Turin 2022: My Top 40 & Fab Five

18 April 2022

All songs reviewed and ranked

It’s a dud year! Sorry to say, the Eurovision Song Contest of 2022 looks to be one of the weakest ever when it comes to quality of entries. Probably 2011 was the last time we had such a weak field, and one of the weakest winners ever with Ell and Nikki from Azerbaijan with Running Scared. While it’s too early to say we should be running scared from Turin 2022 and a similarly lacklustre experience, the likelihood is it won’t reach the highs of recent Eurovision events, and so we must put faith in the artists to hopefully transform their mostly average songs into memorable moments.

Eurovision Song Contest Turin 2022: My Top 40, Top 10 & Fab Five

One positive in 2022 is there are no stinkers among the 40 entries. It’s actually a very even field, and reminiscent of Kyiv 2017, which produced one of the more surprising and unique winners with Portugal’s Salvador Sobral and Amar Pelos Dois. So who knows, we might be pleasantly surprised by Turin 2022, and the bonus of going in with low expectations means we are more likely to be surprised.

Forty nations are set to appear in Turin, with Armenia and Montenegro returning after missing 2021, while Russia was expelled due to their invasion of Ukraine. Most notable among the entries are the plethora of sad boys. These are solo male artists with sad or soppy ballads, while you could even add into that category the male duo competing for the hosts, Italy. While not to deride this genre as insignificant or unwelcome, it’s curious how it aligned in 2022. The issue is, with so many, they all won’t be noticed, so it will be a very sad Eurovision for some of these sad boys.

In ranking my top 40, I try to focus mostly on the song itself, not music videos, as they can be a distraction. The other influence is the live performance at a national final, and that can benefit some songs as the artist’s delivery helps with the connection. Songs with a strong first impression that later grow a bit weary, I try to remember that first impression as part of the ranking. Every song gets heard at least four times: the initial release, and then three runs as a group. The first run is once all are released. I take notes, make a rough sort of the list, and take a break for a few weeks to provide freshness for all of them. Then it’s the major run through and sorting the list, and I begin writing this post. After a few days of reflection and making a few extra notes, it’s the final run through and tweak of list. I finish this post, make revisions, and it’s done. Once it’s done, it’s done! I don’t change the ranking at all. Also note, a ranking is a forced separation of songs. The differences between 15 and 35 might not be as large as the gap suggests. The stars awarded are a stronger guide.

If you want to watch, rather than read, my top 40, here’s the playlist

One Star (Poor)

None! The first year we don’t have a bad song. I genuinely don’t dislike any.

Two Stars (OK)

40 Bulgaria – Intelligent Music Project – Intention

The first song released for Eurovision 2022 late last year, and the reception was so poor I thought they’d change it. While it’s grown on me a little over the many months, it’s still too much on the bland side. Rock needs some ripping vocals somewhere, and this just plods along monotonously. The best part is the hot girl in the video.

39 Moldova – Zdob si Zdub & Fratii Advahov – Trenuletul

Not my thing and too repetitive. The “hey ho, let’s go” is copied from at least one other song. It’s the third appearance of this mob at Eurovison for Moldova, and I haven’t really liked any of their entries.

38 Serbia – Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano

It has a groovy sound that gets you bouncing along, and watching a woman wash her hands constantly is curious. Other than that, the main substance is in the lyrics, and they just wash over my head. Apparently they are “a critique of the Serbian healthcare system and a satire on unattainable beauty standards”, which is all fine and good, if a word of it could be understood. Without using a language of broad understanding, the song doesn’t hold up. Perhaps live they’ll do something to fix that.

37 Australia – Sheldon Riley – Not The Same

There’s some appeal initially, and then it gets too theatrical and self-indulgent for my taste. Now I’m totally bored of it. With my personal distaste for Australia being in Eurovision at all, I’m already resenting even the mention of it, much less its eventual appearance and the associated fawning and fanaticism as though nothing else exists. I’m done with Australia this year. Over and out.

36 Georgia – Circus Mircus – Lock Me In

It’s quirky and harnesses some quaint old-style British music. There’s just not enough in it.

35 Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

Glad to see a song in honour of Greece’s entry last year. Stefania was wonderful! This isn’t. Actually, Stefania is the mother of band member Oleh Psiuk, and the song is a tribute to her. While it starts ok and it’s quite infectious in a quirky way, it gets repetitive to the point the last half seems more like a bunch of drunken louts making random noise than a real song. Kalush is a city in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

34 Lithuania – Monika Liu – Sentimentai

France 2.0 from last year, except in Lithuanian. It’s a bit better, and at least doesn’t make me want to smack my head in.

33 Norway – Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

Fun the first time. Now bored of it. The two wolves, “Keith and Jim”, are yet to be identified. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jowst (Kyiv 2017) has something to do with it.

