It’s that time of the year: Eurovision! Some like it and some despise it, but it is happening! If you have never heard of the European singing contest, don’t worry. I will explain about the competition down below. It is a great competition that happens each year and I recommend watching it. The great thing about Eurovision is that you don’t need to be in Europe to watch it! You can watch the whole competition on Youtube.
Every year, I have a series from March to May where I predict the winner of the contest as well as feature all the songs. Usually, I feature three songs per post, but this year I decided four tunes as I wanted to speed things up!
Enjoy the first part of the series! Listen to the songs below and let me know what you think of them in the comments!
What is Eurovision?
Eurovision is a singing contest that features different performers from countries in Europe and Australia. The competition started by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1956 as a way to bring light entertainment to war-torn Europe. The idea was a mixture of experimenting with live television — technology that was in the infant stage at the time — and Sanremo Music Festival in Italy. This was a huge feat at the time as each country’s broadcaster didn’t initially think EBU could air a live broadcast of the music competition all over Europe at the same time.
Seven countries participated in the first Eurovision in 1956. Since then, many countries have joined the competition. The number of participants differentiates each year as new countries form and others dissolve. Also, countries can choose not to participate, as Hungary and Montenegro did for the 2020 competition. This year, 41 countries will battle it out to be the Eurovision champion.
There is a semi-final round and a finals round. The semi-final round is over a period of two days and features most of the countries competing for one of the twenty spots for the final battle. Of course, not all countries participate in the semi-finals round as five countries — called the Big 5 — are automatically entered into the final. These five countries are France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The country who hosts that year’s Eurovision gets a free pass to the finals too.
Like I said above, you don’t need to need to be in Europe to watch the competition. You can watch it simply on Youtube anywhere in the world! You also watch last year’s competition too! And, if you live in the United States, you can watch it on Netflix starting this year.
Eurovision 2020: Open Up
Eurovision 2020 will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Each year’s venue is decided on the previous year’s winner. So, in this case, Duncan Laurence won 2019 Eurovision, so the Netherlands can host the contest (and also have a guaranteed spot in the finals). The competition will be held from May 12 to May 16.
The slogan for this year’s Eurovision is “Open Up”. Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer Event of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, explaining the meaning behind the slogan:
Australia: “Don’t Break Me” by Montaigne
Montaigne (whose real name is Jessica Alyssa Cerro) was picked to represent Australia in this year’s Eurovision after winning the Eurovision – Australia Decides competition. Although this her first appearance at Eurovision, she has been releasing material since her debut in 2014. Her first single was “I Am Not an End”, which was the 36th most played song that year. Her debut album, entitled Glorious Heights, help the singer win the ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist – Release.
I really love “Don’t Break Me”. I love everything about the song: the lyrics, the music, the mood, and the instrumentation. I especially love Montaigne’s vocals as they are so diverse, full of color, and have a certain depth in the tone. I love how the song displays the full range of the singer: starting the song off with her rich, warm deep vocals and then progressing to a higher range. Because of Montaigne’s vocals, the instrumentation, and the deep message, “Don’t Bring Me” will surely bring Australia to the finals round.
Belarus: “Da vidna” (Да вiдна) by VAL
“Da vidna” (Before Dawn) is the first non-English song featured on this blog for the 2020 Eurovision. The band behind the song, VAL, was formed in 2015 and been working on various projects beforehand. But, it feels like “Da vidna” is their first major release.
I don’t think that “Da vidna” will make it to the finals as it is just very basic and bland. Sure, the lead singer Valeria Gribusova has great vocals, but it sounds like the generic ones you hear in generic pop songs all over Eastern Europe and Russia. Even the instrumentation itself is a bit bland and generic. There is nothing special about the vocals or instrumentation.
Ireland: “Story of My Life” by Lesley Roy
Lesley Roy has been performing since 2008 when she released her debut album entitled Unbeautiful. Fun fact is that her first album was produced by Max Martin, who produced many famous songs in the late 90s and early 00s like Britney Spears’s “…Baby One More Time”, The Backstreet Boys’s “I Want It That Way”, and NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000). However, she cut ties with max Martin right after her release and been writing her own music since 2010.
“Story of My Life” is one of those songs that we don’t know if it will truly go to the finals until we see the semi-finals performance. Even though the song sounds like a generic pop song, the message behind the tune is wonderful! It is “an encouraging uptempo song around overcoming your difficulties and getting back up again.”
I love the upbeat feeling from the song as it is fun to dance to and so positive. However, it depends on the performance that whether or not the song will go through to the finals. “Story of My Life” is catchy and inspirational, but many could perceive it as being too generic. Let’s see how Roy will convince Eurovision that her song is worthy to be entered into the finals. For me, I think it will make it to the finals.
Lithuania: “On Fire” by The Roop
The last feature artist is The Ropp with “On Fire”. The Ropp is a pop-rock band that got their start in 2014. The band’s first release was a year later with the EP To Whom It May Concern.
The music video for “One Fire” piques my interest as it is quirky. However, the song itself is bland to me and doesn’t really appeal to my musical taste buds. The lead vocalist’s vocals are nice and I have nothing wrong against them. But, I found myself bored with the song. Because of that, I don’t think The Ropp will make it to the final. But we see! (Sometimes my predictions are way off. Last year, I said one song wouldn’t make to the finals and it did.)