According to Eurovision TV, which recapped the show on its website, the Latvians were the first to begin celebrations in the build-up to the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) song contest, now marking the final party of its sixth decade in Vienna this May, only to enter its seventh by adding Australia’s SBS to its list of proudly (or trepidaciously) participating national public broadcasting companies.
Opening the night was Latvia’s entry from the Latvian Public Television LTV’s newly-rebranded Supernova Eurovision audition show, which this year produced a strong contestant and number in the form of Aminata and her own ‘Love Injected’, co-written with producer Kaspars Ansons. Eurovision Radio International’s Ian Roderic Muller told LSM he believed she would surely make the final, a feat Latvia hasn’t accomplished since 2008.
Mélanie René from Switzerland (via Mauritius) followed with an exhortation to herself to be a star in ‘Time to Shine’, for which she has been seriously preparing since the age of seven, despite the demons of self-doubt. The lyric still insists that there must be ‘no more mucking around.’
Monika Linkytė from Lithuania, on her own without duet partner Vaidas Baumila still conveyed their country-pop earworm ‘This Time’ into memory with a very upbeat, impossible to suppress ‘falling-in-love’ vibe.
Monika Kuszyńska, Poland’s entry, had to fight back from a paralyzing car crash to continue her performing career, and sends the message of perseverance over despair with ‘In the Name of Love’. With the phrases ‘beyond the fear, let’s build the bridge, from heart to heart’ she asks those who pause amidst the war-crazed world’s chaos to stay true to their ‘angels of guidance’ and ‘find the other way’.
Electro Velvet from the UK, introduced proudly by host and Latvia’s Fan Club chief Miroslavs Kodis as coming from one of the Eurovison ‘big five’ countries laid a swing-era string section atop buzzing bass synths for a song and dance routine between two lovers on vacation more attuned to Broadway than Vienna, but despite their mutual flirtations with nagging and overprotectiveness, Mick Jagger impersonator and scat-man Alex Larke (from The Rolling Clones tribute act) and Bianca Nicholas (whose impersonation specialty is Britney Spears) declare they’re both ‘Still in Love With You’ and do so most sincerely, indeed.
There were three contestants visiting from Eastern Partnership countries, but only the Ukrainian submitting through neighboring Moldova actually put the ‘L’-word in his title. As his troubled home country deals with the Russian-fed separatist insurgency, EU integration tax policy doctoral candidate Eduard Romanyuta admirably sang and pranced his way through ‘I Want Your Love’, though unable to pull off the dramatic pace of the Hollywood-level auto-erotic car chase from his official video, produced under the auspices of Swedish music publishing house The Kennel.
Azerbaijan’s experienced performer Elnur Huseynov, making a second-time attempt at Eurovision with the externally commissioned number ‘Hour of the Wolf’, sang upliftingly with ominous undertones that he ‘won’t give up my right, every heart deserves a fight’. His insistence on ‘beating the drums’ didn’t help defuse suspicions of belligerence diffused into the soft-powers of song.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s – Nina Sublatti seemed to make matters worse with her in-fact feminist hymn ‘Warrior’, daring to sing while grimacing menacingly throughout her performance. I googled ‘oximate’ and found it means to ‘convert into an oxime’, which is a chemical compound belonging to the imines. In any case, her song’s closing self-proclamation seemed to apply to us all somehow, regardless of the relentless love-vibe from the Eurovision fan crowd at the Palladium last night:
I’m gonna get up and be
I’m a warrior
Still stuck in my mind
I’ve been in danger for too long
No no no