The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continue our journey through the 2010s by visiting 2017’s shock third-placers, Sunstroke Project from Moldova with their bridal-staged and shamelessly poppy entry “Hey Mamma”.
After Moldova’s appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with Sunstroke Project and their collaborator Olia Tira, band member Sergey Stepanov became somewhat famous for his thrusting moves pulled whilst playing the sax on stage. He became the Epic Sax Guy, where a ten-hour clip of his sax-solo on repeat emerged. They had come 22nd in the contest that year, but it didn’t stop people wanting more from the meme king.
The trio announced their return again to Moldova’s national final for 2017 and brought the fun and energetic “Hey Mamma”. The song stormed to victory in the national final, and was soon followed up by a cheeky and rather well produced music video. One thing nobody could have predicted though was how much the televote would love these guys, taking them from a less-than-perfect position from the juries to Moldova’s best ever result. Are the Wiwi Jury still tapping their feet along? Read on to find out…
Sunstroke Project – “Hey Mamma”
“Hey Mamma” reviews
Antranig: Eurovision 2017 was the weakest edition of the decade. I only loved one song in the final (Azerbaijan) but Moldova’s top-three result was my favourite moment of the night. The minnows of the east delivered some of the best staging of the decade, second only to “LoveWave” and “Zero Gravity”, and were completely worthy of their result. Bouquet microphones are among the best props of the decade too. “Hey Mamma” personifies everything I love about Eurovision.
Edd: “Hey Mamma” is undoubtedly my most surprising entry to reach the top the in the 2010s. Whilst the song may be fairly basic – both musically and lyrically – one can never underestimate the power of the sax. What’s more, the stage show was absolutely on point – the funky foot stomping looked almost as memetastic as the original epic sax moves, and the brides add to the “wtf” factor. All in all, a very Moldovan affair, and whilst I do prefer their 2010 entry, it’s great to see there’s still a place for guilty pleasures in Eurovision.
Lukas: Sunstroke Project returned with a bang and well deserved third place overall. This song is so fun and catchy that to this day I can’t get it out of my head. The performance is very entertaining and who could not love the Epic Sax Guy who impressed us all for the second time. We need more songs like this one in the Eurovision because party songs are never too much.
Natalie: Moldova, we love you so much. I remember writing this one off as pretty much a borderline qualifier leading up to the contest. I was an idiot. It was amazing. The choreography was perfect, the sax riff was so good, and the charm of the band shone through so much that I forgot “Run Away” had even happened. I’m still a bit iffy about the song’s theme, but I can totally respect how much Sunstroke Project put into this, and third place is a very handsome and well-deserved reward
Katie: Sunstroke Project are the perfect example of how a comeback goes right. When I listen to “Hey Mamma”, the Epic Sax Guy meme isn’t what first comes to mind. His part in the chorus feels so natural and the choreography involving the saxophone works so well. Nothing about the song is forced, or presented as “Run Away 2.0”. That being said, it’s important that they embraced the meme-factor so that they didn’t take themselves too seriously onstage. It allowed them to have fun. Though the live vocals leave a lot to be desired, their comeback song is modern and fresh and has earned its rightful place in the playlist of any good Eurovision party. I hope to hear “Hey Mamma” at many a Euroclub night to come.
Tom: Hey! Hey you! I was very nervous when the Sunstroke Project returned as they were such a hit back in 2010. I was cringing when I first heard the song and saw the video. Basic. Of course there was going to be a sax solo in the middle and it was obvious that it was going to be the focus of the song. Been there, done it. HOWEVER, only when I saw them sing “Hey Mamma” live did the penny drop and they took me back to why I loved “Run Away” in the first place. They are infectious, they are fun, they don’t take themselves too seriously and they get everyone moving! Every year there needs to be a song like this. 100% entertainment.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
Angus: 4 /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 3 and a high of 9.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.23/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!