Stockholm 2016

Xtra Jury: We review Austria, Estonia and Bulgaria

Yesterday, our team virtually travelled to the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Slovenia to check out the songs they had on offer for 2016. The conclusions: Gabriela is still standing, the alter ego of the Cypriot entry can be found in schlager and ManuElla is more in the red zone of the scoreboard…
Today, we’re taking a look at Austria, Estonia and Bulgaria. Let’s see what we think!

AustriaZoë – Loin D’Ici

Danny: I loved this one from first listen. It’s sweet, elegant and refreshing among the many mainstream entries this year. Zoe got a fantastic applause in London when she performed so it no doubt has a following. How it will do in Stockholm though I’m not sure, it can easily get lost in its semi final.
Score: 7.5/10
Katarina: Definitely the cutest song this year, but unlike so many other songs of the same style, it manages to be cheerful without becoming cheesy. Zoe is a great live performer, I just don’t know if the song will stand out in the semi or be completely forgotten by the end of the night. She will need a great staging, less flowery than the national final one, and then I can see her qualifying.
Score: 7/10
Sophie: Zoë herself is just as sweet as the song. She is taking us into her own little fairytale of cuteness. I think I would like the whole thing better in a downtempo version, but it’s still quite lovely.
Score: 7/10
Liam: This is very cute and adorable and it’s nice to hear at least one country singing in a language that isn’t English. I feel like as much as I love it, this is pretty chanceless though. It’s sugar and spice and all things nice, but at the same time, it’s not very accessible to the general public. Oh well, we have fan favourites for a reason.
Score: 6/10
Wivian: I realized during her performance at LEP that this song is a massive fan favorite, and I just don‘t get it. Yes, she‘s adorable, but her voice is like sugar (it almost makes my teeth hurt) and her song fits better in a black and white movie from the 50s. I am quite convinced, though, that it will drown in Stockholm, and I think this might be what I call „this year‘s Belgium“ (remember Kate Ryan and Xandee, anyone?) I love that she sings in French, though.
Score: 3/10
Nick: I love this a whole lot. It’s cute, it’s cheerful, it’s elegant. Ok, it’s so sweet, your teeth will hurt from it, but I still love it. It’s no wonder she got the biggest cheer in the preview parties she’s attended. The French language suits the song perfectly. As for Stockholm, God knows what it can do there. I hope it’s at least a final spot.
Score: 10/10

EstoniaJüri Pootsmann – Play

Danny:  I really don’t get this, it’s bland and just doesn’t really do anything for me. I expect it to go somewhere in the middle but it just falls flat.
Score: 3/10
Katarina: Estonia’s song last year was my all time favourite, so when I saw Stig Rästa was a composer of one of the Eesti Laul songs, I immediately knew it would be my favourite, and it didn’t disappoint. I love how mysterious ‘Play’ is, and Jüri’s voice fits this theme perfectly. The verses might sound boring at first listen, which could be a problem in this contest, but the strong chorus compensates for it. It’s not your typical Eurovision song, and I have no idea how it will appeal to the viewers at home, but I know at least I will be sending a vote or two for Estonia.
Score: 10/10
Sophie: Jüri’s voice is giving me goosebumps. I fell in love with the song at the very first second and the feeling hasn’t changed a bit since then.
Score: 10/10
Liam:  I think I’m far too biased towards Estonia to be able to properly comment on this. See on minu lemmik laul.
Score: 10/10
Wivian: I can‘t quite get my head around this song, but what I do get, I like. His voice is fascinating, though it‘s quite twilightzone‘y to hear this deep voice coming out of the mouth of a 14 year old… I‘m afraid this song might also disappear a bit in Stockholm, as it is probably too relaxed and cool to be noticed among the other, more lively songs. I quite like this, though.
Score: 6/10
Nick: Today is Top Ten day for me as all three of these entries are in my top ten. Estonia has a dark charm and Jüri sells it well, I love listening to this and it’s quite relaxed. A really nice effort from the Estonians, once again.
Score: 8.5/10

