🗳️ Our ESC 250 votes: Isabelle

🗳️ Our ESC 250 votes: Isabelle

Voting for the annual ESC 250 celebration closed on the 4th of December 2022, and now we have a nervous wait to find out the results! The event is hosted by songfestival.be, with the results revealed from 11:00CET on 31st December 2022 on ESC Radio to close out the year. Find out more about it here!

While we wait to find out the official results, members of the TES team will be sharing their votes for this year and explaining the reason for their picks. Isabelle is first up to reveal how they voted…

1 point: “Non mi avete fatto niente” – Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro (Italy, 2018)

A new entry in my ESC 250 (though it did make my shortlist last year), ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’ sets the tone for the rest of this year’s list. Poetic Italian lads raging against the wrongs of the world, honestly one of my favourite genres of lad. Their voices are so good together and the lyrics go so hard. ‘Questa è la mia vita che va avanti’ (‘This is my life that goes on’) feels so fierce to me as a trans person living in this hellish timeline. Every time I thought about replacing this with something else, I remembered the chills I get from the line: ‘Perché la nostra vita non è un punto di vista / E non esiste bomba pacifista’ (‘Because our life is not a point of view / And there is no pacifist bomb’). Oof, every time.

2 points: “Shum” – Go_A (Ukraine, 2021)

I gave ‘Shum’ my eight points last year, and this modern twist on a traditional folk spring song remains my idea of a perfect Eurovision entry. I had the exquisite pleasure of seeing Go_A live in both London and Reykjavík this year – if you get the chance, go. They weave magic.

3 points: “Rise Like a Phoenix” – Conchita Wurst (Austria, 2014)

Talk about a perfect Eurovision song! This is the flagship performance, the first video I show anyone new to the contest, and an iconic moment in my personal history. As I mused on a friend’s podcast earlier this year, I wonder how many other baby queers felt seen by Conchita’s defiance in this moment? ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ falls a couple of places this year, but retains a spot in my top ten for its glorious, theatrical beauty.

4 points: “Soldi” – Mahmood (Italy, 2019)

Moving up a spot from last year, and the first of several songs from 2019 to make this list, ‘Soldi’ gives me so much of what I love: poetic rap, North African pop, absent father-related melancholia set to an irresistible beat. I love hearing Arabic at Eurovision, even if it’s mispronounced. And Mahmood has such a compelling stage presence, I can’t help but hope he keeps returning to the contest.

5 points: “Áz én apám” – Joci Pápai (Hungary, 2019)

Our first non-qualifier [sobs quietly], and another new entry for me, ‘Áz én apám’ is like the antidote to ‘Soldi.’ A lullaby-like ode to a wonderful parent-child relationship, if the opening line, ‘Az én apám úgy nevelt, mint a szél,’ (‘My father raised me like the wind’) doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a rare day that this doesn’t reduce me to tears. The strings and the chorus bring that folk energy for which we love Joci so much. I want Hungary to return to the contest purely in the hope that he’ll grace us for a third time, honestly.

6 points: “Birth Of A New Age” – Jeangu Macrooy (Netherlands, 2021)

Speaking of great injustices… I will *never* forgive the ESC jury and televoters for not paying ‘Birth Of A New Age’ its due. Jeangu gave us poetry, an anthem to ancestral resilience, the catchiest chorus in a language new to the majority of people hearing it, and just one of the most beautiful and unique songs to ever grace the contest. I adore the studio cut, but I think I love the edgier live performance even more. There’s a ferocity to Jeangu’s delivery of the verses, and his pleasure at being on the stage is palpable. ‘You are the rage that melts the chains’ is one of my all-time favourite lyrics. This is a non-mover for me!

7 points: “LoveWave” – Iveta Mukuchyan (Armenia, 2016)

Moving up three places… I don’t know how to explain to you the cultural importance that ‘LoveWave’ has for me. An impassioned ode to becoming, lyrically and musically it feels more like a trans anthem with every re-listen. The duduk break never fails to give me shivers. I dream of more West Asian instrumentation at Eurovision. Have I mentioned yet that I am Persian? I am Persian.

8 points: “Zitti e buoni” – Måneskin (Italy, 2021)

Slipping down by a single place from last year, it’s my baby children whom I birthed from my own loins. Måneskin gave me something I never thought I’d get from Eurovision: a rock song I love with the passion of a thousand burning suns. To be clear, I was raised on rock, it is one of the foundations of my passion for music. But rock at ESC has mostly left me cold. ‘Zitti e buoni’ reminds me sonically of Led Zeppelin, beloved of my teenage heart, but with the enticing addition of poetic Italian rap (I HAVE A TYPE, OK) with a punk attitude. This might actually be the greatest live ESC performance of all time, in my book. If you’d told me in 2017 I’d become such an Italy stan, I’d have thrown you out of my house tbh. But here we are.

10 points: “Fulenn” – Alvan & Ahez (France, 2022)

Alvan & Ahez, my everything, my much-maligned compatriots! ‘This is a new entry, obviously. ‘Fulenn’ deserved the world at ESC this year and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever recover. France sent an ethnic banger in a minority language, at last, and got paid dust! I may be three vodkas deep as I type this, but I am slamming my fists on my desk, sobbing at the injustice. Yes, on the one hand, nothing can rival the studio cut, which a friend described most accurately as ‘opening his third eye.’ On the other hand, this staging was so atmospheric, their costumes gorgeous, the movement dynamic – the whole thing so culturally representative and creatively fresh and current. I will never shut up about it. Did I mention that I am French? I am French.

Special mentions

Before I reveal my 12 points, I need to give a special shout-out to eight entries that each came close to knocking another song out of my top ten. They are: ‘Loco Loco’ by Hurricane (Serbia, 2021), ‘Sámiid Ædnan’ by Sverre Kjellsberg & Mattis Hætta (Norway, 1980), ‘The Voice’ by Eimear Quinn (Ireland, 1996), ‘Með hækkandi sól’ by Systur (Iceland, 2022), ‘Stripper’ by Achille Lauro (San Marino, 2022), ‘Brividi’ by Mahmood & Blanco (Italy, 2022), ‘Ela’ by Andromache (Cyprus, 2022) and ‘Oniro Mou’ by Yianna Terzi (Greece, 2018). Whether filling me with camp joy, sounding a protest cry, or soothing my spirit, these were never far from my mind nor my playlists this year.

And Isabelle’s 12 points go to… “Hatrið mun sigra” – Hatari (Iceland, 2019)

Keeping the top spot in my ESC 250, it’s my favourite award-winning anti-capitalist BDSM techno-dystopian performance art collective, Hatari! I can no longer conceive of a world before them. Spotify says I went from being in the top 0.05% to the top 0.01% of Hatari listeners this year. ‘Hatrið mun sigra’ rewired my brain permanently, I guess. I regret nothing.

Listen to our collective ESC 250 playlist on Spotify

Enjoy our collective ESC 250 playlist on YouTube

Now that Isabelle has revealed their votes for ESC 250 this year, what do you think of their picks? Who received your 12 points this year? As always, please let us know what you think by commenting below. Be sure to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and TikTok for all of the latest Eurovision news.

News source: That Eurovision Site

Photo credit: EBU / Corinne Cumming

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