Time for a big one, a country who appeared to be one of the major benefactors of both the semi-final system and diaspora voting from migrant workers. Until last year, this country appeared to possess a similar level of invincibility as neighbour Greece, but there are no guarantees in Eurovision, and now Turkey has to re-think its strategy to get back on top.
Debuting in 1975, Turkey is experienced in the contest, but the first phase of its Eurovision career was a rather poor one, with only one top 10 finish to its name in its first 20 years. A top 3 finish in 1997 seemed to energise the nation, and its later results improved subtly, but top 10 hits were still tough to come by.
Then in Riga 2003 Turkey came out of nowhere to snatch an extremely narrow victory over Belgium with an amazingly catchy song by Sertab Erener. After this, their fortunes dramatically improved, and the majority of contests afterwards have seen Turkey in the top 10, with 100% qualification.
Perhaps they got cocky with a 2nd place finish in Oslo, but they certainly got rocky, and the subsequent cock-rock entry they sent last year was bemoaned by some who assumed Turkey would qualify whatever happened. This wasn’t to pass, and they missed their first final for nearly 20 years. So, what to do next?
Can Bonomo is a fresh-faced solo singer, with some watchability as demonstrated in his video, but why is he waving his arms so much? Calm down! The song is an unusual one. Turkey for sure are no strangers to using traditional instrumentation in their entries, and it seems they are going for the full on ethno-folk route. There’s a weird analogy to pirates or old-style ships at the least, and he uses his oddball dance and singing style to woo a girl back to him.
I’m really not sure how this will go down in Baku, they are looking to take the same audience as Moldova this year (which Moldova have frequently relied on to take them into the final). Fortunately for both countries, they are in separate semi-finals, though they might end up defeating each other if they both make it through.
Despite last year’s hiccup, I wouldn’t want to bet against Turkey qualifying, but I think a mid-table finish in the final is all they are likely to take home. For the record, I think I slightly prefer the Moldovan entry!
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