…..that the lyric in Belgium’s Love Kills is actually ‘waiting for the bitter pill’. And all this time we have been trying to work out what a ‘beat appeal’ is, exactly…..
Posted by Caroline on May 16, 2013
Posted by Caroline on May 16, 2013
9 GREECE: Koza Mostra featuring Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free
Aka the wish-fulfillment anthem for boozed-up holidaymakers everywhere, the Greek effort comes as a welcome antidote to the endless ream of ballads emanating from Eurovision towers this year. For Agathon and his kilt-clad Koza Mostra mates spare no expense when it comes to mad ska-tinged sax breaks, growled lyrics about free drinks and general lunacy. You just know it’s going to bring the house down on semi-finals night, sail through to the final (well when has Greece ever let you down?) and probably do rather well when it gets there. Because as bonkers as it is, there is nothing else in the contest quite like it.
10 ISRAEL: Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo
Much has been made of Israeli singer Moran’s, shall we say, quirky image, from her Nana Mouskouri-esque specs through to her penchant for very tight-fitting, plunging frocks. But really, since when has being a dollybird been a pre-requisite to win Eurovision or at least come up with a half-decent song? Because that’s exactly what Moran’s done here, bringing the Israelis back to the sort of song they do best with this soaring, dramatic ballad. And she hasn’t half got a decent pair of lungs on her either. Of course those who like their Eurovision ladies a bit more conventional and sparkly looking may give this a wide berth – but ultimately we suspect the power of the song will see her through to the final. She certainly deserves to be there.
11 ARMENIA: Dorians – Lonely Planet
Armenia return to the contest after a year’s break with a song – penned by Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi – dedicated to the best-selling range of travel guides beloved of backpackers everywhere. Actually they don’t. It is, in fact, another earnest eco-ballad, albeit one with impressive credentials, and while it’s well-performed it’s ultimately a bit of a Marmite song, either inspiredly brilliant or deathly dull depending on your opinion. As such it’s hard to tell whether or not it’ll make it past the semi-final (Armenia having proven in 2011 that they are not infallible when it comes to making the final) – so much could depend on how those rock riffs and heartfelt lyrics translate to the stage.
12 HUNGARY: ByeAlex – Kedvesem
Here’s an oddity from Hungary, a low-key, quiet little indie song which isn’t so much sung as whispered by ByeAlex. There’s a part of us which wants to sit there shouting ‘SPEAK UP ALREADY!’ every time we hear him sing it. However there’s also a part of us which has been utterly won over by its simplicity and deceptive charm. Once again, in a ridiculously competitive semi-final, we’re not sure if it’ll have the required impact to make it through. But we would be utterly delighted if it did.
13 NORWAY: Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love
If there’s one thing likely to throw the Hungarians off kilter and ruin their chances of qualification, it’s having a small quiet song stuck in the running order behind this Scandinavian titan, one of the favourites to win the entire contest. Yes, we know that Norway have won fairly recently and that it might be time to give someone else a go – but how can we possibly rule them out when they come up with a fabulous song like this? Everything about I Feed You My Love (with the possible exception of its title – but maybe she just misspelt ‘lunch’) works – it’s modern, moody electro pop, thoroughly up to the minute and performed brilliantly by the vaguely scary Ms Berger. Possibly the best song in the competition in other words and a dead cert for the final – although possibly a bit too mean and moody for the win (bearing in mind we are dealing with viewers who vote en masse for Russian grannies and the like). Still, stranger things have happened.
14 ALBANIA: Adrian Lulgjaraj and Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Those people still reeling from the genius-like screeching of Rona Nishliu in 2012 will be relieved to know that the Albanians are back on far safer ground this year – the sort of safer ground which was popular in about 1984, actually. There’s something very old-fashioned about Adrian and Bledar’s rousing rock anthem, putting us in mind of a Big Country album track or similar. Not that that’s a bad thing, for it’s certainly a very catchy and likeable tune – just one that’s not as memorable as some of the country’s previous efforts. We hope it does score a place in the final but in a very competitive field we’re not getting our hopes up.
15 GEORGIA: Nodi and Sophie – Waterfall
In a contest dominated by Disney style ballads this is probably the most Disney-esque of the lot – a huge, soaring epic number which might start off quietly enough but quickly builds to the sort of big, surprisingly powerful chorus that Eurovision audiences just love. We’ve seen this kind of duet a million times before on the contest stage – and the similarities to this and Running Scared are all too obvious – but if that can triumph then there’s no reason why, with a good performance and the attendant fireworks (not to mention the inevitable waterfall), this can’t too. Tbilisi 2014 anyone?
