Eurovision evaluation

Olen suuri Euroviisufani ja olen kirjoitellut ylös vuosittain mietteitäni kulloisestakin kisatarjonnasta. Perinne ulottuu näitä tekstejä pidemmälle, mutta koska aiempien katsausten tyyli on vaihdellut melko runsaasti, päätin sisällyttää tänne ainoastaan tekstit vuodesta 2017 lähtien. Niihin voi tutustua myös Tumblrin kautta.

2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021

2017

All in all for me this was a good year. There wasn’t anything SPECTACULARLY AMAZING but darn many songs I still really liked. I actually am having hard time deciding how to shorten my list of songs worth mentioning right now, which is a good sign after a year or two when there have been only a couple of songs I’ve liked. But let’s begin with something obvious:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufba0nOz0fQ

So let’s talk about Finland’s performance, of course. I liked this song, but I do understand it is very non-Eurovision-like and therefore didn’t have good chances to begin with. If it had some sort of high point it could’ve succeeded better, I think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxqPpzWYN1c

Then there was our neighbor Estonia. Like us they were also dropped before finals, but I liked their song, too. Their song was a total opposite to Finland‘s in a way, as it was a very typical one; maybe even too typical. There are a few very beautiful note choices in there, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH6X2DVP8V4

…and then there is our other neighbor Sweden. This song didn’t really click with me, but I can still hate them as well as respect them because it was damn catchy and very well tailored to Eurovision. But I think it is refreshing that something this calculated didn’t win this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e22HgB_pHxo

The last mention about Nordic countries (I have absolutely no recollection of what Denmark did, so I guess it wasn’t anything worth remembering) goes for Norway. This song was partially pretty mehh for me, but I’m such a sucker for electronic music that I still really love parts of it. Also that mask guy was amusing.

Then let’s talk about my personal top 3. These aren’t in any particular order, as the order keeps constantly changing in my mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qotooj7ODCM

The winner of this year, Portugal. Damn this was… Cute! It reminded me of some very old Disney music. I am really happy this one won!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SznlioGhq2k

Just like the song of Portugal, Belgium’s song was overly minimalistic and for me it succeeded just as well at being still impressive. The vocalist’s peculiar voice was really interesting to listen at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY1fN0R5vXY

This years most bizarre show came from Azerbaijan. When I first heard (or mostly just watched) this I was just ??? the whole time, but when I later heard it again the song was actually just as good in that same weird way as the show. Currently this is my favorite from this year, but like I said that still keeps changing so who knows which one of these eventually becomes my favorite in the long run.

2018

Alright, time for the annual glitter and gay Eurovision post! This year’s contest has certainly been interesting, but not maybe in all the best ways possible.

First of all to me comes the visual side of things. First time in many years the host country didn’t equip the contest site with screens or any other fancy gadgets, which while being understandable was a huge letdown for me. You could say it forces the contestants to be creative and some of them have indeed taken up the challenge, but most… Well, haven’t.

Second is the situation of Finland, my home country. Our contestant made it into the finals, but it doesn’t really warm my heart as much as it should. That’s because of how the contestant’s selection was handled: the artist was just appointed to the role without public voting and even the selection of the song seemed really rigged. I think we were given three different songs to choose from, but one of them was promoted SO, SO much more than the other ones it was ridiculous. That song obviously won. It’s a very average meh-inducing Eurovision song that honestly wouldn’t really deserve as much success as it has so far had if you ask me.

