Stockholm 2016

Xtra Jury: We review Malta, Belgium and France

It’s here, the last day of our reviews. We’ve already reviewed 39 competing entries and today, we’ll have the last four to take a look at. Can Poli Genova hold on to her lead? Can Nina and Greta hang on to that top three? Our team will fly to Malta, then back north to Belgium to finish off in France. And that’ll be the end of our review journey!

MaltaIra Losco – Walk On Water

Nick: Was I always going to love Ira Losco’s Eurovision entry? No, not really. Am I a huge Molly Pettersson Hammar fan? No. Then why on earth am I so into this? This song works from start to finish (ok, the crying seagull is a bit odd) and I think this is an outstanding effort from a country I don’t normally have high in my Eurovision rankings. This is fantastic and I hope it does really well. It deserves it.
Score: 10/10
Katarina: This song didn’t quite work for me at first listen (although it was always better than Chameleon), but it finally grew on me and now I really like it. The MPH vibes are obvious so I am glad she’ll be joining Ira in Stockholm. WOW is a nice song, but I don’t think it can achieve the success everyone predicts for it.
Score: 8/10
Danny: This is nice enough but I think the hype that surrounded its premiere kinda spoiled things for me, as I don’t think it really lived up to its expectations. It’s been produced well though, just a bit too mainstream for me.
Score: 6/10
Peter: Kudos to Ira Losco for coming back with something modern – this is radio-friendly and a very professional package, but it could be lacking that one killer hook to see it really fly. Hopefully the performance is eye-catching enough to complement the atmosphere of the song and give Malta a respectable placing. However Molly Petterson-Hammar really can only write one song can’t she…
Score: 8.5/10
Liam: I was not into Chameleon at all so naturally I was stoked to hear that Malta were using their new voting clause wisely and switching the song up. Walk on Water is a bit of a mash of styles but unlike the Bosnian entry, these work well. I’d love for this to win, just for an excuse to see our editor Edward go into complete joy meltdown.
Score: 9/10
Wivian: I like Ira‘s voice a lot, and she‘s pretty solid live, but that‘s about the only good thing I can say about this song. It‘s got some cool beats here and there, but mainly this is Eurovision by numbers, and I don‘t approve. I do believe though, that there will be a really cool performance, and it will probably do quite well; a lot of people like this style of music. I‘m afraid I don‘t though.
Score: 3/10
Dimitris:  I was totally rooting for Ira Losco to win the selection, and I was glad she did. But when it was announced that the song would change, I wasn’t quite happy about it as I loved Chameleon. But when Walk on Water was revealed, I was proven wrong. The song is way better than their first song. It would be interesting to see Malta winning as they have already proved with JESC that they can pull off a great show.
Score: 10/10
Alekas: When Chameleon was selected I was like “oh girl, no”, so I was very much excited about the prospect of a new song. Boy, did Malta deliver! WOW is super cool and exactly the direction Eurovision needs to go for: a contemporary radio friendly song that would bring in young audience. I love this and it’s easily in my top3.
Score: 10/10
Sophie: A more than decent entry from Malta that will probably do well in the final. I quite like listening to the song and there is not exactly anything I can complain about, but somehow it doesn’t really sweep me off my feet.
Score: 7/10

