17 Apr 2024
YLC’s Eurovision 2018 picks
Music News

YLC’s Eurovision 2018 picks

Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is upon us and us fans of the extravaganza turn our eyes towards Portugal, first for the two semifinals on the 8th and 10th of May, and then the Grand Final on the 12th.

Semifinal 1 is shaping to be the strongest we can remember, so unfortunately we will have to see some great entries go home before the final. Sweden is however comfortably in Semifinal 2, and should have no trouble making it through to the final. The overall quality this year is good, and personally I would say at least half of the songs really get a thumbs-up from me.

But for those of you who are not nerding over the national selections or maybe haven’t even listened to the entries until now, we bring you a selection of songs worth listening to (even after the dust has settled and the competition is over).

FINLAND: Saara Aalto – Monsters

Finland is ticking all the boxes and doing everything right this year. In a bold move they scrapped the original plans of doing the national selections in the same way as earlier years and chose Saara Aalto to represent the nation. Saara was already known to Eurovision fans through her earlier attempts at qualifying and she made a mark by taking second place in X Factor UK last year. What’s more, Finland brought in Swedish song-writing muscle, and the song voted by the audience as Saara’s entry is written by none other than Linnea and Joy Deb, who also penned Sweden’s latest Eurovision winner Heroes for Måns Zelmerlöw, as well as countless other total bops.

 

ISRAEL: Netta – Toy

A totally refreshing, original and rather crazy cool tune with sounds you maybe wouldn’t expect to hear reproduced live on stage. Fortunately Netta gets to use her vocal looper on stage as long as she records and plays the vocal sounds back live (in case you didn’t know, Eurovision has a rule that all vocals, including backing vocals, need to be sung live). The production is totally modern yet mixes in traditional oriental sounds. And the message is spot-on after all the #metoo activism around the world. This is the odds-on favorite to win the whole shebang, but may be a bit divisive in a love-it-or-hate-it type of way, so it remains to be seen how well it does in the voting.

 

BELGIUM: Sennek – A Matter of Time

Belgium made waves by sending Blanche and City Lights last year, and are continuing in a somewhat similar vein, sending a high-quality song with a great singer. This is definitely one of those tunes that totally works outside of the Eurovision bubble. The smooth, mysterious and laid-back sound and the vocal even bring to mind the likes of Portishead (high praise in my book…).

 

FRANCE: Madame Monsieur – Mercy

The French entry has really grown on me and deserves a place on this list… Madame Monsieur are bringing a strong story, which makes you really want to understand the lyric. The story of a baby born on a rescue ship that had just picked up and saved 945 refugees crossing the Mediterranean. The baby was named Mercy and the news reached the French duo on Twitter just as they were in the studio writing for their debut album. Their message of compassion and solidarity, and their stripped down performance, won the hearts of the people in the French national selection and may do so on the ESC stage as well.

 

F Y R MACEDONIA: Eye Cue – Lost and Found

This is actually the entry that has been playing in my head the most ahead of ESC, so it is undeniably catchy. The song is something of a mish-mash of different styles and may feel like three songs sown together with the seams showing a bit too much. So some people may find it a tad confusing, but it’s all part of the charm here. The vocal is strong and keeps it all together. So let’s hope it works live on stage as well.

 

CYPRUS: Eleni Foureira – Fuego

This may be dismissed by some as a dime-a-dozen ethno dance banger, but I hear the staging and the dance show is totally bringing the fire. Cyprus have brought in Sweden’s own Sacha Jean-Baptiste to design the show and choreography, so you can expect everything to be in the right place, including all the hair whipping by Eleni. And as I still consider Helena Paparizou‘s My Number One my all-time favorite Eurovision winner, this needs to be on my list.

 

AUSTRIA: Cesár Sampson – Nobody But You

Austria is another country bringing up-to-date sounds that work really well outside the Eurovision bubble. The soulful vocals and the gospel-style choir backing make this stand out from the crowd. This is somewhat in the vein of what Rag’n’Bone Man or Sweden’s own Nano have been doing recently.

 

SWEDEN: Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off

Well we do have to include Sweden here, right? Although the song itself isn’t the most striking one after hearing all the strong competition in this year’s Eurovision, the whole package with the effectful staging and the dance moves of Benji Ingrosso will take this Melodifestivalen winner comfortably to the final and very likely to a Top 10 position for Sweden once again.



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