The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are going through all the podium finishers of the 2010s to decide who the ultimate champion of the decade is! Today we stop by Sweden to judge the song that began their chain of success at the contest. Eric Saade has had some funny moments in his time involved with the contest, such telling the hosts he was going for a wee during the grand final results; calling Petra Mede a MILF during the 2013 green room visits… and don’t even get us started on #DPOV. But what about his entry that started it all, “Popular”?

He will be popular, he will be popular, he’s gonna get therrrrre to third place! After a shock non-qualifying result in 2010 (Anna Bergendahl was robbed), Sweden were in it to win it in 2011. The previous year’s third placer at Melfest, Eric Saade came onto the stage and owned it. The unashamedly Swedish banger “Popular” was taking no prisoners, with ultra slick choreography and oh-so-2011 hair to win younger voters over. Is the Wiwi Jury over this track or is it still very “Popular” with us? Read on to find out!

Eric Saade – “Popular”

“Popular” reviews

Antranig: Aside from Jedward, this was my favourite entry back in 2011. It hasn’t aged all that well but it’s still an undeniable earworm. Eric Saade oozed sex appeal on stage and like a fine wine, he has only gotten better with age. His music has only improved with time as well. While “Popular” didn’t take the crown, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re talking about Eric Saade as a Eurovision winner by the end of the next decade.

Score: 8/10

Lucy: There was a section in the 2011 grand final that was intense with high-energy pop, with three absolute bangers in a row. It was going to take something exceptional to survive that block, where Jedward gave us a sugar coma, followed by Mr Saade, followed by the meme queen Getter Jaani. Eric definitely won out of the pack, with Getter getting the short straw. A performance complete with shattering glass and bad boy vibes, the pulsating melody gets everyone singing along to the (sure, slightly generic) lyrics. But seriously c’mon — rhyming possible with impossible isn’t going to win you a Grammy. But it did the job, and it’s still fun in 2019.

Score: 6.5/10

Calvin: The song itself is great and a typical amazing Swedish production. They brought the party to Düsseldorf, but there’s a reason why he’s dancing and not singing for his life. Eric’s voice doesn’t fit the song and among other stellar vocalists he can’t keep up with them. Luckily we have background singers. And please ignore the lyrics — otherwise, you can’t enjoy the song.

Score: 4.5/10

Kristin: The lyrics to “Popular” do NOT stand the test of time. Not at all. A part from that, this song is still somewhat of a bop. It’s not Sweden’s best, but it put Eric Saade permanently on the Eurovision map. It’s a hit for kids, really, and it works perfectly in that sense. I’m not overly impressed, not back then and not now, but I will not shy away from dancing and singing along to “Popular” at da club. After all, it is genuine Swedish schlager dance-pop.

Score: 7/10

Florian: After the unfortunate finish of Anna Bergendahl back in 2010, Sweden brought their A-game with Eric Saade’s “Popular”. With an ultimately addictive pre-chorus, the song stood out both sonically and visually. It also paved the way for all the impressive Swedish entries that we’ve seen at the contest in the following years. Consequently, it’s one of the better songs of the year and had definitely earned its place in the top three.

Score: 8.5/10

Katie: Watching this as a 12-year-old, I was very much under Eric Saade’s spell. His hair, his looks, his leather jacket that has me questioning my vegan beliefs to this day. While the artist and his stage presence had me mesmerised, the song almost felt secondary. But to be quite honest, once Eric smashed through that glass, I didn’t care about the song. Sweden delivered an aesthetic, squeaky clean pop star with a catchy tune, well before Simon Cowell was able to get this formula right with One Direction. Love it or hate it, I don’t blame you either way — we all remember “Popular” and its melody. Eric’s aesthetic is one that is very hard for countries to get right at Eurovision, but for Sweden in 2011, it worked.

Score: 7.5/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 25 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

William: 7/10

Pablo: 7.5/10

Robyn: 9/10

Angus: 6/10

Sebastian: 6/10

Jonathan: 9.5/10

Bernardo: 7/10

Deban: 6.5/10

Luis: 7/10

 Oliver: 7.5/10

Edd: 9.5/10

Lukas: 8/10

Barnabas: 7.5/10

Steinunn: 7.5/10

Natalie: 7/10

Julian: 5.5/10

Tom: 8/10

Charlotte: 8/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 4.5 and a high of 9.5.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.36/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all of our Wiwi Jury of the 2010s rankings here

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Karen
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Karen

Rating this higher than Cesar Sampson is a joke!