But not nearly everything has been bad, oh no! There have been many songs and performances I’ve liked, some of them even quite a lot. This time let’s start right from the top!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2cZE2gCfWg

Belgium’s song was maybe my number one favorite this year. The sad thing is they didn’t make it to the finals, and I can only guess it might’ve been because of their visual show being just plain boring. Also wtf even is that dress? ='D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d52ViPImdls

Yet another one that was dropped before the finals was Malta. They even had more interesting things to look at in their show, but sadly it still wasn’t enough. At least I liked it though!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0tS6oTseNw

Serbia went proudly with something very ethnic and I love it. This is the sort of stuff Eurovisions definitely need more of: countries showing what makes them special compared to every other country. I got a bit same sort of vibe from Greece, though what they did Serbia did better and Greece indeed didn’t make it into finals while Serbia did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XOR1DhtDC0

But speaking of things Eurovisions need more of..!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR8x85ZFu44

Hungary’s show had an incredible amount of balls! Look at that punk attitude! I also love the chorus of the song a lot. From all the finalists I’d maybe give my vote for these guys if there wasn’t one performance I’d want to support even more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnB783uNjN0

Damn Israel! The cheeky attitude, the originality and the fact that this was so much fun to watch! Also it mentioned Pikachu, ahhahah. =‘D What a pure pack of joy stuffed into three minutes!

There were a couple other shows that made me smile even if their songs weren’t all that memorable, them being Moldova:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1kjPaVAeeE

And Czech, where apparently the singer had almost broken his back while doing some stunt in the rehearsals:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UatZDDfc3bU

Now all that is left before the finals is once again to put my Eurovision playlist in order and insert a few of these newbies to there somewhere!

2019

Ahh, the spring has arrived - nature is blooming and Europe has once again prevented World War 3 by beating each other with music sheets instead of bombs. So let’s take a peek at how that went!

My feelings towards both Finland’s song and the winner Netherlands can be summed with three letters: meh. Everyone in Finland was really excited when we heard that Darude would represent us, but that turned out to be a huge disappointment. His music couldn’t have been more far from Sandstorm, his biggest hit; it was just generic Eurovision music. And very generic was also the song from Netherlands that won the whole contest, but at least it was somewhat catchy. Even if it wasn’t anywhere near my own favorites I’m still glad it won over countries like Sweden and Italy! I literally have no idea how the songs of those countries did as well as they did.

Other than that this was a rather mixed year. The contest had some exceptionally great shows, but not too many songs that I would’ve actually loved that much. We also had a bunch of returning artists who had already performed in previous years, but in the end they turned out to be Darude all over again. For example San Marino had brought back Serhat, an older man with very charming voice, but this time his song was just a bunch of literal nonsense. Moldova did a little bit better, and it shall be the first performance worth showing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mo207V5Z2o

Moldova’s song isn’t anything memorable, but the returning sand artist makes this one well worth checking out. I just. Really. Love. Sand art! Unfortunately it alone wasn’t enough and this duo didn’t make it to the finals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3WF2AsxLB8

Another country with a show that really manages to hold your attention was Australia. It was a surprise, because previously Australia has been a bit shy with its performances, but now they seem to have finally understood what Eurovision is really about! The song also works really well together with the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTb69WkBbvs

Iceland was the unofficial winner of the most Eurovision-like performance this year for sure! The BDSM post-post-post-modern punk show is just something you have to experience yourself in order to love it. =D The music is so not my thing, but even so it’s still amazing. The translated lyrics are also awesome, so if you feel intrigued by the whole thing, take the extra step and search them out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKoEt0-9ujA

Another Nordic country with some surprises was Norway. As far as I know this was a very liked song in Finland (and for example in my family), but I have a bit mixed opinion about it. I absolutely love that they had a Sami joiker in it, but I just can’t get over the fact that I don’t think his voice mixes well with the other two singers. They are all great separately, but somehow it feels like a whiplash every time they suddenly switch the singer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVvAzwiV0hw

Denmark’s song I personally liked a little bit more, even if it wasn’t anything extremely unique. Some might also think that using several different languages is just them trying to lure votes from all of those countries, but I think it genuinely sounds pretty neat. A real feel-good song all around!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQFbA7yfzjo

Albania should’ve won the title of the prettiest dress this year, at least if you ask me. The flames were also decently impressive, especially considering not any show did (sadly) set stuff properly on fire this year. But the best part is still the song! It’s the exactly right sort of dramatic stuff that I always love. Overall I think this was my second favorite performance this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnA0doOsGDY

And Slovenia was my favorite. Their show was very intimate and minimalistic and so, so pretty. The space-inspired visuals are also neat and I love how the vocalist only seems to have very minimal and/or natural makeup! Really refreshing among all of the flashiness, even if I love that flashiness from the bottom of my heart.

