Thursday, 9 April 2015

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 - My evaluations and choice for winner.

It doesn't take place until towards the end of next month (with the two semi-finals in the days preceding), but for the first time, taking a leaf out of Craig's blog......

..........I've listened to each of this year's 40 entries, giving all of them my complete attention. After careful consideration, I've now come up with my choices, ordinally placed as follows:-

1) Estonia (current betting odds puts it 3rd)     
2) Austria (19th)
3) Denmark (30th)
4) Russia (7th)
5) San Marino (40th, i.e. last!)

I have high hopes for the U.K. entry, a M/F duo with a 'Roaring-20s' pastiche. Present betting places it 10th.  I think it's a brave choice, unlike any other entry this year - or maybe it's a sign of desperation to try to get something noticed after many years of finishing in unillustrious positions, even last or near to last (except for Andrew Lloyd Webber's [pretty good] song, which finished 5th in 2009). If the U.K. doesn't make the first ten with this one there ain't no justice. If it ends up in the bottom half it'll be a travesty; but travesties have always been second nature to this infuriatingly watchable event.

A few further comments:-
Current favourite is Sweden (it usually is!) which I don't rate at all. It didn't even make my 'long list' of 12 from which I chose the above five. But it's a rare year indeed when my own favourite song wins, the last one being (also 2009) with Alex Rybak, the little happy hottie from Norway with his fiddle.

My top choice of Estonia clearly won't be to everybody's taste, but it has an attractive originality about it, both melodically and lyric-wise.

Austria's song, which I place second, is a very Lennon-esque arrangement (think 'Imagine'), though putting that aside I think it's a quality song.

Denmark's entry (a throwback to 1960's pop groups) reminded me a lot of the title song of the Tom Hanks written-and-directed film 'That Thing You Do', but it's no worse for being that. It's a cheerful little number.

Russia gives us one of those rather predictable, aspirational big ballads but I've heard a lot worse, and it's actually not that bad. The video features mainly little kids but also adult couples, most of advanced age, only one (or two?) of which could possibly be considered as a possible same-sex couple (both couples being female), though they are much more likely to be familial-related. Anything suggesting that gay couples can be okay (oh, horror!) would be contravening their 'gay propaganda' laws. ("We Believe in Dreams", indeed - but dreams for whom?)
The accompanying video mimics but is very different from Madonna's video for her abridged version of 'American Pie', which was gratifyingly upfront about showing us gay couples. (I loved her version of the song itself, by the way, which had an infectious drive to it, even though it was generally panned and Madge herself regretted having acquiesced to Rupert Everett's pestering her to release it.)

Australia's offering wasn't at all bad. It very nearly got into my Top 5 with it's jazzy inflections. However, I doubt if it'll be highly placed, unless the novelty of having that country enter for the first time gets it noticed.

You can hear (and see) all the songs here:-

So there you are. Make of my choices what you will - and we'll see if they come to pass on May 23rd.

The second part of the above is easy, at least for some of us - the first, well-nigh impossible!


  1. Ray! I was looking forward to your picks. At least we have one song in common - Denmark. I quite liked Estonia too but it didn't make it into my top three. I can't remember Austria (I'll give it another listen) but I do remember thinking that Russia wasn't bad. We shall see who comes closest on the 23rd!

    1. I had your choices in mind as I played all the songs, Craig. Although Italy did make my select list of 12 it wasn't too much of a struggle to exclude it from my ultimate list.

      Russia generally does submit a strongish song, as does France, though I'm disappointed by the latter this year.

      Thanks to you this will be the first time that I'll have heard all the songs before the event - ones opinion does change the more one hears some of them. One can easily tire of some although liking it first time around. So it could be that by the time we get to the final both your choices and mine could well have altered. It wouldn't be right to consider them set in stone anyway.

      So, roll on six weeks from tomorrow! The excitement is mounting! - or is that another story?

  2. Several people (Europeans) have mentioned Eurovision on their blogs, but I had no idea exactly what it was until now (unfortunately we Americans often have no clue as to what's going on in other places).

    I applaud you for taking the time to carefully evaluate all 40 entries. I've just listened to a few. I wasn't exactly crazy about Estonia (I'll have to listen to it again). I did, however, really like Austria's entry - - and you're right, it does sound Lennon-esque.
    I haven't listened to Denmark yet.

    1. The Song Contest has been an 'institution' here for over 50 years, Jon - equally loved and loathed - though around the 70s and 80s it was more derided and written off as a joke than taken seriously. (There are still many who'd subscribe to it being only worthy of mocking.)
      It's being broadcast live in Australia this year and has been for quite some time, but more important now as they participating for the first time, their taking part at the moment being a one-off.
      I'm sure the contest will be available live in America and worldwide, through one of the computer channels. It's certainly there on numerous sites afterwards.
      It really is a must-see if you like flamboyant spectacle, and campness either under the surface or in full view - and then there's the nail-biting drama of the results as each country offers their own viewers' telephone votes, with boos and cheers from the huge audience as, for example, when Greece and Cyprus never fail to give each other maximum points no matter what their respective songs are like. It always get my blood pressure up but that's what you get if you subject yourself to such maddeningly involving 'entertainment'. Hope you manage to give it a try. You may well hate it as so many do. But there again it might open up an entire new world you hadn't known existed..

  3. I listened to Austria again Ray and I did recall listening to it last week when I was making my top 3 cut. It's accomplished but perhaps your reference to Lennon is exactly what I didn't like about it. I'm one of those few people who wasn't a fan of the Beatles or their music! I'm still holding out for Norway or Italy!

  4. NOT a Beatles fan? I'd heard there were some such people around but now I've got to know one!

    I had to make an effort not to think of 'Imagine' during Austria's song. Once I did it suited me nicely. In fact, to be honest, it's the one out of the 40 that gave me the biggest inner 'buzz'.

    I've so far listened to Norway only the once, when I gave it a score of 1/5. For some historical reason I give all entries a score between 0 and 5 on initial listening, which weeds out the non-starters for me, leaving me free to give greater attention to those that impressed first time round and rate them differentially. I'll have to give Norway another shot to see if I can hear what makes it special for you.
    With Italy I get the feeling that it just could have been a better song.

  5. I find the whole phenomena fascinating for I have never heard of this until only a few years ago.

    1. The fascination of this phenomenon is inexplicable, particularly as it does no favours to my ordinarily high blood pressure. However, it's also an addiction, and my life would be immeasurably duller if it had to fold. Pleased that you're now aware of it. If Australia have been allowed to take part this year, who knows when America will join the party? But we'll have to draw out a promise from 'you' that it will neither be commercialised, or 'dominated' by the US of A.