Ron
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Ron

I think his Melodifestivalen performance of this song was much better than the translation on to the ESC stage. I loved this song and I loved the records that followed (Saade Vol. 1 and Saade Vol. 2).

funkerman25
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funkerman25

the perfect example on why some people can’t take eurovision seriously. This song along with most in 2011 were an absolute nightmare to listen to. I feel nauseous everytime I hear it.

cmh787
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cmh787

Rhyming ‘impossible’ with ‘possible’ walked so that rhyming ‘this’ with ‘this’ could run

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

Afraid I didn’t enjoy it.
Don’t see in what area it excels as an entry. Much prefer “Sting” from Mr. Saade.

Jonas
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Jonas

Am I not allowed say that Azerbaijan cheated? This would have been the winner otherwise. I’ve posted it twice now, but it keeps disappearing – I’m not sure if it’s a glitch or the moderators, butI persevere…

Eric once introduced Jon Ola Sand as “the man I once wanted to kill” and I can see why. It was he who oversaw the blatantly unfair 2011 result. #JusticeForEric

Joe
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Joe

I think you’re a bit biased in his favor rather than basing it on circumstantial evidence so your argument falls apart there. We all think songs get robbed, but that doesn’t mean you go and toss around accusations at the song that beat it down. (And why aren’t you demanding #JusticeForRaphael when he also finished ahead of Eric?)

Jonas
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Jonas

I didn’t pluck this accusation out of thin air. My impression is based on Azerbaijan’s past actions, and alarmingly implausible voting. Sure, we’ll never know if Sweden would have been the winner, but there is no doubt in my mind that Azerbaijan cheated. None at all. The reason I’m not saying #JusticeForRaphael is because I’m speculating that Azerbaijan’s underhanded manipulation of the vote cost Eric more votes than it cost Italy, considering that Sweden was popular with both juries and televote, while Italy was mostly just popular with juries. You really think Azerbaijan didn’t cheat at all?

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Well, we couldn’t disagree more on this one. I suppose these things happen sometimes.
P.S. That’s a dreadful thing for Eric to have said. Even in good humour, it’s just… no.

Jonas
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Jonas

For the record, I’m not saying it was my favorite that year, I just think that it is the most likely alternative winner…

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Can I be shocking, and admit that I never liked this song? Probably my least favourite entry from Sweden. Sorry.

Joe
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Joe

Watch 1986 and come back to me.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Ahaha! Thanks Joe. Wow, Sweden 1986, what is up with that performance?Someone needs to write a featured post on that entry! Looks like so much fun, and I have no idea what’s going on. 🙂
P.S. My first Eurovision year was 1990.

Tibor
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Tibor

Okay, they had a tacky stage show, but singing is better and music is at least not worse than 2011. 🙂

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

it sounds like it was written by artificial intelligence. a certified bop tho

Gorilla716
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Gorilla716

Surprised Angus only gave it a 6

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I’ve never watched 2011’s contest, so I can’t judge if 3rd place was deserved or not. I appreciate the high energy and my 2011-self would love Eric’s boy-ish charm. But musically… in 2019… this sounds quite annoying to my ears. Maybe the problem here is that the song hasn’t aged well. Anyway, the silver lining is that when we compare 2011’s entries to what we have now in the contest, we can see how much Eurovision evolved. Maybe we needed a year like that before “Euphoria” setting the bar that high.

Tibor
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Tibor

I can assure you, this song sounded exactly this annoying in 2011.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

In 2011 I loved his face and hated the song. It was definitely not dependent on the year 2011. Thankfully, it was the last time Sweden sent this kind of Schlager stuff. Without Eric, this very song would have scored a Perelli or an Ernman result.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I guess you guys are right about that, Tibor and Bean. Sometimes time can be tough on mainstream pop songs, but this track is too “nervous” and probably wouldn’t work for me back then. But Eric was very much comfortable with it, which probably explains why Sweden ranked so high.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I echo Tibor and Bean here. The song was childish and annoying then, and it still is today. But I do agree with Sabrina that 2012 was a step up from 2011, overall. Although I think that Eurovision’s run of “best years” had already started with 2009, but for some reason 2011 was just a weird year for songs.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

My first year watching the show was 2012, though I can recall watching Lena, Rybak and Jedward’s performances online. But streaming live events back then was very complicated.

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

I I like the melody and the vibe. Sure, the lyrics are far away from being genious, but it was a fine entry. And I was in love with Eric and his hair back then ^^ 8/10

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

It was a really weak year. To me personally, the absolute worst since I had starting watching the contest. I remember thinking how regrettable that was because Germany is a country with money and capable of the best production possible and that really was squandered because of the overall low quality of the entries. What can I say about Sweden 2011? I like his face, but his voice was definitely not made for singing. The song is typically unnerving Kempe-Schlager-material, nothing special at all but I have to say, in a year like this, its third place was not surprising.… Read more »

Joe
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Joe

Now hold on there. There were plenty of good songs in 2011. I’d put No One, Love in Rewind, Coming Home, and Madness of Love high up on any list of great Eurovision songs. The only problem was that it was the rare year where for all the good songs, there was no song that screamed “winner,” which is how Azerbaijan somehow snuck away with it.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Well, that is what I am looking for. Songs that scream “winner” to me. When “Vanilija” became “No one”, my admiration became rejection. One of the worst transitions ever. I also mentioned “Love in Rewind” as a good song but there it was the performance that put me off. Those were the only two songs that had great potential for me this year. “Coming Home” was nice, yeah. JUST nice. So was “Running Scared”.

