Into the top 30 now, and the final few places before we hit what would be my own personal grand final (i.e. the top 26 songs). We’re comfortably in the part of my countdown where I don’t dislike the songs – it’s just there are a lot of songs to be ranked! There is one potentially contentious one here – at least in some eurofan polls it was being ranked very highly.
#30 GREECE: Stefania “Superg!rl”
Stefania is a 17-year-old Dutch-Greek singer from Utrecht who had represented The Netherlands at Junior Eurovision in 2016 as part of a girl group. Presumably she would have had a very easy journey to the stadium – and probably will next year as she will be Greece’s representative at the next contest. I hope she returns with something I like a little better – while I enjoy the ethnic Greek sound and it’s a catch hook, it feels somewhat similar to US music of this type, where there seems to be little actual melody. Also, there is a whiff still of Junior Eurovision in this, not least in the music video.
#29 AUSTRIA: Vincent Bueno “Alive”
Austrian-Filipino singer Vincent Bueno will be (I think) the first artist of Filipino ancestry to perform as a lead singer at Eurovision. I say “will” deliberately as, like many of the other internally selected artists for 2020, it has been announced he will be at the next contest. This is a fairly uptempo number – boppy and serviceable though just lacks that something extra to make it stand out. It’s got the hint of a feel of a song that those North American Justins, Timberlake and Bieber, might do – but needed to be more impactful.
#28 NORTH MACEDONIA: Vasil “You”
Vasil has past experience at the contest, having been one of the (unseen) backing singers to Tamara Todevska in her jury vote-topping song “Proud” but he is more than just a backing singer, being an avant-garde artist in his own right (and also I believe LBGT – which would be encouraging to see from North Macedonia). Given that, I think then it feels a bit disappointing that this entry isn’t more interesting. Like Austria’s, it’s a mid to uptempo bop and quite pleasant but nothing special or stand out. I liked the hint of Balkan instrumentation at the start of the song, but it never seemed come back and song became increasingly Latin in feel as it went on.
Vasil seems a great guy and he’s been doing so much since the cancellation was announced; he’s been getting involved in lots of the online projects/shows which has been great to see. Not sure yet if he will be back next year as no confirmation yet on either whether the will be the artist of if North Macedonia will be entering – that will come in due course and we’ll keep fingers crossed for Vasil.
#27 NORWAY: Ulrikke “Attention”
So this is potentially the most controversial of my placings in this section, giving Ulrikke a place just outside the grand final. There is some evidence of this being popular among the fandom or at least the users of the Eurovision scoreboard app where it has a very high placing. Less popular among the participants of Boom-Bang-a-Bang/Eurofest though (delivered online this year rather than at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern) as it finished outside the top 20 of that vote. I guess we’ll never really know now!
This is very much a typical Nordic Eurovision power ballad and has the key change, the big note, the golden shower moment. Ulrikke is a good singer and it’s not bad by any means – just not something that stands out for me as something special. As with most of the Nordic and Baltic countries who all have well established national finals, she won’t be the automatic entry for the next contest. She was offered an automatic place in the Norwegian national final but so far has declined the place.
#26 CYPRUS: Sandro “Running”
Sandro is a German singer though with a Greek mother and American father; he’s also no stranger to song contests. The record label behind this song, Panik Records, was also behind Fuego and quite a number of other Eurovision songs. It’s quite a departure for Cyprus as this sounds more like a radio edit of a club track (therefore it’s an uptempo number). I think that can work well in some situations and it would have been interesting to see how they went about staging this. This has definitely grown on me and just squeezes into my grand final shortlist (the top 26!)
Any controversies (Norway aside) in this group? Do let me know in the comments below or on the my video of this group.