The Bops and Flops of Eurovision 2022

Feeling lost now that Eurovision is over? Never fear, Miya Sywak is here to deliver us her rhapsodic retelling of this year’s competition.

Every year, countless award shows and music singing competitions roll around – but who cares about The Voice or Masked Singer when Eurovision is on? Since 1956, Europe has been competing to see who has the best by way of music and the performing arts, and since 2015, Australia has been happily sending underprepared artists into the battle royale.

As last year’s competition was won by Måneskin, an Italian band, Eurovision 2022 was hosted in Turin, Italy. Still reeling from the young rock stars that took out first place in 2021, many countries sent in copycat acts to try and make the continent swoon. Finland’s The Razmus boasted a similar jam with their entry ‘Jezebel’; however, the catchy rock song was overshadowed by the opening reference to the movie It as well as the shirtless, middle-aged lead singer who seemed to think he was still 17. At least they got into the Grand Final, unlike San Marino. Their Måneskin-esque performer Archille Lauro stripped away the country’s usual G-rated ballads and safe pop songs with his entry ‘Stripper’, which – although excitingly sexual for Eurovision – didn’t pass the semi-finals.

To add to the controversy (and not surprisingly), Greece and Cyprus had very similar songs and voting outlooks. Both entries had the usual Eurovision flair: Cyprus had a sexy Mediterranean bop (Ela singing ‘Andromache’) and Greece had a quiet melancholic reflection (Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord’s song ‘Die Together’). While Cyprus didn’t get into the Grand Final, its usual voting choice did. The crowd booed as the Cyprian spokesman (who, by the way, does this every year) announced that their 12 points from the jury go to… Greece.

An interesting tidbit: for the first time in too long, Ireland was robbed of placing in the Grand Final. Their last qualifying act was in 2018; however, I (and everyone else) thought that Brooke Scullion’s ‘That’s Rich’ could have been Ireland’s redeeming song. After winning 7 times in the past, Ireland has dropped off, but this spunky pop song could have been the next big TikTok trend! It is certainly easier to listen to and far more exciting than Switzerland’s entry. Marius Bear’s song ‘Boys do Cry’ was, to put it plainly, boring, and his vocals sounded like that one guy who always sings Wonderwall at a gatho. Not surprisingly, Switzerland scored 0 points from the people in the finals.

Two honourable mentions for the back-to-the-future trend are Belgium’s 2014 R’n’B rehash ‘Miss You’ by Jeremie Makiese and Iceland’s 70s-folk-but-in-the-middle-of-nowhere ‘Með Hækkandi Sól’ by Systur. Both cute and quaint, but my personal showstopper was the sexy bowl cut on Lithuania’s entry. We thank Monika Liu for her iconic hair, as well as her 60s boudoir song, ‘Sentimentai’. The simple staging in this performance added to the warped time effect, and the song stood out from the drawn-out ballads and hyper-pop. Dishonourable mention to Germany. Flat out dishonourable. Sorry Malik Harris, but your cursive singing and basic lyrics highlight the ongoing flop era of Germany; you are not the rockstars your song ‘Rockstars’ suggests.

Unlike Germany, the UK was able to break free from their point drought, with Sam Ryder’s ‘Spaceman’ astoundingly coming second with 466 points. The David Bowie-sounding song highlighted not only Ryder’s strong vocal abilities, but also his sick guitar shredding skills!

I feel like I have to mention Australia’s entry. Thank you, Sheldon Riley, for representing us with ‘Not the Same’, but no thank you for the most basic Eurovision song. It was a powerful message, but one that every second song also carried. Riley’s costume was beautiful, with a detachable mask tiara and a cape weighing over 40 kilos. However, I found the song one-note and repetitive. Riley has a strong vocal range which could have been put to better use than just repeating ‘not the same’ 100 times. But Courtney Act was our spokesperson, so that’s a plus!

Finally, the winner of Eurovision by a landslide of 631 points… was Ukraine! I am a tad biased (being Ukrainian), but the fusion of strong cultural elements like the sopilka, costuming, and rap was sick to watch. The song ‘Stefania’ by the band Kalush Orchestra was written for one of the band member’s mothers, but after the invasion of Ukraine by R*ssia, it took on so much more meaning, now lending its mother figure and love of their language and culture to all Ukrainians. Although Ukraine may have won on Europe’s pity, the song is catchy and lively and a definite listen.

Although there was a song for everyone in this year’s competition, with genres ranging from techno static, performance art and head-rush rock, it also marks another year of Eurovision hibernation. I am excited to see where Eurovision 2023 will take us. If not Ukraine, then where? Who will win? What kind of songs will I be ruthless to? All will be revealed next year… or will it?

Miya’s Eurovision top 10 must listens:

  1. ‘Slomo’ by Chanel – Spain
  2. ‘Trenuleţul’ by Zdob şi Zdub & Advahov Brothers – Moldova
  3. ‘Give that Wolf a Banana’ by Subwoofer – Norway
  4. ‘Llámame’ by WRS – Romania
  5. ‘Lights off’ by We are Domi – Czech Republic
  6. ‘Disko’ by LPS – Slovenia
  7. ‘Fulenn’ by Alvan and Ahez – France
  8. ‘De Diepte’ by S10 – Netherlands
  9. ‘Eat Your Salad’ by Citi Zeni – Latvia
  10. ‘In Copore Sano’ by Konstrakta – Serbia

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