Saturday, 18 June 2016

Eurovision 2016: The Big 5 and Sweden


 Having reviewed all the music from the two semi-finals, I'm going to turn my attention to the songs of the six countries that had a fast-track pass to the final. They are the Big 5 - the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy - and the host nation, Sweden.

 I found this year's Big 5 showing to be very poor, with only Germany really impressing me musically, though even they were let down staging-wise. Sweden, on the other hand... Wow.

 Let's go through act by act. As always, I'll give a rating out of twenty; this is for the song first and foremost, with my comments supplying my views re vocals, performance and staging.

 UK - I must admit, this is by far the best thing we've sent for years, and the smartest: it has Eurovision written all over it. 

 However, it still isn't amazing and Joe and Jake's performance could have been better, more dynamic. I do like how Graham Norton made an appearance in one of the background photos! 14/20

 France - My mother, brother and cat liked this but I found it slightly dull.

 It's also very similar to "Moustache", France's 2014 entry, and in turn to Stromae's "Papaoutai" (to which parts of Moustache are almost identical). 

 Amir did perform with a good energy and a winning smile but the song is forgettable though, of course, it had its life prolonged after the contest by the big meme made out of Elodie Gossuin, who presented France's votes, attempting to sing it. 

 I think she was sweet and did her job pretty well, and many spokespeople reference their country's song. Anyway, "J'ai cherché" is okay but nothing special. 10/20

 Spain - This song appears to be massive in Spain and, while it's upbeat and easy to dance to, I don't think it's that great. I'd pretty much forgotten what it sounded like until I re-watched it. 

 What did stick in my mind was Barei's performance - she is full of life and fun and clearly didn't take the contest too seriously; she just wanted to enjoy it, and her joy was infectious. I loved her hair, too! The part where she fake-falls would have terrified me if it weren't for Graham Norton warning us!

 Germany - This is definitely the best Big 5 song - it reminds me of "Ghost" by Halsey in theme and tone. 

 Unfortunately, it was let down by the staging - the Twilight-esque backdrop looked tacky, when, done well, it could have been really effective. 

 While the singer, Jamie-Lee, has a right to dress to suit her personality, I felt it was way over-the-top and it made it hard to take her seriously. It was a shame, as the song was really very good. 16/20

 Italy - I couldn't remember any of this before re-watching! The song's okay, but not really Eurovision and the staging was odd in the extreme, though at least that was memorable: all the random things on sticks. 

 The cartoon-y after-effects - the ripples, stars etc that appeared to be drawn across the screen - were actually quite pretty. Normally any heavy effects of that kind in Eurovision annoy me as I think we should just see what's on stage, but these ones added a bit of umph to a dull performance. 8/20

 Now, from the rather ridiculous to the sublime, and to the song I voted for myself.

 Sweden - The first time I heard this properly was the final and I was struck by how Nate Ruess it was, in both style and vocals! I liked the understated performance and staging and found it hard to believe Frans was only seventeen, he had such presence and power.

 I voted for Sweden, but it was only later that I went from liking the song to loving it. A lot of people have compared it to "Catch and Release" by Matt Simons. 

 There is a resemblance, but not too much of one. I like both songs but prefer Frans and "If I Were Sorry". 18/20

 So, that was the Big 5 and Sweden. Watch this space for my post about the final - and expect plenty of gushing about the wonders of Petra and Måns!

 Thanks for reading!

 Liz x

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