16 SWITZERLAND: Takasa – You and Me
Takasa’s path to the Eurovision stage has been a rocky one, after the band – comprising members of the Swiss Salvation Army – were told to ditch their name and uniforms due to them contravening contest rules. They might have returned with a new name and a white-shirted, black-tied look (obviously spent a lot of time coming up with that one then), but the song is still the rousing, anthemic same. Given its Salvation Army origins, there’s something unsurprisingly wholesome about the whole thing – it feels a bit like the kind of song the Brady Bunch might sing if they existed in a 21st Century Universe – but is no worse for that, while the band has the added novelty of 95-year-old bass player Emil, the oldest person ever to set foot on the Eurovision stage (and old enough to be Bonnie Tyler’s dad, doncha know). We fear it may get lost in such a competitive field, but it’s still our favourite Swiss entrant for a while.
17 ROMANIA: Cezar – It’s My Life
There are no words, really. When the dust settles on this year’s contest Romania’s Cezar is likely to be remembered – albeit possibly for the wrong reasons. For while his standard issue disco number starts off ordinarily enough, it’s not long before he unleashes his frankly awesome countertenor vocals on the world, guaranteeing gasps and laughs in equal measure – not to mention providing fodder for patronising ‘let’s all point and laugh’ comedy clip shows for years to come. The stage show, we’re told, is even more OTT, and frankly we can’t wait. Because while there is a sense of ‘so bad it’s good’ about this effort, we sense that without it the final would be that bit more boring.
Posted by Caroline on May 13, 2013
Onwards and upwards with the second semi-final….
1 LATVIA: PeR – Here We Go
East 17 may have long since split up but their spirit appears to be alive and well and living in this year’s Latvian entry. Yup, as a cautionary reminder as to why sending rap to the contest stage is always a risky business, the former winners have weighed in with a well-meaning but ultimately dated effort which almost feels as if it comes from another era. Of all the Eurovision musical genres, rap is one of the hardest to get right, with the path to glory littered with the remains of those who tried and failed (Daz Sampson anyone?) – and for all the PeR boys’ enthusiasm this one just feels as if it falls wide of the mark, especially compared to Montenegro’s bizarre but oddly brilliant effort. In the annual ‘semi-final of death’ that is Thursday night, in which it’s anybody’s game, this looks almost certain to lose out. Must try harder chaps!
2 SAN MARINO: Valentina Monetta – Crisalida (Vola)
Have we forgiven San Marino for The Social Network Song yet? Good because its singer, Valentina – she of the Croydon facelift and the shiny Facebook coloured outfits (even though the song wasn’t about Facebook, honest) – is back for another try (what, they don’t have any other singers in San Marino?), only this time she’s taken a very different tactic. Crisalide starts off ordinarily enough, joining the ranks of the big flowery ballads that seem so popular this year – except all is not what it seems here, with about a minute and a half of amble before it turns out – it was actually a disco number after all!
Now, there is a school of thought which suggests that if the entire song had been uptempo it would have been a serious contender to win the whole thing, but in actual fact it’s the quirk which makes this so interesting – there literally is nothing else in the contest like it – and the fact it’s become one of this year’s fan favourites has only made even more of an attractive prospect. Provided Miss Monetta doesn’t squeak like a frightened kitten on the night San Marino could well be looking at their first ever final, whereupon they can exact payback on the at least the English contingent of the UK for that recent football field drubbing. Or something.
3 FYR MACEDONIA: Esma and Lozano – Pred Da Se Radzeni
We knew it was only going to be a matter of time before Macedonian gypsy singing legend Esma Redzepova set foot on the Eurovision stage, and now that time has come. The fortunes of the Macedonians in this contest have been mixed at best (although they put up an unexpectedly good showing with Kaliopi in 2012) but this year even if their efforts come to naught this is one performance you’re going to remember simply on the basis of its performer. Poor Lozano seems to barely get a look in as Esma chants and wails her way through some blistering bits of ethno-pop, lending character to what is otherwise a pleasant but rather bland song – yet somehow the combination works. Will it bring Eurovision to FYR Macedonia for the first time? Probably not. But it could still do a lot better than predicted.
