To catch up on last week’s Eurovision entries (countries A-E), follow this link.
Denmark: REDDI ‘The Show’
Pure energy. The band REDDI was put together by drummer Ihan Haydar, with Ida Bergkvist on bass, Agnes Roslund on guitar and Siggy Savery on vocals/guitar. Starting as a piano ballad, ‘The Show’ is reminiscent of Duncan Lawrence’s ‘Arcade’ and it is easy to think of where this song is going to go. However, the reality is very different. The song soon picks up a strong beat, with an infectious guitar solo and a drummer that genuinely looks like they’re having the time of their life. REDDI is a band that is grounded in the present and just looks like they’re giving their all in ‘The Show’.
Following the success of rock band Maneskin last year, REDDI’s pop-punk/rock sound is sure to be well-received at this year’s contest and is a strong entry from Denmark. The last time Denmark won was in 2013, when Emmelie de Forest won the contest in Malmö with her song ‘Only Teardrops’, so keep your eye out on REDDI’s entry which might be the dark horse and critically underrated song of this year’s contest.
Estonia: Stefan ‘Hope’
Country music rarely appears on the Eurovision contest’s main stage, however, Stefan hopes to change that with his song ‘Hope’. Stefan was selected to represent Estonia after winning Eesti Laul 2022, with 68% of the final vote.
The song borders more on pop than country, and there’s a good chance it might be received as some random tumbleweed moving across the main stage. The message is quite literal, though with the name ‘Hope’ it’s not very surprising. It has this general story of talking to a younger self and giving them advice, reminding them to use their voice to speak out on important issues. Stefan’s voice is beautiful, but there’s just a massive question mark of how this song would be staged for Eurovision and how well the country would do in Eurovision. It might be surprisingly well-received, considering the fact it has an uplifting and positive message, but I’m not very hopeful about this one...
Finland: The Rasmus ‘Jezebel’
If ‘In the Shadows’ rings a bell, you might already know The Rasmus – the song broke the 100 million streaming mark on Spotify, despite being released many years before the streaming platform was even invented. They've been together for nearly 30 years now, and are one of Finland’s most internationally successful groups.
Finland has a long tradition of entering rock songs into Eurovision. Yes, far before Maneskin’s time. This long history includes the legendary Lordi who won the 2006 Eurovision with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ performed in monster masks and with intense pyrotechnics. There is also Softengine’s ‘Something Better’ which came 11th place during the 2014 Eurovision. Just last year, Blind Chanel's ‘Dark Side’ came 6th place in the contest.
‘Jezebel’ was written specifically for the Eurovision song contest, opening with a magnetic guitar riff that feels like a battle cry. The Rasmus are the perfect representatives of Finland’s sound, they have a charismatic stage presence and their song is catchy too. The song leans a little bit more towards the pop-rock sound, which is slightly disappointing as it feels tame and somewhat held back. However, the live performance may change all of that as literally anything can happen. When people say that Eurovision is all about ballads, think again. It’s really about rock music, and The Rasmus are there to remind you of that.
France: Alvan and Ahez ‘Fulenn’
Representing France are Alvan (a multi-instrumentalist musician specialising in electronic music) and Ahez (a trio comprised of Marine, Sterenn D. and Sterenn L., all Breton singers of traditional heritage, who entwine regional myths into contemporary storytelling). Sung in French, the song follows a Breton legend of a young woman emancipating herself from societal norms by dancing at night bathed in light from a bonfire. It mixes modern EDM beats with traditional instruments that are sure to get the audience on their feet, it gives off the same vibe that Ukraine’s 2021 entry Go-A did with ‘Shum’ – a wild experimental journey that just works. It will be interesting to see how the final stage design will bring the entire song together.
Germany: Malik Harris ‘Rockstars’
I’ll be honest, when I heard the first line ‘Look where we are, we used to be the rockstars’ it didn’t instil me with that much hope. If you have to say you’re a rockstar, the likelihood is that you probably aren’t one. Odds were that this song was to be very predictable and generic. However, this song is unexpectedly dynamic. Despite the questionable first line of the song, there’s some inventive songwriting on display here that plays with phonetics for example ‘Life just ain’t hitting the same / I sit and miss and reminisce about innocent old days’.
Eurovision doesn’t see that many songs that explicitly talk about mental health. This is a song about self-doubt, the anxious and depressing thoughts that come into our minds and thus, begin to ruin our lives as well – ‘Don’t wanna leave my bed / I’ll just stay and never get it together / Cause the voices in my head / They keep saying it’ll never get better’. It’s a song with a very important message that stands out in comparison to other entries this year.
Malik has such an incredible vulnerability in his voice, it sounds like it is a genuinely painful experience to tap back into. However, even though ‘Rockstars’ is a relatively simple pop ballad, Malik’s engaging voice takes it to another level and makes it entirely possible that this will make the charts after Eurovision.
Georgia: Circus Mircus ‘Lock Me In’
Many words can describe Circus Mircus – unique, inventive, out-of-this-world. However, the word original seems the most applicable to ‘Lock Me In’. A genre-bending and infectious song that abandons traditional song format, and just goes on an entirely wacky sky-rocketing adventure. They address their audience as ‘Earthlings’ which says a lot about their sound.
