For the first time since Lordi, all eyes – apart from the flag-painted faithful – are on Eurovision. The 2021 ceremony elevated this once tacky song contest to the standing of a true international star-maker – while previous champions have generally had limited long-term success and even Abba spent two years struggling to escape the stigma of ‘Waterloo’, Italy’s glam. Rockers Maneskin experienced an immediate and unprecedented global breakthrough for ‘vision winners’. In 2022, the importance of the event will increase again, becoming a statement of Europe-wide unity. At first, only the most insane Euro-Cyrus thinks he has a chance of beating the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra, no matter how many vocal chords they tear trying. Eurovision’s supposedly apolitical stance is, according to the bookies, for the dogs; Even the waterfall-adorned stage at Turin’s PalaOlympico itself, seemingly in a perpetual state of inundation, could be construed as a subliminal protest against climate change.
Supposedly removing the competitive aspect, Eurovision 2022 becomes a great opportunity to objectively assess the continent’s ability to successfully fuse its regional music with mainstream pop. Honestly, many of them seem to have cracked it. Sensing a new opportunity, many countries choose to field their most famous and fear-stricken Adeles. The Portuguese Maro, who has a voice like a forest fountain, sings her amorous “Saudade, Saudade” in a circle of backing singers from a self-help group. The Dutch S10 goes for a Florence Welsh roar on “De Diepte” and Armenian Rosa Linn, sitting in a bedroom made of sticky notes, forgets after thirty seconds that she’s playing her acoustic folk lament “Snap” and begins the Tearing down wallpaper like a grieved Lawrence Lewellyn Bowen.
Lithuanian Masked Singer Judge Monika Liu manages a touch of Liza Minelli’s noise, but her “Sentimentai” is too heavy with exaggerated feelings and (‘Vision Crime Number One) to forget. Of all, Greek Covid nurse Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord appears to be the best long-term prospect; Half acapella, Die Together grows into an impressive laptop bombast ballad, performed on a stage full of broken chairs like Lorde in a landslide.
The competition now acts as a de facto The voice master of masters. Belgium, Azerbaijan, Poland and (checks the atlas quizzically) Australia all field their regional winners in hopes of international recognition, all proving that sounding like a slightly electronic Sam Smith is the way to turn these judges’ chairs bring to. Australian Sheldon Riley, in a fluffy ball gown and jeweled veil, outshines the rest with a poignant track called ‘Not The Same’ – rumored to be about growing up with Asperger’s but a song for all misfits. Kudos to Estonia Masked Singer Alumni Stefan for boldly daring a Wild West George Ezra route instead, while Germans have a special word for their rap-pop ballad singer Malik Harris, who rocks his loop pedal on piano, drum pad and acoustic guitar starts: Fakensheeran.
In the midst of emotionality, there is variety. Fireworks of Spaniard Chanel makes a fine fist of being the flamenco J-Lo, but misses the subtlety and hint of the greatest inuendo pop: “SloMo” quite blatantly invites us to smack her bum in slow motion while she offers to “sweet your face in mango juice”. Finland ups the ante by sending one of its greatest musical exports of all time to arena rockers The Rasmus, chillingly thrown together like the balloon-carrying kid It and the singing of awakening bruised and bound after a violent night of passion with a lustful “Jezebel”. Serbia’s Konstrakta, meanwhile, presents what is arguably the most bizarre performance in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. Sitting in a surgical white chair like Lady Gaga, who is dressing up for a very glamorous surgery, she sings an art-house pop number called “In Corpore Sano” about Megan Markle’s hair, the downside of health insurance systems, and how to spot early signs of liver and kidney disease Spleen detects disease. The delirium may have set in at this point.
Though the memo is missing, several countries are still honoring naff’s proud history of Eurovision. On their third try, Moldova’s Wonder Stuff Zdob şi Zdub approaches “Trenulețul” like Devo, who covers the Ramones with fiddles. And Norway, the country sane enough to formulate one of the best pandemic responses in the world, presents us with a bunch of yellow wolves in black called Subwoolfers, who are making a Euro-EDM banger about feeding bananas to a wolf named present to Keith. International reputation destroyed with a single howl of “I want your grandma, yum yum!“Bravo.
Ultimately, Eurovision 2022 proves a rich factory of talent. Mahmood and Blanco from the homeland offer ‘Brividi’, a chill-inducing and drama-filled duet, only slightly lost in translation. “I dreamed of flying on a diamond wheel with you,” Mahmood sings as the two almost argue over which of them hates their muse Medusa the most, who sounds fresh from a night with The Rasmus. “I’d pay to go,” one wails about it “opposite of an angel‘ with ‘viper eyes’; “I mixed drugs and tears for an ‘I love you’,” raps the other charmer, who stands on a sci-fi piano. Swede Cornelia Jakobs brings emotional drama to ‘Hold Me Closer’ and our own Sam Ryder enchants the continent with a ‘Brexit? What Brexit?” Attitude and high-orbit vocals on “Space Man,” performed in a geometric launchpad of lights while dressed like a 1968 imagination by a sci-fi guru. hopes fizz forever.
As returning heroes Maneskin burn all their hard-earned credibility with a preview of a terrifying new song that exploits Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” the voting begins. There’s a palpable unity in the room as the Kalush Orchestra, in pink hats and arm-length whistles, body-bangs, an unpolished underdog wins, but the regional juries favor our boy. In the end, it comes down to the public vote to win it for Ukraine against Britain’s strongest showing in decades, giving this author a decent helping of humble pie. “Everyone wants peace and music is peace,” explains presenter Laura Pausini, and for the first time in living memory, Eurovision speaks for all of us.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/eurovision-2022-review-ukraine-sam-ryder-b2079267.html Review of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022: For the first time in living memory, the Eurovision speaks for all of us