4 AZERBAIJAN: Hold Me – Farid Mammadov
Hold me, just unfold me. Possibly one of the single greatest lyrics in Eurovision history. Not to mention a cautionary reminder of what happens when you translate song words into English. That said, there are an awful lot of folks out there who wouldn’t mind unfolding Mr Mammadov, with word from Malmo suggesting the only way his performance could possibly be improved would be if his shirt fell off entirely by accident midway through. And while we may be able to barely conceal our mirth when the chorus kicks in there is no denying this is a very strong ballad which ticks all the requisite Eurovision boxes. Dima Bilan soundalike? Check. Heartfelt performance? Check. Key change? Check. Big chorus? Check. You see what we’re getting at. In a contest dominated by winsome female balladry, Farid’s song really stands out – a simple but hugely effective effort which could well be jostling for attention at the very top of the scoreboard come Saturday night. The only issue is of course, do we really want to go back to Azerbaijan so soon after their previous victory or is it time to let someone else have a go? Then again if they keep coming up with songs like this we may not have a choice.
5 FINLAND: Marry Me – Krista Siegfrids
And speaking of ridiculous lyrics, hot on the heels of Azerbaijan comes Krista from Finland, with her heartfelt matrimonial plea to the object of her affections. In recent days the song has taken on a whole new significance since it became the unlikely protest tune of the contest – with the routine reportedly including a moment in which Krista kisses a girl in order to make a point about the country’s views on gay marriage -but frankly we’re more worried about the relentless way in which she seems to pursue her suitor. There are verses about her dieting, getting to know the in-laws and basically turning into Bridezilla – not to mention trying to rhyme ‘ladies’ with ‘babies’ – yet from the sounds of it she hasn’t even received a proposal yet, never mind set a date. In a ballad-dominated field this does stand out as one of the few genuinely fun pop tunes, and as such is likely to do well. But Krista, really, we’re worried about you. Didn’t you ever see Fatal Attraction?
6 MALTA:Tomorrow – Gianluca Bezzina
And so to Malta, whose enthusiasm for all things Eurovision never seems to wane despite the fact they have yet to win – and, in recent years, have failed to get within even sniffing distance of the left-hand side of the scoreboard. This, however, could be the year to change all that. Gianluca Bezzina’s quirky little tune, which somehow fought off competition from the seemingly unbeatable Kevin Borg in the national final, is the best Maltese entry in years (not to mention a refreshing change from their normal cheesy pop or MOR balladry), all ukeleles, cutesy lyrics about a man called Jeremy ‘who works in IT’ (you see what they did there?) and huge, megawatt smiles, mainly from your singer. In an ideal world this would win the entire contest – it certainly has the sort of ridiculous, irresistible charm that wins over audiences – but in the real world it’s possibly too slight to fend off the challenge from the massed ranks of Scandinavia. We do, however, predict a possible return to the top ten. And if they don’t get it they darn well ought to.
7 BULGARIA: Samo Shampioni – Elitsa and Stoyan
In their latest bid to escape the ignominy of semi-final hell, Bulgaria have turned to the only act ever to get them through to the final – duo Elitsa and Stoyan who soared into the top five in 2007 with their magnificent track Water. As everybody knows, though, unless your name is Dima Bilan or Johnny Logan, sending an act to the contest for a second time is almost always fraught with danger – for every Dima who has come back and done better, there are many any more who have found themselves floundering helplessly in the semi-final rejects pile. And thus it may well be the case here. For it’s not that Samo Shampioni is particularly bad – despite being a pale imitation of Water, complete with vocals that sound as feeble as a distressed kitten – it’s just that it’s not good enough. And in a semi-final which features an awful lot of potential finalists, this is one of the few songs which doesn’t even reach that stage. Better luck next year Bulgaria.
8 ICELAND: Eg A Lif – Eythor Ingi
It’s a very strong year for Scandinavia, with Norway, Finland and Denmark all poised to join Sweden in the final – but what of Iceland’s Well Eythor – who looks either like Jesus, Nathan James from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Superstar or a young Mel Smith, depending on who you talk to – is certainly giving it his best shot with this slightly old-fashioned but otherwise rather lovely ballad, which ticks every bagpipe and key change box in the Eurovision cliches book but is none the worse for it. In fact it’s helped by his rich vocal tones and feeling of cosy familiarity – there’s something quite warm and comforting about this song, rather like a pair of old socks or a cosy sweater, although whether it’ll be enough to propel it into the final is another matter. Interestingly, this is Iceland’s first entry to be sung in Icelandic since 1997, although the fact everybody seems to think it’s actually called the Egg and Leaf song doesn’t really do the dialect any favours. As for its qualification chances, we’re on the fence. But it probably will make the final. This is Iceland after all.
