Eurovision 2019 First Impressions - Iceland and Portugal

Hatari have caused quite the stir since winning the Icelandic national final with ‘Hatrið Mun Sigra’. If there’s act worthy of press coverage and headlines in Tel Aviv then this is it. Some people are predicting Iceland as a potential Eurovision winner despite the screaming vocals and striking but somewhat alienating presentation. This entry stands out and has such a huge USP that it’s difficult to imagine it not qualifying, especially from the second half of semi 1. But in order to do so, it may well be relying on a large televote as the juries will almost certainly not be as impressed. But behind all the screaming and BDSM imagery there is a strong enough electro instrumental track underneath. This is not quite a novelty entry, as such, but it is very novel. I think a Top 10 is possible here under the current voting system, and a ‘Yodel It!’ sort of split – fifth with televoters and fifteenth with juries – sounds about right if all goes well.

Another really intriguing entry comes this year from Portugal. The captivating studio version of ‘Telemóveis’ clocked up some huge YouTube views and it looked promising going into the national final. I was far less impressed by Conan Osiris’ performance on stage. The presentation with the distracting dancer resembles some kind of X Factor hatchet job. It’s so unpleasant that it undermines the excellent song and risks putting it into potential non-qualifier territory. I’d like to see a complete overhaul of the staging before having any confidence in Portugal to do well this year. It also has strong competition in the ethno stakes from Hungary in semi-final 1, which to my ears and eyes is all ready to go. The jury’s out on this one until rehearsals in May.