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Go East? Er, no thanks….

Posted by Caroline on February 23, 2012

Why are we beginning to get the distinct impression that the Eurovision crown may be heading back westwards this year? Could it have something to do with this trio of not-quite-so-lovelies which were chosen over the weekend perchance? Let’s start with the Ukrainian entry this year, Gaitana’s Be My Guest which swept to a blindingly obvious victory last Saturday during a national final in which the judges greeted all the other entries with polite applause and slightly bored expressions, only to break into a rapturous standing ovation when our winner had finished her song. Anyway, Be My Guest is an anthemic little dance number aimed at welcoming visitors to the country for the forthcoming Euro 2012 championships (as in those which Poland is co-hosting, and which resulted in them saying they were too busy to take part in Eurovision this year. Yes. That’ll be it. Not even partially a discreet flounce based upon the fact you came LAST IN THE ENTIRE CONTINENT IN 2011.). And Gaitana is part Ukrainian, part Congolese. Hang on a second. Football anthem? Part Congolese? Didn’t France do this in 2010? Oh whatever. It’s not their finest hour, but this is Ukraine, who as we all know could sneeze in a bucket for three minutes and still make the final:

 

 

Probably the less said about the next two the better. Latvia came up with an utterly bizarre final on Saturday night which made us almost long for the ridiculousness of UK rap acts and, er, Scooch as a cavalcade of mad people dressed in Willy Wonka costumes, medievally dressed bands playing the lute and a woman wearing a giant wedding cake took to the stage. But the eventual winner was this, the slightly tongue-in-cheek Beautiful Song by Anmary. Bit of a divisive effort this one, with some actually quite liking it and others failing to see the irony behind lyrics which include ‘I was born in a distant 1980, the year that Irish Johnny Logan won’. (what, not 1987?) Er, yes, and I was born in 1971, the year that Monaco scored their one and only victory, what of it?? On this basis, we are already looking forward to Eurovision 2042, which may well feature a song that begins, ‘I was born in 2012, the year that Latvia single-handedly failed to make it out of the semi-final yet again:

 

And then we have Georgia’s effort, in which Anri Jokhadze informs us ‘I’m A Joker’. You are indeed, aren’t you? Ahem.

 

Still, there was one redeeming feature over the weekend, and that was the lovely Nina Badric from Croatia revealing her entry Nebo, aka Heaven. Not a lot to say about this since we didn’t have the added entertainment of a national final to sit through but this is a nicely stirring ballad which may yet redeem the Eastern Bloc. And we bet she’ll belt it out on the night.

And on that note we are off for a nice lie-down…..

Posted in Croatia, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

My Big Fat Weekend Round-Up (Part 1)…..

Posted by Caroline on February 27, 2011

Phew, what a weekend it’s been so far! Snacks have been consumed, drinks have been drunk and songs have been chosen by the bucketload.  And it all kicked off on Friday with Turkey revealing its entry for Dusseldorf. Now the law of averages dictates that since the Turks fielded a hairy man-band last year, 2011 should have been their year to send some winsome coiffeured diva singing a spot of ethno-pop – and as such, they have, er, fielded another hairy man-band. Yuksek Sadakat have come up with a decidedly retro sounding rock anthem entitled Live It Up, complete with guitars, bleepy keyboard breaks and somewhat dated lyrics which make lots of references to rock’n’roll and the radio. An acquaintance of ours claims to be ‘obsessed’ with this song, and while we wouldn’t go that far we do rather like its anthemic sound and pleasingly nostalgic feel, and we have no doubt it will breeze through to the final and stay there. But let’s be honest, the Turks could send a flatulent donkey playing the nose-flute for two and a half minutes and they would still make it to the final:

Also making a welcome return to the fray on Friday were Austria who bypassed the option of choosing a song by Sting’s son Joe Sumner in favour of  Nadine Beiler and her big ballad The Secret Of Love. There aren’t a lot of ballads around this year (well there’s Lithuania but the less said about that the better – more of that later however….) – possibly because so many were entered and flopped dismally last year – so this one could potentially stand out from the pack, particularly since Nadine has a strikingly good voice. But the song is as cliched as they come, right down to harmonies and appropriate key changes, and for all the world sounds as though it could have walked straight out of any mid-90s contest. Could be a popular one with the juries though, even if it does inspire fans across the continent to dash off for a toilet break:

Moving on to Saturday, the first of six countries to make their choice for L’Allemagne was Moldova, who in a ‘stick with what you know’ kind of way have once again chosen Zdob si Zdub to perform their song (you may remember them as the nutters who gave the country a smashing debut result in 2005 with Bunica Bate Toba, featuring a random pensioner playing the drums). This time around there’s no sign of grandma, and in her absence their song, So Lucky, doesn’t have nearly as much charm as their previous entry – but it’s not a bad little ditty nonetheless:

Estonia have once again come up with a fairly decent, contemporary sounding, could-do-very-well-indeed type of tune in the shape of Rockefeller Street by Getter Jaani. We promise to like this even more than we do already as long as she solemnly swears not to wear that dress in the semi-final:

