Fun Lists

My Eurovision 2022 Top Ten and the Books They Make Me Think Of

“The circus arrives without warning.”

First line in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It’s Eurovision week! Even better, it’s the day of the Grand Final, and as a Eurovision fan, I just had to write about something Eurovision-related today. I’ve chosen to very simply share my top ten from this year and pair them with a book. There are definitely some songs this year that immediately made me think of a specific book, and the rest was a fun challenge.
Anyway, before I get into my top ten, I have something to say about my own country’s song which is The Show performed by the band Reddi.

I didn’t think it was possible for us to be worse than last year but apparently, our broadcaster took that as a challenge. The songs we had to choose from were nowhere near Grand Final material, let alone winning material, and The Show was literally the best one. It’s not a bad song and they are better live than some of the acts in the final, it’s just not something for Eurovision. And I do have positive things to say about it. For one, it’s in English. I know a lot of people hate it when countries chose English, but that’s not me. I don’t care what everybody else does; Denmark needs to sing in English and I’m relieved we returned to that after the Danish song last year. Another good thing about the song is that they seem to have understood a major part of the assignment that so many other countries forgot this year: Don’t send ballads to Eurovision! (!!)

It’s not exactly the best Eurovision year, but 2021 was also so good that it shouldn’t have been possible. I can’t expect every year to be like that but I have to admit that I had higher hopes. Damiano didn’t shout it to the whole world that Rock’n’Roll never dies, only for us to get a shit-ton of ballads the year after. OR for the juries to eliminate half the upbeat songs in the semifinals! It was a struggle to pick ten songs that I liked for this post, so I don’t even want to say that I’d be happy if any of them won, and I don’t have the same passion for one song as I had for MΓ₯neskin last year.

And on that note, you’re about to learn that my unpopular opinions don’t just pertain to books (please don’t hate me if I don’t include your country).

#10 – Norway
Give That Wolf a Banana by Subwoolfer

Unfortunately, I really like this song, and I say unfortunately because I absolutely hate all the gimmicks around Subwoolfer. They’ve gone to great lengths to make sure everything is a joke, and it’s just a little too over the top for me. The song, though, is the catchiest thing ever and I like the dancing.

The song is basically about Little Red Riding Hood but with a focus on the wolf, so what book does that make me think of? Red Rising by Pierce Brown, not only because of the red references but also because there is a very important group in that book that names themselves The Howlers and who wear wolfcoats. There was just no other book I could match this crazy song with.

#9 – Spain
SloMo by Chanel

One of the bigger favorites that I just can’t place any higher. It gets points for being uptempo and the whole performance is really something, but those lyrics? I just don’t see them as part of a winning song, and I’m kinda glad I don’t understand Spanish. It’s also not higher on my list because it’s not a song I find myself wanting to listen to all that often.

Picking a book was hard here because I definitely don’t have a book that matches those lyrics. So I’m focusing on the Spanish being used in the song because do you know where Spanish is an official language? In Peru. And do I know of a book that takes place in Peru? Yes, The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (my logic totally works).

#8 – Albania
Sekret by Ronela Hajati

Ah, the first non-qualifier for the Final on my list (yes, there will be more). This hurt but I also somewhat understand it. The staging didn’t do it any favors and I’ve heard her vocals better. That said, this is a proper Eurovision song! And a song you can tell immediately is Eastern European which I love. It has a very unique sound that makes it stand out. My problem with the song itself is a weird one because I know she changed the song slightly since being chosen as Albania’s entry, and I simply prefer the first version and not the one she performed. She changed some lyrics from Albanian to English (which you know from above isn’t a problem in and of itself), but the English ones are super generic so I don’t understand that choice. If you want to make it a point that listeners understand you, then you should say something important!

It’s very hard for me to find a book for these sexual songs, so I need you to hear me out when I say this reminds me of Maurice by E. M. Forster. The lyrics describe a secret love affair from the past that Ronela is reminiscing (in great detail), but the point also is that it’s kind of forbidden and she trusts the lover to keep it a secret. That’s also a theme in Maurice, kind of (it’s all I have).