Posted by Caroline on May 8, 2013
SEMI-FINAL 1 – Part 2
9 MONTENEGRO: Who See – Igranka
There are some countries who, you get the impression, are destined never to win Eurovision no matter how hard they try. Montenegro, for all their best efforts, have generally fallen squarely into that category, probably due to their habit of sending songs which veer between forgettable and downright weird. However this year’s effort is a big improvement on Rambo Amadeus (well let’s face it it couldn’t be worse), which attempts dubstep on to the Eurovision stage courtesy of rap duo Who See – and the results are, shall we say, different. A bit of grime here, a bit of jaunty rapping there, some sexy ladies shaking their comely booties – you get the drift. Coming straight after a trio of ballads it’s guaranteed to stand out from the pack – all they have to do now is produce the kind of stage show which brings the house down and we could be looking at a surprise addition to the final line-up.
10 LITHUANIA: Andrius Pojavis – Something
This year’s attempt to sound almost exactly like The Killers (as pioneered by the sorely overlooked Swiss act Sinplus in 2012) comes courtesy of Lithuania – and we must admit as soundalikes go this is pretty impressive. Unfortunately that’s as far as it goes for us in terms of being impressed, for this is a weird mess of a song, which isn’t really helped by Andrius’s creepy weird vocals. It’s quirky, it’s odd and there’s part of us which would love to see how this goes down in the final. Back in the real world however, we would point out that someone has to come last – and barring any last-minute equipment failures or goldfish impersonations from Denmark this is looking like a likely contender for the wooden spoon.
11 BELARUS: Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh
So Alyona finally gets the chance to represent Belarus at Eurovision, having been unceremoniously booted from the competition last year amid allegations of vote-fixing. Not that her path to the contest this year was a smooth one, having changed her song from her original disco-tastic contender Rhythm Of Love (hang on, the song was changed last year as well. And the year before when Born in Belorussia was swapped for I Love Belarus. Do you see a pattern emerging here?) Still, it wasn’t a bad decision on her part since Solayoh is classic Eurovision – or at least would be if it were being sung by Greece or Cyprus. It’s catchy and fun, certainly, and offsets its Mediterranean style hooks with a bit of Wild Dances-esque drumming, but you can’t help feeling it’s a bit odd coming from Belarus. Still reckon it’ll make the final, mind.
12 MOLDOVA: Aliona Moon – O Mie
We loved Moldova to bits last year so it’s nice to see Pasha Parfeny back this year, albeit as songwriter this time, for his former backing vocalist Aliona Moon (she being one of the odd backing singers in the scary tights from 2012). The national final saw her looking similarly quirky, in a giant dress which had patterns and colours reflected on to its skirt for the duration of the song, not to mention hair which stuck out to the side in a kind of ‘if the wind changes you’ll stay like that’ sort of way. But what of the song itself? Well as far as we’re concerned this is one of the underrated gems of the contest, a complex ballad (which works just as well in Romanian as it does in English) with plenty of dramatic flourishes that’s far better than many of its female ballad peers. With a good performance and a decent draw in the final this could well surpass expectatuons. Although knowing our predilection for prediction it’ll probably get about four points, all of them from Romania.
13 IRELAND: Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives
We were never in favour of them in the first place but now they’re gone we have to admit we are missing Jedward. This year instead we have the cute, eager to please Ryan Dolan, singing a song which is, for want of a better word, unremarkable, despite its effort to cross Euphoria-like beats with a bit of ethno-drumming in a bid to sound different. We’re on the fence about this one since out of all the songs on offer, this is the one which is confounding us the most over its ability to make the final. A lot will depend on how it looks on stage and how he performs it of course. So maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps. Told you we were on the fence.
14 CYPRUS: Despina Olympiou – An Me Thimase
Is there anybody anywhere who is rating this song at all? It’s so far off our radar that we actually forgot who was singing after Ireland and had to look it up. The point is it’s not actually that bad, not exactly ground-breaking but decent enough. Unfortunately for the lovely Despina though, it is also on the dull side, especially compared to some of the showier ballads on offer – and for that reason, and without even Greece to save it in this semi-final, we fear it is destined to sink without trace. Cyprus, Eurovision Blog is very disappointed in you. Next please.
