Stockholm 2016

Xtra Jury: We review Finland, Latvia and Sweden

In the build-up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, our team has listened to the entries taking part in Stockholm. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be reviewing and scoring all 43 to eventually crown our team’s Eurovision 2016 winner.
Today, we kick off our reviews with the openers of both semifinals, as well as our hosts: Finland, Latvia and Sweden. Read what our team had to say below!

FinlandSandhja – Sing It Away

Liam: This song is really really fun. I feel that it’s the kind of song that wouldn’t really exist outside of Eurovision, but I’m a Eurovision fan, so to hell with it! Just genuinely a good fun romp.
Score: 8/10
Katarina: The verses of the song really made me hope this would turn out to be something great, but when the chorus began it just became bland. Sandhja is an okay artist, but I feel like her backing vocalists did a better and bigger job than her. ‘Sing It Away’ is a nice song to listen to once, and while it certainly is perfect for opening the show, I am pretty sure it will be forgotten by the end of the evening.
Score: 5/10
Nick: For the second year running, UMK has a great line-up and chooses something that makes me wonder if the Finnish are hearing the same things as I am. Sing It Away is trying to be catchy, but it leaves me dead cold. It does nothing for me and as an opener, it’s nice, but instantly forgettable.
Score: 3.5/10
Sophie: On the first few notes this makes you expect something serious and dramatic. Then suddenly it turns into a great lot of fun and easiness which I like a lot. I’m definitely singing and dancing along to the extremely catchy chorus.
Score: 7/10
Danny: This is a really poor effort from Finland. Once again, they had many options which could have got them a credible placing and opted for something that had a best before date of at least 2007.
Score: 3/10
Nathan: Well this is quite possibly the worst trash we’ve seen Finland send for a long time. Such a shame really. Good news is that this deservedly will end last in the semifinal, hopefully with a ground breaking 0 points really to hammer the point home to YLE. UMK works but you’ve really got to sort that jury.
Score: 1/10
Wivian: For the first 15 seconds I thought this was a really good effort from our Finnish neighbors…and then it isn‘t. It‘s not at all the worst song this year, but it is utterly forgettable. I‘ll dance to it quite happily, but I can‘t imagine who‘s gonna want to vote for this.
Score: 3/10
Peter:  I think this one is a bit underrated by quite a lot of fans, and has to be content with living in the shadow of Spain which, to my ears at least, is a much more basic song. It’s a fun, catchy start to the show in the vein of Jess Glynne and if it were in semi-final 2 I would be a lot more confident of its chances. It could still scrape through if she tidies up her performance, but it’s an uphill battle.
Score: 8/10
Alekas: Finland loves themselves some disco, don’t they? It’s cute but harmless and is in no danger of being anywhere near TOP 10.
Score: 5.5/10

LatviaJusts – Heartbeat

Liam: Aminata strikes gold, yet again. A great pop tune which I genuinely love. Justs really needs to work on his stage performance if he wants to do well in Stockholm, but team Aminata should hopefully come through for our handsome prince Justs.
Score: 10/10
Katarina: I know most Eurofans loved Aminata last year. Unfortunately, I was never one of them, but this song changed everything! It captured me the first time I listened to it already, and it just became better when I heard Justs perform it live. I think ‘Heartbeat’ will appeal to the viewers much easier than ‘Love Injected’ did, and I expect at least a top 10 finish for Latvia.
Score: 8/10
Nick: When Justs appeared on the Supernova list, we knew Latvia were aiming for the top 10 again. His stage presence isn’t the best, currently and after hearing it too often, I’m not that excited about this anymore. And it pains me to say it, but for 2017, Latvia need to prove the success of Supernova with something… not involving Aminata, even though I love her.
Score: 7/10
Sophie:  I wasn’t a fan of Aminata’s last year, and neither will I become one this year. I can see why people might like this, because it’s quite well done I guess, but it is just not my cup of tea.
Score: 2/10
Danny: In contrast to Finland, Latvia must applaud themselves in how they’ve took a 360 spin in recent years and gone for something current and original. I always thought it would be difficult for them to top Aminata’s success but as soon as I heard she was behind this, I knew it would be one worth keeping an eye on. I’d go as far as saying this is pretty much a masterpiece.
Score: 9/10
Nathan: Following on from last year’s exceptional performance and song from Aminata, Justs picks up a Savadogo written song and just knocks it right out of the park. This will have the same creative team that took care of Love Injected, so expect this to be top 5 on the Saturday night. Perhaps this is even a semifinal winner.
Score: 9/10
Wivian:  I really like the verse, but the chorus is a total turn-off for me. I loved Aminata‘s song last year, and this song is such a disappointment. And so is Justs, to be honest. He‘s cute and all that, I guess, but he‘s not a good enough singer to pull off what he‘s trying to do here. The worst thing is the chorus, though, with those horrible drums…I actually struggle listening to the whole song. But the verses are great…it‘s difficult to judge a song when you want to give half of it 8/10 and the other half 2/10…
Score: 4/10
Peter: Latvia once again manages to send one of the most credible entries of the year, with up-to-date deep house production and cool gravelly vocals from Justs. The studio version has much more potential than the live performances have delivered so far, but if his vocals are bang on and the staging is dynamic enough, then I can see this matching the likes of ‘Rhythm Inside’ and indeed ‘Love Injected’ in terms of results.
Score: 8/10
Alekas: Latvia is clearly the best of the Baltics and with a good final draw should score well in the final. TOP 5? Quite possible. Other neighboring countries cough Lithuania could learn from Latvia not to be afraid to send a newcomer if the song is great. This has cool written all over it.
Score: 10/10

