Eurovision 2016 – United Kingdom

After five years of internal selections (i.e. no voting), and dismal results at Eurovision, the BBC decided to return the choice of contestant back to their viewers. Eurovision: You Decide fielded six contestants, each performing different songs. This is an important distinction since some previous UK contests had participants all singing the same song.

The vote was cast entirely by the viewing public, with no professional jury. Joe & Jake will fly the British flag in Stockholm with their song You’re Not Alone.

I don’t envy them. The UK was once a Eurovision powerhouse, having five wins and many top 10 placements. Those days are long past and their entries mostly languish in the high teens and twenties. Do Joe & Jake have a shot at breaking the top 10 drought? Let’s take a look and listen.

Cute guys. Kind of remind me of the Winchester Brothers. Catchy tune, except for one thing. It doesn’t have a hook. I kept waiting for it to grab me and it didn’t. I don’t feel compelled to listen again. It’s a nice song, and these guys are fresh and appealing, but without a hook, this song is going nowhere. If they can find that hook, though, You’re Not Alone could be a contender.

It’s early in the contest season and Joe & Jake still have to release an official video. I’ll withhold judgment and see what they do. Thing is, the Nordics, Russia and Italy have been consistently producing top 10 material. If they all come out strong this year, a nice song like You’re Not Alone will be blown out of the water and into the nether region of points.

You can read more about Joe & Jake here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on

Eurovision 2016 – Germany

If you like Japanese street fashion and pop ballads, you’re going to love Jamie-Lee Kriewitz. She will represent Germany in Stockholm after winning the Unser Lied für Stockholm competition last night in Cologne. The viewing public cast all the votes, with no professional jury involved.

Fun facts about Jamie-Lee:

  • She is also the winner of The Voice of Germany 2015. 
  • She loves the Korean boy band Block B.
  • She embraces decora kei as her personal style. This is a subset of Japanese street fashion that involves bright and/or pastel colors, puffy skirts, and lots of layered on decorative bits.
  • She’s 17-years-old

Jamie-Lee Kriewitz is young and fun, and everyone likes that. But can she sing? And is her song, Ghost, worthy of a Eurovision win? Let’s check her out.

[EDIT] It seems the video I originally shared has been removed from YouTube. Don’t know why. I can’t find another performance video to imbed, but here’s a link to her performance. 

Hmm. Interesting. She’s adorable in terms of looks. Nice voice, but she struggled a bit on some of the more difficult notes. I wasn’t impressed with the song until I listened to it a second time. Then I realized what it reminded me of. I went into the settings and changed the speed to 1.5. Guess what? It sounds like one of those songs you hear at the end of an anime. Try it for yourself. It’s fun!

Given her personal tastes, I’m going to assume this is intentional. I also played the song at 1.25 speed and found I liked it better. I think if she picks up the tempo and works on those difficult notes, she could have something here.

No points from me yet, but I’ll be interested to see how this song and artist evolve. Best wishes and kisses to Jamie-Lee Kriewitz and Germany!

You can read more about Jamie-Lee Kriewitz here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on

Eurovision 2016 – Austria

My first Eurovision review of 2016! I feel like there should be a drumroll or something.

There aren’t a lot of official videos available yet, so I’m starting at the top of the alphabetical list with Austria. Ten contestants competed in the Wer singt für Österreich? – Who sings for Austria? competition. The winner was decided by a combination of professional jurors and televoters.

And the winner is ZOË! She will fly the Austrian flag in Stockholm with her song, Loin d’ici. Yes, that is French, not German, and it means, “Far From Here.” In fact, the entire song is in French. Whaaat? Check it out.

Okay, so it’s a nice song sung by a pretty girl. The video is actually more interesting than the song because it is wack-a-doodle!  ZOË is rarin’ and ready to go for Eurovision with those screen effects and her walking in synch to the screen. Well done, in a wack-a-doo way. The effect was completely lost when the camera panned out to the audience, who for some reason kept looking to the left. Maybe they spotted themselves on another screen.

