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The Culch

Published on May 8th, 2016 | by Darren Byrne


My Eurovision 2016 Top 10 – Who are you voting for?

This is a pretty strong year for Europop’s crowning event. Fabulous performances, shiny outfits, sexy singers and over the top outfits are accompanied by some fantastic songs in 2016. Yes, of course, there is the usual deluge of mulch (I’ll be surprised if Nicky Byrne makes it out of the semi-final stage), but there is enough quality fun tracks to keep us interested all the way up to the interval act.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 will be hosted in Stolkholm thanks to Mans Zelmerlow’s fantastic Heroes last year.

The Mulch

I have to talk about Ireland’s terrible record in recent years. From a nation of poets and musicians, why have we forgotten how to do this properly? Nicky Byrne’s terrible vocals on a song that Hanson would have rejected for 1997’s Middle of Nowhere (yeah, you remember MMMBop) makes me wish we were sending Dustin the Turkey again.

The UK’s Joe and Jake with You’re Not Alone isn’t much better. You know the clichéd movie trope where the mean girl tells our hero that it’s a fancy dress party so they’ll show up to the black and white ball dressed as a Tellytubby? Well, it’s like Europe told Ireland and the UK that the theme this year is bad 90s pop. Sadly for Finland, Croatia and Latvia, they weren’t in on the joke either. And Cyprus’s Alter Ego would make Nickleback proud.

My favourite bad song, however, won’t leave my head. It’s kinda brilliant in a truly awful way: San Marino’s Serhat with I Didn’t Know. Listen to this.

The Cream

Eurovision week is broken up into two semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday followed by the Grand Final on Saturday. This year, the second semi-final is stronger that the first. However, there are a couple of gems to catch on Tuesday night.

Alongside, San Marino’s ridiculous I Didn’t Know, you’ll have a bit of fun with Hungary’s catchy Pioneer (it helps that Freddie is very hot), Armenia’s LoveWave, the Czech I Stand, Iceland’s potential club hit I Hear Them Calling and Malta’s strong contender Walk on Water (11th place on my list, mainly because it sounds like Florence and the Machine).

But my two picks from semi-final one are the wonderful Douwe Bob from The Netherlands and Russia’s You Are the Only One. If any of you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll have seen me rave about the wonderfully cool Douwe Bob. I don’t believe his song can win the Eurovision, but I absolutely love it. Here’s Slow Down from Douwe Bob:

Russia has a pretty bad reputation at the moment at the Eurovision. The country’s anti-gay policies don’t go down too well with fans. Despite this, Russia came second in last year’s competition and are clear favourites to win this year. Whatever your political stance, there’s no arguing that the gorgeous Sergey’s You Are the Only One is a great tune and could definitely see the competition heading Moscow direction in 2017.

The second semi-final is a tough competition. There are a few really catchy tunes that will do well in the voting. Poland’s Colour of Your Life is the kind of song we
Marion Cotillardshould be sending to the Eurovision and I think Ireland will give our Polish friends a lot of points on the night. Switzerland’s Rykka looks amazing. Her vocals are great and The Last of Our Kind is the kind of song that could do well even outside of the competition. Serbia’s Goodbye (Shelter) from ZAA Sanja Vučić is a perfect Bond track. Great vocals and an incredible performance – I love this. Not to mention, Marion Cotillard has to play her in the movie.

Macedonia’s Dona by Kaliopi is a favourite of mine – I can’t stop singing it. But the bookies hate it with odds like 300/1. I threw a couple of euro down. What do you think?

Albania’s Fairytale is another Bond contender and it’s chorus had me singing along – “And that’s why I love you…”, but the bookmakers have it very low in the rankings. Bulgaria’s If Love Was a Crime is incredibly catchy. But I’m picking Lithuania’s I’ve Been Waiting for This Night for my top ten list. Donny Montell’s song has the hook that people will remember.

For last year’s 60th anniversary of the Eurovision, Australia were invited to participate. The contest is hugely popular down under and Australia’s fifth placing in 2015 showed they have something of an affinity for the show’s style. They have been invited back again this year and I think their Sound of Silence from Dami Im will do really well.

Ukraine’s 1944 from Jamala is second favourite to win at the moment. And I don’t quite get it. I quite like the song, but the vocals are below par and the performance is just weird. Bad weird. It takes the bottom slot in my top ten list, just beating out Bulgaria’s If Love Was a Crime.

Agnete with Norway’s Icebreaker is delivering us two songs in one, it seems. However, both songs are pretty decent, so I think she’ll do well.

Georgia are also channeling the 90s sound this year, but I think they got it right. I don’t think it’s good enough to take the prize, but I do kinda love it. This is Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz with Midnight Gold:

There are six countries each year who do not need to go through the semi-final stages, the so-called Big Five (as they are the five biggest contributors to the EBU who run the contest) and the host country Sweden. Out of these six, I think Sweden’s song is the only one worthy of my vote. Here’s Frans with If I Were Sorry:

So, here’s my top ten. What do you think? Am I gonna be miles off? Should I pay more attention to the block voting? Am I mad to even care? 🙂

10. Ukraine – 1944 – Jamala

9. Georgia – Midnight Gold – Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz

8. Norway – Icebreaker – Agnete

7. Lithuania – I’ve Been Waiting for This Night – Donny Montell

6. Macedonia – Dona – Kaliopi

5. Australia – Sound of Silence –  Dami Im

4. Serbia – Goodbye (Shelter) – ZAA Sanja Vučić

3. Sweden – If I Were Sorry – Frans

2. The Netherlands – Douwe Bob – Slow Down

1. Russia – You Are the Only One – Sergey Lazarev



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Blogger, writer, movie buff, amateur dramatist and all round nice guy. When I'm not spouting about on Culch.ie, I can be found Tweeting inanities @DarrenByrne or @Culch_ie. I am the admin behind Culch.ie and if you want to contact me for anything, drop me a mail.

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