Stockholm 2016

Xtra Jury: We review Iceland, Georgia and the United Kingdom

After getting two new entries in our top four three days ago, we’ve kept an unchanged top ten. Neither of the last six countries were reviewed impressed us enough to storm the top ten. In tenth, it’s still Cyprus with 7.07/10. Bulgaria is still in a solid lead though, followed by Croatia as the only two entries to score over 8/10 on average. Today, we’re going from Iceland to Georgia to finish in the United Kingdom. Will our top ten finally change again?

IcelandGreta Salóme – Hear Them Calling

Sophie: This makes you feel like you are actually being followed by someone or something. In the end I am left kind of exhausted, which I think is a good thing as the atmosphere of the song is really taking over.
Score: 8/10
Alekas: It should be going away from the inspirations and go for a completely different staging I think. It has that cute Icelandic sound that was popular a few years ago and could go down very well with the viewers. Now if we have the same staging as in the National Final, it could turn away its voter. I like it, although I don’t see myself voting for it.
Score: 7.5/10
Danny: The staging is far too similar to both Loreen & Måns and I think this in itself puts me off this song slightly. But it is very catchy and one of the really memorable songs this year for me.
Score: 7/10
Katarina: It’s impossible to review this one without comparing it to Greta’s previous effort, but even though I much prefer Never Forget, Hear Them Calling is a wonderful song. I liked the original, Icelandic version, without the stronger instrumental more, but even the final revamp is good enough for me to place Greta in my top 10. And no, it wasn’t Måns Zelmerlöw who invented staging with projection, so I don’t think calling Greta’s performance a copy makes sense.
Score: 9.5/10
Wivian: As with „Never Forget“ I really would have liked „Hear Them Calling“ to stay in Icelandic. To me, the Icelandic lyrics fit the melody better, and I also prefered the rawer, less polished sound from before the revamp. Though I love the brass and strings, I feel that the upbeat music doesn‘t quite fit the darker lyrics. Greta is an amazing singer, and she really knows what works, as we can see with the beautiful staging, so I think she‘ll make Iceland proud and get a very good result in Sthlm. In Icelandic and before the revamp this was an obvious 8, maybe even 8.5, for me, but as it is now it‘s a 6/10.
Score: 6/10
Nick: Never Forget was a pretty great song, but Greta is even better on her own. The music has something nice and quirky about it, the trumpet makes it rather playful. Her vocals are great and the message of this song makes the difference. It’s a call for positivity and to let the negativity flow out of you. We need that in these times. This is still really good though and Greta deserves to do really well with this.
Score: 9/10
Liam: There’s a lot of talk about this being too similar to Måns and Loreen’s entries, but real talk, it’s not like those songs weren’t heavily inspired by other songs in the past already. That’s just what pop music is, it’s constantly referencing previous stuff and tweaking it a little. This is fun, catchy and performed well. Sure it’s not going to win, but it’s still pretty good.
Score: 8/10
Dimitris: I really adore this song, ever since the first time I heard it. Everything about this entry is perfect; the staging, Greta’s vocals, the atmosphere it creates. I personally don’t mind whether it is in Icelandic or English, but I guess it would be nice to have a bilingual version to make it more interesting. I really hope Greta manages to do well this time, because she really deserves to do.
Score: 10/10

GeorgiaNika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold

Sophie: Well, I don’t think you can or should take this too seriously, and if you don’t it can actually be fun listening to. I’m very excited to see what this will look like on stage, I guess the Georgians will have some surprises in stock for us.
Score: 6/10
Alekas: After last year’s stunner, they are taking a break. I will be taking a break too.
Score: 1/10
Danny: This one sits right at the very bottom in my rankings. It’s just awful in my eyes – the music is really strange and those high pitch bursts of noise make the song even more uncomfortable to listen to. They sing with no passion and the song just doesn’t go anywhere.
Score: 0/10
Katarina: After Montenegro, here is another mess that gives me headaches. The original version was bearable, but the revamp just made it horrible to listen to, and now I can’t sit through three minutes of this.
Score: 1/10
Wivian: Again I‘m sure I‘m gonna be „unique“; I really, really like this song. It sounds real, as in „would have been written and recorded regardless of Eurovision“, which to me is always a good thing, no matter what kind of song it is. This is real music, performed by real artists, and I very much approve. Like in the Montenegrin song, we get the cool mix of rock and electro, and here we can also add a very „indie“ voice. It is however not quite as good as Montenegro, so I‘ll have to stop at 8/10.
Score: 8/10
Nick: There’s one thing I hate about this and that’s the compromise they’ve made. The first version was uncompromised, different, interesting and worth listening to – even if you are not normally a fan of this style. However, now they’ve got G:son on board, it’s compromise all over. If you want to do something different, then go for it. You don’t need G:son to work on this. Sigh.
Score: 4.5/10
Liam: Firstly I feel like announcing that your representatives are the ‘Young Georgian Lolitaz’ and then not giving us Georgia’s answer to Dolly Style is false advertising and I will never forgive them for getting my hopes up like that. Secondly, the song is an attempt at late 90’s britpop and it does a decent job of that until the weird electronic breakdown. I like what its referencing, even if I think it’s poorly executed, so I don’t hate this as much as I should.
Score: 3/10
Dimitris: Okay, this is another joke from Georgia. After sending Warrior last year, I thought they wanted to take the contest seriously but apparently not. The song is annoying and even though it got quite better with the revamp, it’s still unbearable to listen to.
Score: 1/10

