Wiwi Jury results: BQL are our favourites to win Slovenia’s EMA 2017

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During the week, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — reviewed and rated the eight finalists from both semi-finals of Slovenia’s EMA 2017. It was close, but in the end duo BQL topped our jury rankings, finished just ahead of Nika Zorjan.

The duo’s average ranking was 7.29, a very respectable score from our panel. This means they finish on top of both our jury as well as your poll results. This no doubt puts them high up on the list of favourites to be Slovenia’s Eurovision 2017 act.

Our jury for this edition consisted of 14 jurors who hail from Armenia, Australia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As always, each juror assessed each song independently and awarded each song a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we dropped the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and remove outliers.

You can scroll down to see the final rankings along with the average score and some of our comments. Click on the song title to read the full reviews from our Wiwi Jury.

EMA 2017 — Wiwi Jury Rankings

1. BQL – “Heart of Gold”

The positive: “Smooth vocals and strong chemistry are key elements of this contemporary song, especially in the last chorus. The young guys seem warm and full of character, which will serve them well in this national selection.” (Antony, 8/10)

The negative: “Interesting, a song that has so many elements, yet none of them properly work or go anywhere. It’s as though they had a checklist and refused to give in until they had every single musical trick packed in to the song. The two guys also don’t have enough chemistry, it’s way too forced and doesn’t come across well at all. It’s a shame, because they have a few good ideas here, but they just need to spend more time focusing on the beauty of simplicity.” (Natalie, 3/10)

Score: 7.29/10

2. Nika Zorjan – “Fse”

The positive: “From the very first note Nika Zorjan got me! The production is well executed and the violin adds a little ethno flavour. However, the highlight of this performance is Nika herself: her voice is sultry and powerful at the same time and her stage presence is undeniable. Easily the best song from this semi-final. Oh, and thank you for this wonderful song, Maraaya!” (Zakaria, 10/10)

The negative: “This is my favourite of the four qualifiers from the first semi-final. It has a modern sound and Nika is doing a better job of rocking pink hair than Dinah Nah’s ill-fated pink wig. But yet “Fse” still isn’t captivating enough. It has a few hooks, but not enough to make it a stand-out performance, either at EMA or ESC.” (Robyn, 6.5/10)

Score: 6.96/10

3. Raiven – “Zažarim”

The positive: “A genius composition, let down by poor staging. “Zazarim” envelops your senses at key intervals, whilst Raiven’s vocals draw you deeper into her world. Vocally and conceptually, this slays! Unfortunately, a winning entry calls for a much stronger visual presentation and an energetic stage presence.” (Deban, 8/10)

The negative: “This has to be the most underwritten song in the entire national final season. There are chunks where it feels like some of the instruments stopped working. The song just goes in and out of life like a patient on their deathbed. Raiven is obviously a terrific vocalist but let’s be honest — this is an absolutely horrible take on an electronic ballad.” (Antranig, 1/10)

Score: 5.5/10

4. KiNG FOO – “Wild Ride”

The positive: “This song is so wonderfully genuine. Aleksandra Josic definitely has a very raspy voice and I’m sure not everyone will like it, but for me it just adds to the rustic charm of the song. I don’t think the lyrics are any especial genius either, but they’re nice enough. Sure it lacks a bit of punch and feels amateurish, but it has true grit, emotion and honesty, and especially nowadays that should be applauded.” (Natalie, 7.5/10)

The negative: “Her voice is deep, gutteral and stirring — she’s like Anastacia but fresher. Unfortunately the song inspires little emotion and, despite the catchy opening, ends up cheesy and forgettable. For a song promising a “Wild Ride” this feels rather safe and pedestrian.” (William, 5.5/10)

Score: 5.5/10

5. Sell Out – “Ni panike”

The positive: “As a long time fan of Madness and later, in relation to Eurovision, the almighty Athena from Turkey, Sell Out make me want to dance and learn how to play the trumpet. This is such a fun song. And the guys are lively and seem to enjoy what they’re doing. Which is always a nice asset, when one wants to captivate the audience. And who doesn’t like to be entertained? Yup, I’m feeling this.” (Kristin, 8/10)

The negative: “I want to like this song, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. It’s nice enough, even with all the weirdness and the jazzy stuff, but it just seems really forced and disconnected. I just don’t know what Sell Out are trying to achieve, whether they’re making for a song with genuine thought behind it, or just trying to be a joke – in any case, this just doesn’t gel.” (Natalie, 3/10)

Score: 5.38/10

6. Nuška Drašcek – “Flower in the Snow”

The positive: “Her blackbird earrings are incredibly distracting, and she seems to keep the metaphor going with her black dress. Thankfully the chorus of the song takes flight, helping me look past the visuals. Lyrically I’m not feeling this — a flower in the snow isn’t that compelling of an image — but when she hits the big notes she really hits them. Slightly dated and throwback, but at least there’s a soul.” (William, 6.5/10)

The negative: “This was not my cup of tea. Her vocals were really shaky, and the song took forever to start, and once it did, nothing really happened. That flower in the snow will not make it through the winter. Its lifeless from start to finish.” (Kristin, 3/10)

Score: 5.29/10

7. Omar Naber – “On My Way”

The positive: “Omar’s vocal flourishes are a wonder to behold. “On My Way” captures much of this vocal drama whilst retaining a very strong melody. Warm, soothing, uplifting and soaring, Omar Naber’s voice is a fine instrument, and his self-composition bears the hallmark of a modern classic.” (Deban, 9/10)

The negative: “Yes, it would be nice and symmetrical if Omar Naber returned to another Eurovision hosted in Ukraine, but with this song? He has a really good voice, but “On My Way” is such a bland song. The only thing commendable about the performance is Omar’s vocal technique. Everything else is just so dull and forgettable. He deserves better.” (Robyn, 3/10)

Score: 5.04/10

8. Tim Kores – “Open Fire”

The positive: “Performing at EMA is nothing new to Tim Kores, so he delivered when it really mattered. The firey staging looks impressive and should Tim win EMA 2017, I hope he translates it to Kyiv along with his stage presence. With the combined efforts from songwriters Jeff Lewis and Drew Lawrence, Tim Kores has ended up with a rather safe, catchy pop-rock song.” (Anthony, 6/10)

The negative: “This song sounds like an entry that would finish fifth in a Melodifestivalen semifinal. The song is not bad at all, but it’s a bit tiring. It starts well, but there’s not really a progress here, and the beat ends being annoying. It’s well produced, yes, but there’s little more to save from this entry.” (Luis, 4/10)

Score: 5.04/10

The final of EMA 2017 stars at 19:55 CET, with special guests including Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala. You can catch all the action live on the RTVSLO’s live stream here.

Read more Slovenia Eurovision news here

Photo: Bit Sever