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Drowning by Numbers. Malta’s 2017 Eurovision Entry.

April 27, 2017


The promotional videos this year seem very keen on drowning.  Finland’s for example. And also Serbia’s I would argue.

Whether this prevalent European morbid fascination with being submerged is a sympathetic or a paranoid response to the refugee crisis, I am unable to determine.  Are these songs expressive of overwhelming compassion or a reactive and inhospitable fear of being overwhelmed?

In any case, the tiny island nation of Malta has made drowning the beginning (and by implication the end) of their backwards promotional video.  Thus:

Claudia Faniello’s song is called “Breathlessly” you see.  So the film-makers thought they’d tell the story of how breath left her body.

So the story is told backwards, with the singer-victim drowned in the bath depicted at the beginning and the narrative of the video showing us the sequence of events that led to this suicidal despair.  With this sense of fatality we see are taken back to a very posh party and watch champagne being sucked back into bottles.  (We don’t get to see people vomiting bubbly stuff into their glasses though cos that would be gross.)

All the while I think we’re meant to be shouting at Claudia.  “Let it go… leave ‘im… ‘ees not worth it!”

I’d be curious to see the story go even further back and note the first, the very first transgressive moment that planted the seed of this inevitable tragic denouement.   Maybe he didn’t start by cheating on her.  Maybe he started by squeezing the toothpaste from the middle.  Or drinking orange juice straight out of the carton.  Maybe he forgets to refill the ice trays.

Assuming that Claudio Faniello will not attempt to perform the narrative of the video onstage in Kiev, what we’re left with is a big ballad performed with a big haired singer with a big voice wearing a big dress.  Nobody I know of has any great political objection to Malta and nor are the Maltese regarded as lynch-pins of any ongoing geopolitical negotiations.  They stand or fall on what people think of the song.  And the chorus itself is rousing enough.

I’ll guess that it will do slightly better with the Jury voters than with the popular votes.  Jury voters are, by definition, obligated to listen to all the entries quite carefully and will be more inclined to discriminate carefully between different big-haired big ballads.  They may well be justified in awarding the Maltese ballad a higher mark than a similar ballad from another nation.   But I can’t see this grabbing the attention of the casual viewer to the same extent.

So you might prefer Macedonia:

Or you can “Climb Every Mountain” with Nathan from Austria:

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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