Our #ESC250 2019 votes – Part 3: Tom O, Oliver, Vincent

Oliver: Innovation and artistry

As we are coming to the end of a decade, I considered the songs that have left the strongest impression on me. Be it a performance, the song/lyrics or a ‘moment’ on stage. Turning points that have overtly or implicitly guided the contest to where we are today, and where we could be in the future.

  1. Leave Me Alone (Finland 2007)
  2. Taken By A Stranger (Germany 2011)
  3. Love Injected (Latvia 2015)
  4. Euphoria (Sweden 2012)
  5. Lejla (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006)
  6. Deli (Turkey 2008)
  7. Minn Hinsti Dans (Iceland 1997)

8 Points: City Lights (Belgium 2017)

In the last few decades, the contest has changed radically. I would argue this is one of the strongest choruses the contest has seen in some time. It is simplistic, following an octave progression – a massive ear worm. However, Blanche’s moody and vulnerable vocals tied with the consistency of the backing track is so reflective of individuals trying to keep up with modernity.

10 Points: Hatrið mun sigra (Iceland 2019)

This song is somewhat ‘controversial’ and rightfully so. It is a marmite track – you love or loathe it. I am very much in the former. But why? It isn’t a simple repetitive bubblegum pop the contest is known for. It is challenging, jarring and a perfect reflection of the maelstrom of society, culture and existence the contest too-often tries to shy away from. It is layered with meaning, while also providing the contest with a sound/genre fusion we haven’t really touched base on in the contest.

Honorable Mention: Soldi (Italy 2019)

Seeing Mahmood at LEP I knew he would do extremely well. Months after the contest, seeing perform in London once again I realised his artistry, musicality and potential. The fact I spent a good 2 days in a strange ‘grief’ state trying to comprehend what I had witnessed/heard/felt is something I haven’t really experienced. While he came second in Tel Aviv, this guy has a huge career ahead of him. Insofar as the contest, the soundscape of Soldi and the effortless performance of a personal story gives me so much hope for the decade ahead. We will hear innovative, commercial and fresh songs. The contest will be the platform for new international stars: I cannot wait!

12 Points: Calm After The Storm (Netherlands 2014)

I think if you took away all the winning songs, there would be one song/performance that would resonate across the continent. This song is simple, subtle and sublime. It captures a universal feeling and provides a masterclass in staging and effectively portraying emotional storytelling. Unlike abject sorrow or utopian joy, CATS provides nuance and with it a sense of realism. You only need to look to 2015 onwards with the increase of male-female duets to see how impactful and influential this song has been to the contest.

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Tom O'Donoghue

Music photographer based in Somerset, United Kingdom. Photographer for London Eurovision Party.
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