A few words about Eurovision 2019

We all know what Eurovision is like – sparkly, camp, colourful, over the top competition in which European countries(well, mostly) compete with each other to win the crystal trophy, which gives the winner nothing but fame.

The extravagant contest is responsible for introducing some really good recording artists to the general public (us!), whether it’s the A class ABBA in the 1970s or artists-phenomenons such as Conchita Wurst, Salvador Sobral or Netta.

I’m not here to tell you the history of the contest or provide you with funny anecdotes(15 things you didn’t know about Eurovision Song Contest!) but to mention a few things that caught my attention this year.

Netta from Israel won the last year’s contest. Her success, surrounded by an aura of controversy, resulted in dozens of news publications around the world writing about her, calling her remarkable, to say the least. At the time of her performance, she was accused of cultural appropriation, banal lyricism and (that’s actually ridiculous in this day and age) criticised for her weight. The artist herself stated that her song Toy was inspired by the #MeToo movement. I personally enjoyed it to the fullest and felt incredibly happy for her. Toy is definitely one of the best songs in Eurovision recent history, despite the cringy Pikachu references and chicken noises.

Israel’s conflict with Palestine is one of the reasons why a lot of (important) people decided to boycott this year’s Eurovision.

Hatari, who represented Iceland this year, held a Palestinian flag in front of the cameras. They got booed by the people in the arena.

Surprise, surprise! That didn’t stop Israel from putting on an amazing show filled with self-promotion, entertaining guest performances and… a few scandals, of course!

This year’s contestants couldn’t get close to last year’s artists in terms of performance, however, the competition was still really enjoyable and some songs are, without a doubt, worth listening to on streaming platforms.

Young gentleman Mahmood was definitely my favourite performance of the night. Introduced by Graham Norton as an internet sensation, with over 83 million views of his video, the young artist didn’t disappoint. He delivered a magnetic performance of a great, modern, smartly produced song Soldi. He brought sexy back just like Justin Timberlake did in 2006, just with less cringe. Australian entry sounded like Kate Bush impersonation and looked like some college student’s experiments with green screen, but still managed to sound weirdly interesting.

UK’s Michael Rice came last, which is harsh, but I think anyone who wins a singing competition (Rice won a show called All Together Now) to then spend the cash on opening a waffle and crepe restaurant deserves the worst in the music industry. And, of course, there is Brexit.

Miki, who fought for Spain, was really cute and delivered a massively underrated performance. The choreography and staging weren’t bad at all. He came last, together with Michael Rice, but definitely deserved better. The song wasn’t the finest of Spanish pop, certainly wasn’t on Rosalia’s level, but rather enjoyable.

And of course – there’s Iceland. Holding the flag of Palestine wasn’t the only thing they did that almost broke Twitter that night. Let’s not forget their Rammstein inspired, BDSM flavoured performance. Thank God no one ended up being penetrated with a dildo. On a serious note, I do think it takes massive balls to do what they did…. (Palestinian flag in Israel, not the performance.)

Oh, and there was Madonna. Pop music’s legendary superstar appeared as a special guest to promote her new album Madame X. Wearing her signature (for this era) eyepatch and accompanied by Quavo, she performed, in my opinion, the worst single of her career thus far, with ridiculous choreography and disappointing vocals during Like a prayer.

Perhaps, we should just stick to Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands who won this year’s contest. I’ve listened to his song at least five times while writing this and I still don’t remember any of it. It sounds a bit like Heal by Tom Odell. Quite nice.

For now – Good morning Europe and good night Australia!

Update: 18/05/2020

Good evening Europe and good morning Australia!

As most of you already know, this year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest didn’t happen due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Instead, we were given a lovely compilation show presented live from the Netherlands, where this year’s festival was meant to be held after the victory of their contestant Duncan Laurence last year.

The show included video messages from all of the 2020 acts, interviews with some of the Eurovision’s iconic performers from the past and The Netherlands’ very own viral sensation NikkieTutorials hosting her own online segment. UK’s Graham Norton, as per usual, provided us with top class commentary throughout the show. All of that, of course, was directed accordingly to the social distancing measures.

It has been agreed that Rotterdam will host the contest again, this time properly, in 2021. I couldn’t be happier about that, as I’m planning on applying for accreditation next year.

Until then, I’d still like to say a few words about this year’s catalogue of songs.

Without focusing on the bad stuff(Poland, UK, Romania, no surprises here), I wanted to name a few of my favourite tracks.

Armenia’s Athena Manoukian and her hip-hop-inspired Chains on you is my personal favourite. It sounds like if Charli XCX and Fergie had a gay child who decided to record a Eurovision song. I really liked the production, something different than a usual soap-opera ballad we heard two million times already.

Iceland’s Daði & Gagnamagnið went viral thanks to the cute dance routine. The song itself is a lovely, radio-friendly yet indie-pop-referencing track. The 6’9 tall Icelander and his “baby, I can’t wait to hear what do you think about things” deserved better. F U Corona.

Speaking of weird dance routines, there’s also Russia. UNO is one of the tracks you secretly love, deep inside, when the lights go out, when nobody’s watching… On the scale from Madonna to ten, I give it a solid three. I will, however, listen to it for the next four months, behind closed doors only, of course…

See you in Rotterdam!

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