17 March 2019

2019: Estonia | Victor Crone | Storm

Victor Crone | Estonia | 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
Victor Crone brings a different Storm to Israel
Estonia is a nation which really seems to understand Eurovision. You don't always find them on the left hand side of the scoreboard but their appreciation and undeniable passion for the competition usually promises a slick production.

Flag Estonia
This year they have gone all Swedish as the charismatic Victor Crone will be flying the flag for the country with his rather captivating entry, Storm. It has absolutely nothing to do with the UK's 2018 entry, only that it is pure pop with a strong build and chorus.

This is one of a few outright pop tunes in the first semi-final, and Victor is a more than capable vocalist who possesses bucket loads of charm. His performance at Eesti Laul was thoroughly captivating and juries are inclined to appreciate this type of catchy, well performed entry. Not only juries, but the voting public, too.

Estonia may benefit from performing in the second half of their semi-final - people tend to remember the later performing entries. What may spoil their prospects are the songs from countries such as Australia, Iceland and Portugal - all possessing a quirkiness which may pull votes away from Victor. Faced with that, could it be the type of song that a great deal of viewers will appreciate, but only a handful will be especially motivated to vote for?

This feels a strong enough entry to qualify - particularly as it possesses a Swedish connection. A really impressive performance should garner it plenty of support, even if there is some stiff competition in its semi. My inkling is that a place in the Grand Final beckons.

Artist: Victor Crone
Song: Storm
Semi-Final 1: Second Half

09 March 2019

2019: Italy | Mahmood | Soldi

Mahmood | Italy | 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
Mahmood will perform Soldi in Tel Aviv
Over the years, particularly since their return to the Contest in 2011, it has been Italy’s undaunted attitude in sending entries which feel as if they refuse to cater to a Eurovision audience which has been the country's strength. It has also helped that they have delivered respected, proven acts with a genuine ability to perform live; big shoes newcomer Mahmood will have to fill when he takes to the stage in Tel Aviv.

Flag Italy
He'll be performing Soldi (Money), a song which has already proved popular on streaming services such as Spotify and iTunes, and which has become a favourite among many of Eurovision's core fans.

Up until now, Mahmood's CV has consisted of appearances on Italy's version of The X-Factor in 2012, from which he was eliminated relatively early on. His victory at Sanremo was a surprise too, seemingly having been shunned by the public vote in the opening show. Even his final night votes came mainly from the press and jury rather than the public, leading to questions about his song's appeal to a wider Eurovision crowd.

Mahmood has said that Soldi is a very personal track which he relates to his father's departure from his life when he was a young child and how money can affect family ties. Compared to the majority of 2019's entries, it's probably the most contemporary, relevant and radio-friendly.

It's hip-hop without much hop, sounds as if it's a rap song - but isn't. Creatively, it suggests a poetic beginning moulded seamlessly to a backing track; Mahmood's vocal monotone in nature, imbued with emotive inflections.

Soldi could be one of those songs which is not only very dependent on the running order, but also on its promised Eurovision revamp. Picked to perform at the sweet spot or nearby and Mahmood could do very well. Ultimately, it probably isn’t the winner, but I think if he brings a convincing vocal and stage performance it will win through and maintain Italy’s sequence of creditable results.

Picture: Bart Ryker [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Artist: Mahmood
Song: Soldi
Big 5 Finalist

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