32 Israel – Michael Ben David – I.M

Fun song that doesn’t excite too much and is buried among a whole bunch of superior ones.

31 San Marino – Achille Lauro – Stripper

Poor man’s Måneskin. While it’s ok, it’s mostly a cheap imitation and looks to be Italy’s plan B to get a rock song on the stage of their home Eurovision Song Contest in Turin. Achille Lauro (who’s a man, not a band) competed at the Sanremo Music Festival in 2019, 2020 and 2022, and is also the name of a cruise ship that was once hijacked by terrorists, and ended its life when catching fire and sinking. Let’s see if its singing namesake has better fate at Eurovision.

Three Stars (Good)

30 Montenegro – Vladana – Breathe

A dramatic song, and really livens up at the end. It’s probably too little, too late.

29 Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi

It’s taken a while to warm to this, and if it was anyone other than Mahmood involved (finished second at Tel Aviv 2019), it would be way off the radar for most people, not just me. The strengths, as with any Italian song, is listening to the beautiful Italian language itself, while the duo (unusual to see a male duo at Eurovision) seem to mesh well. Probably tries a bit too hard and is a little self-indulgent. Love the scene at the end of the video of the two riding off into the sky on BMX bikes like the movie ET.

28 Azerbaijan – Nadir Rustamli – Fade To Black

Here continue the string of sad boys that are a feature of this year’s Eurovision. 2004 was probably the last time we had so many male ballads, and oh how I loved Ivan Mikulic from Croatia belt out You Are The Only One. Then there was the Icelandic guy singing about being blue (as in sad, not pornographic as Australians know the word) and the French guy with a bald black woman on stilts. Hey, maybe all these sad boys won’t be too bad after all. Fade To Black is a strong song and with a dramatic conclusion, so could do well with a memorable vocal performance. Otherwise, it’s just part of the pack and a little nondescript.

27 Iceland – Systur – Med Haekkandi Sol

Yes, systur translates to sister, because they are sisters. As a group the voices are enchanting, and I appreciate their hard Icelandic look chiselled into their faces by the frigid Icelandic air. If the song could have switched things up somewhere, it would rate so much higher.

26 Greece – Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together

Last year it was Netherlands, this year it’s Norway. Greece continue their run of looking for expatriates to perform at Eurovision. Stefania didn’t get any votes from Netherlands in 2021, so let’s see Norway’s response in 2022. This is nothing like a song you expect from Greece, and when they go beyond their borders, you expect something really good. Initially appearing soulless, it really picks itself up by the end, and with a strong live performance, it might resonate more.

25 Estonia – Stefan – Hope

Boring Stefan finally gets his shot at Eurovision after four attempts since 2018. It’s a decent song, he’s an engaging artist (of Armenian origin), and he’ll be glad it’s not one of his soppy ballads of other years, especially given the plethora of them in this year’s event. This one works much better live.

24 Cyprus – Andromache – Ela

At least this one sounds Greek, unlike Greece’s entry. It’s a solid song and quite catchy without hitting any great highs.

23 Slovenia – LPS – Disko

Ignoring the young Rafal Nadal as lead singer, this is a really catchy old-school groovy kind of disco song that runs out of steam by the end.

22 Portugal – Maro – Saudade Saudade

Really nice start and conclusion, especially Maro’s haunting voice and she’s so beautiful. While initially hoping for more from the chorus, now I’m really appreciating it as part of the full package, and if you must get the clap, why not from Portugal. Apparently saudade means a “deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.” Deep!

21 Latvia – Citi Zeni – Eat Your Salad

The obligatory environmental song that relies more on fun than preachiness to get its message across. Even then, not sure how seriously it can be taken with lines like “Instead of meat, I eat veggies and pussy”, “Being green is sexy as fuck” and “‘Cause my sausage is just bigger”. Parody or not, it’s an interesting entry. The crude words don’t actually get sung in the video and that’s likely to be the same on the Eurovision stage.

20 Belgium – Jeremie Makiese – Miss You

Sad boy alert! Dramatic song, great voice and should do well.

19 France – Alvan & Ahez – Fulenn

Ukraine 2.0 from 2021. An enticing ethnic groove with accompanying dance moves.

18 Germany – Malik Harris – Rockstars

As usual with Germany, it’s radio friendly and likely Eurovision forgettable. Malik tries to cover one too many bases, being soft rock at the start, then rap, and then it gets a bit messy. Still enjoyable and he has a pleasant voice.

17 Romania – WRS – Llamame

Originally thought this was so lame, and “llamame” was lame incorrectly spelled. Grown to like over time, there’s some sort of sleazy appeal with its latin, ethnic flair, and there’s a good rhythm.