Circus Mircus was formed by three local circus academy dropouts at the end of 2020. When they first released ‘Lock Me In’ they decided not to release their music video due to events in Ukraine, and instead decided to release only the audio using a black background that said ‘Video unavailable – This artist condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’.
‘Lock Me In’ is a literal tonic. It has an addictive guitar, heavy bass line that almost borders on funk, and cheery collective vocals that are repetitive enough for everyone to sing along to. Honestly, it sounds like an anime intro which is the highest form of compliment. If a song can be described as colourful then ‘Lock Me In’ would be it. It’s a collaborative painting between a myriad of artists, it shouldn’t work but it does and it’s an entire departure from what is typically seen at Eurovision. It’s a risk, however, it’ll likely pay off because who wouldn’t want to see what Circus Mircus’ trippy staging would look like at Eurovision’s Grand Finals?
Greece: Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord ‘Die Together’
Eurovision 2022’s theme is ‘The Sound of Beauty’ and no one has fulfilled the brief better than Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord with her song ‘Die Together’.Co-written by Tenfjord and her producer Bjorn Helge, the song is about the death of a relationship, and was internally selected as Greece’s 2022 entry. It is an atmospheric powerful ballad, with haunting vocals that are reminiscent of Billie Eilish’s sound.
The song begins with simple production, there is no instrumentation apart from Tenfjord’s voice and a single lower harmony backing her which makes the lyrics ‘We don’t laugh anymore / And when we cry we do it on our own / It’s been a lovely year for us / Yeah that’s what they say / It’s been a hell of a year and we’ve been living in fear’ hit all the more. It’s atmospheric and spellbinding, and that final minute of the song where the instrumental builds up into a crescendo of emotions is overwhelming. It feels like Tenfjord takes a sledgehammer to an emotional flood barrier, and everything just spills out. The honesty of ‘Die Together’ is stunning, and is a contender to win this year.
Iceland: Sigga, Beta and Elín ‘Með hækkandi sól’
‘Með hækkandi sól’ is sung in Icelandic, a country-indie ballad that is comforting and soothing. It has a classic country drum beat and is sung by Sigga, Beta and Elí – three sisters who began singing together in 2009. It’s a risky choice since it is such a chill track., and it’s a far cry from the electro-pop music of Daði Freyr, who brought us ‘Think About Things’ (Eurovision 2020) and ‘10 Years’ (Eurovision 2021). However, that’s what makes Sigga, Beta and Elín’s song so unique – it is an underrated gem of Eurovision 2022. The trio’s voices blend together effortlessly, to the point that it sounds whimsical and highlights the beauty in the Icelandic language.
The trio have strong ABBA vibes about them, and their entry is entirely enchanting – it’s difficult to predict how the public will react to it though, given the relatively niché genre, however fingers crossed they will have the chance to represent Iceland at the Grand Finals this year.
Ireland: Brooke ‘That’s Rich’
A high BPM anthem track that packs a punch, Brooke’s ‘That Rich’ is about putting yourself first. Brooke won Ireland’s Eurosong and is sure to deliver a stellar performance on the Eurovision main stage. Many are hopeful that Ireland will qualify for the Grand Finals this year with ‘That’s Rich’, an alt-pop tune with a moody bass and catchy chorus.
Israel: Michael Ben David ‘I.M’
‘I.M.’ is a positive anthem about self-acceptance starring Michael Ben David’s sky-rocketing vocal range – it’s just a shame that for most of the song we don’t get to hear it that much. The song feels somewhat disjointed, with a myriad of unnecessary sound effects thrown into the mix. Let’s not even talk about that distracting flute that takes over the chorus…
Italy: Mahmood & Blanco ‘Brividi’
The reigning champions and host nation of Eurovision this year, Mahmood and Blanco’s ‘Brividi’ has topped the Italian music charts for its 9th consecutive week – making it Italy’s longest-running chart-topper in nearly two years. Brividi is a strong contender to secure another Italy win this year. Mahmood is a Eurovision alumnus, he previously performed in Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv, coming second place.
‘Brividi’ translates to ‘shivers’ in English which is a fantastic explanation of what this ballad does to you. The song is about opening up the old wounds of a relationship and the emotional frailty that comes with it. The duet is well-balanced, featuring Mahmood’s signature vocal style that is simultaneously haunting and captivating. When Blanco’s sharp rap solo kicks in, it captures the frustration of being in a relationship with so much miscommunication between both parties. The vocal rally between Mahmood and Blanco in the bridge becomes a clash in itself, an argument between the two that quickly builds to a powerful chorus where the two seamlessly blend their vocals together and reach breakthrough new emotional heights.
Sung in Italian, Brividi showcases Mahmood and Blanco’s vocal control and ability to portray complex emotions in a myriad of ways – whether that be through vocals, stage presence, or facial expressions. Brividi is a song that speaks to your soul, and is possibly the most emotional entry of Eurovision that we’ve seen in the past few years. It is a truly spectacular song, and it’s not dramatic to say that it might become one of Eurovision’s masterpieces to look back on.