Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

ESC Pulse Podcast: ESC 2017 Review – Semi 1 (part 1)

The first of five shows reviewing the songs competing in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. This week, we have Ross Barber-Smith of Bridge The Atlantic joining us as our first special guest judge as we look at the songs in the first half of Semi-final 1.

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ESC Pulse Podcast: National Finals 2017 – The Wrap-Up

After a week-long absence, the team are back alongside special guest Elliot from The Euro Trip to discuss the final two weeks of the national final season, and take a look back at some of the best national final songs that will not be in Kyiv this year.

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ESC Pulse Podcast: National Finals 2017 – Episode #1

It’s our first National Final episode for the 2017 season! We discuss Albania’s selection and give an update of all the chosen artists so far as well as news updates, plus we answer listener’s questions.

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ESC Pulse Article: ESC 2016 Semi 1 Predictions

Hej! The jury rehearsal for the first semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out as we give a simple yes/no answer over whether each of the songs will qualify or not…

Kylie: First of all, I have to say that the production of this year’s show is so well produced, amazing graphics, I’m very impressed! I already can’t wait to see the other two shows now!

Nicolas: Our loyal listeners out there know that Sara and I have already made very detailed predictions, but following the jury rehearsal made me change one qualifier. In general though, wow (NOT secret advertising for Malta… although they did offer), what an amazing show it will be!

Sara: It all seems pretty good. Just a pity that so many countries almost screwed up their chances with bad staging decisions. But, as you might know, I always stick by my trusty statistics to predict the qualifiers! So I’ll probably fail again…

 

Finland

Sandhja – “Sing It Away”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. It’s just an underwhelming start to the semi and it’s easily forgotten.

Nicolas: No. It’s not just underwhelming, it’s a completely wrong approach as well. When staging a fun uptempo song, going for an aggressive look and aggressive moves just doesn’t work. And the backing singers come across like five older mums wanting to do something cool (and inevitably cringeworthy) at some children’s party.

Sara: No. And if the song wasn’t enough to convince you that it won’t qualify, just look at that outfit.

 

Greece

Argo – “Utopian Land”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. I thought it might just do it a week ago, but after the jury rehearsal, I just got a pretty good hunch that this might just get dragged down in the end. I’m very much open to being wrong on this one though.

Nicolas: No. This is the one I’m changing my mind on. Maybe the other Eurovision fans have made me more (too?) optimistic, but I’ll say this one will fail in favour of a country I’d much rather see in the final…

Sara: No. In a Utopian Land, songs like this should end last in Eurovision semis.

 

Moldova

Lidia Isac – “Falling Stars”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. I just think the astronaut is pretty silly, there’s no real reason for people to vote for it in my opinion.

Nicolas: No. Kylie said it all. It’s pleasant enough, but why would anyone want to vote for it? The only people I can imagine voting for it is your average Moldovan housewife. And that might be a bummer for Lidia.

Sara: No. This song simply failed to catch anyone’s attention during the entire season, as shown by my statistics, so there’s no reason to believe people will suddenly notice it now.

 

Hungary

Freddie – “Pioneer”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. There’s not much remarkable about this, but I just feel that there’s enough for it to sneak through in around 8-10th position.

Nicolas: Yes. After the first three songs, I have to begrudgingly admit that this feels like the real start of the semi. Sailing through.

Sara: Yes. The song is good enough, and even though I really don’t like his voice, I can see why some people would like this.

 

Croatia

Nina Kraljić – “Lighthouse”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. That outfit just destroyed every single chance it had, which is a massive shame because I really like the song. Oh well…

Nicolas: Yes. I think the outfit turned it from a top 10 position to a 20th in the final. But yes, that means I do think it will still qualify, even just on song merit alone.

Sara: Yes. This is where my statistics might fail me, as this was so highly regarded before the rehearsals. Thanks, Nina. -_-

 

The Netherlands

Douwe Bob – “Slow Down”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. The big pause in the jury rehearsal started off awkward but then the crowd gave a big cheer, so it KINDA worked out in the end. This is very much a jury song and that factor will push them over the line in my opinion.

Nicolas: Yes. Oozes class, charisma and performs effortlessly. This will do pretty well!

Sara: No. I disagree with Kylie, I think juries will have been bored with this. But I guess this is one that you need to see on screen, so if I fail on this one, I blame it on not being there!