Tibor
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Tibor

You keep saying that, Joe, but no matter how you look at it, wouldn’t you agree that very few countries had one of their stronger entries of the last decade in 2011?

Jonas
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Jonas

Somehow snuck away with it? They cheated! Any scrutiny of the voting makes that painfully obvious.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

2011 was a weak year, but imo not the worst. Around 75% of the songs were boring ballads, generic europop or failed gimmick entries, but the rest was pretty decent. 2009, 2010 or 2012 (controversial opinion) weren’t that much different to be honest, the only difference being that some of the songs on the good side of the ratio were more memorable and win-worthy. My biggest issues with ESC 2011 were the stagings, that mostly felt like singers standing in front of merely connected Windows screensavers, and sounding problems, that ruined some of the acts (like France or Norway).

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

I personally like a Eurovision year when I find two or three songs I really love which is challenging enough. If there’s like five or six I really like, I’m thrilled already. I don’t pay attention to stuff I found nice or tolerable after the contest, I just take the great stuff with me. So maybe that’s why I found 2011 so bad. There was nothing great for me to take away. So you might be on to something, in theory. Though I’m still convinced it was the worst year, definitely out of the ones I watched.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

2002, 2001, 1999, 1992, 1989, 1986, 1984, 1971, 1967 (not getting into the dark ages of 50s), those where all pretty disappointing years and to me 2011 doesn’t look as bad compared to these. But I think you’ve got the point here, after all one amazing song that stays with you is better than 10 OK ones you quickly forget.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

I found 2002 adorable. 🙂 Karolina, Ira, Buket, Sandrine and Sahlene I liked very much. 2001 on the other hand was god-awful. I was too young to watch back then but I watched it a couple of years ago and I think even for the year 2001, this must be considered bad. With the exception of Nusa Derenda! 2001 was the 2011 of the noughties. Although 2006 wasn’t exactly great, either.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

I get people liking 2002, but except for “Come Back” none of the songs clicked with me and Marie N is among the winners I consider the worst. 2001 had at least Greece, Denmark, France and Sweden (if you accept plagiarism) that were nice gems. 2006 wasn’t bad and delivered when it comes to schlagers, I’d say 2004 was the worst of the mid-noughties (god, Piero Esteriore gave me nightmares).

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Yeah, all Eurovision songs telling me to celebrate tend to make me cringe. I find both 2004 and 2006 not strong but 2004 had a sexy Icelander who, rumor has it, was drunk out of his mind, competing. And it had “Lane moje” and “For Real”. 2006 gave me “Alvedansen”, “Lejla” and “Moja stikla”.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

Is that even a question? I was worried Jonsi is going to pass-out mid-performance! Not a fan of Athena, but “Lane moje” and “Stronger every minute” are gold.

Joe
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Joe

To go back a step: I would actually say all the ones I mentioned but Italy had my favorite song this decade that tear (granted, not a ton of challengers for B&H, sadly). Italy pretty routinely kept topping themselves, but there’s a reason Soldi and Madness of Love were the two that got closest to the top spot, even with the multitude of amazing songs (and La mia citta) that came in between. But compared to pretty much all the years Skiwalko mentioned, it’s not so awful. The best of 2011 I’d put among my favorite entries ever. The best… Read more »

Tibor
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Tibor

I can’t really contribute to the ancient history, for me the first ESC of the modern era, when I really started to like more than one or two songs, is 2007. Then came 2008 and everything went back to normal (1 song I still listen to occasionally), but in 2009 there were again several good songs. Everything before 2007 is more or less a blur. But that has changed over the last decade: During the 2010s it has become normal, that I always like at least four or five songs every year. The only exception is 2011. I don’t listen… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

2004 wasn’t awesome, but it was a major improvement on the years immediately before it. Also, a magnificent top ten (well, OK, It Hurts never did much for me and In the Disco is just kinda stupid, but the majority of the top 5 are stone-cold classics, especially Lane moje and For Real). The rest was mixed to bad (and Switzerland…*shudders*). The one thing affecting all the entries, and maybe it’s just me, is that the sound quality and amplification suuuucked. Everything sounded so thin! Even the big dance numbers like Shake It lost some of their oomph.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I could never call 1989 a bad year if it had both Tommy Nilsson and Birthe Kjær and their awesome songs (plus the overly emphatic backing singers in the former and the best staging gimmick EVER in the latter). And I would’ve called Sweden an obvious winner. But man, that top two was dire. When there were actual quality songs like the two I mentioned, those two limp noodles from Yugoslavia and the UK had no business taking the win or getting close.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