BulgariaPoli Genova – If Love Was A Crime

Danny: Without a doubt one of the best songs this year. Very current, very commercial – it’s guaranteed to have an audience. The chorus is instantly catchy and Poli has a great stage presence which will no doubt help keep the performance fresh in people’s minds.
Score: 8.5/10
Katarina: If you told me two months ago that I would have Bulgaria as my winner, I would laugh at you and say it’s not possible. But there you go, Poli tops my list quite easily as I just can’t stop listening to her song. ‘If Love Was A Crime’ is contemporary, extremely catchy, and that Bulgarian part just makes everything perfect. Her live performances from all the pre parties make me a bit worried though, as I don’t see the energy this song needs from her. If she can sort it out, Bulgaria might finally qualify again.
Score: 10/10
Sophie: I’m usually all for singing in your native language, but this one line in Bulgarian is kind of bothering me. It seems impossible to sing along while the rest of the song makes you wanna do just that. But who knows, by the time the contest kicks off I might have figured it out. The rest of the song is not too bad, I just find the lyrics a little too bland though.
Score: 7/10
Liam: After years of trying to replicate that one time they had success, Bulgaria might have found it. Poli Genova is an absolute delight and I’m so glad she was rewarded for her good hosting of Junior Eurovision. Having the hook of the song in Bulgarian is a good move too.
Score: 9/10
Wivian: I still prefer „Na Inat“, and I will never understand how she didn‘t qualify in Düsseldorf, but this is also a good song. I prefer the chorus (for once), but the whole thing just works. And Poli is wonderfully amazing; her voice, her stage precence, her style… I‘m a fan. I have to admit, though, that I wish the song was as good as she is. But still; hopefully this will be Bungaria‘s best result at Eurovision!
Score: 7/10
Nick: Here’s how you return to the Eurovision Song Contest with limited financial sources: Find a singer who loves Eurovision, get a few songwriters in there who want to get on such a big stage and don’t spend too much on a video. Catchy as hell, with a great chorus in Bulgarian. Easily Bulgaria’s best in Eurovision.
Score: 10/10

The story so far…

We have a new #1, everybody! Bulgaria comfortably overtakes Croatia as our favourite, scoring an impressive 8.58, against Croatia’s 8.21. Estonia comes in at a fourth place, mainly thanks to Katarina, Sophie and Liam, who all rate it 10/10. Estonia scores just 0.01 less than Germany did, so Jamie-Lee hangs on to her third place. Austria doesn’t do too well, despite Nick’s 10/10, scoring just 6.75 on average, at a thirteenth place, just behind Lithuania and Israel, but ahead of Sweden.

  1. Bulgaria – Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime: 8.58
  2. Croatia – Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse: 8.21
  3. Germany – Jamie-Lee – Ghost: 7.93
  4. Estonia – Jüri Pootsmann – Play: 7.92
  5. Serbia – Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter): 7.86
  6. Russia – Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One: 7.64
  7. Latvia – Justs – Heartbeat: 7.44
  8. Armenia – Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave: 7.21
  9. Czech Republic – Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand: 7.21
  10. Cyprus – Minus One – Alter Ego: 7.07
  11. Israel – Hovi Star – Made Of Stars: 6.79
  12. Lithuania – Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night: 6.79
  13. Austria – Zoë – Loin D’Ici: 6.75
  14. Sweden – Frans –  If I Were Sorry: 6.72
  15. Spain – Barei – Say Yay!: 6.43
  16. FYR Macedonia – Kaliopi – Dona: 6.29
  17. Hungary – Freddie – Pioneer: 6.00
  18. The Netherlands – Douwe Bob – Slow Down: 5.71
  19. Moldova – Lidia Isac – Falling Stars: 5.36
  20. Ireland – Nicky Byrne – Sunlight: 5.29
  21. Finland – Sandhja – Sing It Away: 4.89
  22. Poland – Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life: 4.36
  23. Switzerland – Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind: 4.29
  24. Slovenia – ManuElla – Blue & Red: 4.14
  25. Greece – Argo – Utopian Land: 3.43
  26. Belarus – Ivan – Help You Fly: 2.71
  27. San Marino – Serhat – I Didn’t Know: 1.64

We’ll be visiting Azerbaijan, Australia and Denmark tomorrow. Another bookies’ favourite in there, but will we be impressed?

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