Netflix's new comedy boasts a number of original songs inspired by a world of music. Ella Kemp sorts the bad from the bangers...
Two hours of kitsch comedy is an enormous ask for any audience member – particularly when the film, like Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams' new Netflix musical comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, relies so heavily on a soundtrack of original songs.
But what songs! And so here we are: an objective ranking of all 12 musical numbers from a soundtrack that basically has it all. Heartbreak, euphoria, confusion, humiliation: these songs capture the essence and spirit of the competition without ever succumbing to outright parody. From worst to best, these are the songs of Eurovision Song Contest…
12. “Coolin’ with Da Homies” by Johnny John John (Sweden)
It’s as bad as it sounds. Generic R&B in which a perfectly respectable young man raps about “Volcanoes on my chest/Just like I’m Kim West.” What does he mean? And why does he sing it while flashing his abs? I don’t understand. I’m not angry – just upset.
11. “Hit My Itch” by Dalibor Jinsky (San Marino)
The song sounds perfectly fine, a respectable semi-final entry. But, sorry, what? What is that title? And an all-white tuxedo, in this economy? We can all do better.
10. “Fool Moon” by The Wonderful (Finland)
If you like Paramore circa 2017, this might work for you. Forgettable pastel-soaked pop-rock, but the singer has a great fringe. Good for her.
9. “Come and Play – Masquerade” by Mita Xenakis (Greece)
“We’re stuck in this world of madness,” Melissanthi Mahut sings, which, as they say, is a mood. Somewhere between Tron and Moulin Rouge!, this one is a little too sexy, not quite convincing enough.
8. “Jaja Ding Dong” by Fire Saga (Iceland)
It’s all the small village wants, but they really should be aiming higher. ‘”Jaja Ding Dong” isn’t bad, a dead ringer for the best showstopper at your favourite village fête, with its ping-ponging accordion rhythm and four-syllable gospel – but there is life beyond the village!
7. “In the Mirror” by Katiana Lindsottir (Iceland)
Demi Lovato came to sing some big notes, prove that no one sings big notes better than she can, and considered her work done. We only get a snippet of “In the Mirror,” which is a shame – because those notes are very big and I’m sure the lyrics are nice too.
6. “Runnin’ with the Wolves” by Moon Fang (Belarus)
There always has to be one satanic bop – “Runnin’ with the Wolves” is an obvious and accomplished tribute to “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” the 2006 classic that put Finland’s Lordi on the map. Moon Fang do their best – a specific shout-out to the singer with purple hair. She’ll go far.
5. “Double Trouble” by Fire Saga (Iceland)
Fire Saga hedge all their bets on “Double Trouble,” which makes sense – Sigrit’s voice gets to shine, the chorus is upbeat enough to demand some inoffensive head-bopping. But the lyrics ultimately prevent this one from really flying. As do the production mishaps.
4. “Lion of Love” by Alexander Lemtov (Russia)
It is impossible to remain unphased as Dan Stevens belts an operatic giddy guitar banger as the gloriously camp Alexander Lemtov. He sings of “a gazelle with a flirtatious smile” while male dancers in skin-tight gold shorts roll around the stage. I do not know what to do with myself.
3. “Volcano Man” by Fire Saga (Iceland)
A completely solid offering, with outstanding production value and incomparably serious showmanship. Ferrell’s vocals balance McAdams’ with pantomimic weight, while the characterisation of the eponymous hero is wonderful. Extra points for the costumes.
2. “Husavik” by Sigrit Ericksdottir (Iceland)
I have rewatched this performance three times and have failed to do so without crying. It has everything The Greatest Showman’s “Never Enough” had, which is to say it is one of the greatest ballads I have ever heard. A perfect representation of what Eurovision can do so right, while subverting tradition and getting you right in the gut with the sheer conviction of it all. Stunning.
1. “The Song-A-Long” by Eurovision Alumni (worldwide)
Cher. ABBA. Celine Dion. The Black Eyed Peas. Somehow, every good song to have ever been in the Eurovision Song Contest – or at least those that sound like they should have been – come together for this marvellous mashup, the “song-a-long,” The most euphoric thing I have ever seen or heard. It’s teeming with actual alumni from the show’s history, which explains why the whole thing, from start to finish, feels like a masterpiece. No contest.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is now streaming on Netflix. You can read Ella's full review here.