Eurovision 2016 Round-Up: President’s Day Edition

These are busy times in the Lemurs household, making it difficult for us to write about the National Finals results on a regular basis. Rather than skip out on the Eurovision season altogether, we decided to do a round-up of what has happened around Europe up until now.

Francesca MichielinThe most interesting (if not exciting) thing so far is what happened in Italy. This year’s Sanremo winners, Stadio, turned down the invitation to represent Italy in May’s Grand Prix. The day after Sanremo ended, Italian broadcaster Rai announced that they gave the ticket to Stockholm to runner up Francesca Michielin. It was not quite as dramatic as Germany’s schlagerfiasco last year, but trust the Italians to be better prepared than the Germans to handle this kind of situation.

(Wait, did I just say that?)

Francesca has not confirmed what song she will be performing at Eurovision (although presumably she would go with her Sanremo entry “Nessun Grado Di Separazione”), but plenty of other countries have their entries locked up:

Austria: ZOË – “Loin d’ici”

ZOË was one of the artists that was vying for the chance to defend Austria’s title at Eurovision 2015. Given how things turned out, perhaps it was lucky for her that she didn’t get that chance. Her entry this year, “Loin d’ici,” reminds me a bit of Mylène Farmer‘s output. It may be a little weird for everyone that Austria is entering a song in French, but we like the bold choice and France will wish it was theirs.

Malta: Ira Losco – “Chameleon”

Malta has replaced “Chameleon” with “Walk on Water.”

Do we still love it when Eurovision legends make a return to the Song Contest? If so, can we stop? Ira Losco finished second in 2002 with “7th Wonder” and she will be lucky to qualify for the final with this warmed over mash-up of “Invincible” and “Euphoria.” “Chameleon” is not “Ding Dong” bad, granted, but if anyone other than Ira Losco had performed it at Malta’s national final, it would have withered on the vine.

Belarus: Ivan – “Help You Fly”

Ivan was originally meant to represent Russia at the Intervision Song Contest that one time Russia wanted to revive the old Warsaw Pact competition to counter the decadent Western Grand Prix. Intervision failed to materialize, though, so Ivan gets to represent his home country in Stockholm instead. All the better for us. We don’t hate this one, though we wish whoever did the arrangement gave into Ivan’s desire to rock.

Switzerland: Rykka – “The Last of Our Kind”

Oh man, has Switzerland ticked all of the boxes for Eurovision this year or what? It’s like they have a lab inside a bunker deep inside the Alps where they genetically engineered a Eurovision entry. As an added bonus, Rykka is from Canada, where all of Switzerland’s best performers come from. We’re not saying we like this, we are just acknowledging that there are none more Eurovision yet this year.

Belgium: Laura Tesoro – “What’s the Pressure”

Laura Tesoro was the best performer among a weak lot in Flanders this year. “What’s the Pressure” sounds like a cross between “Another One Bites the Dust” and Andy Abraham’s “Even If.” Tesoro’s charm carries this a long way, but the Eurovision Final may be a bridge too far to lug it.

Denmark: Lighthouse X – “Soldiers of Love”

Denmark has the amazing ability to put forth great songs in their National Finals that we go gaga over, and then select some awful insipid dung heaps that increasingly annoy us the more we hear them. For example: We quite enjoyed Bracelet’s “Breakaway” from this year’s Melodi Grand Prix, but it was passed over for three different insipid dung heaps. We assumed that the Grand Prix title was going to go to the Emmelie de Forest-penned “Never Alone,” but instead Denmark went with “Soldiers of Love” by boy band Lighthouse X. Prime Minister, they ain’t, and come May we’re going to need to remind ourselves it could have been a lot worse.

Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitas – “Midnight Gold”

We have been known to bestow a lot of love on Estonia and Hungary on our site, but Georgia might just be the country that fascinates us the most  They are certainly unpredictable: You never know if they are going to send a conventional ballad, a quirky rock song, or “I’m a Joker.” This year, they’ve opted for Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz, a band with artsy pretensions and Britrock influences. “Midnight Gold” is aggressively not a Eurovision song, so all we can hope is that the Young Georgian Lolitaz don’t suffer Izabo’s fate. Regardless, they’ve got the “too cool for Eurovision” title locked up.

Spain: Barei – “Say Yay!”

“Say Yay!” is a perfectly serviceable Euroclub rave-up. There is a good chance Barei may oversell her song a bit in Stockholm, but to hell with it, she looks like she’s having a lot of fun. Her enthusiasm may be contagious. (Still, we wish they sent “Días de Alegría” instead.)