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I have a very broad range of taste in music. I literally listen to anything as long as it does not sound like Rebecca Black or a dying cockroach; which explains why Eurovision is one of those shows I spend every single year waiting for, including this year.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this year’s 39 entries. At least there was no “Euro Neuro” in Malmö, though I get mad a lot more than last year. Well… let’s just say that I don’t find Farid Mammadov’s silly “Hold Me” or Cezar’s “It’s My Life”—which sounds like gibberish—are Eurovision materials. Surprisingly, the former song even managed to claim the second spot, which was a total disappointment for me. And let’s not forget how Despina Olympiou and Moran Mazor didn’t even make it to the final. I was totally outraged.
After all, it does not really matter anymore who I think was the rightful winner. Emmelie de Forest was not my favorite, but I did see her victory coming. “Only Teardrops” is just so Eurovision-esque. Anyway, congratulations, Danske Folk, for winning this year’s contest and have fun hosting the show next year.
So, here are my personal rankings of this year’s contest.
(7) “L’essenziale” by Marco Mengoni (Italy) — This song is a perfect ballad to be the ultimate winner of Eurovision. I know this isn’t the typical song to win, but it definitely has some magic that makes me keep clicking the play button again and again and again. Just like Nina Zilli last year, Mengoni should’ve finished better. It really is the best song from the contest this year. Maybe Italy should try sending an English song next year. I am starting to wonder if all Italian singers sang flawlessly. Andrea Bocelli, Laura Pausini, Marco Borsato, Nina Zilli, Eros Ramazzotti… Damn!
(23) “L’enfer et Moi” by Amandine Bourgeois (France) — After last year’s disappointing result for France with Anggun, I really wish that justice ruled this year. Turned out justice does not belong in Eurovision. The song is a masterpiece and it was a real pleasure to have blues rock had its chance on the show. I guess people would need more time to get used to Bourgeois’ striking talent.
(38) “Aν με θυμάσαι” by Despina Olympiou (Cyprus) — I can’t even think of how to begin with this one. This is absolutely one of the best ballads Eurovision has ever had in years. Olympiou’s voice is so calming. How she controls her tone is impressive. That it didn’t even make the cut for the final was stupid, annoying, idiotic, shocking, and definitely the worst decision made this year.
(19) “Believe in Me” by Bonnie Tyler (United Kingdom) — I am truly ashamed to admit that I have never heard of this International First Lady of Rock (Wikipedia told me so). I truly am; which is why I thank Eurovision a lot for exposing her strong vocal to me. If it is any consolation, you’ve gained one more enthusiastic fan despite not winning the contest, Milady.
(10) “Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)” by ByeAlex (Hungary) — It took me quite some times to like the song; mainly because I don’t understand Hungarian. But once it got into me, I can’t even stop listening to it. Tenth place was a fair result though seeing some songs that ranked above it convinced me that it deserved better.
(32) “רק בשבילו” by Moran Mazor (Israel) — I have tried to dislike the song for what the Israeli right-wing-dominated government are doing to the people of Palestine. The occupation, the violence, the injustice, the bloodbath, the cruelty, all the bad things they do. But it is a fact that some people in the Jewish nation are braver than most of the country to stand up to their government’s cruelty. But then again, I shouldn’t refrain from liking Mazor and her amazing talent for what she may or may not have anything to do with. Though I do find the music video a little bit weird and out of place, the song deserved to be in the final. I guess it was not clear for the voters and judges that Eurovision is a song contest, not some sort of camouflaged political stage.
(14) “You” by Robin Stjernberg (Sweden) — The song is just great. I like it even better than “Euphoria”. I guess this is just not the year for a dance song to shine. Stjernberg’s rhythmic vocal on the “You” part totally makes the song even more infectious.
