ESC 2015: My opinion about the Final (Part I)

Hi,

esc2015logo

Later than usual, but here I start my view on Saturday, 23rd May 2015‘s last ESC event for the year – more precisely, the ESC 2015 Final. And it all started with a classical music opening of “Te deum”, as well as few images from last year’s edition held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Then we’d move on to Austria and to where ESC 2015 was held this year: Vienna – most precisely, a dynamic look around the city…

As we move on to this year’s venue, Wiener Stadhalle, the classical music is once again into the spotlight as last year’s winning entry gets a brief mention. The real opening act, though, is Conchita and the presenters’ performance of ESC 2015‘s main theme, “Building bridges”, with the collaboration of a children choir with ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, conducted by Peter Pejtsik and rapper Left Boy. After that, there’s the always necessary Olympic Games-like parade of nations

The presenters of the show (Alice Tumler, Arabella Kiesbauer and Mirjam Weichselbraun), who had been part of the opening act, finally get their chance to greet the audience and do their usual stuff. Like last year, the presenters defended their job well – but I can’t help having the feeling that this year’s greenroom host (the one and only Conchita Wurst) overshadowed them by a long shot

Unlike my previous posts about the semi-finals and also unlike my posts of all the ESC 2015 songs, I’ll do a one by one opinion more concerning the performance than everything else – in this case, this is the first of two parts including the first 14 entries. The last 13 will be reviewed in the next blog post:

01: Slovenia – Maraaya – Here for you

01slovenia

A tenacious catchy indie-pop entry is starting the parade: “Here for you”, sung by Maraaya. They weren’t kidding whenever they said their performance was more TV-oriented than live tour-oriented (ESC fans were in general worried this wouldn’t look good during rehearsals): it actually looked slick and refreshingly vibrant, always full of action throught the entire course of the performance – that same compliment goes for Marjetka‘s soulful raspy vocals. A pretty wonderful start…

02: France – Lisa Angell – N’oubliez pas

02france

The first slow song of that evening is provided by Lisa Angell – the title: “N’oubliez pas”. There’s no doubt she’s a wonderful singer and she proved that with her massively powerful vocals. Sadly, her vocal performance alone couldn’t save a song that didn’t particulary have a shot at doing particulary well – yes, the minimalistic visual performance with the tin-drummers appearing in the second half of song was a nice touch, but what else could the french team do in order to set the scoreboard on fire?

03: Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden boy

03israel

Ethnic uptempos are back – courtesy of the “Golden boy” from the block (paired up his trustable backing crew): Nadav Guedj. The song might not really be outstanding (not for me, at least), but the performance was vocally fine (he was out of breath at times, though) and visually great (its simplistic party mood-like idea was its greatest trait). One more thing: I don’t know why, but the visual performance’s cheerful atmosphere and well-studied professionalism reminded me of Israel‘s ESC golden age (late 70’searly 80’s)

04: Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye to yesterday

04estonia

From happiness, we’re now getting into melancholy realms with “Goodbye to yesterday”, sung by Elina Born & Stig Rästa. This is one of the entries that worked really well visually-wise (some might not think so, though): you can sense a story is being told during the entire course of the performance (the shadow effect, Elina‘s entrance with the aid of the LED door, etc…). In vocal terms, Stig isn’t on his best in vocal, but we can forgive that – Elina becomes, therefore, the main vocal force of that performance

05: United Kingdom – Electro Velvet – Still in love with you

05unitedkingdom

1920’s swing with electro-pop? A bizzare combination that you’ll only get from Electro Velvet and “Still in love with you”. First of all, the duo’s vocal performance was OK and they had a nice chemistry (well, not as strong as the other competing duos…) – the problem was the visual performance: it seems like they tried so hard to stand out from the rest (there were some good ideas, though, like the glittery stairchase), but ended up being quite messy overall

06: Armenia – Genealogy – Face the shadow

06armenia

The six-combo project Genealogy pays their tribute to the armenian community in the form of a pop-soul entry: “Face the shadow”. Considering this was a one-time project, I didn’t find them totally cohesive (some of them were definitively better than others (in terms of vocals and presence). Still, the main attraction of their performance was the visuals: it perfectly matched the song and the message they wanted to deliever