16 Poland – Ochman – River

Another of the sad boys, and this a strong entry. Voice is excellent, and it will need to be live, because the big highlight of River is the bridge section, with the rest much less impressive. Ochman will really need to lift it.

15 Armenia – Rosa Linn – Snap

Odd choice for Armenia, as it’s very mainstream and would be a better fit in the American Song Contest, or come from one of the Nordic countries. The video even looks Nordic. The song has a nice bouncy appeal and is highly listenable.

14 Albania – Ronela Hajati – Sekret

Comes across as a little disjointed at first, and is then saved by its intoxicating ethnic sound, hypnotic feel, and every straight guy’s fantasy of being a love slave.

13 Switzerland – Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry

Highly appealing voice for a guy, and an evocative song. Even though it’s another sad boy, it’s a very distinct entry, so should stand out.

12 Ireland – Brooke – That’s Rich

Fun and fast – a rarity this year! Good energy and I’m hooked on the line “When it’s coming from you, that’s rich”. Could surprise with a good live performance, and then it will be bye bye fool to any doubters.

Four Stars (Excellent)

11 Denmark – Reddi – The Show

A bit of pop-rock from Denmark in this all-girl band. It’s quite evocative with the soft introduction, bops along nicely, and then build’s nicely into the expected climax. Only the singer and drummer are Danish; the other two are Swedish.

THE TOP 10

10 North Macedonia – Andrea – Circles

If it’s a healthy conversation Andrea wants, she gets it. A very sexy deep voice pushes this song along nicely, and it’s a quality song with dramatic moments too. Runs around in circles towards the end, which does hold it back from a higher place. Andrea reminds me a bit of Mariette from Sweden.

09 United Kingdom – Sam Ryder – Space Man

Best British entry since Molly in 2014 with Children Of The Universe. Molly could only finish 17th, and while Space Man is a powerful song with powerful vocals, the Brits shouldn’t expect too much in Turin.

08 Spain – Chanel – SloMo

Spain have a hot one this year. Great energy and beat, and I love the wet look. While it runs out of steam by the end, that won’t be noticed if a solid live performance can be sustained in Turin.

Five Stars (Outstanding)

07 Finland – The Rasmus – Jezebel

Since The Rasmus won UMK 2022, I’ve grown to like Jezebel much more than I did then. Probably because I’m less resentful now (I much preferred two others) and that it stands out in a weaker field at Eurovision. Jezebel is so powerful, engaging and really motors along, complete with vocals that escalate through the song, as they should do in any great rock song. I still maintain the song repeats itself that wee bit in the latter stages and the interest begins to fade. A strong live performance will overcome that, and as a distinctive and brash offering on the Eurovision stage this year, it’s one to watch.

06 Malta – Emma Muscat – I Am What I Am

I am what I am not: sexy, brilliant, funny. OK, one of those things might be true. Malta’s answer to Delta Goodrem, Emma changed her song after winning selection for Malta, and it’s a good decision too. While it’s all a bit cliche and lacks originally, it’s still a highly enjoyable song and very uplifting. I’m really digging Emma’s voice too, and hope she can reproduce it live. The video seems to have covered all diversity groups except for transgender, lesbian, aboriginal Sith Lords. Granted, such a person would be hard to find, especially in Malta.

THE FAB FIVE

05 Czechia – We Are Domi – Lights Off

Lead singer Dominika Haskova is the only Czech among the trio, the other two being from Norway. They met at the Leeds College of Music, formed in 2018 and are based in Prague. Why wouldn’t you be? It’s a lovely city. Where Are You now is classic electro-pop, with evocative verses that energise into a bop chorus and dancy instrumental sections. Add Dominika’s radiant voice, and it’s a delicious mix. While the song is about a relationship break up, the video suggests a Matrix-style world where we are all controlled and live in servitude without our knowledge. That’s until we break free one by one, and it’s lights off to our overlords.

04 Croatia – Mia Dimsic – Guilty Pleasure

After the excellent Albina for Croatia last year, I nearly fell asleep when first listening to Guilty Pleasure after Mia won the Croatian national final. It was just a girl with a guitar and some guy occasionally appearing, and at one point did a splits from a hand-stand so Mia could stare straight at his crotch. After a month’s break, I watched again, and I was mesmerised. Guilty Pleasure is the most beautiful song this year, and Mia is compelling in her delivery. A really soft and exquisite voice, and so genuine in her portrayal. The music video doesn’t do it justice like the national final performance, from upon much of my view is based.

03 Austria – LUM!X feat. Pia Maria – Halo

Starting a song with the chorus will always create a quick engagement. Just ask Blind Channel from Finland last year! Of course, the body of it needs to be good, and Halo doesn’t disappoint. An epic dance song full or energy, it also has plenty of variation and changes of gear to make it compelling overall. It’s one I loved from the start, and have grown to love even more.