(3) “Gravity” by Злата Огневич (Ukraine) — I was going to put her way up for delivering a very strong vocal performance with a very glorious lyrics, but I can’t get over that unnatural sudden move from ballad to mid-tempo at 00:45. It really started as a very great song and then for five to ten seconds, I make these weird expressions. “What the hell just happened!??“
(31) “Игранка” by Who See (Montenegro) — No matter what people are saying, for me the song is a very daring choice for a Eurovision entry. Dubstep? Seriously? But it works for me. I love the drum and bass and the female vocalist on the chorus. It might have not made the final, but it totally changed how I see the Montenegrin music scene after Rambo Amadeus almost ruined the show last year.
(1) “Only Teardrops” by Emmelie de Forest (Denmark) — It was rather predictable that this song was going to win. I enjoy the song, but there’s something off with the lyrics that I can’t quite figure out. At least the silver lining is that had this song not win, Azerbaijan would’ve won again. I don’t know how they manage to be on the top 5 each year (Safura’s “Drip Drop” was great, though) but it’d better stop because it’s starting to ruin the show for me.
(4) “I Feed You My Love” by Margaret Berger (Norway) — The song combines electropop and a little bit of alternative rock; which is a great thing. I would prefer the tempo to be a bit faster though. I hope Berger makes some appearance in the international music scene. She really seems like an interesting person.
(11) “O Mie” by Aliona Moon (Moldova) — The song sounds a lot like some ’90s records from Nike Ardilla with the high-pitch but I love the intensity.
(25) “Constigo Hasta El Final” by El Sueño de Morfeo (Spain) — Well, I do happen to have a thing for folk song. And this is a folk song. A good one, to be specific. It somehow sounds both fun and sad at the same time for me.
(6) “Alcohol Is Free” by Koza Mostra featuring Agathon Iakovidis (Greece) — I have been really bored with the Greek entries for years now, but this song ended the streak. It didn’t really sound that good at first, but I have come to like its comical sense.
(9) “Birds” by Anouk (Netherlands) — I love her personality on stage and her voice is somewhat quirky for me. Had she brought a song that showcases her talent more with a more climactic performance, she might have been able to do better.
(30) “You and Me” by Takasa (Switzerland) — I love the sense of folk this song offers. Should I even bother to elaborate on how this song should’ve made it to the final?
(15) “Waterfall” by Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani (Georgia) — Apparently, Georgia does have some great singers. The song is a strong ballad and I’m glad to see them performed in the final. Fifteenth place was not bad, but they could’ve finished better had they didn’t get to perform second to last.
(21) “Glorious” by Cascada (Germany) — While it does sound too much “Euphoria”-esque, I beg to differ that the song is a cheap imitation. It might not be the best song I’ve heard from Cascada (nothing will ever take that distinction from “Everytime We Touch”), but it does make me want to sing-along and feel like dancing. What can I say? The song is infectious and, sure, glorious.
(20) “Et Uus Saaks Alguse” by Birgit Õigemeel (Estonia) — Birgit is such a sweetheart and she sings like an angel. I’m quite surprised that it ended up on the 20th spot with a saddening 19 points, but it does happen in Eurovision. Sometimes you just wonder how this is a song contest with all the “Since we’re neighbor, let’s just vote for each other” and lack of transparency.
(17) “Ég á Líf” by Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson (Iceland) — Iceland has always been the home to some of my most favorite acts in music. Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men, Björk, and Rökkurró are only a few to name. And this song kind of let me down.
(5) “What If” by Дина Гарипова (Russia) — Russia has always appeared on my top 10 favorite each year (except last year’s “Party for Everybody” which I just can’t afford to like) but this song really sounds like Sarah Connor’s “Skin by Skin”. Let’s just say that I’m not impressed by the same thing twice a lot. Just a little bit more love. Just a little bit more passion. This is how it should begin. Skin on skin.
(35) “Пред да се Pаздени” by Ezma Redzepova & Lorenzo (Macedonia) — The song might have not made the semifinal cuts, but it was an interesting song to listen to, especially Redzepova’s voice.
