Saara Aalto – Monsters

“Let’s talk, briefly, about what happened on Saturday night.”

Tim: Okay, so let’s talk, briefly, about what happened on Saturday night. I’m not talking about our result, because that’d lead to a wild and inaccurate chorus of ‘everybody hates us’, or about the stage invasion, because enough has been said about that elsewhere. Nor do I want to talk about the winner, which really just sounded like someone had raided the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Tom: Harsh. Not entirely unfair, but harsh.

Tim: Part of me wants to talk about the massive jury/televote disparity that occurred with a surprisingly high number of songs this year – to name just two, Sweden was fourth after all the juries, but immediately (and joyously) second from bottom with the televotes, while Ukraine was bottom with the jurors. but top 10 with the viewers, despite performing first.

Tom: The jury voting calculation was changed this year, too, so one juror couldn’t drag down the vote from a country.

Tim: What I really want to talk about is this one.

Tim: Because OH MAN, talk about an injustice with it finishing second from bottom. It actually got very similar points to us – 25 from the jury, and 23 vs our 25 for the televotes – which isn’t particularly surprising, given that they are very similar styles (which I suppose does mean somewhat that I’m moaning about our placing, but never mind).

Tom: So when we ran through all the tracks before Eurovision, you rated this as your third best — whereas I rated it as “I have no opinions about this song whatsoever”. Which makes sense, because even listening back to it now, I can’t actually remember having ever heard it before. Why on earth did you like it?

Tim: Well maybe it’s just a preferred genre, then, but I see this as a damn good track, particularly once you add in the staging, which has everything there but the knife thrower, and that death-defying (ish) leap at the end. It really, really surprised me when I realised it was getting so few points. Mystifying, it is. Downright MYSTIFYING.

Tom: I think it’s more than it’s just… it’s just a middle-of-the-road song. Competent, sure, but there’s nothing to make it stand out.

Tim: Actually, there is one other thing worth noting: smug irritant Alexander Rybak came top in his semi-final but finished left hand side of the table. Funny old thing, Eurovision, isn’t it?

Saturday Reject: Saara Aalto – Domino

“That is a BRILLIANT chorus.”

Tim: Finland took the unusual (but not unheard of) step this year of having one artist presenting three songs for the public to choose from. The singer is Saara, who UK readers may remember as runner up in the 2016 series of The X Factor; others may recognise her from previous Eurovision selection competitions, Finland’s The Voice 2012, and considerable success in China, apparently. The winner was a pretty good dancepop number; this here is a really rather excellent ballad.

Tim: Annoyingly I’ve no idea what it looked like live, as for some reason the winning performance is the only one online, but if the sound of it is anything to go by it was likely fairly impressive – if nothing else, that’s a hell of a chorus.

Tom: That is a BRILLIANT chorus. I think this is the first reject where I’ve actually been startled by how good the chorus is.

Tim: I particularly like that the chorus goes on for twice as long as it needs to, and as a result makes up the considerable majority of the song. When you add in the middle eight (with that outstanding vocal note coming out of it), there’s only really a few seconds that the verses might ruin as an inferior part.

Tom: In a contest where most of the audience will have only heard the song once, having a good, catchy, and repeated chorus is a bonus. The verses — well, yep, they were over quickly, just in case they made it worse.

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Tim: And they don’t, at all, because they’re very good as well.

Tom: Plus, what an end-and-return from the middle eight!

Tim: All in all, an excellent track, and it’d have been a very worthy Eurovision contender.