BelgiumLaura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure

Nick: Selah Sue is quite big in Belgium, so when she composes a song for them, you’re in for a treat. And then What’s The Pressure turns up and you just have to wonder if Selah just threw a song she wasn’t happy with at poor Laura. Still, I enjoy the disco vibe in this and I enjoy listening to this. It won’t set the scoreboard on fire, but I really like this.
Score: 8/10
Katarina: Simply annoying. Yeah, it’s fun, it’s catchy, but after one minute it starts boring the life out of me, and Laura struggling to hit one note doesn’t help me get a better impression. I hope it won’t take a deserving qualifier’s place in the final just because of the running order.
Score: 2/10
Danny: Well this is basically Fleur East’s ‘Sax’ meets Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’. To be fair I couldn’t stand this to begin with but its actually grown on me a little bit over the last few weeks. I wouldn’t put it in my personal top 10 but I think it could surprise people and sneak in to the top half of the scoreboard if performed well.
Score: 6/10
Peter: A cross between Another One Bites The Dust by Queen and Sax by Fleur East all bundled up in a twee pop package that would really be more at home in Junior Eurovision than the main event. It’s not the slickest of packages, however with semi-final 2 closing with the only out and out party song of the night, it’s a complete no-brainer to qualify.
Score: 6/10
Liam: Ooh boy. I have a lot to say here. Musically this is trash and completely irrelevant. My main issue comes from the lyrics. First of all, aside from ‘What’s the Pressure’ being a phrase that doesn’t make any sense, it’s also a question that hasn’t got a question mark at the end. Basically this song is complete nonsense masquerading as having sense. The fact that little attentions to details like that have not been picked up shows a pretty obvious lack of effort by the song writers and a lack of connection to the song by the singer. Absolute rubbish.
Score: 0/10
Wivian: Theres‘s not much about this song that doesn‘t annoy me. This should normally make people happy, as it‘s uptempo and dancey, but it actually kicks my misophonia into action. I really struggle listening to this, and it gets worse every time it comes on. So; no thanks. Next! 1/10 (Just because it‘s not San Marino…)
Score: 1/10
Dimitris: This was by far the best from the selection. I really like the sounds it has, it reminds me of “Sax” by Fleur East. However, it can get quite annoying after a few listens.
Score: 8/10
Alekas: Yes, it is indeed Sax pt. 2. It’s cute and cheesy, performed okay and if she is able to translate the charm live, I would not be surprised if this does surprisingly well. I don’t see myself voting for it, but I expect Lithuania to send a few points Laura’s way.
Score: 7/10
Sophie: What a catchy piece of fun! It might not be a masterpiece of music, but Laura’s energy is infectious and makes you wanna get up and dance all the pressure out of your system.
Score: 7/10

FranceAmir – J’Ai Cherché

Nick: Now we’re talking. France, with a new Head of Delegation, developed a new strategy for Eurovision. Just send a credible, current song with a singer who will get the promo working for you. Amir is an astonishing performer, J’Ai Cherché is the most chart ready song of the year and I can see Europe singing along to ‘you-ou-ou-ou’. I can easily see this winning in May. Douze points pour la France! Can I give it an 11/10?
Score: 10/10
Katarina: A fan favourite which I sadly don’t see winning. It’s an awesome, cheerful and catchy song and Amir is a great live performer, but I don’t think we are heading to Paris in 2017. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like that happening, since I really love J’ai Cherché, and it’s easily in my top 10.
Score: 9.5/10
Danny: Well now, France has finally gone and done it – sent a song worthy and capable of winning the entire contest. This just ticks all of the boxes for me – unlike Italy, the transition from native tongue to English works seamlessly and in general, the song really makes the most of its three minutes. Amir also has great charisma which along with the song, I think will help him create a real memorable performance – a potential winning one in fact!
Score: 10/10
Peter: This is a very polished, modern and catchy pop song and I can totally understand why it’s one of the big favourites. However I can see this not translating well at all in a competition setting and it could be completely missed on the night itself. I hate to say it but it could be yet another year of France being underewarded for a sterling effort.
Score: 8/10
Liam: I was very keen on this when it was first selected. They’d managed to make a fun, fresh, accessible little pop song allowing just enough of the beauty that is French to shine through while still giving a communicable message in English. Then they revamped it, boosted it and tightened it up turning it into a contender. We could be very well looking at the 6th Eurovision win for France here and I would be very okay with that.
Score: 9/10
Wivian: I don‘t know where to start with this song. I love Amir‘s voice, and he‘s also great live. I love that it‘s in French, and it would have gotten another .5 points if the chorus wasn‘t in English. I think the only thing I‘m not super happy about is the manic clapping in the chorus; it just about gives me a (very slight!) feeling of canned drums, but not quite, and that‘s what saves it from „certain death“ on my list. Instead I‘m giving it „eternal life“, and 9/10.
Score: 9/10
Dimitris: Another amazing entry from France. It’s very fresh and the use of both English and French lyrics sounds really good. I’m not quite sure if this could be our winner but I really hope France manages to do well this year because they have been very underrated in the past years, especially in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Score: 9/10
Alekas: Yes, it’s quite good, but definitely not a winning song. Maybe I’m listening to another song, but I don’t see how this can win against the monster that is Russia. Let’s not forget it’s France we are talking about and they aren’t known for doing well in the televoting. Fingers crossed it ends up in TOP 10 so we can at least be happy France did well after quite some time.
Score: 8/10
Sophie: The last one to review goes straight to the top of my list! I love this song, I love Amir and his beautiful smile, and I‘ve practised day and night to know all the lyrics by heart. Of course, I would prefer it if all of it was kept in French, but what can you do… It doesn’t change the fact that I adore the song.
Score: 10/10

