07 May 2016

Eurovision 2016: Spotlight on Croatia; Greece; Australia

Nina Kraljić / Croatia / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Croatia: Nina Kraljić with Lighthouse

Former The Voice of Croatia  contestant Nina Kraljić is off to Stockholm with this brooding, yet slowly developing, ballad called Lighthouse.

There's no doubting that Nina possesses a great voice but, in what seems to be a sea of female vocalists this year, there are superior examples of this kind of entry set to score more favourably. It incorporates the requisite key change, but even this may not help its chances of qualifying from its highly competitive semi-final.

While it's all rather alluring, the song is really not memorable enough to progress and smacks of 'heard it all before' syndrome. A borderline qualifier.

Appearance: Semi-Final 1, performing 5th

Image by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Greece: Argo with Utopian Land

Argo / Greece / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Formerly called Europond, Greece's participants this year are Argo, a band which tends to promote long-established folk music from the Balkan region.

Their entry, Utopian Land, has a very definite ethnic feel about it, starting off with some traditional Balkan instrumentation before a transition into some messy Greek rapping. It's great to hear some partial native language lyrics and indigenous orchestration, but this offering really feels as if it is heading for failure.

Greece is normally one of those countries where anticipation of its entry is high - particularly as it has an enviable record of qualifying from its semi-final. While the song's heart is in the right place - its lyrics touch on the migrant crisis and the faltering Greek economy - one feels that Utopian Land's only route to the Final is through Greece's ever reliable diaspora vote. Even that might fail them and see Greece miss qualification for the first time in years.

Appearance: Semi-Final 1, performing 2nd.

Image by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Australia: Dami Im with Sound of Silence

Dami Im / Australia / 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Like many, you might be wondering why Australia has returned to the Eurovision stage having appeared last year as (one-off) guests at the 60th edition. Ours is not to reason why...but let's just say that the Aussies love Eurovision.

That said, Guy Sebastian did pretty well in 2015 when he managed to secure fifth place with his upbeat offering Tonight Again. There's no doubt that Australia have pulled out all the stops this year to better that placing with Sound of Silence, a full-on power ballad sung by former X-Factor Australia  winner, Dami Im.

The Korean-born chanteuse has rightly earned the reputation for being one of the best singers in the competition and interprets this dance-beat laden entry with consummate ease. Much will depend on its staging of course, but Team Australia is bound to bring some surprises to the Ericsson Globe to add to the song's dramatic atmosphere and content.

If there's any niggle with Sound of Silence, it's that the song sounds a little too repetitive for its own good. That's not going to stop it from qualifying, though. In fact, it could quite easily be the song to beat in the second semi-final.

Appearance: Semi-Final 2, performing 10th.

Image by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What are your thoughts about these songs?

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