ESC 2017 Review: Ukraine – You Don’t Win Twice

I actually like this but it’s no maNga (Turkey 2010) and you do not win twice in a row anymore.

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: Ukraine
Artist: O.Torvald
Song Title: Time
My Ranking: 10th (out of 43)
Semi Final: Auto qualified for the final as the host country
Final placement prediction: 8 of 26

Ukraine is a very impressive country. Out of the 13 Eurovisions they’ve entered, they’ve qualified every single time with 9 out of the 13 in the top 10. They have 2 wins (2004 and 2016) as well as back to back second places (2007 and 2008). They’re the most winning Eastern European country and Ukraine has one of the most widely known and shared Eurovision entries as well from 2008. This year they’ll be the host of course, again in Kyiv, so technically they’re 14 for 14 qualifying for the final.

The Ukraine national final was one of my absolute favorites this year with so many wonderful talents and surprises. Some of the acts I believe we might get to see in a future Eurovision (Jamala has previously entered the national final in 2011, failing to get to Eurovision). O.Torvald won by a very narrow margin, I believe it was a tie breaker even. Despite what you may feel about rock bands, or O.Torval’s song they’re a highly seasoned band with 7 albums under their belt. They’ve toured with big names including Garbage, The Rasmus, Linkin Park, and even Evanescence. They’ve been making music for 12 years and this is the first time they’ve entered the national final.

It’s unusual to pick a rock band at all, even though last years Eurovision saw three of them with mixed success. The crowd though, in general, isn’t quite the band type and it takes a really special band/song to bring out the vote (Finland 2006 anyone?). O.Torvald’s “Time” is probably somewhere in the middle. This song is hard rock enough to appeal to people with a deep sense of wanting to rock but it also has a very simple progression and sound that can be embraced by people who don’t usually listen to this style of music.

The song has very easy lyrics that give a pretty impactful and honestly kind of roundabout positive message that we all only have a limited amount of time and we should enjoy it while we can. It’s somehow dark but also a little freeing (to me). I found the song both easy to sing and interesting on re-listens. The singer has an extremely nice voice and manages to sing very forcefully without screaming. I think in a year that might be very ballad heavy going in to the final because of the way the semi-finals are split, this will be a somewhat refreshing break between heavier songs or songs that sound almost similar to each other. I was very fond of most of the songs in the national final but eventually I felt this was the right choice because if the host country picks too a good of a song, they will get stuck hosting again – a thing Ukraine probably does not want especially after the year they’ve been going through with the EBU. “Time” is a perfect balance between something that will not reflect badly on Ukraine and show a lot of interesting flexibility between styles of music that exist there (contrasted with “1944”).

Normally I would say this would get around 15-20 especially because of the controversy this year but I’m thinking it will place higher because of the staging at the national final. The staging was impeccable. It was sit up and take notice good. Considering how much they stepped up Jamala’s near perfect staging from the national final to the ESC stage, I have no doubt they’ll invest the same amount in to O.Torvald and the performance will be something that will get people voting. Ukraine has a lot to prove to the rest of the world so I don’t think they’ll leave us hanging.

I think that this song will really shine at Eurovision and if it doesn’t it will probably be in a large way political as this is a hyper polished song that will include some of the more interesting staging we’ve been allowed to see so far. Either way they won’t win but they will put on a good show.

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