SwedenFrans – If I Were Sorry

Liam: Honestly… I don’t really care for this and I am surprised that it’s considered such a hot favourite. Maybe this is the point where I am officially old and the music of the day is strange and foreign to me. Either way, I don’t feel it.
Score: 4/10
Katarina: I have a confession to make: I usually don’t like the Swedish Eurovision entries, even though they are one of the most succesful countries. Luckily, that’s not the case this time, as I am totally in love with ‘If I Were Sorry’. It is already a hit in Sweden, it’s being played all over the world, so it’s safe to say it was the right pick. I personally love the lyrics and the song itself is extremely relaxing and calming. I also think Frans sounds just as good live as he does in the studio version, and even though his staging is called boring, I feel like it perfectly fits the song. I seriously hope Sweden won’t end low like it was the case when they hosted last time.
Score: 9.5/10
Nick:  I don’t even know what to say. The point of this song is non-existing. If I were sorry, but I’m not sorry. The lyrics do little for me, his stage act doesn’t work for me either and I just wonder what the point of this song is. There’s some charm in the song, but only in a distant background.
Score: 5.5/10
Sophie: I don’t dislike this as much anymore as I did in the beginning, but now I’m a little bored of it – the way Frans seems to be when he is performing the song on stage.
Score: 4/10
Danny: The country with the biggest, most popular selection and we are presented with a stale middle of the road song. Yes it is current and it’s exactly the type of song you would hear on the radio – but is that such a good thing? Sweden have been playing this way for a good few years now and whilst it’s done well for them, it’s not entirely original or authentic. Can it win? Certainly so but they really do not deserve to this time.
Score: 6/10
Nathan: Isn’t it nice to see the home nation choosing a song that is so representative of what they listen to on a daily basis, in fact most of the 12 finalists for MF were representative of popular music in Sweden. You can’t knock a 17 year old who co-wrote his own song which has already been #1 for five weeks in Sweden (which is more than Måns and well… Sanna never got there) plus with a UK campaign having started this week, there’s not much that can stop this train… only a team taking their eye off of this prize in search for global stardom.
Score: 10/10
Note: Nathan wanted to give this a 100/10, but we could only go up to 10…
Wivian: I don‘t very often like the Swedish entry, and when I do they generally don‘t tend to do too well… This year I think that will change, though, cuz I like it, and it seems to be pretty high on the list of favorites too. I really like the song; it‘s modern and sticks in your head after just one listen. It‘s at the same time danceable and a song I will sit down and listen to. And I love his voice, I only wish it was a bit stronger live. But he‘s cute enough to get away with a bit of „almost off key“ singing. (And I like that I can wear my „San Marino“- necklace from last year, since this song ends with „no“…)
Score: 8/10
Peter: OK so without its Melodifestivalen rivals that I significantly preferred, this isn’t the worst song, but it’s still not my cup of tea at all. Then again, I’m not its target audience, and its quite clear there is a sizeable one for this whiney Sheeran-esque drivel. If this can manage to become a genuine hit in advance of Eurovision and get Sweden its record-equalling 7th win then fair play to it. I just hope next year won’t be filled with similar entries.
Score: 5.5/10
Alekas: Sweden had an underwhelming national final this year with gimmicks overpowering the songs which made it not surprising a simple number like Frans’ winning. Although fans don’t like this very much, but it does have a mass appeal and could score well for the host nation.
Score: 8/10


We’re just three entries in, but that means we already have a top three… Finland doesn’t do that well with a score of just 4.89. Sweden is already scoring a solid 6.72, but divides the team. Latvia however gets most approval so far, scoring 7.44.

  1. Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat: 7.44
  2. Sweden: Frans – If I Were Sorry: 6.72
  3. Finland: Sandhja – Sing It Away: 4.89

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with three more entries: Greece, Poland and Switzerland. Make sure to check those out!

One Comment

  1. Good analysis about Finland Nathan! Finland what are you doing? Do what is in your DNA and what you are best at. And that is Rock. We heard so many great songs of you the last decades, strong and raw (as we know your people!) and always ignoring what genres might be more popular, always staying true to yourself. And now this lame song?
    What a waist of a great opportunity to teach your nemesis (on their own ground!) what music that has heart and soul sounds like.
    Wished you had saved Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat for this year because they had that spirit that this years entry totally lacks.

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