15 BELGIUM: Roberto Bellarossa – Love Kills
Here’s another surprise in the line-up – we have to admit when we first heard this effort way back in December we thought it was a bit limp to be honest, another Belgian effort destined for the non-qualification dumper. The studio revamp, however, has completely changed our minds – in fact it’s a thoroughly likeable, if slightly dated, bit of electronic pop whose chorus has a nagging tendency to worm its way into your brain and stay there. All Roberto has to do now is look a bit less intense and not sing ‘LORRRRRRRRRVE KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELZ’ as he appeared to do in the national final and we could be looking at a Belgian return to the final. Not that we expect it to do much once it’s there, mind.
16 SERBIA: Moje 3 – Lubav Je Svuda
The first semi-final crawls to an end with something a little different from Serbia, who are clearly on a mission to prove to us that not all their entries are about bouzoukis or looking mournful (although let’s face it they seem to do better when they are). Thus we have girl group Moje 3 – a sort of pound shop version of The Saturdays, less two members – singing an upbeat little number about the angel, the devil and the girl they are fighting over. Possibly the only song in Eurovision history ever to reference fish food (and if you can think of another we would love to hear about it), this is one of those guilty pleasure type tunes which really will live or die by its performance. And on that basis we can’t tell you if we think it will get to the final. Much as we would like to.
Posted by Caroline on May 2, 2013
…..OK, so I know we haven’t actually updated a lot this year – one of the side-effects, unfortunately, of real life getting in the way (work, specifically on this occasion). The upside of all this is that I will be making up for this on the esteemed website of Metro newspaper in the coming weeks (rest assured links will be posted here). But that doesn’t mean this year’s contest has escaped our notice completely, and in an unprecedented burst of activity – otherwise known as ‘having a spare 20 minutes’ – here, in lieu of actual reviews, is what we make of the first batch of runners and riders this year:
SEMI-FINAL 1 – Part 1
1 AUSTRIA: Natalia Kelly – Shine
A muted start to the contest this one, courtesy of the lovely Natalia, this is a solid but potentially forgettable little number that, we fear, will pretty much seal its fate on the strength of its performance (since it doesn’t boast a whole lot of distinguishing marks). Pleasant enough, but she’s going to have to work for her semi-final place (although to be fair, she may not invoke quite the same level of reaching for the off-switch as Rambo Amadeus in 2012)
2 ESTONIA: Birgit Oigemeel – Et uus saaks alguse
Estonia missed a trick here, given they had the opportunity to send hardcore punksters Winny Puuh – who let’s face it wouldn’t have won the contest either but at least would have garnered a fair bit of attention (as only people who dress up as giant condoms on stage normally do). Instead, they’ve gone for this sweet but overly safe female-led ballad which does little to distinguish itself from the vast number of similar, Disney princess-esque numbers on offer. The likes of Russia, Ukraine et al are all doing similar this year. And given their efforts are both better and later in the running order we fear this one may sink without trace.
3 SLOVENIA: Hannah Mancini – Straight into love
Aka the pound shop Euphoria, there was a crushing inevitability that Loreen’s victory would spawn a few soundalikes 12 months down the line and sure enough here are Slovenia getting in on the act with their own rave-esque anthem. There’s nothing wrong with it, to be honest, but as is the case with so many of these identikit songs there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it either. Sorry Slovenia, we love you, but we may have to place this one in the pile marked ‘not a hope in hell’. Then again we’ve been wrong about these things before….
4 CROATIA: Klapa s Mora – Mizerija
The Croatians are pinning their hopes this year on a traditional klapa-style number to see them back in the final after a few disastrous years – and the result, while putting us a tad in mind of Latvia’s 2007 operatic shenanigans, or possibly one of those ‘poperatic’ bands you see on Britain’s Got Talent, is really rather charming. Given some of their more bombastic rivals, this one’s slipped under the radar a bit but its prettiness has certainly not been lost on us. A place in the final would be far from surprising.
5 DENMARK: Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops
Unless you’ve been hiding under a very large rock for the past couple of months, the average Eurovision fan will already be familiar with this hot favourite, and no doubt heard it over and over and over and over (and over and over) again. Since its place in the final is just a formality and it will almost certainly be at the top end of the scoreboard come May 18th, perhaps the question we should ask is: would it be a worthy winner. Well, it ticks all the boxes – flutey whistles, earnest lyrics, barefoot winsome singer, not to mention the inevitable anthemic chorus (and not to mention the fact that last time the contest was held in Sweden, Denmark won it), and at the end of the day yes, it’s a good tune.
