Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—woke up in Dublin after a long night of clubbing and headed to a café for an Irish breakfast consisting of bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast and fried tomato. Then we ordered a side of Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith, and sat down to review their Eurovision 2014 song “Heartbeat”. Did it get our hearts racing with the thought of a Eurovision win for Eire? Or did “Heartbeat” simply lead to “Heartache”? Read on to find out…
Padraig: Given the circumstances of the Irish final, “Heartbeat” is a rather apt title. Between the on-air spat and the prospect of that Quigg shaped gremlin winning, my ticker was pounding at a rate of 90. Mind you, the song still makes my blood rush, but from adrenalin rather than stress. With its anthemic quality and dramatic instrumentals, it is hard not to get swept up in the whole thing. The traditional Irish music and modern pop blend perfectly, avoiding both Ryan Dolan’s gimmickry and the diddly-eye (read: hot-mess) sound of Dervish. I could nit-pick and criticise the lack of lyrical depth, but to be honest why bother? I’ll be too busy holding onto my heartbeat.
Wiwi: Miss Kasey Kay Smith is hotter than fire, her voice is smoother than silk, and I know a lot of you guys want to hold on to much more than her heartbeat. From the moment this song starts it gets under your skin and the Celtic vibe keeps it there. When she growls 20 seconds in she channels the strength of Aphrodite, Joan of Arc and Wonder Woman. All hail! All hail! I just hope Kasey has asked her dancers to lay off the caffeine. They were all over the place at the national final and distracted me from Kasey’s sultry voice and hip-hugging dress. Less is more, especially when you have such a fabulous singer to anchor the performance.
Angus: So I massively misjudged this song the first time around and am so glad to get a second shot at reviewing ‘Heartbeat’. Cometh the Celtic charm, cometh the woman! “Keep your head high above the water,” speaks to Ireland’s record at Eurovision since 2010. Niamk Kavanagh barely managed to tread water in 2010, Jedward sprang out of the water like a flying fish in 2011, came crashing down in 2012 and Ryan Dolan hit a rock and sank to the bottom in 2013. Kasey seems to be a stronger swimmer than any of the others. Thanks to the upbeat nature of the song she’ll also easily ride atop the tidal wave of ballads bearing down upon Copenhagen to a comfy finish at the Grand Final.
Bogdan: “Heartbeat” is another one of my early favourites, although after repeated listens the songs loses some of its appeal. Nonetheless, it will be a first listen for most Eurovision viewers and I think they’ll love the sound and the beauty that is Kasey Smith. Ireland deserves to be in the Grand Final again and to place a lot higher than last year. I like the rhythm and the Celtic fiddle and honestly I wouldn’t mind to see the Irish stepdancers onstage, like in Dublin. I just hope Kasey polishes her rendition, because vocally she was a bit disappointing live.
Deban: Kasey Smith has tasted success as part of a girl group, Wonderland in 2008, and as a solo star in last year’s Irish pre-selection. This year she joins Irish musical collective Can-Linn to have another stab at success. “Heartbeat” pushes her in a new direction. It’s punchy, dance-driven and current. The folky instrumental key change gives the track its Irish flavour. ‘Heartbeat’ is memorable without being invasive, and it should help maintain Ireland’s renewed appearance in the finals.
Vebooboo: So I love that this is a real song, one that you could see succeeding outside the competition. Good voice, pretty girl, decent staging. What I don’t like is the fact that it feels like so much is copied from the nation’s 2013 entry. I mean, the back-up dancers, the whole heartbeat theme. Next thing you know Can-linn will be making heart signs with her hands and winking to the audience. But seriously, on the whole this one offers something for us to react to, and for that I am so grateful.
Katie: I didn’t like this song very much at first, but my opinions have changed over time. Is it Kasey or Can-Linn that’s singing? I’m not sure, but whoever it is, I love their voice! It’s great to see some girl power from Ireland this year as it’s been only male singers for the last few years. I love the chorus, it’s such a singalong chorus and the waves of traditional Irish music are really nice too. The violin solo is a nice touch, and I really hope the song gets a good placing in Copenhagen.
Billy: Ireland selected a very nice song this year. This sex-bomb has a very nice voice, and her entry has great lyrics…“Keep your head above water”. I love this rhythm, although the country-like violins should go. Much better than last year!
Sami: Back in February I loved it, and I still do. The national final performance was a little messy, but the song is still amazing and I love Kasey’s voice. When Ryan Dolan finished in last place in the final last year, I was really sad and surprised and now I’m scared this won’t do much better. It has all the Eurovision clichés and even the same feeling as Only Teardrops, but I don’t know if European people will vote for a song with such strong ethnic elements. Anyway, it’s in my top 5 and I hope it gets a top 10 placement in Copenhagen.
Ramadan: This was my favourite in the Irish final and I’m very happy it won! A very well produced song with unique instrumentation and sounds. Kasey’s voice is so beautiful, as is the Celtic feeling of the song which makes me love it even more. It’s one of my favourite songs of the year and I hope Ireland qualifies! She reminds me of Elena from The Vampire Diaries—what a hottie! I just hope they improve the staging before Copenhagen. Well done, Ireland!
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.
Maxim Montana: 7/10
James L: 9/10
William C: 8.1/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 7 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 8.06/10
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.