ESC2014: Song Reviews – Semi-Final 2, First Half

As a recap — I am reviewing each song from the 2014 ESC.  Sorry for the low frills styling; the semester is coming to a close here at my university, so things are a bit crazy!  I will neaten things up and style it up later.

 

Maltese Flag Map1. MaltaComing Home performed by Firelight

This is another song with a heavy subject matter and another questionable choice to start the night given the slower tempo and sure-to-be heart-wrenching performance. I like this song; its feel and its lyrics. I really like the sentiment, as well. I think, though, that it will not capture the hearts of Europe, particularly since it is going first.

Keys to Success: Playing up the WWI connection that they have in the video and making the audience cry

Potential Stumbling Blocks: Being perceived as too slow or too heavy; a weak, understated performance

Personal Interest Score: 8

Likelihood of Success: 6

Composite: 7

 

2. IsraelSame Heart performed by Mei FeingoldIsraeli Flag Country

I do not quite get the hype around this song. I do not think the composition fits Feingold’s uniquely deep voice all that well, but it remains one of the more popular songs thus far this year. Initially, I did not think that this song had much chance of succeeding, but that has changed now.

Keys to Success: Capitalizing on the dancehall sound this entry has

Potential Stumbling Blocks: Feingold’s deep voice going flat throughout the performance

Personal Interest Score: 6

Likelihood of Success: 8

Composite: 7

 

Norwegian Flag Map3. NorwaySilent Storm performed by Carl Espen

Quite a change from last year, eh?! This is another case of a song with a lot of unexplained hype. It is one of the bookies’ favorites, but lacks consistent fan support. Like many of the other slower tunes this year, this song lacks any kind of driving force or forward momentum. I think it will fall flat.

Keys to Success: Some kind of interesting use of LED and wind machine to capture the song’s lyrics visually

Potential Stumbling Blocks: A flat performance featuring Espen alone on stage

Personal Interest Score: 6

Likelihood of Success: 4

Composite: 5

 

Georgian Flag Map4. GeorgiaThree Minutes to Earth performed by The Shin & Mariko

Another folk entry, though, I think this one is a bit of a mess. It’s like an undisciplined gypsy tune. I don’t like the random off-tempo bits; they just confuse the ear. The lyrics also leave much to be desired.

Keys to Success: An action oriented performance showcasing the fact that this is a dance tune

Potential Stumbling Blocks: Expect name recognition and fancy guitar work to carry them (see Croatia 2007 or Albania 2013)

Personal Interest Score: 6

Likelihood of Success: 3

Composite: 4.5

 

Polish Flag Map5. PolandMy Słowianie – We Are Slavic performed by Cleo & Donatan

Such a fun song!! A sexy, girl-power song brings Poland back to the ESC in style. I think given the fact that this will be the first uptempo, club song of the night (and, really, is the only one in the first half) it will definitely earn Poland its first trip to the Grand Final since 2008.

Keys to Success: Get Europe dancing! Use the LED to project images of all kinds of Slavic ladies

Potential Stumbling Blocks: Depending so much on the sexual innuendo that the the tighter standards that the EBU will impose water down the staging (see: Austria 2012).

Personal Interest Score: 9

Likelihood of Success: 7

Composite: 8

Austrian Flag Map6. AustriaRise Like a Phoenix performed by Conchita Wurst

I love this song! I love that it sounds like something out of James Bond. I love that it has such a powerful message. And, most of all, I love the constant build throughout the arrangement. What I find most interesting, though, is that I like this singer much more as the drag queen Conchita Wurst then I do as himself (Tom Neuwerth).

Keys to Success: A grand staging: they cannot back away from this number.   they should make amble use of smoke machines, the LED background and stage.

Potential Stumbling Block: Wurst’s image can be a bit jarring for those who are not expecting it or are not use to this kind of drag; These big dramatic numbers are not for everyone

Personal Interest Score: 10

Likelihood of Success: 6

Composite: 8.5

 

Lithuanian Flag Map7. LithuaniaAttention performed by Vilija

Umm…this song is a mess. The random shouting throughout, the strange composition, the dancing is okay, I guess. Though, the interesting thing about Lithuania is that it is so unpredictable. When you think it will do well, it fails (think 2007) and when you think it will fail, it succeeds (think about 2012).

Keys to Success: Nailing the choreography

Potential Stumbling Blocks: Anything short of a perfect performance

Personal Interest Score: 4

Likelihood of Success: 6

Composite: 5

 

Finnish Flag Map8. FinlandSomething Better performed by Softengine

Not my favorite; it’s a bit bland and trite. The composition does not really go anywhere, and the singer’s voice is a bit grating. With that said, I do think that it is catchy and appeals to a wide audience. Just not me.

Keys to Success: Getting the rock band sound to come across on stage and having a look to match

Potential Stumbling Block: a la Belarus 2012, letting the production remove you from who you are and coming across as plain and unoriginal

Personal Interest Score: 4

Potential for Success: 7

Composite: 5.5

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