Get those devil horns up and jump into the moshpit! This year’s Eurovision is heavy on musical diversity, and as part of that we’re rocking out to a handful of acts that give the contest a harder edge. Five entries fall under the category of rock — among the broadest musical genres out there. Now that we have a critical mass, it’s time to have a listen and choose your favourite.
The rise of rock at modern-day Eurovision began with 2005’s contest in Ukraine, where both Norway’s Wig Wam and Switzerland’s Vanilla Ninja secured decent placings in the grand final. Perhaps the biggest breakthrough came one year later, when Finnish heavy metal heroes Lordi won the competition with the iconic “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. Over the past 12 years several good rock entries have managed to score well in the aftermath of the Finnish triumph. But in the past three years no rock entry has managed to reach the Top 15 in the grand final. (In 2014 Softengine secured a well-deserved 11th in Copenhagen). Will this year’s entries reverse the tide?
The Netherlands: Waylon — “Outlaw In ‘Em”
Since their return to the grand final in 2013, the Dutch have been taking Eurovision very seriously. And they’re doing it again with Waylon from The Common Linnets, who is returning as a solo act.
His country-rock song mixes Nashville with Texas Lightning, all delivered with his raspy and striking voice. Is it mimicry or is it original? You decide.
Hungary: AWS – “Viszlát Nyár”
Hungary doesn’t follow a musical pattern at Eurovision. From Euro-club friendly dance numbers to ballads about peace to mystical numbers with Romani flair, they send very different songs every year. Enter post-hardcore band AWS, who barely made it to the A Dal super final with the jury, but went on to win the televote with their metalcore banger “Viszlát Nyár”.
Albania: Eugent Bushpepa – “Mall”
An uplifting song with a distinct anthemic quality, “Mall” comes with a definite rock undertone. Albania is yearning for Eugent Bushpepa to end their streak of non-qualifications. He’s in a semi-final full of fan favourites. Will it be a case of rock on…or rock away baby?
Romania: The Humans – “Goodbye”
Romania is aiming to maintain their 100% qualification streak, and their hopes are carried by surprise Selectia Nationala winners The Humans.
Lead vocalist Cristina Caramarcu is definitely a contender for Eurovision’s Next Top Model, but the bookies still “don’t see the beauty that surrounds them everywhere” and predict a non-qualification at the moment. Will Romania prove them wrong?
Switzerland: Zibbz — “Stones”
This brother and sister duo build their song around the anti-bullying aphorism, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” More indie rock than hardcore, it straddles rock and pop and lets lead singer Corinne show off her sexy, raspy voice.