2020

For the first time in history, Eurovision was cancelled. It was of course because of the Coronavirus crisis and it was objectively speaking absolutely a right call, but even so it just broke my heart. Especially after I learned that this year’s songs can’t be used in the next year’s contest because of some rule shenanigans! I was originally going to skip writing about this year altogether because, well, there was no contest to speak of, but in the end I decided I’d want to write down my opinions about the songs we never properly got to hear.

And… Now I am even more sad than before! We missed so many great songs and I would’ve given so much to see the shows they would’ve gotten!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgONBKFQpxE

Finland’s song this year was a very mixed bag for me. It sounds so, so… Okay. Absolutely nothing memorable, for better or for worse. It doesn’t hurt your ears but you won’t remember it in a minute either. But then there are the lyrics that hit home a little bit too hard for me. “Yeah, we never know what we have | Until it’s over and we’re looking back” Ouch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFCn_8oViRw

Malta’s song raised similarly mixed feelings in me, but for completely different reasons. For the most part the song doesn’t really do it for me, not its melody nor the lyrics. But then again the beginning part is really neat and the chorus just plain and simply slaps! Also parkour is always cool but I have no idea what it has to do with the song?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNetXPSld50

Ukraine also confuses me quite a bit. It has all the elements I usually adore in Eurovision performances: vocalist has an interesting voice, she sings with her native language, there are flutes and neat light effects. Buuuut even so this isn’t in my top picks of this year? Maybe it speaks more about the overall quality of other entries than the quality of this song, because this song is definitely decent!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9GAfFHZE-E

Switzerland’s song is the first one that gets to the territory of “really good” for me. The haunting performance is captivating, French just sounds really good while sung, the lyrics are interesting and all in all the song sounds amazing. Even if Eurovisions are traditionally all about being flashy and going all out, it would be real shame to have a year without a melancholic performance like this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELr6U2fOrnE

If Switzerland went for minimalism, Latvia took the prize of the weird show this year! The subject of trying to become a perfect wife and mother is a very real one and instead of making fun of it I think the peculiar visual show perfectly underlines how absurd it is. For most part I also like the melody quite a lot, but I feel like the short rap music part doesn’t really fit to the entirety of the song all that seamlessly. It might’ve been intentional, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_dWvTCdDQ4

And then if Latvia’s performance was about being weird in in a serious way, Russia was weird in an absolutely hilarious way! Which I felt was a weird move from a country like Russia, but I guess after what we got from Israel a couple of years ago anything is possible. There are barely any sensible lyrics, but what the song lacks in depth it more than makes up in the energy of the melody, silly disco visuals and that weirdly hypnotizing wobbly leg dance move. This sure is a Eurovision performance through and through!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0VzBCvO1Wk

Azerbaijan is always one of those countries whose song I’m eager to hear, because it has always been pretty likely that I will like whatever they decide to send to the contest. This year was no exception and as soon as I heard their theme was ancient Egypt I was already almost sold, haha. The song itself turned out to be also great and I especially love the bizarre (Buddhist?) mantra in the chorus - and especially the visuals that happen during it! That’s just so many of my aesthetics smashed into one that I’m surprised anything could beat it, but yes, something indeed did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxPm-Wz8qpY

In my mind Lithuania was the winner of this year. What on earth did they manage to do to beat everyone else, then? I’m… Honestly not sure! It’s one of those cases where I have hard time dissecting the greatness of this song, because it plain and simply sounds so god damn good to me without any particular reason. It sure is incredibly catchy, has some amusing instruments, good lyrics, amusing visuals and I guess then everything just clicks the right way. This one I will definitely be listening a lot for a while!