#7 – France
Fulenn by Alvan and Ahez

Had their live performance been better, they would have been my number one. I adore the studio version, and it’s definitely the song I’ve been listening to the most out of all of these. It’s epic, it’s mysterious, it’s a vibe. I love it!

The song has strong witchy vibes and it is quite literally about dancing with the devil in a forest, so this is without a doubt the easiest song for a fantasy reader to pair with a book. So I’ve picked Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, a book about witches set in something that looks like France. They even share some of that female empowerment thing, and their outfits match the book cover. It’s like they were actually inspired by that book.

#6 – Cyprus
Ela by Andromache

Another non-qualifier but after the live performance, I’m not super surprised, although I would still rather have seen this in the final than some of the others *cough* Belgium *cough*. It does feel like a proper Eurovision song and it has a strong chorus, but I think the decision to have her stand in the exact same spot in weird lighting hurt its chances. And, well, at least I now have the mental image of the Greek jury being in utter despair because they can’t give Cyrpus their 12 points in the Final.

The song is about the healing power of love, and maybe it’s that combined with the ethereal qualities of both the melody and the lyrics that make me think of Clary and Jace from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. The song has several references to “lucid dreams” and some of the Greek lyrics even say “get wings and fly”, and I felt I had to choose something about angels. I don’t actually remember which book in the series is the more appropriate so let’s just go with City of Lost Souls.

#5 – Estonia
Hope by Stefan

This song just makes me happy. How do you listen to that and not feel better? For some reason, I often have a thing for Estonia, even when nobody else does, so I’m always especially excited to see what they bring and they didn’t disappoint. I think the lyrics are amazing as he sings about staying strong and staying true to yourself in the face of adversity. And then he also has a nice voice. I was actually fully prepared for this one to be a non-qualifier, but I’m so happy so many other people saw what I did. I was afraid the staging would be too simple because he’s all alone on that giant stage, but he made use of all of it.

When choosing a book for this, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the Western vibes that are very strong within the song. I’ve read exactly one Western series so my choice is Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. I’d say some of the lyrics could also be read in a religious context and that also fits very well with the main character in that book, Waxilium, who is quite religious.

#4 – Australia
Not the Same by Sheldon Riley

Yes, a ballad has found its way onto my list and I think it’s time to reveal that I have a thing for melancholy men. The song is emotional as heck because of Riley’s voice, and it’s just giving me chills. I love how the lyrics start off with him just singing about himself and how he didn’t fit, but then they change to him telling everyone they should accept people like him. It’s based on his life as queer and neurodivergent.

The book I’m choosing here is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, not only because of the queerness but also because both song and book share that theme of being on the outside looking in on a life they can’t be a part of and how you deal with that.

#3 – Austria
Halo by LUM!X feat. Pia Maria

Another one of those “if they’d been better live, they’d probably have been my number one” (or just qualified for the final). However, the vibe of this is just too good to ignore! How do you not move to this song? It makes Eurovision what it needs to be: A party!

As for the book, well, I could have gone with something angelic, but the lyrics have a couple of references to Greek myths, so I’m going with Circe by Madeline Miller. It also fits well with the female empowerment theme of the song because Circe is one of the most independent and resourceful characters I’ve ever read about.

#2 – Poland
River by Ochman

OMG, THE STAGING! 😍 Anyway, remember what I said about melancholy men? There was just no resisting this one for me. I love how it sounds like your typical ballad in the verses but then it picks up in the chorus, and then you have those high (!) notes that he has hit perfectly every single time I’ve heard him perform the song.

My choice of book is based on me hearing a depressing song about water so I’m thinking of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a YA story following a group of young people during World War II. The meaning behind the song is actually more uplifting and not super fitting as it’s about letting the “river” carry away your worries about the future because fretting about it is useless. Still, you can say that there’s no use in trying to plan out your future because you never know when something (not necessarily a World War) is going to blow it out of the water.

