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He doesn’t actually run all that much. Austria’s 2017 Eurovision Entry

April 20, 2017


He stands still.  He sort of ambles a bit.  And then he grabs a lift in a truck. And he doesn’t actually start running until the final third of the song, at which point, his Alp is decidedly steep and snowy.  This kind of video is clumsily effective – starting from a lake shore, Nathan just goes higher and higher until he can stare down at a magnificent view.  We are lifted with him, and his efforts become vicariously our own.

This is Nathan Trent “Running on Air” and here is his promotional video:

Austria is selling its own scenery here, as it’s absolutely entitled to do – offering a beautiful face in a beautiful place – a formula that’s unlikely to fail but is equally unlikely to startle.  This is the kind of song that jury voters will duly note and give some (but not too many) votes too while attentive viewers may also choose to reward.  It’s not striking enough, however, to merit the adequate attention of the Eurovision cognoscenti and nor will it get the “drunk vote”.  The “drunk people” are those who barely pay attention to Eurovision while it’s on in the background and who are just chatting and drinking unless or until something bizarre catches their eye.  Those people (and they are legion) will vote for Romania.

As my colleague John Brennan has noted, this year might be regarded as the year of the unthreatening boy.  Austria, Bulgaria, Australia and Slovenia are all banking heavily on fresh-faced boydom.  Nathan Trent is possibly at the more adult end of the boy continuum, boasting facial hair and saying “damn” on one occasion.   Compared to the Bulgarian entry he’s Clark Gable.  He still censors himself when it comes to describing the body part that “you” (the big vague generic “you”) got to get up off.

To be honest, from a counseling or life coach point of view, Nathan Trent is about as subtle as Dr Phil:

See, I can’t stand them talkers

All pretending that their life’s a mess,

’Cause whatever you want,

Whatever you need,

You gotta get off your …

See, Nathan… you should know that some people’s lives really are a mess.  And they’re not pretending.  And they need to talk about it.  Just telling them to get off their apparently unmentionable body part and skip up an Alp is more than insensitive – it’s actually quite cruel and stupid.   You, with your youth, good health, good looks etc. etc. etc. perhaps no little of the traumas you so casually dismiss.  So I won’t be voting for you Nathan – just because of this bit of the song, which is grating on me more and more each time I hear it.

Serbia offers a big ballad about rising and falling and falling and rising:

Meanwhile, here is Sweden:

Here, meanwhile, is Omar belting it out for Slovenia:

Portugal offers something just a bit more special:

Anyhow, Portugal’s offering is infinitely more palatable than Poland’s:

A man who needs a deal of personal space is this guy from Montenegro:

Equally sexualised is the Moldovan entry:

Latvia offers a more techno-trance version of minimalism:

Iceland’s entry isn’t really a Eurovision song either:

Georgia’s offering is undoubtedly a bigger if not bolder initiative:

Frankly, I prefer Finland:

I’ll be sorely vexed if Finland doesn’t do better than Cyprus

Frankly I’d rather the Czech Republic won – though they won’t…

Belgium looks like a better bet:

But if it isn’t, maybe it will go to Azerbaijan with this…

Armenia’s Entry is nowhere near as scary:

In the meantime here are my thoughts on the Australian entry:

And here’s Albania…


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