(12) “Love Kills” by Roberto Bellarosa (Belgium) — All there is to say is that it’s a nice song with a little bit trace of pop punk and it did deserve the 71 points it received, but not more.
(29) “Само шампиони” by Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov (Bulgaria) — Now this is what I call a fun song. The Indian elements of the music totally makes the song sounds better than it could’ve been without it. Too bad it didn’t even make it to the final.
(28) “Љубав Jе cвуда” by Moje 3 (Serbia) — Serbia has always been one of the strongest contenders since they first competed as a lone nation back in 2007 with Marija Serifovic’s Molitva. I guess they didn’t see this coming. Maybe they should keep sending ballads over ballads each year. Seems like up-tempo rhythm doesn’t fall under their specialties.
(22) “Something” by Andrius Pojavis (Lithuania) — He sounds a lot like Brandon Flowers. The song lacks a climax, but still enjoyable.
(18) “Lonely Planet” by Dorians (Armenia) — I like the song because it reminds me of old rock songs from Genesis or Foreigners. I even like it more for the message it delivers. Lonely planet, we have done it, we can save it, we can stop it. I guess it deserved better than 41 points.
(37) “Here We Go” by PeR (Latvia) — The song does not sound like something the Eurovision voters would favor, but I applaud the duo for bringing beat-box to the contest. It does sound too generic, though.
(8) “Tomorrow” by Gianluca Bezzina (Malta) — Hey soul sister, ain’t that mister mister on the radio, stereo; the way you move ain’t fair you know. Hey soul sister, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do tonight. Well…
(33) “Mižerja” by Klapa s Mora (Croatia) — The song is weirdly anticlimactic, but it does have some potentials to be more than just decent.
(36) “Shine” by Natália Kelly (Austria) — Though the lyrics are kind of too generic, Kelly sings it nicely. I’m not sure whether I would have it in the final or not (mostly because it competed on semifinal 1 which was tougher), but I do enjoy the song.
(16) “Solayoh” by Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus) — It is an interesting song but I feel like I’ve heard this kind of song like a thousand times or so.
(39) “Straight into Love” by Hannah (Slovenia) — I’m glad how dubstep has made its way into Eurovision, but Hannah just didn’t try hard enough. The song is boring mainly because she keeps screaming straight into looove~ way too much.
(24) “Marry Me” by Krista Siegfrids (Finland) — I don’t really get how this song is a Eurovision material. The genre, the music, the singer, and obviously the lyrics don’t work out for me. But it did make this year’s show even more intriguing since bubblegum pop doesn’t make it to the contest a lot, let alone the final.
(34) “Identitet” by Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko (Albania) — It is quite an interesting song, but it does not strike me as special as I would love a Eurovision entry to be. And it’s hard to enjoy the song with its rock elements that I find a little bit disparate from the lyrics. Unlike Rona Nishliu’s “Suus” last year, I don’t get how this song represents Albania musically.
(27) “Crisalide (Vola)” by Valentina Monetta (San Marino) — I was expecting a great song from Monetta. The buzz was making me anxious in addition to her being the top 5 on the official fan-voting prior to the show. But she let me down.
(26) “Only Love Survives” by Ryan Dolan (Ireland) — This song ends before I even get to enjoy a second of it. Ireland sent the wrong song this year.
(2) “Hold Me” by Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan) — Safura, Ell & Nikki, and Sabina Babayeva all make me growing some interest on Azerbaijan music scene, but this Mammadov guy totally killed it. The lyrics sound sooooo generic and he definitely sings like an amateur. Didn’t deserve the 2nd place, didn’t deserve the final, didn’t even deserve to represent the fire nation.
(13) “It’s My Life” by Cezar (Romania) — This is it. Needless to say, the 2013 version of another Rambo Amadeus. Even the dubstep fusion can’t help his over-the-head-high-pitch. Listening to him singing for 3 minutes and 2 seconds is an absolute torment. And what’s even worse? That the song amazingly advanced to the final and ranked higher than Amandine Bourgeois, Bonnie Tyler, Robin Stjernberg, and pretty much all the 26 better singers and songs. Total madness.