#1 – Romania
LlΓ‘mame by WRS

It took me a while to get this one, but now I’m obsessed with it! I can’t explain it. It’s not something I’d usually listen to, but I think the performance enhances it. It’s definitely my favorite choreographed dance number of the year. It’s like it’s sexy and sophisticated at the same time. He’s not going to win, I know that, but I’m going to spend all my 20 votes on him anyway.

The title is in Spanish and means “Call Me”… So what could I choose but Call Me by Your Name by AndrΓ© Aciman? The song itself is also about hiding a relationship, so I think the book fits perfectly.

The Grand Final is tonight so depending on when you read this, you might already know that none of the songs on my list won. It’s not that I hate any of the songs that are in the running to win and I will accept any of them, although if it’s Sweden, I need a few days to mourn before I’m ready to say that out loud.
Now to the most important part: Who do YOU want to win? What do you think of my top ten? Have I offended too many Europeans with this post? But I hope you enjoyed this! Now I’m off to prepare to root for Romania for four hours!

12 thoughts on “My Eurovision 2022 Top Ten and the Books They Make Me Think Of

  1. All your worries about only having a day to finish this up were totally unfounded because this post was epic! 🀩 I had so much fun listening and really enjoyed getting your thoughts, as well as all the book pairings. The Bedlam Stacks one in particular was a mood; I totally think your reasoning is valid there! 🀣

    As for my own favorite – it’s Estonia, hands down (although France is a close contender because I just can’t resist witchy vibes, apparently 😁). So I’m really glad to see it rank so highly for you as well! πŸ₯° Confession time: I don’t care all that much about how people stage their stuff. As long as the song has good lyrics and a melody that is intricate rather than consisting of the same three chords over and over again (** I’m looking at you, Germany πŸ™„ **), I’m happy with simple! I just thought that song was so beautifully melancholy and hopeful at the same time… Even if I don’t really see it as having strong Western influences, but more as a song that encourages you to stay strong in the face of oppression. (Also, I feel like the song definitely fits into the “melancholy men” category, too, so you’re probably not alone on that front πŸ˜…)

    However, I also agree with you that last year’s selection was better. (Even though I am still not convinced by MΓ₯neskin’s greatness and think Ukraine was robbed of winning… πŸ˜…)

    Countries singing in English are still the worst, though 😜 Especially if the country in question is German-speaking. I JUST CAN’T STAND THAT TERRIBLE ACCENT! And besides, seeing the diversity of all the different cultures is so fun! Why do we need to ruin it by selecting the blandest, most uninspired English pop song ever? I mean, sure, it’s preferable to last year’s entry by a thousand fold, but I still feel like the contest would be way more interesting if everyone would just stop feeling the need to sing in EnglishπŸ˜•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you approve of my book choice for Spain 😁 Seriously, that song is primarily about her butt – How was I going to find a book for that??

      I wouldn’t say I care a lot about the staging but it’s just extremely important in a competition like this. Like, Albania’s staging ruined its chances this year because it wasn’t pleasant to watch. Then people can’t enjoy the song.
      I’m really happy you like Estonia, though, because I’ve felt pretty alone in that πŸ˜„ However, I’m so confused you don’t hear the Western vibes. The staging is basically shouting it and meant to highlight what is already in the song πŸ˜…

      And well, you’ll probably get a Ukraine win this year instead. It seems like nobody really knows how many pity-votes they are going to get.

