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My Top 10 For The Eurovision Song Contest Finale

Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden

It’s this time of year again: People change the input source on their TVs from HDMI to SAT, Twitter is heating up with that #ESC hashtag, and Germany has accepted its traditional fate of coming in last. Get ready for the Eurovision Song Contest, you guys.

Although my taste hasn’t always been equal to that of the rest of Europe – Iceland ’14 and Belgium ’15 anyone? – I have always enjoyed giving out my “douze points” (and less) to the contestants. Without further ado, here are my personal TOP 10 for the finale tomorrow:

1 point for Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat

Some of the other entries not included in this list might have more musical merit; the singers might be more attractive or talented; the songs might have more going for them – but I just liked the PewDiePie look-alike with his scratchy voice too much not to mention him somewhere. Good luck, Latvia.

 

2 points for the Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow Down

Don’t we all need to slow down sometimes? Yes, this song is a bit boring, but I appreciate the Netherlands for channeling their inner Americans with this country music inspired song, although they might just have been trying to copy off their own entry from 2014, when The Common Linnets sang “Calm After The Storm” and came in second. “Ooooooooo… there ain’t nothing new…”

 

3 points for France: Amir – J’ai Cherché

Good thing they decided to put background vocals in this rather aimless song. It’s fitting that Amir sings “I’ll be looking for you like the melody of my song,” because it does feel like he couldn’t quite decide what exactly he wanted to perform and just went with a confusing mash-up of different French and English dance pop songs in the end. Tu as cherché mais tu n’as rien trouvé. Still not bad, though.

 

4 points for Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime

No Eurovision Song Contest is complete without a couple of copycats. Bulgaria’s entry is a good example, although I cannot for the life of me remember what song it is Ms. Genova is stealing from when she sings “Oh day mi lyubovta”. It’s something by Shakira or Jennifer Lopez, I think, but J. Lo’s most recent single “Ain’t Your Mama” isn’t exactly right. Either way I have a message for you, Bulgaria: Love might not be a crime, but copyright infringement sure is!

5 points for the United Kingdom: Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone

The name of a musical duo couldn’t be more generic than “Joe and Jake,” so I was quite surprised when I actually heard their song. While it’s a pretty standard boyband-y tune and it’s only half as catchy as most of  One Direction’s songs (perhaps because they’re half as many people?), it’s still pretty good for a ESC entry. As with most vanilla pop songs, the more you listen to it, the better it gets – unfortunately, though, most people will only hear it once at the Contest!

 

6 points for Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One

Let me just say: This is not my type of music. Run-of-the-mill Eurodance? You can count me out! Still, Russia’s entry is so very “Eurovision”, it’s too perfect not to reward. It’s this year’s bookers’ favorite and I can see why: It’s gonna hit the sweet spot of so many Eastern European viewers that hadn’t yet decided if they wanted to give Mother Russia their precious votes like every year since 1990. We might have a winner here, but a 2017 ESC in Russia wouldn’t make me all too happy. Fortunately, there’s better stuff coming up.

 

7 points for Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure

For whatever reason, everybody loves the 90’s right now, so I was surprised that Belgium’s catchy, dance-infused, feel-good track wasn’t higher up in the rankings. But who cares about that, right? I like the song, I like the girl, I like the country. This is one of the few songs this year I would actually listen to – non-ironically. You’re right, Laura: What’s the pressure?

 

8 points for Australia: Dami Im – Sound Of Silence

The Contest’s name should be changed to Worldvision, because on all of my maps and globes, Australia is nowhere near Europe. No worries, though, you stood last year’s test, so you’re allowed to stay, I guess. It would be pretty funny to see them figure out the logistics of staging next year’s Contest somewhere in Australia if they won. Considering the ESC’s tradition of starting at 9 p.m. MET and the time difference to Oceania, it would have to be held at somewhere around 5 a.m. local time. I don’t see that working out too well. The song’s pretty catchy, though.

 

10 points for Spain: Barei – Say Yay!

If you like Armenia’s entry better than this one, we’re not gonna be friends. I seriously don’t get why everyone isn’t betting on a Spanish win. This song is gold, I tell you! If you’d let Ella Eyre sing this, it would’ve been a number one hit. One word: Yay!

 

12 points for Ukraine: Jamala – 1944

It’s not that I find Ukraine’s entry more appealing than Spain’s musically, I just support this song’s message. “1944” is supposedly about Russia’s crimes against Crimea in after WW2, but it’s obviously also about Russia’s crimes against Crimea today. With it’s emotional vocals, insightful lyrics, and authentic presentation, Jamala has me in her pocket.

Sure, Eurovision entries aren’t allowed to be political, but I say: screw it! Was Conchita Wurst’s “Rise Like A Phoenix” really the best song in 2014’s Contest or was her win about Europe’s stance on LGBTQ rights? Germany’s first winning entry titled “Ein bisschen Frieden” (“A little peace”) was arguably all about politics, as well. And the Contest’s voting system as well as semi-final grouping algorithm are both designed to account for the different European countries’ histories of voting for each other. Let’s be honest: Eurovision has always been political.

What I wouldn’t give to see this great song from Ukraine beat Russia’s entry by just a few points. Oh, the glory!

European Union flag

What country do you want to see win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Tell me in the comments below!