ESC 2017 Review: Moldova – Epic Sax 2: The Wedding

The epic return of the epic sax with a pretty epic sounding song. I also think it might be good for Moldova and the rest of the world to just do the Running Man like it’s the 90’s again.

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: Moldova
Artist: SunStroke Project
Song Title: Hey Mamma
My Ranking: 6th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 5 of 26

Moldova joined Eurovision in 2005 with their entry that year placing 6th and only managed one other top 10 since. They’ve had some trouble qualifying most years and especially the last three have been swing and a miss for them, though in 2015 they placed just shy of qualifying. Even though they’ve given us some fun songs along the way Moldova hasn’t really been able to shine like it should. The problem isn’t a lack of talent in the country but usually that Moldova’s staging is kind off the wall or completely not there relying on the raw charisma of its artists to get the votes and the recipe doesn’t always work.

This year though I’m feeling good vibes about Moldova qualifying and maybe even cracking the top 10. Moldova’s national final selected SunStroke Project a group that even people who have no interest in Eurovision likely know. At least, kind of. At the 2010 Eurovision SunStroke Project teamed up with Olia Tira to sing “Run Away”. The song did not do very well placing only 22nd in the final after qualifying but during the performance, Sergey Stepanov, the saxophonist became a world wide phenomenon because of his dancing which generated the meme “Epic Sax Guy”. Aside from that SunStroke Project is made up of three main members: Sergei Yalovitsky (vocals), Anton Ragoza (violinist and composer) and Sergey Stepanov (saxophonist). They’ve been making music for over a decade and they’re quite famous in Moldova and have worked with several other famous musicians and there is even a spin off band which plays covers of their songs.

As fun as it is to see returning artists, they’re really only as good as their song so let’s take a look at that. “Hey Mamma” is a fun and upbeat song. It’s quite tongue in cheek, light hearted about…probably stealing someones girl from maybe their family or maybe another guy. The lyrics are very messy English and honestly it’s hard to make them out during the song anyway due to a thick accent as well but funny enough, this doesn’t detract from the overall feel or message of the song. The music video they made for this is extremely amusing, the dance they do on stage is both easy enough to copy but also complicated enough to look clever, and the whole package is extremely well crafted. I personally think this song is not as good as “Run Away” but I love both of them quite a lot [NB: I think Run Away is way better than Satellite so judge accordingly].

In terms of vocals, the song is not as challenging as most of the other songs and it may have a hard time qualifying despite it’s uplifting feel and overall mass appeal both because Moldova is a relatively unknown place which people aren’t too excited about and also because the song is nonsense. The staging is going to be very important on this one and while it’s 100% that they will keep the dance, if that’s all that ends up on stage it could be a huge let down. One of the reasons that “Run Away” qualified was likely due to a very dynamic staging and “Hey Mamma” just doesn’t seem to have that. The only saving grace will be that SunStroke Project are extremely charming and fun to watch which I feel like the audience and viewers at home will pick up right away. There’s not a ton of upbeat songs this year so it fits the niche quite nicely but I’m not sure this will get anyone’s 12 points.

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