02 Netherlands – S10 – De Diepte

One of the earlier releases means it’s had plenty of time to sink or swim. For me, it swims like a swan on a Dutch canal. While the Dutch language can sound funny (farting sounds), that’s mostly in spoken form, so it’s really pleasing to hear it back on the Eurovision stage for the first time since 2010 and only the second time since 1999 when the rule requiring an official national language to be sung was abolished. I shudder to think how De Diepte (The Depth) would present in English. Being in Dutch makes it so much more evocative that you can feel the meaning of the song just from the music and pronunciation. That music is enchanting and the pronunciation delivered via a rich voice with plenty of character. Music is made for listening!

01 Sweden – Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

I was immediately enthralled when first hearing Hold Me Closer at the first semi final of Melodifestivalen, and every time since I’ve become more enthralled. It’s not just that the song is so good and easily the best this year, it’s delivered sublimely through Cornelia’s raspy vocals, her physical presence, and her perfect vocal intonations and dramatisation. You don’t even need to hear the lyrics to feel the song. It’s the most real and genuine song this year as it sets up a symbiosis between the audience and the artist from the start, and never let’s go. Even after it’s finished, you still feel connected. It’s just the perfect package.

It’s the first time Sweden has been top of the list since it started in 2014, when Sanna Nielsen was ranked fifth with Undo. Since then, every year Sweden has sent boring, stale males with mostly unappealing or dull songs. Even Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw, which won Eurovision in 2015 with Heroes, I never liked it much. Cornelia Jakobs began her music career with the girl band Love Generation in 2010, competed in Melodifestivalen twice without much success, and it quickly folded. Beginning her solo career in 2018, it’s safe to say Hold Me Closer is already her biggest success.

I really struggled with star categories, feeling that Sweden (and probably Netherlands) are a clear leap ahead of the rest, yet it didn’t want only one or two songs as five stars. So I’ve looked at it purely against the individual song, not to compare, and the seven chosen all feel like 5-star songs. I listen to them often, and they’ve always been high in the ranking. Given the average feel of the year, I’ve made the cut off for 4 stars at position 11. On that metric, it’s just 11 songs of at least 4 stars compared to 21 last year (8 with 5 stars), 14 in 2020 (5 had five stars), 15 in 2019 (6), 19 in 2018 (8), 19 in 2017 (2), 13 in 2016 (6) and 15 in 2015 (6). So, yes, it’s a dud year.

National Final Injustices – How Would They Rank?

In Sweden and Denmark, the right song one, so the nominees in the National Final Injustices post are there out of interest, not as an injustice. With Cornelia Jakobs at the top this year for Sweden, all they could do with someone else is match her. You know something? It would be so close for Anders Bagge and Bigger Than The Universe. I’d be more inclined to say he’d be number two, as Netherlands weren’t too far from top spot this year and I’d almost certainly reward them for their originality. Josie Elinor & Jack Warren from Denmark with Let Me Go would see Denmark fall about 10 places from eleventh.

As for the other national finals I watched, there would be major changes. Jaguar Jonze with Little Fires would launch Australia from 39th to at least sixth, perhaps fourth. That just shows how Eurovision is much more an emotional investment in the song, not the country. NorthKid and their song Someone would launch Norway from 33rd to probably sixth. It was such a strong song and so much more durable than the silly Wolf song. Anna Sahlene with Champion would launch Estonia from 25th to eighth.

Now to Finland. I had three songs nominated from their strong UMK 2022, and all three would equal or improve on The Rasmus’s seventh place. Bess with Ram Pam Pam would be seventh, Cyan Kicks with Hurricane would be at least fourth, perhaps third, while Younghearted with Sun Numero would be… one! That would be the second time, after Erika Vikman with Cicciolina in 2020, Finland could have been number one. Quite simply, Sun Numero was the most moving and memorable song for me in this year’s national final season, and shared so many of the hallmarks that made Cornelia Jakob’s Hold Me Closer so great. Except, being in Finnish added that extra touch of magic. The presentation was also better, and provided a stronger reaction. Thinking back to Netherlands, no national final for them (only a music video), and that could have been the difference between first and second, which we might discover in Turin. Hold tight, hold tight.

Turin 2022: National Final Injustices

6 responses to “Turin 2022: My Top 40 & Fab Five

  1. Pingback: Turin 2022 – Sweden: The Cornelia Jakobs Appreciation Post | Mr Eurovision Australia·

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  4. Pingback: Turin 2022: Eurovision Semi Final 2 Review & Grand Final Preview | Mr Eurovision Australia·

  5. Pingback: Turin 2022: Grand Final Review – Kalush Orchestra win it for Ukraine | Mr Eurovision Australia·

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