The Wiwi Jury—our international panel of music un-professionals—calls London home. That made us extra keen to review Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Love Will Set You Free.” But we don’t play favorites on WiwiBloggs.Com, so we sharpened our claws, pulled out our pens, and gave The Hump the same treatment as everyone else. Here’s what we had to say.
Wiwi: The opening lines of Engelbert Humperinck’s Eurovision entry seem to describe the singer himself: “So graceful and pure/ A smile bathed in light/ No matter the distance/ A miracle of sight.” I applaud the BBC for looking into the Eurovision vortex—with all its thrusting young women and spilling cleavage—and choosing this 75-year old veteran who brings talent instead of sex appeal. His song carries with it all his life experience: you can feel the pain as he sings about loving someone enough to let them go. The emotion of his voice gives this song a visceral quality. It’s as if he’s looking back over his many years and mourning a relationship of his own. This is in my Top 5 for sure.
Vebooboo: Adorable song with an inspiring message. Big-time shame that he’s starting off the competition, though. Lord knows that didn’t treat Paradise Oskar too kindly last year! But I have a sneaking suspicion that the ESC gave him that spot so that he go straight to bed after singing…
Meows Kitty: I have to say I didn’t expect much from Engelbert Humperdinck. I just assumed he’d be yet another novelty act (a.k.a., “old”). But this song is definitely a pleasant surprise. Its simplicity masks sophistication, and he has got a great voice. I would place this as a contender for the Top 5.
Deban: I am part of the younger generation that knows and follows Englebert’s music career. I know his signature croons too well. He has built a career on doing just that. And what an impressive career that is, notching over a 100 million units in sales.
Unfortunately, familiarity breeds contempt. “Love Will Set You Free” offers no surprises. It sounds like something you’ve heard him sing before. He sings it well, and the key change elevates it slightly. Nonetheless, it’s a boring song. It lacks the impact of Lloyd Webber’s “My Time,” or the memorable quality of Rona Nishliu’s “Suus.” And there’s a twist: the United Kingdom will be opening the show in Baku. Twenty-five entries later, Humperdinck isn’t likely to leap out as a clear favourite.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7/10