Editorial

Eurovision 2016: Big 5 & Sweden – A Closer Look

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We are now just weeks away from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and it’s about this time that people who don’t follow Eurovision year round start to join us on social media, blogs and fan sites. So if we’ve not seen you since around this time last year, it’s great to have you with us.

I guess for many of us the songs are becoming quite familiar, I’ve had a CD of each semi-final going round in my car for the past couple of weeks and there are some that I can almost sing along every line to.

Just to bring you up to speed, or remind you who’s who, I’m taking a closer look at all the songs and performers, I’m starting with the Big 5 and Sweden, the host nation, who will all be present in the final. Usually we don’t get to see any of the Big 5 or the host nation until the final, but this year it’s all change as they will be performing at the semi finals too.

Ok, here goes…

12418054_10153497786684562_8791735179073905422_n18 year old Jamie Lee Kriewitz won the final in Germany and brings her ever-so funky little song Ghost to this year’s Eurovision stage. It’s proven to be a bit of a crowd divider amongst Eurovision fans I’ve seen it feature heavily in a lot of ‘top tens’, but also in a few ‘bottom tens’ too.

Jamie Lee’s ethereal vocal really suit this mid-tempo, unashamedly pop song. At the national final Jamie Lee’s Manga style clothing and huge lashes gave her a cool cartoon-y look, but not in a bad way, it’s young and fresh and, personally it’s firmly in my top 5. I hope she keeps the look and styling for Eurovision. We’ll see Germany in Semi Final 2.


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Mr tall, dark and handsome, Amir is the singer and ‘Jai Cherche’ is the song. This is an up tempo pop song, it’s got a great melody and is easily sing-along-able. In a departure from the norm the French entry will be sung in both French and English.

Amir is The Voice alumni, like so many this year, having come third on The Voice France in 2014. France have not won the contest since the year I was born (1977!) so with nearly 40 years of ‘drought’ it seems to me like the French are in it to win it this year by sending a great song by a great singer. I’m really looking forward to seeing this live. France will perform in Semi Final 1.


 

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Italy are coming to this contest strong after last year’s third place by Pop-Opera group Il Volo. It’s probably accurate to say that they’ve done it again. Initially released in Italian, Francesca’s song is now bilingual and will be performed in both Italian and English and Francesca’s totally pure vocal tone fit so perfectly with the driving mid-tempo music of this song.

There is a touch of a young Alanis Morisette about her, but she retains her own style and niche, again I really love this song and I do believe that this is a serious contender for victory in Eurovision. Francesca will perform in Semi Final 2.


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Say Yay? Well yes I do Barei! Another mid-tempo pop song (you’ll be hearing that a lot in these reviews!) One of the earlier songs to be announced as Barei won ‘Objetivo Eurovision’ way back on the 1st February, so if you’ve forgotten the song in the craziness of national selection show, watch it below to remind yourself.

I like this song, but I worry about it, in a sea of mid-tempo, female vocal, poptastic songs that are on the playlist this year, I wonder if it might get a bit lost, does it have enough to stand out in this pack? We’ll see Barei on stage during Semi Final 1.


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The last of the Big 5, and the first time since 2010 that the UK song has been decided by public vote and not an internal selection by the BBC. Joe, (from Ruthin, Wales) and Jake (from Stoke-on-Trent, England) met on The Voice UK and became friends, they decided to form a duo and enter Eurovision: You Decide. Their song is a rather catchy anthemic number called ‘You’re Not Alone’ and it includes an ‘Oh-Oh-Oh’ lyric in perfect boyband style!

The UK has had some pretty bad results in recent years, but I do question whether this is strong enough, or different enough, to stand out in Stockholm. I think I’m on safe ground saying that Eurovision 2017 will not be hosted in London, however if the boys have worked hard on their vocals, I am expecting a few more points to the UK than there have been in previous years. We’ll see Joe & Jake in Semi Final 2.


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Sweden are the current darlings of Eurovision having clocked two wins and a third place in the past four years, so it could be said that they are the ones to beat. However this year I think it’s unlikely that Sweden will win again. Now don’t get me wrong the song is good, I don’t think it was the best one at this year’s Melodifestivalen, but it’s not bad.

Little Franz is only 17 years old, and this song is quite a quirky little number, and Franz’s vocals are not dissimilar to Lena with that slightly odd way of pronouncing English that only young people seem to be able to get away with. Like Lena in 2010 this may actually stand out for it’s simplicity, a good song performed well can be just the ticket for Eurovision glory. Franz will perform in Semi Final 1.


So there we have the songs that have pre-qualified for the final, the Big 5 and of course our hosts. Overall I am amazed and thrilled by the quality of the songs from the Big 5 this year. It seems that all have taken the contest quite seriously and found very credible singer and songwriters for their 2016 entries. For me my order of preference looks like this:

  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Sweden
  6. UK

Join me on Saturday and Sunday when we’ll take a closer look at Semi Final 1 (hopefully the running order will have been released by then). What do you think of the Big 5 this year? Who are you backing? Which of these stand out for you? Do you think there is a winner in this group? Leave us a comment below!

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Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland

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