Last night the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—went to a Leonidas chocolate shop in Brussels where we enjoyed an exclusive assortment of Belgian chocolate, pralines, truffles, orange peel, and marzipan. Then we sat down to review Axel Hirsoux’s Eurovision 2014 song “Mother”. Did his song leave us sobbing? Or did we want to call his mother and ask her what the hell she did to create such a mommy’s boy? Read on to find out…
Francheska: If I were Freud I’d say something about mommy issues, just given the context. I’m not a big fan of this, and I’ll utilize one of the metaphors I used during NRK MGP: A ballad is like a shark, it needs to move to survive. This ain’t moving, so it falls flat. People saying that this is 2014’s “Crisalide” should realize that “Crisalide” actually had movement. Snaps to Axel for his vocals, but seriously, do something else.
Deban: Oh, what a dirge! Yes, Axel can belt it out, but Eurovision isn’t only about singing. A song needs to make the right impact. ‘Mother’ would’ve been suitable in a musical, where the audience are given two hours to trace the plot. Unfortunately, in three minutes, this isn’t digestible. In addition, it resembles a bad copy of Boy George’s musical composition. However, who’s to say it won’t do well? Belgium is hard to predict. Kate Ryan was critically acclaimed, but tanked. Roberto Bellarosa was loathed by the jury, yet he advanced. Axel, I wish you the best of luck. Simple.
Vebooboo: Last year Roberto Bellarosa shocked us all with improved vocals leading to a surprise spot in the Final. This year, Belgium managed to find a magnificent singer in Axel…and yet somewhere along the way forgot that the actual song matters as well. Add to that the fact that Norway is representing again with a more powerful male ballad and we have sad faces all around for Axel and Belgium. Well, after all, Axel himself sings about going home brokenhearted to his mommy. I think he’s probably the first contestant to sing of his own defeat. Poor thing.
Angus: Finally a companion piece for ‘Papa Can You Hear Me’ from the seminal classic Yentl. B-Streis’s absence can be forgiven since Axel Hirsoux has the strongest male vocal and ‘Mother’ is a haunting composition. It’s the kind of thing that reduces you to a sobbing wreck on the floor and leaves you screeching, “MOTHERRRRR” at the screen in desperation. Your pain is felt Axel – now turn that pain into passion on stage in Copenhagen! Understatement might have worked for Tom Dice in 2010 but I want twirling drapes flapping mournfully on stage and tears from Axel: all Europe gonna cry.
Padraig: Overflowing with tenderness and sentimentality, “Mother” could have been written by the Kleenex marketing team. Sonically it has the potential to be one of Eurovision’s greatest weepies. Pity no one bothered to sense-check the lyrics. From Norman Bates to Seymour Skinner, popular culture has never looked kindly upon adult males who are BFFs with their mothers. There are many reasons for this; it’s not a societal norm, it’s embarrassing and most of all such a relationship is stifling for everyone involved – what if mummy needs some quality time with daddy? She hardly wants Axel warbling at her. It’s time for mammy Hirsoux to cut the apron strings and send her son packing.
Anthony: It’s no surprise to see that Eurosong guest judge Ruslana ends up having her own Italia 90 Gazza moment. It must have felt like Pavarotti was singing Nessun Dorma right in front of her. No disrespect to the legend himself though. Judging from Ruslana’s reaction, “Mother” is yet another ballad, but it is powerful stuff providing it’s executed with enough pizzazz. Fortunately, Axel delivered it brilliantly at Eurosong with his opera-esque voice and the chorus packs an emotional punch. The only slight drawback about Belgium this year, is that opera-based entries haven’t fared well at Eurovision. So they’re taking a bit of a gamble.
Billy: Wow. That’s an amazing voice. I like the song’s theme and lyrics, as well as its rhythm. This singer is a young Pavarotti. It’s a wonderful ballad, and a very nice entry from Belgium, whose entries have been dismal in recent years.
Bogdan: Is that you, Oedipus? If I don’t disregard the lyrics, I must withdraw major points, because I find it ridic that a grown man should still consider his mother “his everything”. I also love my mom, but “Mother” is over the top. Mind you, my mom might love the song when she hears it, like I suspect most mothers across the continent will. As for me, if I disregard the lyrics, I would give props to Axel for his wonderful voice, but melody-wise “Mother” sounds quite dated, like something Jacques Brel would have performed 50 years ago. Oh and that staging, with the creepy ghost lady behind him, needs to go.
Katie: I thought it was a joke when I found out that a middle aged man would be singing a ballad about his mother for Belgium at Eurovision, but it wasn’t. Especially because I thought it was a woman singing for the first 30 seconds. Oh well, nice to see that Axel is full of surprises! He’s got a belting voice and the talent to silence the entire arena, but I just find the song a little awkward. It’s nice that he loves his mother so much, but honestly, I really don’t want to know about the fact that this brilliant singer is such a mummy’s boy.
Wiwi: That creeps me out—and I’m not even talking about the poltergeist dancing in the background. “I can count on you, only you….you are my guiding light, my shoulder, my shelter, my satellite…” Lord have mercy. A good parent raises his or her child to move on and to fly the nest. There’s no denying the Axel has a fantastic voice and that he is feeling every single word of this. I just wish he’d do that in private. Despite my own reservations, I’m aware that much of Europe celebrates Mother’s Day on May 11. Perhaps voters will be in the mood for all this sugar, no matter how nauseating. I gave Iceland a 3, and I prefer that to this, so it has to be a 2.5 from me.
All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.
James L: 7/10
Maxim Montana: 4/10
William C: 9.1/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 9.1.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.15/10
You can check out our latest Eurovision 2014 reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.