Now please don’t start getting mad at me if you feel like you can’t agree with my list. Let’s just agree to disagree.■
The 57th edition of Eurovision Song Contest might have ended months ago, but I can still feel the heat from Baku, Azerbaijan, where it was hosted. Congratulations to Loreen for giving Sweden its fifth victory on the contest. Euphoria deserved to win, I’d say, but wasn’t really my overall favorite. Even though her other hits, My Heart Is Refusing Me and Sober, awe me more. But Europe has voted and it has been decided that next year’s contest will be held by this year’s winner: Sweden!
As the contest has concluded for this year, I’ve arranged a complete list of all the 42 entries based on my personal preferences. There might not be a lot of Eurovision-enthusiast in Asia—let alone in Indonesia—but I certainly hope that one day I could see the contest live on the television or even better, live at the hosting country!
First I’ve got to let you know that my musical taste might not appear to be so typical. I don’t limit my music library to any certain genres, artists, language, or other non-qualitative factors. So here the list goes…
*My Ranking. Artist – Song Title (Country) | Contest Result: #Actual Ranking – Comment (If there’s any)*
Nina Badrić – Nebo (Croatia) | Contest Result: #29 – Magnificent singer, magical song, artistic composing, and striking performance. I really don’t get how this song didn’t even make it to the final. There must be something reeeally wrong with the voters and the juries.
Eva Boto – Verjamem (Slovenia) | Contest Result: #37
Pernilla Karlsson – När Jag Blundar (Finland) | Contest Result: #30 – Most people might struggle to see how this is a better song than the other entries, but it does sound the most appealing for my ears. Karlsson’s rendition is magical and sensible. Even though I understand none of the lyrics, I can honestly feel this sadness that makes me close my eyes just like the song tells me to.
Pastora Soler – Quédate Conmigo (Spain) | Contest Result: #10 – She absolutely deserves more points or even to win the whole thing.
Soluna Samay – Should’ve Known Better (Denmark) | Contest Result: #22 – There’s something about Samay’s voice that casts this spell to make me keep replaying the song over and over and over again. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. It tells a story that I think a lot of people could actually relate to.
Loreen – Euphoria (Sweden) | Contest Result: #1 – The song just doesn’t appeal me that much to be the winner this year. But I am happy for Loreen. I swear I am. Mostly because had it not won the contest, those adorable-but-not-much-of-a-singer grannies group would’ve been the end of my Eurovision journey.
Nina Zilli – L’Amore è Femmina (Out of Love) (Italy) | Contest Result: #9 – Should I even begin how she reminds me of the late Amy Winehouse? Winehouse is replaceable (in a present tense), but Zilli is a good escape.
Izabo – Time (Israel) | Contest Result: #35 – An indie rock in the contest is already a bold move. The band (minus the violin or whatever that string is) sounds a lot like Arctic Monkeys, which is just my most favorite indie rock band of all time.
Mandinga – Zaleilah (Romania) | Contest Result: #13 – What can I say? The singer is sexy, the song is sexy, and it really makes me want to spend some summer in Bucharest.
Engelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free (United Kingdom) | Contest Result: #25 – The British is really desperate to win the Eurovision. After sending the high-profile boyband, Blue, to Dusseldorf last year, now they’re sending one of the most influential guy in ballads: Sir Humperdinck. But he still came second to last, mainly because he had to perform first and let’s be honest; how many times have the voters & juries been kind to the British let alone a folk song? Only thing I wonder now is who they’ll be sending off next year to Malmo.
Kaliopi – Crno i Belo (Macedonia) | Contest Result: #12
Željko Joksimović – Nije Ljubav Stvar (Serbia) | Contest Result: #3 – Serbia hasn’t lost its touch. Great ballad, great singer, great music, great performance, just not enough power to force the voters & juries to root for it.
