Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—held a candle light vigil for the people of Ukraine. Then we put our sympathy to the side and gathered to review Maria Yaremchuk’s Eurovision 2014 song “Tick Tock”. Do we think that Maria’s time is now? Or are we sounding the alarm that her time is up? Read on to find out…
Padraig: Talk about a scare before the deadline! Mere days before the EBU cut-off point it was looking likely that Ukraine’s untarnished Eurovision record was about to come to an end. We were faced with 2 choices – the incestuous mess which won the Ukraine selection or the frigid goody-two-shoes version from the Maltese final. One word – bleak. But we were being played for fools. Of course Ukraine weren’t planning on sending muck! They had this little gem tucked up their sleeves. Fun, modern and lyrically coherent – I love it. Major kudos to the producers for transforming a possible non-qualifier into a mega contender. Bring back the “tricky tick tocks” and we’d have a mini masterpiece.
Angus: Gone is the weave. Gone is the fake tan. Gone is the slit in her dress and gone are the stripper heels. Fortunately Maria Yaremchuck also hasn’t lunged to the opposite extreme and has also trashed her virginal, Zlata-fied performance from Malta. She’s still seductive but now she’s a classy flirt and tease: “Shhhh – don’t stop: kiss and kiss me till I drop.” There’s little doubt she’ll have all the boys hot under the collar and ‘Tick Tock’ sizzles with flirtation. A bright burst of fun amidst the deluge of dreary ballads, Maria is going to SLAY on stage in Copenhagen and god help anyone foolish enough to cross her path. The verb slay was made for her and girl lays it down. Put the bass in your walk, honey!
Zach: Ukraine is my favorite Eurovision country. Besides 2003 and 2005 I love every song, and Maria continues that trend. During their national final I was heavily rooting for Viktoria Petryk, and when Tick Tock won I didn’t think it was that good. But after a few listens it kept getting catchier and catchier, and I was hooked. I knew they would “Zlatafy” it right from the get go, so I waited excitedly to see what changes would be made. The Maltese NF version was pretty good, but the final product is a total revamp that makes me think Ukraine could do extremely well yet again. It’s slightly “jazzier”, but with a dance edge as well. The lyrics are MUCH more cohesive now. The English isn’t perfect, but let’s just all be glad the incest “belong to each other like a sister to a brother” line has been cut! Maria has good vocals as well, so I predict another top 10 for Ukraine, quite possibly top 5, maybe even the win if she plays her cards right. I do miss “tricky tricky tock tock tock” though….
Vebooboo: Of all the countries out there, Ukraine most consistently delivers professionally staged, carefully orchestrated performances. And you know what, this year is NO DIFFERENT. Enter Maria Yaremchuk, a sexy fox who worked it out so much at Eurovision in Concert that I had to check my straight guy friend’s underwear for stains. This song is modern, catchy and simple–and those are three adjectives that bode oh so well in this competition.
Bogdan: Maria has it all: the sexy look, the catchy chorus, and, if Eurovision in Concert is any indication, the perfect dance routine AND backing dancers. As for the song itself, I embrace the final version with both arms (I didn’t like the ticky-ticky-tock-tock-tock part, I found it kitsch-kitsch-kitschy — and don’t even get me started on the Zlatified version she performed in Malta, I’m still trying to block that memory). And, as odds would have it, it’s definitely what Maria needs to advance further in the final Top 10. Her only worry should be the juries…
Anthony: The final version is a significant improvement. I’m kinda torn as a result of all the changes. I’m also having mixed feelings about Maria ditching the “tock tock tock” parts altogether. While I’m glad she took in the advice, part of me feels like I’m missing it already. Overall, it’s quite a catchy entry from Maria, but not up there with Ke$ha’s hit single namesake. It’s going to be a big ask for Ukraine to match, let alone outdo, last year’s top 3 finish from Zlata herself.
Deban: Several versions later, ‘Tick Tock’ is now only mildly irritating. How does Ukraine get away with it? Reworking its entries right up until showtime. I can see a new rule emerging in future contests preventing broadcasters from making any changes to songs. This entry does benefit from the re-working. The original version that surprisingly won the pre-selection was an incestuous, zlata-fied travesty! Now, here’s the verdict: Tick Tock is a lightweight pop tune which lacks sensible lyrics and a straightforward melody. However, by pouring tons of cash into it, forcing it dowm people’s throat’s, and plugging it at every regional semi final going, it begins to sound familiar. Many people often vote for what they know regardless of its merits. Ukraine will bag those votes this year—just not mine.
Billy: Never count Ukraine out. When this won the national final I thought it was doomed to fail. But they reworked it—and Maria werked it—and finally managed to give this entry some proper style. Even though I love retro, this is still a little weak. You could do much better, Ukraine!
Katie: Since this was the first Eurovision song we all heard, I’ve had a lot of time to listen to it and learn to love it. Despite a lot of changes from the original version, I can happily sing along to the final version and although it’s not the most sophisticated song in the competition, I really enjoy listening to it. The updated chorus is my personal highlight, thank goodness they binned the dreadful “tricky, ticky, tock tock tock!”. Maria is such a likeable singer. She’s gone from fake tan streaks to beautiful dresses. I know she’s going to shine in Copenhagen and hopefully make it through to the final on merit rather than sympathetic political voting. At the same time I hope the issue of politics doesn’t put her at a disadvantage for qualifying. It’s up to her to show Europe what Ukraine is made of!
Wiwi: One of my favourite moments on this year’s campaign trail came at Eurovision in Concert when Maria’s dancers lifted her into the air two minutes into her performance in Amsterdam. She seemed to be levitating and looked as if she were about to swallow the microphone (see below at 2:09). It’s another example of how malleable Maria is, and how she can adapt to any situation (or version of her song). She brings a real sensuality to this number that makes all of us lick our lips. I think it’ll make Europeans pick up their phones, too.
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: 6/10
Maxim Montana: 9/10
Prior to calculating the average we drop the highest and lowest score. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.59/10
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.