Eurovision 2020: Semi Final 1, First Half Thoughts

We’re well in to the swing to Eurovision season so it’s time to look around and have a couple of hot takes on every countries songs.

This year instead of individual entries for each song I’ve split the songs into half of the semi finals so there will be first posts all together and instead of getting too in depth I’ll just jot down some thoughts on my first(ish) impressions. I might do a ranking and/or prediction post later on but this is just a barrel of thoughts for now. Since allocation hasn’t happened all the entries are in alphabetical order for fairness.

Australia : Montaigne “Don’t Break Me”

This is not just a song but obviously a put together art piece / performance. This needs some changes to be really successful at Eurovision but I think a lot of people are going to be confused about the costume and the vocals need some work. Obviously they can be a little imperfect to give some emotional inflection but Montaigne veers into off-putting sounds a few times during this performance but it’s nothing a week or two of vocal work can’t fix. I love this and can’t wait to see it tuned up.

Belarus: VAL “Da vidna

When I start watching the keyboardist and his traveling magic keyboard instead of listening to the song, I take that as a bad sign. There are things to like about this but it quickly becomes too repetitive and too sparse at the same time for me to ever really get invested in it. Not quite interesting or offensive, I keep forgetting about this song and I think Eurovision will too.

Ireland: Lesley Roy “Story of My Life”

What happens if you mash up Katy Perry with the entire year of 2012? It’s this song. It’s not that I hate it, I don’t even hate its relentless optimism but it doesn’t feel like it really suits the artist? Lesley Roy is a 33 year old singing a “you can’t tell me how to live my life” with a rasp in her voice that feels more suited to heavy punk or a slow, dark ballad. The whole effort reads uneven and the live performance I saw did not instill confidence in her voice OR the song. I don’t even know if this was a good effort not.

Lithuania: The Roop “On Fire

Lithuania came out swinging this year. This song is instant ear worm. There is something exceptionally captivating about the singers voice and every time I’ve heard him sing he’s been absolutely on program. The Roop make art and they specifically like to make art that connects people through music and this song fits the bill with its quirky dance moves and feel good rhythm unifying everyone I’ve met to at least try to do the funny dance move. While I see people misinterpreting this song as a joke I think it will still do well with both judges and our viewers at home because of its ability to earnestly make joy.

North Macedonia: Vasil “You

I don’t dislike this but it’s got too many pieces of other songs poking out of it to really stand out in a crowd of songs. On stage this will definitely have to be coupled with a tango to be even vaguely effective as a piece but it’s too slow of a burn to do anything but be a possible qualifier. To the songs credit, if I heard this on the radio I wouldn’t change the station but it’s nothing more than background music.

Russia: Little Big “Uno

I hate this, sorry. It’s really repetitive, it’s very annoying sounding, and it feels extremely low effort to the point of mockery. I know this will be a polarizing song in general (Russia is going to be polarizing no matter what they send if we’re honest) but sadly I fell on the wrong end of the spectrum which is a shame because I like a handful of other Little Big songs. People have said this song is disco but it isn’t, this is much closer to happy hardcore, a genre full of songs and artists that sound just like this but done well (Aqua, Toybox, and Niko come to mind). Without anything but the hook of counting to six in Spanish to fall back on this song is vapid and grating to me and feels like a disservice to the rest of Little Big’s career more than anything.

Solvenia: Ana Soklič “Voda

This ballad has nothing technically wrong with it but sadly it isn’t 1994 anymore and this piece sounds distinctly out of place in 2020. It reminds me of “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis also which isn’t doing it any favors in my book. Ana looks lovely and everyone knows I love a deep voice lady but the song just doesn’t seem to fit together into anything but a cookie cutter dusty relic of a ballad which is a shame.

Sweden: The Mamas “Move

It’s hard not to love this, it’s got a really great energy to it and The Mama’s themselves are a joy to listen to but the empty stage and the black dresses really give me pause because this should be a colorful experience. My hope is that they change the staging for ESC but Sweden isn’t known for that, so we’ll see. No matter what this is a solid showing from Sweden and I find it impossible not to enjoy the beautiful harmonies and that perfect hand dancing!

Stay tuned for the second half of semi final one coming up tomorrow!

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