 

Armenia

Iveta Mukuchyan – “LoveWave”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. It just stands out in its semi because it’s so striking and intense, but in a good way.

Nicolas: Yes. I mean, who wouldn’t vote for those legs?

Sara: Yes. Obviously.

 

San Marino

Serhat – “I Didn’t Know”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Noooooo.

Nicolas: Noooooo.

Sara: Noooooo.

 

Russia

Sergey Lazarev – “You Are The Only One”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. Well, duh. I don’t need to explain why.

Nicolas: Yes. Outstanding staging with a mediocre song. Definitely enough to qualify.

Sara: Yes. Best performance of this semi! ❤

 

Czech Republic

Gabriela Gunčíková – “I Stand”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s a very well-done performance, I know what’s coming in the comments below mine though…

Nicolas: Yes. Hehe, Kylie will be surprised when she reads this… I’ve finally come to accept that she will qualify, as the song has all the merits to do so and she’s got some of the odds well in favour of her (only ballad, one of the best voices, simplicity after Russian complexity,…). Now watch them not qualify. -_-

Sara: Yes. I guess Kylie will also be surprised by my prediction, but I think this will even come 5th.

 

Cyprus

Minus One – “Alter Ego”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. It’s a classic Eurovision rock performance and comes across as very exciting. They should be very confident in a second successive qualificiation!

Nicolas: Yes. But I don’t think they should be VERY confident. It’ll be borderline, mostly because of François’ thin vocals.

Sara: Yes. This is how you do rock music, Montenegro! 😛

 

Austria

Zoë – “Loin d’ici”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. It’s just too kitsch and fanwanky. Sorry guys (but I’m not sorry, no).

Nicolas: No. It’s outstandingly lovely, yet chanceless, sadly…

Sara: No. I’d be so sad if it doesn’t qualify, but I really think this is a borderline one… I don’t think it will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did qualify. And Kylie, this is not a fanwank, not nearly enough people like this to call it that! 😛

 

Estonia

Jüri Pootsmann – “Play”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. As much as it pains me to say this, but I just don’t think there’s much to engage the people at home here, and that gives me a sad face. 😦

Nicolas: No. I just don’t feel the connection between the song, the staging and the audience. I think the juries might like it, but for the televoters this might even be a bottom 3 placing.

Sara: Yes. For some reason, people seem to like serial killers.

 

Azerbaijan

Samra – “Miracle”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. Even though she royally butchered the song in the jury rehearsal, I just feel that there’s certain factors that will enable this to 10th place in the semi yet again. I hope I’m wrong though.

Nicolas: Yes. Samra might struggle a lot, but it’s a popular genre with no real female competition, performed (yet not sung) professionally.

Sara: Yes. It’s Azerbaijan.

 

Montenegro

Highway – “The Real Thing”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: No. It’s just messy, I’ve always said that this is the most likely last place in the semi and I stick with that now.

Nicolas: No. Chanceless, I fear.

Sara: No. This is just terrible.

 

Iceland

Greta Salóme – “Hear Them Calling”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. They took the NF staging and improved it, it looks great and should sail through.

Nicolas: Yes. I still think this will complete the top 3 in the semi after Russia and Armenia! Gorgeous performance (WITH a beautiful narrative, Russia!) and sung well enough. Let’s just hope Greta will catch her cues unlike in Söngvakeppnin..

Sara: Yes. Deserves to qualify both on song and performance!

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala – “Ljubav je”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. With Croatia messing up with their Barbara Dex contender, this will mop up all the ex-Yu and Balkan diaspora votes. The very good running order slot also helps.

Nicolas: No. For me this is probably the hardest one to predict in this semi. I think it deserves to qualify, but this song’s main problem is that on first listening, it’s very very messy. And then there’s all the people seeing Deen for the first time…

Sara: No. This is just too much of a messy bunch of people and people won’t know what they’re watching.

 

Malta

Ira Losco – “Walk On Water”. Image courtesy of EBU.

Kylie: Yes. Well, duh, pimp slot and a good performance, this should have hardly any problem getting to the final here. Not sure how it will do if/when it gets there though.

Nicolas: Yes. Won’t get as high in the final as they want, but this is a no-brainer for the final.

