Throwback Thursday: Love at first sign?

When we think about Austria at Eurovision, we think about a country before and after Conchita Wurst. Well, at least that is how it works for me. It doesn’t matter if we like the second Austrian victory or not. The effort that the Austrian broadcaster has been putting into the contest have increased, and the quality of the songs they have been sending is the proof. One of those quality acts was “Running on air” by Nathan Trent. But it wasn’t love at first sign. At all.

When the inddiference turns into love

When the Austrian entry was revealed my first impression was: ok, last year they made a good bet, but this year they have no chances. There was not an imediate connection between me and the song, as it just felt flat. The kind of song that you don’t mind to hear, but certainly not something that I would die for. And this feeling stayed until the first rehearsals.

Even though I wasn’t a fan of the song, I followed Nathan’s journey at Eurovision through several interviews. When you represent a country at Eurovision, you need to have in mind that you aren’t just a singer but also an ambassador of your country. You were chosen to represent your country and you should put your soul and energy into it. And Nathan was certainly a good ambassador for Austria.

When a song is written, it is nothing more than a bunch of music notes put together, and the talent of the composer needs a good singer to make out of it a winning product. It is the singer who brings the song to life. The message of the composer needs to be passed on to the viewers in the best possible way, and I think that was achieved with “Running on air”. Nathan’s positive attitude made me get closer to the song, and it reflects so well the spirit and message of his music.

The live performance

This was the key moment. This was when I understood the potential of the song. Everthing was on point. The backgroud, the moon, the smoke on the stage…everything felt magical. It is like if you get into a different dimension. Actually I have to confess something: I love to make harsh critics on the acts, and I just can’t highlight anything negative on this one. And to be honest it annoys me. Give me something to critisize, please.

From the middle of my ranking, it jumped to my personal top 10, and managed to stay there after all this time. I wasn’t expecting those zero points from the televote. I was in the arena and my reaction to that result was very similar to the one Mister Kirkorov had when Jamala won against Sergey (and rightfully).

Austria has sent better songs but Nathan is my favourite Austrian representative by far. And this is why I chose “Running on air” for this Throwback Thursday. I couldn’t finish this review without pointing out this amazing cover of “Amar pelos dois”. As a Portuguese it gives me goosebumps. Not only well sung, but also with a perfect Portuguese accent.

Can we have Nathan back? I say yes.

What the others had to say?

Riccardo I will admit that before the contest, my expectations regarding this song were quite low. I always liked it but didn’t think it would end up working well on stage. Clearly I was underestimating how great of a performer Nathan is. He brought that song to live and gave a boost of energy to the show. He is always smiley and bubbly but (at least to me) it never turns into an annoying or gringey show. Also, the staging did a great job with the LEDs and smoke. Love those colour tone changes. Simple yet very effective, (some countries out to take note of that). Definitely didn’t deserve to come last in the televote. I am always a supporter of having juries at Eurovision and this case I say it yet again: thank heavens for the juries! And thank you Emmanuel for bringing this lovely song back to my play list!

Isaac – Running On Air is a song that I’ve never really rated. It embodies for me the current Austrian trend of sending a song that sits in the middle of the pack with no real reason for me to care about it. It’s so anonymous I remember being hugely surprised it qualified, there’s a market for this sort of stuff but it’s so easy for the less standout entries in the category to be forgotten by everyone. It’s just too safe and those are sadly the sort of songs that I really don’t like to see at Eurovision.

Yassia – I love this song, as it’s very melodic, light, positive and even motivating. The song and the singer himself is just spreading good vibes and makes you feel happy:) Honestly, there are few Austrian entries that I really liked, but this one is one of them. I must admit that it’s not a crazily outstanding song, but it’s a very good one.

Timothy – Running on Air, Nathan always shows a glimmer of hope whenever he performs this song. This will always be my favourite song of his regardless (not just because it’s his Eurovision song) but it’s just an uplifting and relatable track… everyone could use a Nathan Trent in their life…

Nathan Trent performing “Running On Air” in the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

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