Ukraine, meanwhile, provided an interesting viewing experience with an oddly subdued national final (where were the shrieking, appreciative studio audience?) which also featured a simultaneous English translation, at least on the bit that we saw. We particularly enjoyed the bit when the presenter, looking a bit lost and puzzled, told viewers, “We’re going to take a break for the news now…we’ll be back in less than 20 minutes.” Eh?????? HOW many minutes exactly?? And these people managed to organise and screen an entire contest? Or possibly they just fell victim to a spot of bad translation….but anyway it makes no difference because the winner, Mika Newton’s Angely, is about as dull a song as they could have chosen, and matters aren’t improved by the fact that she is engulfed by bizarre acrobatic dancers as she performs. Come on, this is Ukraine! We want to see mad glossy-haired divas cavorting about the stage or some other general weirdness, not this….!:

Serbia’s final featured a family of songwriters competing against each other for the Dusseldorf ticket – and eventually Kristina Kovac’s track  Caroban, performed by the elfin -haired Nina (is it just us or does she look a bit like a female Milan Stankovic?) triumphed. And actually we love this, with its distinctive 1960s tone, eye-strainingly colourful costumes and general goofiness. One for the final, we think – and anybody who complains it ‘doesn’t sound very Serbian, does it?” can bog right off this minute…..

Next up we have Latvia, whose voters bypassed the hot favourite Banjo Laura in favour of this little oddity, Angel in Disguise by Musiqq – or as we like to refer to them, Diva Fever of Riga. This isn’t actually a bad little song but the presentation is just baffling – you have a dance track on your hands, chaps, so why are you just sitting there? Either this is that trademark Latvian quirkiness that permeates every entry of yours, or you just don’t want us to know that you actually dance like a geography teacher at a sixth form disco:

And finally, we come to Denmark, and once again the Scandinavians have come up trumps with a corker of a song. New Tomorrow by A Friend In London pushes all the right buttons – big, scarf-waving harmonies, a chorus that sticks in your head and stays there, plus it’s very commercial and radio-friendly – and, we might add, one of our favourites so far. The only slight problem – from our point of view at least – is that A Friend In London just happen to be a four-piece boy band. Er……haven’t we come up with that idea already? We don’t want to put a dampener on the UK’s chances but if Blue don’t come up with something equally as good as this we fear that the Danish quartet just might wipe the floor with our boys…….

And on that note, we’re off for a long lie-down. Or at least until it begins all over again this evening with Slovenia and FYR Macedonia…….

Posted in Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Gasp!

Posted by Caroline on March 18, 2010

Just when you had given up on Ukraine for the year, there may yet be a reason to support them. According to ESC Today, the new president of Ukrainian state channel NTU has listened to the complaints from other artists over the internal selection of their singer Vasyl Lasarovich – and as such as agreed to a hastily organised new national final to choose a new song from a selection of performers. Er, allow us to offer a tentative yay? No offence to Vasyl (who will be allowed to take part in the new final anyway) but that song was one of the worst we’ve heard on a Eurovision stage in many a year. And if the country who has consistently entertained us so much over the past few years can have the opportunity to come up with something better, well that’s just fine with us. Bring on the high-haired, Svetlana-esque divas! Just one thing though – don’t do a Hungary 2009 and change your mind about the song yet again…..

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Ukraine | 3 Comments »

The Great Big Super Super Extra Large Weekend Round Up

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2010

Phew! What a busy weekend it was in Eurovision land. No less than seven songs chosen for Oslo. So instead of waffle, let’s get down to business. First up we have the Croatian entry, which is by Feminnem, who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina a few years ago with the oh-so-cute Call Me (are you keeping up?). They seem to have grown up a bit for this one, as Lako Je Sve is a dramatic ballad which we would like more if a) it didn’t sound so much like a cross between Molitva and Believe, b) it weren’t for the mad overblown posturing in the performance which reminds us of something out of a Shakespear’s Sister video c) they didn’t include that funny heart thing at the end and d) their frocks looked a bit less odd. Still, those in the know inform us this has a good chance of winning so we shall monitor it with interest:

Next up we have Ukraine, Vasyl Lasarovich’s I Love You. And the less said about this one the better, except to say that we’re very very disappointed in you Ukraine. And we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t make the final this year:

Ramping up the tempo a bit, we come to Moldova, who bypassed the much-hyped Pavel Turcu in favour of this,  Run Away by Sun Stroke Project and Olia Tira. ‘This year’s Waldo’s People’ is probably the best way of putting it:

And it’s back to the ballads with Portugal’s Filippa Azevedo, singing Ha Dias Assim. If ever a 1980s James Bond theme had been commissioned out to a Portuguese artist, it would probably have sounded something like this. And we can safely say that their record as the longest-serving country without a Eurovision win isn’t going to be troubled this year:

And finally, our favourite song to be chosen on Saturday night, Romania’s Playing With Fire by Paula Seling and Ovi. Let’s think why we like this one so much? Because of the double-sided piano? The operatics? The fact it’s NOT A BLOOMIN’ BALLAD? Or possibly because it’s just ridiculous and playful and fun and ever so slightly barking? Er yes, that’d be it. Plus of course they’re clearly the anti-Chanee and N’Evergreen, while Paula amply fills the ‘mammoth-haired East European diva’ role normally taken care of by the Ukrainians. This has to be in the final as far as we’re concerned:

Sunday, meanwhile, brought with it two more songs. Now we watched some of the Russian final and there were some pretty good tunes, including our favourite by the folk-singing grannies known as Buranovskiye Babushki – so quite why this turgid effort, Lost And Forgotten by the Peter Nalitch Band (or as we like to refer to them, Kings Of Leonid), got chosen is beyond us:

And last but not least we have the year’s most pleasant surprise to date, from Belgium. Now in common with their neighbours the Netherlands, the Belgians haven’t done too well of late, so much so we almost began to think they had given up. In other words this could have gone one of two ways. They could have gone the way of the Dutch and entered a load of complete nonsense or they could actually have gone back to the drawing board and thought about how they could possibly improve upon recent performances. And it seems – hurrah! – they’ve done the latter. Tom Dice’s Me And My Guitar, which in essence is the man himself, with a guitar, might bear a passing resemblance to Mark Cohn’s Walking In Memphis, but it’s a very likeable, simple song that has huge mainstream appeal and will go down a storm with the juries. Good move Belgium. You may just have gotten yourself your most successful entry in years:

Posted in Belgium, Croatia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Ukraine | 5 Comments »

You going all serious on us, Ukraine…..?

Posted by Caroline on January 2, 2010

……because after several years of wackiness and upbeat frivolity, the Ukrainians appear to be adopting rather a different tactic for 2010 and sending this bloke, Vasyl Lazarovich, to represent them in Oslo. Not that we have a problem with this. He’s easy on the eye (well, once we had gotten over the intial shock when we saw a rather bad photo of him and thought they were being represented by Phil Mitchell), he can sing, and could easily do quite well with the right kind of song. It’s just that – well, we’re so used to the Ukrainians coming up with mad, offbeat performances by, how shall we put this, quirky characters wearing dresses and frolicking around with near-naked gladiators, that this Vasyl chap just looks a little bit too sensible to be representing this country on the Eurovision stage. Maybe he could throw something wacky into the performance? Just something small? For us?? Oh well.  Bet he tells a damn good joke at parties though……

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Ukraine | 1 Comment »

Another Great Big Round-Up!

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

There’s been such a recent flurry of activity on the national finals front that we just can’t keep up with it all. So let’s just round up some more of the entries into one handy, easy to manage post – beginning with Israel’s effort from renowned chanteuse Noa and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad:

‘Pleasant’ is the word which springs immediately to mind, and we’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the partnership is certainly an interesting one. Whether or not this gets lost in the mix on the night is another matter entirely.

We doubt, however, that the Ukrainian entry from Svetlana Loboda is likely to be forgotten in a hurry…..

Now it could be just us but we’re trying to decide whether this is a complete work of genius or a total crime against Eurovision. Either way there is so much to enjoy about it – the comedy moustaches, the seemingly spontaneous drum solo, Svetlana’s ridiculously OTT outfit, the way in which one of the backing dancers is holding her upside down over his shoulders like some latter day caveman – that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that for all intents and purposes it is a tuneless wail of a song. We are, however convinced that only a Eurovision country as popular and successful as Ukraine could possibly get away with something like this – in other words Andrew Lloyd Webber, don’t even think about doing something similar in 2010…..

And onwards to host nation Russia, this year represented by, er, a Ukrainian, Anastasia Prohodko:

Now a friend of Team Eurovision reliably informs us that this is “very Russian” – which is all very well except it will have a hard time appealing to anybody west of Kiev. Are the Russians trying really hard to ensure that they don’t have to host again next year or are we beng a tad cynical?

And so, onwards, to the first Slovakian entry in years, a duet sung by Kamil Miculcik and Nela Pociskova:

And the less said about that one the better. Except possibly that Kamil looks scarily like the kind of actor you used to see in,er,special 1970s movies for the single gentleman. On that note, let us move swiftly on to Estonia’s Urban Symphony:

Now we quite like this, and think it could even be the song to drag Estonia kicking and screaming out of semi-final doldrums for the first time ever. Our only reservation is, that since we already have Norway and Slovenia strutting their stuff with fiddles, could this be one violin too many? Hope not, because we actually think this deserves to qualify.

And finally, we have recent winners Serbia, this year fielding twosome Marko Kon and Milan Nikolic:

And, er, frankly we’re speechless.Yes, it’s certainly nice to see the Serbs letting their hair down a bit after a run of very serious songs, but there are ways of lightening the tone and, er, ways of lightening the tone. And we’re not convinced that entering a gruff-voiced Michael Moore lookalike (albeit one who appears to have stuck his finger in a live socket before coming on stage) accompanied by some random bloke playing the accordion is how to do it. Let’s just say it’s “catchy” and leave it at that, shall we……..?

Posted in Estonia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine | 2 Comments »

 
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