You could also add Nathalie Paque, a great JESC act long before JESC became a thing. But overall a pretty unremarkable year and a winner below average. Also, I have a very soft spot for ESC 2003, so I wouldn’t really call 2004 an improvement, a worthy successor at most.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

I thought the Latvians were great hosts. The 2003 show was way more fun than 2004.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Latvia hosted it really well and there were some very good songs (Belgium, Turkey, Romania), but it still was getting better after the one-two punch of meh that was 01-02.

PP77
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PP77

1989 one of best contest with quality of songs ( one of best Eurovision, best 1983 than 1988,1994). 1999, 2001 had many good songs.

Jonas
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Jonas

I remember 2011 fondly. Most songs had at least something going for them. I liked Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, Greece, Russia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Moldova, Germany, Austria, Iceland, Spain and Serbia. The only ones I disliked were the UK, Romania, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Which is one do you like most, Popular or Manboy?

Sam
Guest
Sam

Popular was my second favourite (Denmark’s New Tomorrow was my winner), but it is a catchy song and one of the songs I’ve listened to the most in the following years.

Preuss
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Preuss

My least favourite entry from Sweden this decade to be honest although it’s still enjoyable and the song is catchy with great staging. Started the golden age for Sweden this decade. Curious if they can continue the streak in the 2020s!

KESC
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KESC

Well, as long as the juries vote, probably yes! 😀

Saoli
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Saoli

5.5/10? really? that is a crime. Popular is the song which made me interested in Eurovision. It hasn’t aged. It’s still working. And his vocals were bit shaky, i admit, but he’s better nowadays.

Liisa
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Liisa

I am happy that my country (Estonia) gave 12 points to it. This song is incredibly catchy and Eric is a talented singer.

Jo.
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Jo.

Cringe is the word for this one

Sodadream
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Sodadream

For all you hatari fans out there: one certain country in the middle east you guys keep on defending just announced a purge on the only lgbt organization in their country:
https://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-police-ban-palestinian-lgbt-group-from-holding-activities-in-west-bank/

Camp2TheBone
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Camp2TheBone

h a t a r i have no idea what they are talking about.

AAA
Guest
AAA

Sodadream, don’t worry, this is how things work. ESC fans are only protecting their fantasy and stereotypes. Real world has nothing to do with them. They are too busy booing Russia. As if…but this is what they’ve heard.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Yeah, I’ve already mentioned it, 2011 wasn’t really my favourite year. And this is perhaps next to “Heroes” my least favourite Swedish entry of the decade. Eric Saade isn’t a particularly gifted singer and I don’t now what to say about this song except for: dreadful. To me it was incomprehensible that Sweden missed the final with one of their best songs of the decade in 2010 and then almost won with this.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

(Filter got me again, so don’t be surprised if the same review appears twice) With drum part copied from Boney M’s “Rasputin”, awkward overcomplicated choreography, lyrics clearly written by a kindergartener, melody infecting your brain for decades and shuttering glass (!!!) how can you not love it? It started a new era for Sweden in Eurovision and for a reason. While previous entries were “miss” with either televote or the juries, Saade’s hit combined slick production, radio friendliness and distinguishable look, something we would often see in the following years – starting with “Euphoria”, going through “I Can’t Go On”… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Was just watching this one again yesterday. Slick and well-produced, a big comeback for Sweden that would set them on the course to being the superstars they once were again. I can’t even imagine what a relief it was for fans back then. As for the song itself, it’s fine enough. Sweden would get even better soon enough. 7/10.

Efraim
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Efraim

Why did he have a Poké Ball in the background during the choruses?

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Because pokemon is awesome. Why did Netta take her pikachu home? 😀

Efraim
Guest
Efraim

You have a point.

James
Guest
James

The performance was very flashy, in every sense of the word. Much like most of Sweden’s entries at the turn of the century though, “Popular” did not age well for me to listen to it while commuting to and from work; however, it is something that can get you up and running though every once in a while, just not all the time or risk getting unnecessary LSS when you go to sleep. I still don’t understand the Pokéball-like logo design in the backdrop. Is it even supposed to look like a pokéball? I do wanna give themprops in helping… Read more »

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

This is when Sweden turned around and started finetuning what the perfect ESC entry is. I loved this one and in my opinion it was far better than the eventual winner. Complete with stellar staging, this was one of 2011’s highlights.
8,5/10

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Any song would be better than the eventual winner really.