I thing my disconnect is that those effects would be great for a psychedelic, EDM kind of number, instead of an uplifting power pop ballad. Sure wish this was an EDM song. I’d like it better.

I also want to add that last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, etc., I bitched and moaned about non-English speaking countries presenting English language songs. I really want a more diverse Eurovision. So, it comes as a delightful surprise to have a German-speaking woman sing in French. It seems that ZOË is a fan of Édith Piaf, so there we have the French connection.

I don’t always like a song on the first or second listen, so Loin d’ici could grow on me. ZOË should channel her love of Piaf into a more powerful and soulful performance. Although this song gets no points from me at this point, I wish ZOË and Austria all the best.

You can read more about ZOË here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on

Eurovision 2016

The selection process in the Eurovision 2016 song contest is ramping up and many countries will be holding contests over the next few weeks. Half the participating countries have already chosen their artists and/or songs.

This year, 43 countries will participate in Eurovision. Of those countries, we welcome back Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine. Kisses to you all! We missed you and are happy you have returned. Sadly, Portugal will not participate this year. It’s no surprise, since Portugal hasn’t qualified for the finale since 2010. Hopefully, after this break, they’ll come back stronger next year.

Australia will be returning in 2016. Last year, the country was invited to participate as part of Eurovision’s 60-year anniversary celebration. As a special guest, Australia didn’t have to qualify for the finale. Their entry, Guy Sebastian, was quite good and earned a respectable fifth place. This year, Australia must first qualify in a semi-round, which is making them seem a lot more like a full-time participant.

Honestly, I’m not crazy about this. Australia is not part of Europe or the European Broadcast Union. I think it’d be great if there was a special guest every year, with countries from all over the world having the chance to compete on the Eurovision stage. Artists from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas could add a different sound, flavor and excitement to each year’s contest.

No hate, Australia! Only love. Your 2016 entry will be given a fair review by me. You are most welcome, but I would like that door open for others as well.

FYI, many of the upcoming contests can be viewed live on the Internet. Check the Eurovision calendar for more details. I make a point of watching the grand finale of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen and will add more details about how to watch it live.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on

Eurovision 2016 – Big Change in the Voting System

Let’s face it, the Eurovision voting system is confusing. The famous 12 points are actually 10 points. The final vote is split 50-50 between a professional jury and the voting public. To give that some perspective, imagine that the three judges on American Idol have 50% of the vote when deciding the winner. This means that even if Contestant A is more popular with the public, if Contestant B is favored by the judges, B will be the winner.

This was an issue in 2015 when the winner, Måns Zelmerlöw of Sweden, actually came in third in the televoting. Italy’s Il Volo, my personal favorite, won the televote by a considerable margin.

Why bother voting, or even watching, if your votes don’t actually count? That’s the hue and cry that has the Eurovision powers-that-be sweating bullets and making big changes.

Going forward, the professional juries will still have 50% of the vote. However, their votes won’t be combined with televoters in their countries. Instead, all the televotes in every country will be combined together.

From the Eurovision website:

After viewers have cast their votes by telephone, SMS or using the official app, each national spokesperson from the 43 participating countries will be called in to present the points of their professional jury. After the presentation of the scores from the juries, the televoting points from all participating countries will be combined, providing one score for each song. These televoting results will then be announced by the host, starting with the country receiving the fewest points from the public and ending with the country that received the highest number of points, building towards a guaranteed climax.

For those wanting to know how their country has voted, the televoting and jury scores from each participating country will be available after the show on

Yeah, it’s still confusing. You can read the entire article here.

The upshot is that the voting public will have more power and the actual, popular contestant will win rather than the juries’ choice. I was angry about Il Volo’s winning loss last year. I’m pleased with this change, but I also reserve judgment until we see how it actually plays out.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on