Hello Dear Readers!
It’s been nearly a week already! We have reached the last two entries that are a part of this series: Armenia and Ireland! Armenia probably does not surprise many, but most are probably shocked (if not pleasantly surprised) to see Ireland make a late surge for the top ten of the betting odds going into Eurovision Week. But, does either country have what it takes to raise the crystal microphone?
Fly with Me performed by Artsvik
Why it is a contender: This song is unique with it’s varying tempos and ethnic flair. More than that, the song tells a story of trusting in love – always a popular sentiment at ESC. Furthermore, the composition is utterly captivating; each moment builds upon the last.
Why it is a pretender: The same compositional elements that make this song stand out are the same ones that can turn off viewers. The ever-shifting tempos and melodies make the song sound a bit cluttered and confused. By the end, the viewer is left trying to catch their breath.
Final Verdict: Pretender As much as I love this song, I just don’t see it captivating viewers enough to pull off a victory. I do think the juries will like it, so expect a Top Ten finish.
Dying to Try performed by Brendan Murray
Why it is a contender: Murray’s voice is certainly unique and it helps that he is rather adorable. The song is also something that many can relate to; it’s a love song with a heavy dose of reality.
Why it is a pretender: Murray’s voice isn’t for everyone. The composition is also not inherently interesting; subtly is rarely appreciated at Eurovision.
Final Verdict: Pretender I think this song will qualify for the Final. But there will be the eventual comparison between this and the other two young, male ballads – Australia and Bulgaria – and I just don’t think that this will stand up to those two in the minds of viewers seeing these songs for the first time at the Grand Final.
So, will Armenia build upon its recent success? Or will it just be too much for viewers? Conversely, will Ireland spark a new era of domination? Or will it be not enough for viewers? Leave your thoughts below and/or on Twitter!
Missed the previous episodes of Contender or Pretender? Click here to find them!
Check back later for the wrap of the series and my updated prediction for next week’s winner!
Hello Dear Readers!
Today we examine two powers of the Contest: Azerbaijan and Sweden, both of whom have won the Contest within the past six years (and the only ones in this series to have won in the past twenty years). While Sweden has consistently been performing towards the top since missing the Final in 2010 (it has since finished in the Top Ten five out of six times, including two victories since then), Azerbaijan appeared to have lost its groove, failing to return to the Top Ten in each of the past three Contests. This year, both countries find themselves in serious contention for the Eurovision crown – will either past winner taste glory once again?
Skeletons performed by DiHaj
Why it is a contender: Haunting, catchy, and easily accessible; probably the most popular Azerbaijani entry since 2013. We know that, when it wants to, Azerbaijan puts on a staging unlike any other. This year, they’re ready to return to the Top Ten.
Why it is a pretender: DiHaj’s aesthetic can be a bit much – so there is the potential for the staging to go too far and turn people off. The bigger danger, though, is the performance. This is a good pop song, but does DiHaj have the live vocals to carry it above all the other high quality entries this year?
Final Verdict: Pretender Despite the potential for a stunning stage show, I just am not confident that this song will translate to a live performance on the ESC stage. While this song sounds radio ready, I don’t know if it’s unique enough to bump off the more memorial entries, like Italy or Belgium.
I Can’t Go On performed by Robin Bengtsson
Why it is a contender: Well, it’s Sweden. For better or worse, Sweden is always included in the conversation regarding possible winners during the current era of the Contest. This song has a slick staging (staging is rarely, if ever, changed between Melodifestivalen and ESC) and is ridiculously catchy.
Why it is a pretender: While it is catchy, it is also rather simple, to the point of being borderline annoying. Not to mention the many families watching will probably not be too happy about his choice of words in the refrain. I know I, personally, have difficulty singing “freaking beautiful” instead of using some other language and I am not one to use curse words.