ESC 2017 Review: Cyprus – Falling for It

It’s not howling wolf man in a cage but I think this song is something worth falling for.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Cyprus
Artist: Hovig
Song Title: Gravity
My Ranking: 13th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 22 of 26

Cyprus has been in Eurovision since before I was born, their 33 entries have mostly given way to the finals, with 27 of them entering the final stage, and 9 of those ending up in the top 10. While Cyprus doesn’t have a win despite being about the size of Estonia, they do make a good show of it. Last years entry was one that I was really fond of and I thought the staging was great too so I’m looking forward to whatever show they end up putting on. They’ve had their roughest spat with Eurovision in recent entries, a string on NQs and just two 20ish placing songs. As much as I like this song, I think at Eurovision we’re looking at about the same placement as last year.

Our dashing Cypriot hero this year is Hovig Demirjian, or usually better know by just his stage name, Hovig, a Cypriot of Armenian decent. He has not only competed previously for the honor to go to Eurovision (twice, once in 2010 and again in 2015) but also in the Greek version of The X Factor. He’s got 5 singles under his belt and a pretty good voice to boot.

The song itself is done by a Swedish writer but actually it’s quite a novel little song. It’s got a bit country in its soul and a bit R&B. The song is probably one of the most novel in the contest and despite that it sounds like it could easily be on the radio. (I know that Alexander Rybak has said that’s not a good thing but looking back at how dated and unlistenable the songs are from just 6 years ago would be to people now, I think we could stand to be a bit more modern really). Gravity has both catchy and clear lyrics as well as a beat that makes you jam along with it when it gets going.

The song is great in the studio and I really feel the driving force behind the song but when I saw this preformed live, it was completely lackluster. Hovig has the same awkward dance moves as in his video which are just completely bewildering, and his vocals are very shaky. The two other times I’ve seen him sing the song was both acoustic and pitched down which doesn’t lend me a terrible amount of confidence in his singing or his ability to preform on stage either. Provided that he sings better or as good as on the studio track though, Hovig should sail easily in to the final with this chill song.

As for the staging, the video takes a bad page from Montenegro last year and has a woman in a black leotard, long blond hair whipping all around. I’m pretty sure that they will have this on stage as well leading not just to further comparisons between one of the worst acts last year, but also not really adding anything to this particular performance. If they could play around with the idea of Gravity instead maybe with rigs or ladders or some type of mechanism that shows the idea of moving around the stage without actually moving, especially if it can be timed to some of the big beats in the song, it would be much more fitting of the song and extremely memorable. In a year when a lot of songs don’t have hooks that lend themselves to any particular idea, Gravity does and not using them would be a disservice to Hovig.

When looking back at past performances you really have to have to stage correctly for a song even if the performer is perfect but especially with a weaker performer. If the staging isn’t working than it’s going to get in the way of the preformer (Sweden 2014 comes to mind, hell even Slovenia 2016). Since this is in the first semi final I think even if the staging is not up to snuff it’ll be fine but during the actual final it’ll drop like a rock.

In the end I wasn’t completely drawn to Hovig.

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