The story

Poli Genova did so well to hang on to her first place for quite a while. Her score of 8.58 for If Love Was A Crime turns out to be enough for second place. On the last day, in the last reviews, Poli gets overtaken by Amir from France. With a low of 8/10 and multiple 10/10s, it is no surprise that Amir is the one we’re looking for in 2016.
He however isn’t the only one to do well today. Ira Losco crushes the hopes to pull off the major surprise Jamie-Lee was preparing: She takes the fifth place by just 0.01 from Jamie-Lee. Walk On Water ends in fifth with 7.94 on average. Less fortunate today is Belgium, who become the third act to score a round 5/10. Because no one gave Laura a 10/10, she ends behind Albania and Denmark.

  1. France – Amir – J’Ai Cherché: 9.17
  2. Bulgaria – Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime: 8.58
  3. Croatia – Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse: 8.21
  4. Iceland – Greta Salóme – Hear Them Calling: 8.13
  5. Malta – Ira Losco – Walk On Water: 7.94
  6. Germany – Jamie-Lee – Ghost: 7.93
  7. Estonia – Jüri Pootsmann – Play: 7.92
  8. Serbia – Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter): 7.86
  9. Russia – Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One: 7.64
  10. Italy – Francesca Michielin – No Degree Of Separation: 7.50
  11. Latvia – Justs – Heartbeat: 7.44
  12. Armenia – Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave: 7.21
  13. Czech Republic – Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand: 7.21
  14. United Kingdom – Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone: 7.13
  15. Cyprus – Minus One – Alter Ego: 7.07
  16. Ukraine – Jamala – 1944: 6.81
  17. Israel – Hovi Star – Made Of Stars: 6.79
  18. Lithuania – Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night: 6.79
  19. Austria – Zoë – Loin D’Ici: 6.75
  20. Sweden – Frans –  If I Were Sorry: 6.72
  21. Azerbaijan – Samra – Miracle: 6.69
  22. Australia – Dami Im – Sound of Silence: 6.69
  23. Spain – Barei – Say Yay!: 6.43
  24. FYR Macedonia – Kaliopi – Dona: 6.29
  25. Hungary – Freddie – Pioneer: 6.00
  26. The Netherlands – Douwe Bob – Slow Down: 5.71
  27. Moldova – Lidia Isac – Falling Stars: 5.36
  28. Ireland – Nicky Byrne – Sunlight: 5.29
  29. Denmark – Lighthouse X – Soldiers of Love: 5.00
  30. Albania – Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale: 5.00
  31. Belgium – Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure: 5.00
  32. Finland – Sandhja – Sing It Away: 4.89
  33. Poland – Michał Szpak – Color Of Your Life: 4.36
  34. Norway – Agnete – Icebreaker: 4.31
  35. Switzerland – Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind: 4.29
  36. Slovenia – ManuElla – Blue & Red: 4.14
  37. Bosnia & Herzegovina – Dalal & Deen ft. Ana Rucner & Jala – Ljubav Je: 4.13
  38. Montenegro – Highway – The Real Thing: 3.69
  39. Greece – Argo – Utopian Land: 3.43
  40. Georgia – Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold: 3.06
  41. Belarus – Ivan – Help You Fly: 2.71
  42. San Marino – Serhat – I Didn’t Know: 1.64

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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