      Well, the countries-singing-in-English thing is a topic I’m very passionate about so I’m sorry for this next bit. My opinion is that it’s a bit ignorant to insist everyone sing in their own language because people from other countries don’t know what the language means to the people who speak it. And yes, Denmark is a prime example. Maybe it’s because nobody else speaks Danish, but our language is heavily connected to nationalism. We use English a lot, so while it’s not an official language, it might as well be. So when someone insists that Danish is the better language for Eurovision when English is the more logical option, I KNOW that they’re national conservatives, meaning that picking a Danish song is giving the national conservatives a win and we don’t need to do that! Which is why I’ll never hate a song for being in English – They probably have a very good reason. And isn’t the German guy basically American? I feel that’s a pretty good reason to choose English πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, if you hadn’t decided to steer clear of Sarah J. Maas’ books, I’m sure you could have found some extra spicy butt references to pair that song with… 😜 Still, The Bedlam Stacks was probably a much better choice!

        And, I mean – after you pointed it out, I do kind of see the Western vibes πŸ˜… It’s just that I absolutely did not notice any of that when I first watched the performance πŸ™ˆ So now I’m stuck with the initial context I built from those scenes, which was this sort of bleak, dystopian future. But I think I can tell you exactly how this happened: I just absolutely depise Westerns. Seriously, I have yet to find a single movie or book with that setting that I like! Even Wax and Wayne ranks pretty low on my Sanderson scale πŸ˜… So I guess my brain just edited all of that Western stuff out so I could enjoy the song more? 😁

        I really don’t want a pity Ukraine win, though! I mean, their song isn’t awful, but compared to last years, I find it very mediocre… They should have gotten the win when they deserved it!

        Hmm, I guess from that perspective, the singing in English thing does make sense πŸ€” (Although maybe it also wouldn’t hurt to submit some super liberal Danish song that would annoy your conservatives anyway, so that I could still have my language-nerd moment… 😁) It’s not that I would ever INSIST that everyone sing in their native language anyway, but I just kind of wish more people did because I usually find those songs so much more interesting! πŸ₯° So many of the English ones sound like every pop song ever! (Although there are exceptions – I mean, I like Estonia’s entry, so…) And yeah, I think the German guy has an American parent, so his English is among the better examples, even if you can still hear a slight accent… But generally, Germany always seems to want to produce English songs, even when the songwriters and singers don’t really have a grasp on the language. There are so many terrible things on the radio here that I’m like: Please stick to a language you can actually speak! πŸ˜… And I guess I’m annoyed that they also promote those types of songs at Eurovision πŸ˜‚

        But anyway, have fun watching the finale, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed against a Sweden win for you! (Nope, I don’t want them to win, either. But that’s mostly because I think their song sounds way too similar to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s Shallow for me to not compare them, and, I’m sorry, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga just did it better 😁)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If that’s the price for avoiding Sarah J. Maas, then I’m fine with that πŸ˜‚

        I also don’t like Westerns, although music like that sometimes does something for me. But you’re right, the Wax and Wayne books aren’t the best, and I do kind of like that you had the staging pegged as a dystopian future πŸ˜„ I mean, who can really tell the difference between a Western and a dystopian setting.

        SO many pity votes…

        We can’t do super liberal either because our broadcaster still thinks only old people watch Eurovision so they don’t pick songs like that (wonder why we’ve failed to have a good song since 2018 πŸ™„). So we have to choose the English songs. And I don’t hate that countries choose other languages. I mean, in Spain and Albania’s case this year, I was actually relieved I didn’t understand what they were singing πŸ˜… But yes, Germany could easily just do it in German. You even have the advantage of having a lot of other countries understand you or even just recognize the language. It’s a bit more of a risk for smaller countries to do that. I AM sorry for your last place though! You at least deserved to finish higher than Switzerland because it still baffles me what that song was doing in the final.

