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Switzerland: SeBAlter – Hunter of Stars

  SeBAlter has turned over the favourite, Yasmina Hunzinger, and won tonight's Swiss final with his song Hunter of Stars. SeBAlter brings the musical flavour of the American deep-south to Eurovision with his Bluegrass/Country-inspired Hunter of Stars.  This is a real curveball of a song, as we can’t tell how Eurovision will take to this niche genre. Luckily, Bluegrass is quite a lively genre of music, so we can at least assume that viewers will be entertained by Switzerland’s entry.  Another positive is its originality.  It pays to standout at Eurovision, even more so if you’ve been drawn into the…

Review Overview

Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Historical Support Strength

Points-Hunter

The parts are nearly in place for a memorable Eurovision song; Hunter of Stars just needs fine tuning to ensure Switzerland present more of a threat in Copenhagen.

User Rating: 2.74 ( 19 votes)

 

SeBAlter has turned over the favourite, Yasmina Hunzinger, and won tonight’s Swiss final with his song Hunter of Stars.

SeBAlter brings the musical flavour of the American deep-south to Eurovision with his Bluegrass/Country-inspired Hunter of Stars.  This is a real curveball of a song, as we can’t tell how Eurovision will take to this niche genre.

Luckily, Bluegrass is quite a lively genre of music, so we can at least assume that viewers will be entertained by Switzerland’s entry.  Another positive is its originality.  It pays to standout at Eurovision, even more so if you’ve been drawn into the second half of semi-final two alongside many other countries that often face an uphill battle for qualification.  In that sense, Switzerland has chosen wisely.

The best place to start when assessing Hunter of Stars is by looking back and finding similar examples in recent Eurovision history.  SeBAlter’s song is slightly unorthodox, but I do reckon there are one or two comparable songs that might assist when plotting Switzerland’s course in Copenhagen.

Iceland’s Sjonni’s Friends comes to mind with their 2011 entry Coming Home. This Volksmusik tribute song to their recently departed band member earned them qualification with 100 points.  The tragic backstory did help, but its distinctive style ensured it stood out in a semi-final packed with upbeat songs and traditional ballads.  Unfortunately, Coming Home finished 20th in the final having accumulated just 61points.

In a similar style, Dino Merlin scored an impressive sixth place with his infectious, foot-tapping song, Love in Rewind.  Bosnia & Herzegovina’s entry was more folk-inspired, but still possessed that oom-pah rhythm.

The last time Switzerland sent something slightly different, Anna Rossinelli (2011 again!) qualified by a single point and finished last in the final.  I envisage a similar, if not slightly better result for SeBAlter, though there are much needed changes required first.

If this was the Eurovision Whistling Contest (new format now copywrited by me), SeBAlter would win.  Unfortunately for SeBAlter, this is a song contest with vocal ability quite high on the skills list (Lena excluded (as is Nigar Jamal)).

The garage band look is charming, as is the live instrumentation; it all ticks boxes.  What doesn’t work so well is the rather lazy timing and obvious vocal weakness.  Maybe his band mates could pitch in more?  Alternatively, they could replace the redundant keyboardist with a dedicated backing singer.

The parts are nearly in place for a memorable Eurovision song; Hunter of Stars just needs fine tuning to ensure Switzerland present more of a threat in Copenhagen.

A spanner in the works for Switzerland would be if Malta sends Firelight’s Coming Home.

What do you think of Switzerland’s entry?

  • Qualification History
  • Final Performance
  • Allies
Swizerland won the first ever Eurovision in 1956. Since the introduction of the new semi-final format, Switzerland have qualified 3 times in ten attempts. 30% qualification success.

Highest semi-final score: 114 (2005 – Vanilla Ninja, Cool Vibes)
Lowest semi-final score: 0 (2004 – Piero and the MusicStars, Celebrate)
Average semi-final finishing position: 13th (13.6)
Average semi-final score: 42 points

Switzerland has finished in the top-10 once since 2004.

Highest score (since 2004): 128 (2005 – Vanilla Ninja, Cool Vibes)
Lowest score (since 2004): 19 (2011 – Anna Rossinelli, In Love for a While)
Average final position: 16th
Average final score: 59 points

Average Points Received

Italy – 4.0
Finland – 3.7
UK – 3.5
Netherlands – 3.4
Austria – 3.2
Belgium – 3.1
Denmark – 3.1

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About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

11 comments

  1. A catchy, quirky song with country vibes and some skillful whistling which may attract some jury points. However, his stage presence is eccentric and zany, much like Andrius Pojavis, but with extra twitching. The song is generally understated in comparison to typical entries. Lots of improvement needed. The staging needs to be more busker and less silly country band. Probable non-qualifier assuming no new version or big staging shake up etc.

  2. He really lost it once they got to the clapping part. His timing fell to pieces. Many people won’t be forgiving of that in ESC, so he’s really got to practice his vocals, especially his pronunciation, which is barely understandable. Switzerland seem to have a bit of bad habit of sending singers with a very poor grasp of English.

    Your review is interesting Gav, but I think Coming Home in 2011 had a lot more heart (and far better vocals) going into it, and Anna Rossinelli was much more melodic and had sing-along appeal. I think Sebalter is a lot more comparable to Koza Mostra, but only about half as appealing, and from a country with less voting power.

    I’ll remain open minded pending any changes they make, but for now I stand by my gut reaction of non-qualifier. Only the unusually small semi finals might do them some favours.

  3. The live version is poor, his diction is awful in a lot of places and the best parts of the song are when he isn’t singing. Saying that it is catchy especially the whistling. Won’t rule it in or out yet for qualification.

  4. Will they stick with this version or will they change it to English?

  5. Someone was offering Switzeland to qualify (3,95) on betfair for 400 euros.While I was looking for info about the song, someone grabbed it. I am quite frustrated, 3,95 is a megavalue, it must have been an error.

  6. I highly doubt it. This song is in the latter half of the weaker semi with only 33,3 % non qualifiers. I am not saying I favor Switzeland chances this year, and I don’t like the song at all. But for anything above 3 I am ready to believe in their chances.

  7. Well they failed last year from a very favourable slot. Plus they had the European Salvation Army websites pushing them on the day of the semi-final. Still didn’t work.

    I doubt I’d take 3.95 at this point. I’d be waiting for a match at 5+.

    • To be fair, it did work. It’s the juries fault they didn’t qualify. 😛

    • Last year there were 42 % non qualifiers, now it’s only 33 %, that gap is not too far from the difference between their 41 point last year to the 63 points needed to qualify. Plus they were awful on stage and their slot was maybe not that amazing coming before that memorable vampire act 🙂

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