07: Lithuania – Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila – This time

07lithuania

Just one kiss and you’re in Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila‘s cutesy pop-country world, merrily singing “This time“. I’d say the performance’s best trait is the duo’s cheerful chemistry – that certainly gave a highly colorful touch to the song’s message. While it wasn’t as vocally strong as many of the other competing entries, there were some well executed visual ideas (such as the famed “one kiss” sequence and the duo’s final cute shot simulating what looked like a selfie, as well Vaidas huging and kissing Monika on the cheek)

08: Serbia – Bojana Stamenov – Beauty never lies

08serbia

When Bojana Stamenov comes to town (well, in this case, it’s “the contest”), all people gather around (a play on “Foxy Brown (1974)”‘s movie trailer’s first phrases) and start dancing to the power pop entry “Beauty never lies”. If there’s anything that could lift this one up to a higher level was a stand-out performance… and that’s what happened: yes, it’s visually quite kitschy – but in a positively funny way (especially from the moment the dance music part kicks in). And Bojana did a great favour to the song thanks to her massive vocal performance (although I believe her vocals were just a tad better in the semi she was in)

09: Norway – Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A monster like me

09norway

The unusual good looking couple Mørland & Debrah Scarlet lash out the inner beast within them as they sing the delicate alternative ballad “A monster like me”. Vocally, it’s like Estonia in a way: although heartfelt, one of them is better than the other – in this case, the main power behind the vocal performance is Mørland himself, while Debrah isn’t considered as a vocally powerful singer (although her performance in the final was better than in the semi the duo was in). The strikingly and mystically tenderness of its unique visual performance compensates all the minor vocal flaws with gracefullness and

10: Sweden – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes

10sweden

Spaghetti Western, Cinemascope… and a autobiographical story: mix all these attributes up and then you have a smash dance-pop track named “Heroes”, sung by Måns Zelmerlöw. The performance was certainly elaborate and massively well-concieved from head to toe – some might not like this commercial approach, but it sure is an effective show-stopper when it’s properly done. Nothing really wrong on both vocal and visual terms – everything on the right track, me thinks

11: Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One thing I should have done

11cyprus

A soothing ballad is ready to be performed: John Karayiannis is, therefore, about to sing “One thing I should have done“. Simple staged performances can be effective at times… and this is one of them: the singer did a pretty good job selling the entry with his cutesy warm vocal performance without any exaggerations from his part. And it visually looked great as well: quite intimate in a way – I liked the black and white effect in the begining of the performance

12: Australia – Guy Sebastian – Tonight again

12australia

For ESC‘s 60th anniversary, Australia has been invited to participate as a competing country, eventhough they aren’t active members of EBU. And Guy Sebastian gave it all with his contemporary and funky pop-soul entry “Tonight again”. Everything went professionally well with it (it almost seemed like we weren’t watching ESC at all): from Guy‘s outstanding vocal performance to its feel-good visual performance – totally on the spot, without getting over the top

13: Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm inside

13belgium

Mystery and creativity: two words that blend well with Loïc Nottet‘s contemporary indie-pop entry “Rhythm inside”. Only one word to describe the overall performance: art – it’s like a marvelous canvas of surrealism, abstractism and cubism put togheter in order to create a sublime, but eerie work of art. It was visually well concieved (although the camera work could have been much better) and vocally strong (only a few vocal glitches from the singer’s part, but even those errors are forgiven due to the singer’s confidence)

14: Austria – The Makemakes – I am yours

14austria

To end this first batch of entries, here we have the ultimate alternative rock ballad with late 60’s/early 70’s influences sung by The Makemakes – talking about “I am yours”. Soild and powerful visual performance with the highlight being the piano on fire during the second part of the song – on the other hand, the vocal performance was good, eventhough quite shaky at times

Before ending this first part of my opinions regarding ESC 2015’s Final, a special treat – my favourite’s performance in this year’s ESC edition:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

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Posted on 28 de June de 2015, in Eurovision Song Contest. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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