Editorials & Opinion

The 2015 Xtra review – Big surprises.

In the last day of 2015 we just have to be thankful for all the good things happened in the last 365 days. So we went on a quick journey discovering which were the big surprises of this 2015 – in our editors’ words.
Nathan, Nick, Yassia and Rinor just expressed their biggest surprises for this year (and don’t be quick to judge, take a look at their motivations!). What would you add to this list?

Nathan: Latvia – Aminata – Love injected

The biggest surprise entry for everyone except me was Latvia. It seemed going in to the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna, I was the only person that had seen that the Latvian entry was frankly fantastic. Not only was it contemporary, it was backed by a very talented vocalist. Putting two and two together, it was always going to go the way that many other unexpected top drawer entries had once it got the full production treatment of proper sound levels and experienced television teams in Austria. Like “Suus”, another similarly surprising top placing entry, Aminata’s “Love Injected” took ahold of the European audience immediately. From the first rehearsal, the Eurovision media were seeing the greatness that was always there from the start. During the second semifinal, it was clear that Aminata wasn’t just making up the numbers, she was here to challenge. By now, this was no longer a surprise but a genuine contender. A seventh placed result and Latvia’s highest points total ever, “Love Injected” surprised all… except from me!

Nick: Czech Republic – Marta Jandova & Vaclav Noid Barta – Hope never dies

I remember waiting for my train on 19th November 2014 and seeing the news that the Czechs were returning. After a quiet giggle, I was quite interested in what the Czechs were going to do for Vienna. The surprise was complete when my favourite Czech singer, Marta Jandová, decided to just go for it. I expected a good rock ballad and I got what I wanted. Hope Never Dies turned out to be one of (if not THE) best songs of the year for me and I was rather sure that the Czechs would make the final. Well, I was wrong. Sadly…
I don’t know what happened though. Televoters had it 10th, so that was good, but juries burnt it down and I don’t get it. It had all the drama you’d want in a Eurovision song. Big voices, a good background, decent performers and the diva behaviour Marta displayed by throwing away her shoes. This duo was just really good and they were also incredible fun to chat to, as we could see in pretty much all interviews.
This entry gave the Czechs every reason to be upbeat about the future and I hope they can surprise again in Stockholm. They deserve it.

Rinor: Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy

Until the day before the second semi, Israel was one of my least favorite countries this year, mainly because I couldn’t understand where the song was going. At first I felt bad for Nadav, as he is a good R&B singer, and this Middle East/Indian tune mix could have easily destroyed his career. But, when he appeared on the second semi, it turned out to be my family’s favorite of the night; they liked it, danced to it and sang along. It was a clear indication that the song was already liked by most of Europe, as it had a catchy tune.
The song was well-performed and you could notice the audience liking it. Most of it, I think, has to do with the performance itself, which was fun and fresh. Nadav used the opportunity to stand out after the countless ballads of both nights, and it resulted in Israel finishing Top 10. Now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense!

Yassia: Finland – PKN – Aina Mun Pitää

The weirdest and the most surprising Eurovision entry 2015 is, for me, Finland and its punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät with the song “Aina mun pitää”. The band is composed of four man with development disabilities. I think that punk rock is not matching very well with the format of the Eurovision Song Contest, neither with the audience of it. Pop-songs and ballads are doing much better, as a rule. And the main reason for it is that it’s difficult to check the vocal abilities of a performer, or just to enjoy a song and its lyrics, when something weird is happening on a stage and singers mostly shout. You may say “but wait a minute, what about Lordi then?” Well, Lordi (the Finnish heavy metal band that won Eurovision 2006) was, in my opinion, an exception and a big surprise too.
Coming back to Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, sadly or luckily, the band ended up on the 16th position out of 16th entries in the first semi-final. It didn’t work out that well as with Lordi in 2006. For sure, these guys have their own fans back home and in other countries, but I guess this entry was just a bit too much surprising, or even shocking for the Eurovision.

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