Ukraine’s national selection for Eurovision 2016 comes to a glittering end on February 21. While we wait for the confetti to fall, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has been listening to and reviewing all the songs that qualified from the semi-finals. Today we turn to NuAngels with their song “Higher”. They say they aren’t angels, but did they take us to heaven anyway? Read on and find out!
NUANGELS – “HIGHER”
Mikhail: At first I thought this was pretty average pop, but then it got stuck in my head and I wanted to go higher, higher, higher! The live performance gives it energy and elevates the song to another level. Their vocals are very manly and that adds some unique flavour.
William: Their deep and husky vocals are part drag queen and pure power — when they sing I feel the heat and a tsunami of power, sexuality and independence. They update disco in the most delightful way, giving it EDM modernity and a whole lot of attitude. I love how they play on faux lesbian, but in a more subtle way than t.A.T.u. I thought the recorded version was a tad monotonous, but performed live this comes to life. We can go higher and we just have!
Deban: NuAngels have got a good thing going. “Higher” is a super-catchy pop number, and there’s no denying it, the girls are incredibly telegenic. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the power of restraint. “Higher” would’ve worked better with subtlety and sophisticated feminism. It doesn’t call for this level of amplification. If this is fixed ahead of time, the girls could be packing their bags for Stockholm.
Josh: There’s something I find really jarring about “Higher”. I think it’s a mixture of the girl-on-girl erotica, the leather and the over-the-top facial expressions. The song itself is great, and NuAngels deliver it with an enormous amount of power. The staging and the performance just weirds me out a bit.
Robyn: Oh, the drama! I was starting to worry about the lack of swishy haired lady singers in the final, but here are NuAngels to tick that box. But here’s the thing – I find this song to be unenjoyably full-on, cranked up to 11 the whole way through. But at the same time I respect that this style has a place in Ukraine pop music culture and it’s not without its fans. It’s not my thing, and I think Ukraine can do much better for Stockholm, but it’s not terrible.
Luis: I’m on two minds with this one. While “Higher” is a strong and powerful song and NuAngels have terrific stage presence, the whole performance is a bit over the top for me. There’s too much exuberance in this entry that makes it a little hard to digest. There’s not a single moment of rest and at the end I feel like I need to wash it down a bit.
Antranig: I wasn’t blown away by the studio version but their live performance was incredible. The other five songs are either boring or very serious and as such, “Higher” really stands out. These ladies have an excellent stage presence and I am sure they would own the stage in Stockholm if Ukraine voted for them.
Denise: The best song of this heat that got through. They’re known for their low voices and it works better in this song than in ”Courageous”. It’s uptempo and modern. They are great performers, and they own the stage.
William C.: 8/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 2 and a high of 9.