2021

Or should I say “Eurovision 2020 part 2”? Because that would be very accurate. As the already chosen artists didn’t get to actually compete last year at all, many countries gave those same artists a chance to perform again this year. In the bigger picture that was very fair, but it’s also sort of unfortunate for me, as I did give my opinions on the songs that were supposed to be used last time and a good portion of my favorite artists this year were already on the list last year - and, even if they were good this year, in my opinion most of them were even better last time. But that’s just something we have to live with. At the very least the show actually happened this time around; thank the gods of glitter for that!

I have no strong opinions on Italy, the winner of the year. I appreciate that a rock entry won, but…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw6KnFIIa4I

In my opinion, Finland’s rock band was better. I don’t exactly think that it would’ve deserved to win the whole competition either, but it was still certainly good! The chorus rocks really darn hard and is catchy as all heck, but to me the problem is that the song sort of feels like the chorus is everything it has going on. The parts inbetween feel very filler-y and like they were just an afterthought that were built around the chorus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk4amZlPa4g

Another somewhat mixed bag for me was Cyprus. The whole package from the song to the visuals felt very, very much like it was a direct copy from Lady Gaga. Buuuut my problem is that I just really like Lady Gaga! So I can’t deny liking this performance, too, even though objectively speaking it likely deserved the fairly low amount of points it got in the final.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY2rxbZNvZ0

Ireland’s contestant on the other hand didn’t even get into the final, but I think it’s worth mentioning mostly for the visuals. The song was also decent, but the stage show that was an extremely clever combination of real props, forced perspective and screens was easily the more fascinating part of this performance. That all must’ve been a nightmare to pull off live!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV4EKm5lkVk

While we’re speaking of mind-blowing visuals we can’t really skip Ukraine. This magic ritual/drug trip/whatever the heck it was was absolutely magnificent! Ukraine’s Go_A was one of the many performers who were supposed to be participating to the 2020 contest but in my opinion they were the only ones whose song was significantly better this year around! It felt like this year they let all of their energy loose and the end result was an absolute treat to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUWt6VbolqE

Greece’s purple Teletubbie has already generated quite a few memes, but I unironically liked her performance from the song to the show a lot! Especially the chorus of the song and the “baby’s first playtime with greenscreen” just sent me straight back to the 80s and that’s never a bad thing. I do admit that the show must’ve looked pretty weird live, so I hope that the live audience had some sort of screen where they could check out what it all was supposed to really look like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_5mo8st8Mc

Switzerland’s singer was also recycled from last year. A year ago his song was one of my absolute favorites and while it is that this time around, too, I liked the older one better. There’s nothing wrong with this beautiful, powerful performance, but it just pains me to compare it to the even better one we missed out on due to the world’s unfortunate situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rsUJWSwb0c

Last year my number one favorite was Lithuania, so I was more than happy to see their The Roop once again! And they did so darn well and I’m so happy I got see their weird vibe fill the live stage… But, once again, the last year’s song was even better. This year’s song is catchy and the performance so darn amusing and the song was even written together with Finnish song writers, so if it wasn’t overshadowed by its predecessor I wouldn’t have literally anything bad to say about it. Now even it leaves a tiny bit bittersweet taste in my mouth, so in the end my favorite ended up being…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghT5QderxCA

Australia. Which has to be a more or less unpopular opinion as they didn’t even get to the finals. It might be because thanks to Australia’s restrictions they didn’t perform at the actual Eurovision stage but in their homeland instead, and… Idk, something in the sound of the recording of that felt a little bit lacking? I did like it, but only when I heard the version I linked here did my mind go “okay this is GOOD”. The song is technically very original and unlike anything I remember ever hearing in Eurovision, which is why in my mind it ended up beating the last year’s re-run shows even if they were also great.

All in all I liked this year’s show a lot! There were literally zero songs that I would’ve actively hated and plenty of performances where there was at least something I enjoyed. More silly and crazy shows would’ve been even better, but maybe we’ll eventually get there as this yearly show is now back on air!