The Winner Is… (Heat 5)

Good Friday to the fifth heat of The Winner Is… ! Last time’s attempt to drive up production sort of killed the fourth heat’s ability to draw votes, so that won’t be happening again. Instead, I’ll just publish more frequently (hopefully). Anyway, onto these next four songs!

 

After Who See’s failure to deliver the purest form of dubstep on the Eurovision stage, the presence of entries with that flavor has shrunken considerably in 2014. Nermin Puškar and Samuel Lucas seem to have forgotten about that and instead created this rock-dubstep number for Slovenia’s EMA. It’s musically rich, with layers and layers of sound that, while obviously separate, work together well. That feeling of disconnect is a very interesting property that works in unison with the lyrics, which detail making it through a rocky part of a relationship. Vocally, Lucas and Puškar both sounded committed and vested in what they were singing; it felt genuine.

First, RTVSLO deserves huge props for organizing one of the best national finals of the year on such short notice. Each of the seven songs was good and the production was unique and fun. That said, this one stood above the rest for being, in essence, what Armenia’s entry wants to be. The moving and exciting orchestration is nearly singular in the year’s songs, rich and accessible. I can’t get enough of the song’s energetic construction. Performance-wise, they sell it quite well, even if Lucas has a few problems with his pronunciation. All in all, it was a missed opportunity for Slovenia to send something even more unique than Tinkara. Thanks for the music guys!

Live: 8 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 8 | Music: 10 | Preference: 19

Total: 10.65 pts.

 

MIAU (like the cat noise) took a slice of pure 80s synth-punk on a deep run through UMK. The song is a pulsing and aggressive number, driven by heavily modified drum. It grows through each iteration of the chorus and a slightly changed verse until the final chorus explodes with bright colors and harsh synths. The lyrics are as brash as the music, refusing to mince words when it comes to comparing one’s lover to a drug. Questions like “Are you a god? Are you a drug?” don’t leave much to the imagination. Visually, the performance was bright and energetic, with catwalk struts and powerful vocals.

This song got better and better through each stage of UMK. MIAU really polished their appearance and song until the final, and were rewarded with a very deserved 3rd place. This performance in the final was probably the most well-rounded of all the finalists, tied maybe with Softengine. I love the energy and vibe that they gave off, as it was one of the most “in your face” acts of the year. They absolutely delivered when it mattered and I ended up falling for this song.

Live: 9 | Staging: 8 | Lyrics: 6 | Music: 9 | Preference: 18

Total: 10.2 pts.

 

 While punk might not have been the sound of the season, folk-pop is a strong contender for that title, aided in its hunt by Norway’s Dina Misund with her anti-materialism song “Needs.” Amongst the plucks of guitar and banjo strings, Misund exhorts people to stop focusing on improving their lives by letting their “wishlists take control.” It toes the line between charming and kitschy and settles in a nice grey area, while the music takes control. It’s a simple and breathy folk song that brings a smile to even the most upset face. On stage, Misund sang in a black sequin dress set against yellow lights, strumming her guitar.

Going into this strong edition of MGP, “Needs” was my favorite song and looking back now, I can say that it’ll probably stay in my top five. I love that the lyrics and music work together by creating a very organic feeling but it’s absolutely destroyed with the nasty dress she wore. Something more raw would’ve done wonders for the song. Talking of the song itself, I’m not crazy about how the lyrics fail to resolve her request; sure we should eschew things we don’t need but what should we focus on instead? That said, these are all small issues, compared to Misund’s tendency to go sharp in the chorus. All in all, this is a very welcome addition to the soundtrack of 2014. Tusen takk, Dina!

Live: 4 | Staging: 5 | Lyrics: 9 | Music: 8 | Preference: 17

Total: 9 pts.

 

And while folk was big this year, nothing ever beats electro pop when it comes to Scannie NFs. Mo brought his anthem of comfort “Heal,” to the Oslo Spectrum stage and delivered it strongly, joined on stage by dancers and fog. “Heal” is about any sort of tramautic event, written specifically to be applicable to any situation. Case in point, though it reads like a song about relationships, Mo’s history in the Utøya Massacre from 2011 connects it to him as well. Musically, it’s not too special, although it is very catchy and has a few unique traits.

As the most “normal” song of this heat, “Heal” might be the most competent. Mo’s vocals and stage presence were both top notch. The song was one of the better delivered ones on the night, and really earned its slot in the super final. In particular, I love the brief little “Oh”s that punctuate the melody at points, most notably at the beginning. Simply put, everything here works incredibly well.

Live: 7 | Staging: 8 | Lyrics: 7 | Music: 8 | Preference: 18

Total: 9.9 pts.

heat 5 results

So I’ve eliminated the two Norwegian entries but will you? Did you only “Need” a good song to support Dina or did Mo help you “Heal” from a “Drug” addiction? Then again, if you don’t like any of those three, don’t use your vote as a “Masquerade” and vote for your favorite and share!

Peace,

-Nick

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Posted in Eurovision, Personal Stuff, The Winner Is...
5 comments on “The Winner Is… (Heat 5)
  1. Shevek says:

    I voted for ‘Needs’ – a well crafted song.

  2. marcpanozzo says:

    “God/Drug” is the only entry I really like in this heat, so that’s where my vote went.

    “Heal” had a crazy awesome beat but the slick choreography made it’s delivery feel a lot less genuine, “Needs” was a serviceable acoustic ballad disserviced by Dina’s shaky performance and “Masquerade” isn’t a patch on “Not Alone”.

    • Nick P. says:

      Thanks for the vote. 🙂

      P.S. I hope you weren’t annoyed that I ended up doing a national final poll at the same time as you. :p

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