Eurovision 2019 First Impressions - Hungary and Norway

Joci Pápai is back this year for the second time representing Hungary. His 2017 entry finished in the Top 10, placing in eighth. That particular strong was extremely strong on the televote but much weaker with juries. My feeling that ‘Az Én Apám’ will perform in a reverse fashion. It is a much more gentle-sounding song, and with no aggressive rap should do better with the juries. However, it is also much less rousing and catchy and so should receive a more subdued reaction from televoters. The revamp has also done it some favours in that the addition of violins add class to the overall impression. Hungary has an amazing qualification record which could certainly continue this year. The ethnic sounds in this song plus a strong sense of authenticity should see it into the final, as much as a Top 10 feels unlikely there.

Spirit In The Sky’ is a mostly typical Nordic schlager, the type of which is right up the fans’ street. To my delight, it won the selection despite being pretty rubbish live. The staging was bad and requires a complete re-think for Tel Aviv. The Northern Lights backdrop is effective and give it a sense of regional identity, but the three members of KEiiNO should not be singing with their backs to each other if they want to do well. Those tipping Norway as a potential winner should be reminded that the winner received the top points of only one international jury out of ten at MGP. One. People have been comparing this to Saara Aalto’s ‘Monsters’ and I can see where they are coming from, in that it looks like a borderline qualifier/non-qualifier that most Eurovision countries will not particularly care for. Norway’s handful of televoting allies should help it to avoid last, if it makes the final, but it has a strong fanwank-y feel about it and therefore I will be looking to oppose it in different markets, regardless of whether or not it can be improved.