        I hadn’t made the Shallow connection to Sweden but you’re so right! As I was watching the show though, I was more worried that the UK was going to win. I hadn’t even thought that was a possibility because I thought we had a deal! We don’t vote for the UK! Their arrogance can’t handle it πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sounds like your broadcaster could use a whiff of modernity, too πŸ€”πŸ˜‚

        Hmm, I actually don’t think there was much of a difference in quality between Germany and Switzerland – I might even like the Swiss song a bit more πŸ˜… However, I just watched the video to go along with it and think I have to take back what I said about staging not being important – WTF was that weird broken heart light show?? 😳

        And yeah, maybe we should be glad that Ukraine got all those pity votes because I definitely prefer them over the UK 😁 My bitterness over Brexit and how their fans acted during the Euros is not going away anytime soon…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. LINEEE!!! I just saw this post and I feel like you read my mind because I have a post just like this scheduled!! I was going to go on about countries singing in their own language being better but after reading your entire comment thread with Naemi I get your point. HOWEVER, I still love hearing songs in the different languages, it’s probably my favourite part of the festival.

    We have quite a few similarities in favourites, we simply do not agree when it comes to ballads… Also, I’m happy seeing Spain’s entry here, because I hadn’t been able to get behind it for a few years, and loved Chanel’s performance. I see the issue of the lyrics going around (believe me, it’s been a whole thing in Spain) but I personally have no problems with them. I’m aware I’m in the minority but sexual lyrics are very much present everywhere and she’s comfortable singing them so, good for her.

    I didn’t remember Albania’s song but I had to check it again just because you paired it to Maurice! Turns out I like it fine enough even if it’s not a fave but I think I might have missed it in the semi-finals.

    I also wished Austria had qualified over some coutries that did but oh well… And I 100% agree on Romania’s song. I don’t understand how they didn’t rank higher, I simply cannot comprehend it. And although we very much disagree on Ukraine (I loved the song ever since I first heard it) we definitely do agree that Sweden just… wasn’t it.

    I think it’s obvious but I adored this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s just not enough Eurovision content in the bookish community, so I’m only all too excited to hear that you will be providing some! 🀩

      And I really do understand the love for different languages in Eurovision. I just think that in some cases the discourse around it has become “English=bad song”, and I think the discussion should be more nuanced than that.

      It also did hurt me a little to include the ballads on my list but they just made me feel so much that I had no choice πŸ˜… I didn’t know about the controversy about Chanel’s lyrics within Spain, but now that you mention it, it doesn’t surprise me. And I’ll say that it’s not that I mind the lyrics being sexual but more that I would like a Eurovision-winning song to have more of a profound message. Not that it needs to be super deep and it can still be sexual, but I need more than “I’m hot”, you know. Like I actually think Albania managed that. Then again, Spain was probably my second favorite performance of the night (after Romania), and out of the four songs that could win in the end, I was rooting for Spain the most, so the lyrics were not that important, I guess πŸ˜„

      But I’m so glad we agree on Romania! The crowd was really into it so I was so sure it would get more points from the public 😞 And despite the many votes I gave them, it wasn’t enough for Denmark to give them any points, so that made me even more upset! How could people not vote for it?!?

      Anyway, I’m so excited to read your post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right on the need for nuance. I actually never thought of it like that because for me there’s no question that Spain’s song shouldn’t be in English (it could, however, be in another of the official languages of Spain, and that’s where the sociopolitical discussion lies in Spain when it comes to language πŸ˜“), but I found your take really interesting. I will be keeping that in mind next year for sure!

        It’s not that I hate all the ballads that were presented (Portugal’s entry is something I could see myself listening to), it’s just that I prefer upbeat or weird songs for this occasion. And yeah, SloMo’s lyrics have been a recurring theme for months and I’m tired. I get that you (not you in particular, you as in people in general) might not like them, but that really shouldn’t be an excuse to disminish Chanel’s hard work. As long as she’s not being forced to sing something she doesn’t feel comfortable, I simply do not mind πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ But yeah, I totally understand why you’d prefer a different message for the winner, even if I don’t personally mind.

        Not to sound like the million conspiracy theorists I’ve seen for the past two days on twitter but, Romania was robbed!!! The song was super fun and the performance was really enjoyable so I’m totally shocked it didn’t rank higher. I can totally see this being a banger all summer long, so its place in the ranking makes no sense.

        Liked by 1 person

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