Maya Sar – Korake Ti Znam (Bosnia and Herzegovina) | Contest Result: #18 – The only thing that the song needs to be more appealing is… a climax.
Rona Nishliu – Suus (Albania) | Contest Result: #5 – Great ballad, but her overdone vocal gymnastics left the song a little less impressive for me.
Joan Franka – You and Me (The Netherlands) | Contest Result: #34
Filipa Sousa – Vida Minha (Portugal) | Contest Result: #31
Gaitana – Be My Guest (Ukraine) | Contest Result: #16 – The song is a very fun number to dance to, but the lyrics are too usual to win.
Ήβη Αδάμου – La La Love (Cyprus) | Contest Result: #15
Sinplus – Unbreakable (Switzerland) | Contest Result: #28 – Definitely one of the most underrated entry this year.
Compact Disco – Sound of Our Hearts (Hungary) | Contest Result: #24
Roman Lob – Standing Still (Germany) | Contest Result: #8 – I guess most people would find it too “Hollywood”-esque to be on Eurovision. And I’m not arguing.
Anggun – Echo (You and I) (France) | Contest Result: #23 – As an Indonesian, I’m obviously proud as hell that Anggun got to represent France on such a high-profile contest; but the song just doesn’t make it for me. Anggun is best at slow-tempo numbers with mysterious musical touch (who doesn’t love her Snow on the Sahara or Deep Blue Sea or Garde Moi or any of her other hits that charted worldwide). I hope she gets another chance to prove that she can give France its long-awaited victory. With a ballad, I’d prefer.
Ott Lepland – Kuula (Estonia) | Contest Result: #6
Max Jason Mai – Don’t Close Our Eyes (Slovakia) | Contest Result: #38
Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for Everybody (Russia) | Contest Result: #2 – Had this song won the contest, I swore I would no longer watch Eurovision. It’s outrageously ridiculous already for them to even finished as the second best. The only thing that is great from Russia this year is that they’re sending a group of granny that would likely get everyone paying the sympathy card, but not for singing. On one note, the grannies are adorable.
Tooji – Stay (Norway) | Contest Result: #26 – The song only gets better after several times played. But it does sound more like an attempt to repeat Eric Saade’s 2011 Popular. Doesn’t really work that much for me.
Anmary – Beautiful Song (Latvia) | Contest Result: #40
Jedward – Waterline (Ireland) | Contest Result: #20 – I like the song even though the brothers are still weirdly weird for me.
Səbinə Babayeva – When the Music Dies (Azerbaijan) | Contest Result: #4
Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song (Oh Ohuhoh Oh) (San Marino) | Contest Result: #36
Софи Маринова – Love Unlimited (Bulgaria) | Contest Result: #27
Litesound – We Are the Heroes (Belarus) | Contest Result: #33 – The song is actually enjoyable, but too generic to be in Eurovision.
Kurt Calleja – This Is the Night (Malta) | Contest Result: #21
Trackshittaz – Woki Mit Deim Popo (Austria) | Contest Result: #42 – Took me more than 20 times to finally be able to at least enjoy the song.
Donny Montell – Love Is Blind (Lithuania) | Contest Result: #14 – His stage performance was one of the worst I’ve seen in the contest. And please, Montell, go get some English course.
Iris – Would You? (Belgium) | Contest Result: #41
Anri Jokhadze – I’m a Joker (Georgia) | Contest Result: #32 – Simply disturbing, weird, and definitely unappealing. The opening is interesting, but right when the “I’m a joker, I’m a rocker” line got out, I probably spaced out for those few minutes. The song is totally all over the place. The transitions from slow-tempo to mid-tempo to up-tempo are just bad, if not worst.
Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro (Montenegro) | Contest Result: #39 – Definitely one of the worst songs ever to make it into the show. Not open for disagreement.■