over.
18. Poland: Monika Kuszynska – In The Name Of Love
I was very happy for Monika and Poland when she made it to the final with the ballad ‘In The Name Of Love’. The message of strength and hope from a woman who is in a wheel chair after a car accident, didn’t do much in the final however. Her song wasn’t memorable enough to stand out in this competition and her vocals weren’t strong enough to make up for this. Still, I have a lot of respect for her and I hope she is now back on track when it comes to her music career in Poland.
19. Latvia: Aminata – Love Injected
If I would have to name one performance that impressed me the most out of the 27 countries, it would definitely be Aminata from Latvia. I just love that song. The exciting electronic production in the verses and the contrast to the big and powerful chorus with huge vocals, makes this a very special moment. Visually it was outstanding as well, with excellent camera work and a great staging in terms of styling, colors and movement. I really hoped top 10 or top 5 was possible and settling on the 6th place after years of failures for Latvia is great. I hope to hear more of Aminata in the near future.
20. Romania: Voltaj – De La Capat
Every year there are a few songs in the competition that I do not really like personally, but I can understand the appeal it has to other people. This goes for the Romanian entry this year. I wouldn’t play it while riding my bike through Amsterdam, but I appreciated the performance and the singer has a strong voice. The message about children who are separated from their parents when working in other countries is touching, but makes more sense if you are actually from Romania. They can be satisfied with the result they received.
21. Spain: Edurne – Amanecer
Spain tried to win Eurovision for the third time in recent years with a beautiful lady with a big voice and a dramatic ballad. In 2012 (Pastora Soler) and 2014 (Ruth Lorenzo) managed to grab the 10th position, but Edurne did not even come close. Her vocals weren’t as powerful as the pipes of her two predecessors, but I thought the bombastic ‘Amanecer’ would have appealed to a larger audience than it eventually did. Maybe it is time for Spain to try something different, although I think they deserved way more with this stylish and classy song and act.
22. Hungary: Boggie – Wars For Nothing
I never really understood why Hungary made it to the finals this year in the first place. The song didn’t do anything for me. There is no climax, no clear hook, just 3 minutes (actually felt like 5 minutes) of the same. The staging was alright with the green and the tree, but Boggie is not the most engaging performer you have ever seen and even her vocals weren’t as strong as one would have hoped. I didn’t even expect her to make top 20.
23. Georgia: Nina Sublatti – Warrior
After the peaceful song of Hungary, we desperately needed Nina from Georgia to disturb this peace and wake everybody up with her powerhouse vocals and feisty attitude. The staging was once again great, with lovely Visuals, although a little bit too much smoke nearly ruined this. Her voice is one of the best of the night and while I didn’t think much of the song before I saw her performance, she sells the hell out of it and I am not surprised she came so close to a position in top 10.
24. Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov – Hour of the Wolf
Azerbaijan could be seen as the disappointment of the evening in terms of results, but maybe in performance as well. The dancers just did not fit the style of the track and Huseynov did not sound as convincing as one would hope during the verses. He made up for this with some insane notes in the chorus though. I still really like ‘Hour of the Wolf’ but with a better staging this could have done so much better. I think a 12th position was about right for the performance as it was.
25. Russia: Polina Gagarina – A Million Voice
Then it was Mother Russia’s turn. Polina Gagarina seemed a bit nervous and her vocal performance was not as convincing as during the semi final on tuesday. Still she easily left a great impression on the viewers with her charismatic way of performing and the beautiful white dress she was wearing. For me, the song was a bit too cliché to end up in the higher regions of my own top 10, but I knew this would be a contender for the win.
26. Albania: Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive
Oh my dear Elhaida, why oh why? I love your song. It is classy, it’s unusual and it has some gorgeous ad-lips. Such a pity you butchered your own song in a live setting. The thing is, when you watch clips from her performances at the Voice of Italy (which she actually won), you see she is a great singer, but ‘I’m Alive’ just was too challenging for her vocally, which basically ruined the whole performance. Try it one more time, but then with a song you can actually handle, love!
27. Italy: Il Volo – Grande Amore
When I saw Italy’s draw at the very end, I doubted this would work for them, but when I heard their performance in context of the show, I knew they were about to do very well. Even after 26 other songs, their vocals in the big chorus made a big impression. ‘Grande Amore’ is dramatic and bombastic and don’t we all just love that when watching Eurovision? We did and Italy was rewarded with a place in top 3.
I want to end this coverage on Eurovision 2015 by saying that I am very content with the outcome. Sweden is a deserving winner with a strong and contemporary track and a great visual performance. It is also great to see that slightly more daring and alternative pop songs, like the ones from Belgium and Latvia, were so popular. This is all very promising for Eurovision 2016, isn’t it?
Curious if I predicted the outcome right?
My prediction I posted on saturday afternoon.
The interviews I did with 2015 participants:
Albania: Elhaida Dani
Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov
Germany: Ann Sophie
Norway: Morland & Debrah Scarlett
Sweden: Mans Zelmerlow