Austria surprised many people last year by finishing third in the Grand Final. Unfortunately, this year’s entry is a massive disappointment by comparison. The currently blue-haired Paenda will perform ‘Limits’ which is a slow and understated ballad. I usually pull some kind of face and press the skip button when it appears on the Spotify playlist. It reminds me of the entry from Czech Republic in 2017 in that it has some jury appeal, perhaps enough for it to get into the jury Top 10 in the semi. The you-ooh-hoo refrain in the chorus is too repetitive and actually rather annoying. There is currently nothing here whatsoever for televoters and unless there is some exceptional staging in Tel Aviv, it’s looking like a solid non-qualifier.
This year, Finland are sending dance music DJ Darude who had a hit in 1999 with the song ‘Sandstorm’. Twenty years ago. It’s a truly baffling strategy for Eurovision in 2019 and sounds like something the BBC might have thought was a good idea. What could possibly go wrong? Guest singer Sebastian Rejman handles the vocals for ‘Look Away’ while Darude pretends to DJ in a giant box behind him. It isn’t a very strong composition, neither is it performed particularly well. The juries will have no problem placing this one towards the bottom of their rankings and it will be relying on a potential televote. If the arguably superior ‘Light Me Up’ from Poland failed to qualify last year, then the diaspora-less Finland will probably crash out as well. Not even the fans seem to think much of this one and it’s a dance song, for god’s sake, which is yet another red flag. Furthermore, both of the artists here are in their forties and are therefore unlikely to be considered aspirational performers by the audience.