Sara: Yes. Although I do really think that the staging is now very boring, with nothing happening and Ira just walking around aimlessly.

 

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!

 

ESC Pulse Podcast: Nicolas & Sara Review The 2016 Rehearsals (Part 1)

Nicolas and Sara are not in Stockholm, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t have a say about what they make of the rehearsal footage back home in the States!

 

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ESC Pulse Podcast: ESC 2016 Review – Semi 1 (part 2)

The second of five shows reviewing the songs competing in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. In this episode, we look at the songs in the second half of Semi 1, plus San Marino.

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Euro Dummies Podcast: National Finals 2016 – Episode #12

It’s the last national finals episode of the year, and our last podcast under the Euro Dummies name! We look at the last chosen songs in Sweden, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Croatia, San Marino, Australia, Greece, Czech Republic, and Azerbaijan. There’s also our last weekly news roundup, our last round of listener’s Twitter questions, and we have another round of the Love-Hate Game.

 

 

 

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Euro Dummies Article: ESC 2015 Semi 2 Predictions

Let’s talk about the results of Semi 1 first…

Kylie: I’m pretty happy with the results really, a bit sad that some of the songs I like didn’t make it but no real heartbreaks last night. Oh, and FAO Nicolas: I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Nicolas: Of course I’m really happy about those results!!!!! I was SO nervous and so convinced that Belgium wouldn’t qualify especially coming in tenth. I was so sure it was going to be Finland! But I’m really satisfied with the results!

Sara: I’m really happy because my three favorite songs qualified! Woop for Finland having been judged on their musical merit!

 

Ok, that out of the way now… as per usual we will go through the songs of Semi 2 and give a Yes or No answer in regards to whether they will qualify or not, and give a short comment as to our reasoning for our answers.

Nicolas: This is such a hard semi-final to predict! Anyone (but San Marino) could qualify! I can’t call it! Also, just warning people, Sara’s really grumpy!

Sara: I’m not grumpy! I just have a massive headache. Might be from Bojana’s screaming, to be honest.

 

1) Lithuania

Kylie: Yes. A very cute opener to the semi and they’ve got plenty of friends, so no problems there.

Nicolas: Yes. Cute opener indeed, very bright, very fun, though a bit contrived. Considering who votes in this semi, it won’t have too much trouble.

Sara: Yes. It’s the most uptempo song and it just makes everyone feel happy.

 

2) Ireland

Kylie: Yes. Molly was nervous tonight but I feel juries will see it through, it’s a very authentic performance.

Nicolas: Yes. This is one of three songs that I come back to every time when it comes to whether it’ll qualify or not.. I feel that in the end, it’ll get enough jury votes as it’s different to every other ballad in this semi, it’s way less ‘showing off vocals’ and much more intimate.

Sara: No. She doesn’t sound amazing and it gets forgotten very easily because of this bad draw. Her voice and song are nothing special.

 

3) San Marino

Kylie: No. They’ve staged it as best they could but sadly they’re pretty much the most certain non-qualifier out of the bunch. Their jury performance was also bad, I feel for those two.

Nicolas: I’m going to let Michele decide on this one. What do you think, Michele? “……………. No”

Sara: No. It’s simply the weakest song of the semi. Also, Anita doesn’t sound the best, to be honest…

 

4) Montenegro

Kylie: Yes. It’s a visually stunning performance and Knez knocked it out of the park tonight. Call it the Željko Effect.

Nicolas: No. I’m really sad that I have to say no, but even though Knez is such an amazing vocalist, he does not have a face that works on camera and I also fail to see who would vote for this in this semi-final.

Sara: No. Knez is too creepy-looking for anyone to vote for. The song is okay, but he ruins it.

 

5) Malta

Kylie: No. It sounds weak thanks to them ditching the backing singers and I think this will do surprisingly badly in the televote. I remember Nicolas saying all the way back in November that it would be a shock NQ and I said he was talking rubbish… Nicolas you were right, I’m sorry.

Nicolas: No. I can see this slipping into the final with jury help, but I do stick by what I said back in November. It’s simply not powerful enough.

Sara: Yes. The song has nice instrumentation and she sounds really good. I think it’s strong enough to qualify in this semi.

 

6) Norway

Kylie: Yes. Well, duh! Heia Norge!!!

