The second batch of songs in the countdown of 2020’s Eurovision songs and we go from 35 to 31 in this set. Two (at least) of my placings here may prove somewhat controversial but as I oft say, this is my personal top 41, not any sort of prediction of how they would have done or an objective measure of song quality…
#35 CROATIA: Damir Kedžo “Divlji Vjetre”
It feels almost like a Eurovision tradition to have a Balkan ballad and it’s Croatia that have provided the male Balkan ballad this year. It’s a pretty standard one and obviously great if you (as many are) are a fan of Balkan ballads. I generally am indifferent unless they are really stand out but I will say this of Damir – he seems a lovely guy and has a great voice. Maybe he will be able to exercise it on a different genre next year!
#34 GEORGIA: Tornike Kipiani “Take Me as I Am”
Georgia certainly don’t go with the flow and that has certainly been the case again in 2020. Another powerful male vocalist (as they had last year), this is definitely not going to suit many people (the oddly elongated vowels, some questionable lyrics and the general wall of noise that hits you) but it certainly stands out. Tornike will be back to represent Georgia at the next contest.
#33 SERBIA: Hurricane “Hasta la vista”
A candidate for most controversial inclusion in the dozen lowest ranked songs.? Well, given the fandom’s love of this, I would say so! I guess for me, that while I can hear that is it catchy, and its campy nature is very Eurovision in a way, but it just irritates me more than anything else. It feels cheap and outdated, and I fear the fandom often leaps on an ethnobop (especially with female singers) and adopts it as something amazing. Some are, but this doesn’t do it for me.
Hurricane are hugely popular in Serbia, with three well-known singers making up the band, including Sanja Vučić, who represented Serbia at Eurovision in 2016 with the song “Goodbye (Shelter)“. While they have stated they would like to go to Eurovision at the next contest, there is no confirmation as yet if that will be the case.
#32 AZERBAIJAN: Efendi “Cleopatra”
The other candidate for most controversial entry in my bottom dozen songs is this (seemingly) fan favourite. There had been rumours going around of a bop-like song called “Cleopatra” bouncing around as a potential song for several countries e.g. it was thought it was going to be San Marino’s song. Whether by accident or design, it was left with Azerbaijan for Efendi to deliver (who has been in the running to represent Azerbaijan on several occasions without success until now) this 3 minutes of nonsense.
I could repeat some of what I said about “Hasta la vista” although this is at least a little more up-to-date but it feels like a somewhat lazy fan-pleasing number that doesn’t draw on Azerbaijan’s own musical traditions and instrumentation. Efendi will be back next year and I hope we get the quality and distinctiveness that Azerbaijan have done several times before.
#31 THE NETHERLANDS: Jeangu Macrooy “Grow”
I felt this was rather tough to place it the host nation’s song so low, especially when Jeangu is a very good singer and this is a quality song. I’m sure it would have made for quite a moment in the arena in front of the home audience. I don’t question the quality, it’s just that this isn’t my favourite genre of music or song style. I think a mark of how I felt was when it came on for the second time from my Spotify playlist (after being stuck in a huge traffic jam), I skipped over it.
A controversial set? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on my YouTube video.