We’ve had a very long gap between my post and video on 20 to 18 to this post, but it’s here at last! At this stage of my countdown, it’s strong entry after strong entry. This set might have just missed out on a “left hand side of the board” result but among 41 songs, these are high positions. I think you’ll find there is definitely one surprise among this trio.
#17 BELGIUM: Hooverphonic “Release Me”
One of the very first acts revealed for Eurovision 2020, Hooverphonic have been around since 1995 (or at least 2 of their founder members have). Vocalist Luka is a recent addition, and actually younger than the band! The song itself is very Portishead meets Bond theme – and is quite a change
of feel and tempo from the other songs in contest. They toured with bands like Massive Attack in the 90s, and have had a long and successful career. The running order that Eurovision released suggested it could have got a bit squeezed among more uptempo or eyecatching songs – but it’s a quality song.
There has been some disquiet in the fandom about Hooverphonic to say the least: from Alex Callier’s comments about the contest before it was cancelled (not very respectful) and refusing to
participate in the Love Shine a Light sing-along for the special Eurovision programme on what would have been the grand final evening. Luka it should be said, did appear onscreen for Love Shine a Light but was unable to sing.
Hooverphonic are back next year, and apparently it will be a more uptempo song – but remains to be seen if their standing in fandom recover…
#16 RUSSIA: Little Big “Uno”
So the biggest country in the contest gave us the biggest band among 2020’s entries in terms of how widely known they are. Electro-rave-punk band Little Big are very well known in Russia and other Eastern European countries and even in the UK with their huge viral hit “Skibidi“. I think there was lot of intrigue and excitement when the announcement came that they were representing Russia, (inevitably) late on in the season. The song itself didn’t disappoint at all, reminiscent of a mix between Aqua and Scooter. Reaction from Eurovision or non-Eurovision fans suggests this would have come in top 2 or 3 in the public vote – though one can’t guarantee the jury result but I am pretty sure this would have been a top 5 result.
Will they be back next year? The band (or the lead member) is know for satirising modern day Russia and is no fan of Putin. I do wonder if it was quite a last minute call that they got the Eurovision gig, maybe to act as a counter to Iceland and Lithuania? I think they’d enjoy to be asked again but they will do very well for themselves even if they don’t – their official video is the most viewed video ever on Eurovision’s YouTube channel…
#15 BELARUS: VAL “Da Vidna”
I am sure this is probably the biggest surprise of my top 20 (or even top 30!) given it always ended up low in most fan votes. Underrated is how I personally describe this though. It was a bit of surprise winner of the Belarusian national final, but when I listened to it, I really enjoyed it – and that liking just grew with more listens.
VAL are a duo of singer-songwriter Valerie and producer Vlad who produced Belarus’ 2017 entry.
I think they may be an actual couple as well judging from some of the lockdown videos.
There’s an electropop element to this – so that always chimes well with me – but I also really like Valerie’s vocal in this and it’s just a really positive thing that this a modern song in the Belarusian language – that has only happened once before at Eurovision and that was more folk pop (2017 again). I do hope we will see them again – they can definitely can turn their talents to different genres as has been shown in the various Eurovision lockdown videos/clips.
What did you make of this trio? Would you have put Belarus as high as me? And would you have placed Russia (even) higher?