United KingdomJoe and Jake – You’re Not Alone

Sophie: Joe and Jake are a likeable couple of guys, they seem to be enjoying themselves and having a lot of fun. The song is great to sing along and their good mood is infectious.
Score: 8/10
Alekas: I quite like this. It’s simple and cute. We know that young boy duets worked in the past and I see no reason why this shouldn’t either.
Score: 7/10
Danny: OK, I really really like this. I have to applaud the UK public for actually picking the best song out of the six on offer – this is British music in its current form and Joe & Jake deliver it really well. The song is perfectly suited to them and they great charisma between them. This really doesn’t deserve a bad result and I’ll be pretty ticked off if it ends up at the bottom half of the scoreboard as it really doesn’t deserve it.
Score: 9/10
Katarina: If only Frans wasn’t there to steal all the “ah look, what a cute boy” votes… too late. This song is a pretty safe option, but at least it’s much better than Electro Velvet (then again, it wasn’t something hard to achieve). It is so safe that it definitely won’t stand out in a competition with 26 songs, so I guess we won’t be seeing the UK higher than their usual position.
Score: 5.5/10
Wivian: This song is (annoyingly) singalong friendly, it works well on the dancefloor (quite surprisingly, I have to say) and it‘s obvious that the boys have fun together on stage. Oh, and they are adorable. And those are the positive bits. Their vocals aren‘t too impressive, the song itself is a fairly average pop song, there‘s not much happening aftert he first chorus, and it‘s very boyband by numbers. Which is not at all my kind of music. But compared to a lot of the other „just below average“ entries this year, this is at least fun.
Score: 5/10
Nick: I don’t really know what to say about this. It’s happy, it’s cheerful, it’s nothing complicated, these boys are enjoying themselves on stage and they’ll make it fun for us to watch and listen what they’re doing. But it somehow doesn’t leave much of an impression and I can’t see this doing better than for example Molly did…
Score: 7/10
Liam: I genuinely love this song. Yes, it’s definitely a more amateurish offering than what the UK should be delivering to this contest, but I find it impossible to be so cynical about Joe & Jake. The boys look genuinely delighted to be here without a touch of arrogance that often plagues a British entry. Also, the song is actually quite good so that genuinely helps too. If they can show off their fun, naïve, adorable selves on stage in Sweden, then they could do quite well.
Score: 10/10
Dimitris: It’s a cute and nice song, but nothing else other than that. At least the United Kingdom has put some effort in selecting their entry this year, despite not selecting the best one from their selection. I can’t see them doing better than usual though.
Score: 5.5/10

The story so far…

Finally, we’ve changed our top ten again. It’s even a change in the top three as Iceland’s Greta Salóme becomes our third act to score over 8/10 on average. Joe and Jake become our second favourite today with rather acceptable scores. There’s no hate for their You’re Not Alone, with a 5/10 as their lowest score, coming from Wivian. They’re safely above average with an eleventh place. Right at the bottom, there’s Georgia, who’s only ‘saved’ by Wivian’s 8/10 and Sophie’s 6/10. They still end up bottom three with an average over 3/10.

  1. Bulgaria – Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime: 8.58
  2. Croatia – Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse: 8.21
  3. Iceland – Greta Salóme – Hear Them Calling: 8.13
  4. Germany – Jamie-Lee – Ghost: 7.93
  5. Estonia – Jüri Pootsmann – Play: 7.92
  6. Serbia – Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter): 7.86
  7. Russia – Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One: 7.64
  8. Latvia – Justs – Heartbeat: 7.44
  9. Armenia – Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave: 7.21
  10. Czech Republic – Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand: 7.21
  11. United Kingdom – Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone: 7.13
  12. Cyprus – Minus One – Alter Ego: 7.07
  13. Ukraine – Jamala – 1944: 6.81
  14. Israel – Hovi Star – Made Of Stars: 6.79
  15. Lithuania – Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night: 6.79
  16. Austria – Zoë – Loin D’Ici: 6.75
  17. Sweden – Frans –  If I Were Sorry: 6.72
  18. Azerbaijan – Samra – Miracle: 6.69
  19. Australia – Dami Im – Sound of Silence: 6.69
  20. Spain – Barei – Say Yay!: 6.43
  21. FYR Macedonia – Kaliopi – Dona: 6.29
  22. Hungary – Freddie – Pioneer: 6.00
  23. The Netherlands – Douwe Bob – Slow Down: 5.71
  24. Moldova – Lidia Isac – Falling Stars: 5.36
  25. Ireland – Nicky Byrne – Sunlight: 5.29
  26. Denmark – Lighthouse X – Soldiers of Love: 5.00
  27. Finland – Sandhja – Sing It Away: 4.89
  28. Poland – Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life: 4.36
  29. Norway – Agnete – Icebreaker: 4.31
  30. Switzerland – Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind: 4.29
  31. Slovenia – ManuElla – Blue & Red: 4.14
  32. Montenegro – Highway – The Real Thing: 3.69
  33. Greece – Argo – Utopian Land: 3.43
  34. Georgia – Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold: 3.06
  35. Belarus – Ivan – Help You Fly: 2.71
  36. San Marino – Serhat – I Didn’t Know: 1.64

Just six more! Tomorrow we’ll be travelling east for Bosnia-Herzegovina, before going to Albania and crossing the sea to land in Italy.

Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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