Nicolas: Yes. I can’t see this fail, but I can’t see it challenging anyone for the win either.

Sara: Yes. I think this one is really obvious.

 

7) Portugal

Kylie: No. It just doesn’t leave much of an impression at all, I think it’ll be bottom 3 of the televote.

Nicolas: No. It grew on me with the way she performs it live, she gives it her all and she looks really charming on camera. However it just doesn’t leave a lasting impression at all…

Sara: No. It’s just a bad song and everyone will forget about it, getting drinks during this one. I just don’t like it, especially after she wanted to go sing it twice in the jury rehearsal, wha wha go cry to your mommy about it.

 

8) Czech Republic

Kylie: No. I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong here, but I feel it’s been badly memory-holed by Israel coming after it, they sounded great tonight though, so I hope they got a good jury score at least.

Nicolas: No. Like Kylie, I really hope I’m wrong on this one, but I can’t see it happening…

Sara: No. It’s boring, the shoe throwing will put people off, it’s stupid and… it’s Czech Republic, what do you expect.

 

9) Israel

Kylie: Yes. It’s a very well done performance, well shot, lots of fun. The final NEEDS more fun songs!

Nicolas: No. I’m just scared juries will collectively put this last considering he has the worst vocals of the night…

Sara: Yes. It’s a breath of fresh air after the 25,000 slow songs. He’s not the best singer but televoting won’t care. It’s fun. Eurovision needs fun. And if Serbia can make it, this can make it.

 

10) Latvia

Kylie: Yes. Visually great, it’s a breath of fresh air, looks like Latvia is making a long-awaited return to the final!

Nicolas: Yes. I always go from yes to no and back again on this one. Is it too avant-garde to make it among all these other ballads? I hope not…

Sara: Yes. She hits every note perfectly, no mistakes, good backing vocals, nice staging. Everything that leads to a qualification.

 

11) Azerbaijan

Kylie: Yes. I still LOATHE the dancers and I feel it suffers coming after Latvia, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.

Nicolas: Yes. If there’s a massive shock non-qualifier in this semi, it’ll be Azerbaijan. But I’m not gutsy enough to actually make that prediction. :p

Sara: Yes. Azerbaijan qualifies with anything so why not this too?

 

12) Iceland

Kylie: No. I am so so so SO sorry Sara, I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong but I’ve got a horrible feeling that she’ll be the shock NQ, she did well tonight though.

Nicolas: Yes. I know a lot of people are now predicting this to fail, but I think this has really strong televoting appeal.

Sara: Yes. Screw everyone! She’s a fairytale princess and every fairytale princess gets their way. And her way is to qualify. So she will. Also, she doesn’t sound that bad, she hit the notes that mattered, so all the haters can get glitterbombed! Suck it!

 

13) Sweden

Kylie: Yes. Well, DUH!!! Semi-winner and still the obvious winner of the final. The reception in the arena was HUGE!

Nicolas: Yes. No doubt about this. Winning Eurovision.

Sara: Yes. He’s handsome, he’s got a good song and he’s Swedish.

 

14) Switzerland

Kylie: No. It’s suffers a lot coming after Sweden and I feel it’s kinda anonymous. The uber noisy jet streams also really drowned her out at the last chorus.

Nicolas: No.

Sara: No. This is the most insignificant entry of the year (even though I quite like it). Coming after those four songs and before these three songs it’s just a death trap. She won’t qualify and yeah.

 

15) Cyprus

Kylie: Yes. SERIOUS dark horse, there’s no way this ain’t top 10 in the final!

Nicolas: Yes.

Sara: No. Even though it’s sparkly I don’t think anything that special about this song. It’s a pee break in my opinion and he looks funny.

 

16) Slovenia

Kylie: Yes. Solid performance and I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.

Nicolas: Yes.

Sara: Yes. Sounds good. The violinist is good. It’s a popular song, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t qualify (besides the fact that it’s Slovenia). Justice for Ula!

 

17) Poland

Kylie: No. I’m probably gonna slip up on my predictions with this one, but I just kinda feel this will be a jury fave that doesn’t make it.

Nicolas: Yes.

Sara: Yes.  She’s a good singer and she’s in a wheelchair. Good job, Poland. Oh, and it’s pink. Good job, Poland.