And there’s nothing wrong with being the favourite either, someone’s got to be, and there are certainly worse candidates than this. It’s just that we can’t help feeling a pervading attitude that this one’s won already, and surely that defeats the whole object of having a contest to choose the winner, not to mention doing a great disservice to the other songs? Remember, a lot can happen between now and contest night, and who’s to say Denmark’s very own answer to Florence Welch won’t squeal like a frightened meerkat before falling off the stage altogether?
6 RUSSIA: Dina Garipova – What If?
From one earnest lady to another, as Russia swaps grannies for former Voice champion Dina Garipova. Now we all know Russia could send a flatulent donkey singing the Irkutsk telephone book and still make the final, but to be fair they very rarely submit a dud, and this one – all soaring vocals, thoughtful lyrics and predictable key changes – is no exception. Like Estonia it’s all a bit Disney princess at times but in a contest dominated by lady ballads this is one of the ones that stands out. And of course it will make the final.
7 UKRAINE: Zlata Ognevich – Gravity
Having opted for football anthem lunacy in 2012 Ukraine have slowed the tempo down a bit this year, with Zlata slap bang in the middle of a trio of strongly fancied ballads. This one (not to be confused with Defying Gravity from Wicked) is a bit more anthemic than its surrounding contenders, and throws everything bar the kitchen sink – opera, big choruses etc – into the mix in a bid to succeed. And the video is even more OTT (we had to turn off at the point when the unicorns appeared). A crushingly inevitable qualifier, an even more crushingly inevitable top ten finisher. If we’re not mistaken.
8 NETHERLANDS: Anouk – Birds
There’s a lot riding on this one, given the singular failure of the Netherlands to qualify for the final on about 47 separate occasions, and in a decision that really smacks of ‘what do we have to do to get through, exactly?’ they’ve sent one of their most famous singers to try and raise their fortunes a bit. And it’s a decision which seems to be paying off since Anouk is faring well in fan polls, is soaring in the betting and is generally putting the Dutch on course to secure their best result in years – deservedly so, given that it’s a lush and generally rather lovely ballad. Coming right after songs from Russia and Ukraine could potentially put it at a slight disadvantage, but we doubt it.
Posted by Caroline on April 24, 2013
All hail the return of our favourite Eurovision oddity, the ESC Nation scoreboard simulator. Hours of fun guaranteed! (except in our case when the UK scored nul points on our very first attempt……)
Posted by Caroline on March 16, 2013
So now that we’ve had a week to think about it, we have to ask ourselves the question: just how do we feel about the ‘legend’ that is Bonnie Tyler doing it for the UK in Malmo? Well it’s been a week of mixed feelings, if we’re being honest – ranging from disappointment at the BBC once again foisting a bygone name on us, through to annoyance when comparing it to what the rest of Europe are doing (i.e making an effort) before, ultimately, acceptance (well we can’t do anything about it so we might as well just live with it).
On the plus side the song, Believe In Me, isn’t actually nearly as bad as it could have been – although to be fair when the best thing you can find to say about a song is ‘pleasant’, ‘bland’, ‘inoffensive’ or, heaven forbid, ‘nice’, then it’s potentially a bad sign – after all, there are certainly many worse songs in this year’s line-up, but those which are do at least display the sort of bombastic, so-bad-it’s-actually-good charm which is more likely to get them noticed on the night. And doing ‘inoffensive’ has never exactly stood the United Kingdom in good stead, given that the road to Eurovision glory for le Royaume-Uni is littered with the remains of those acts who played it really, really safe. The Hump, for one. James Fox for another. And all those random pastel-suited mid-80s singers we’ve conveniently forgotten.
That aside there is always the possibility that Bonita’s reputation could score her a few points from assorted countries – she’s certainly well-known enough in France and Germany (where she has recently been on tour) and parts of Eastern Europe, while her name also tends to spark instant recognition also – most people who weren’t old enough to remember Total Eclipse Of The Heart before its Mastercard ad revival at least seem to have heard her name, even if it’s accompanied by much scratching of the head and looking a bit puzzled while they try to figure out if it’s someone their mum liked. And under the new system of selecting the running order we should be in for a decent spot in the line-up, after being on first in 2012 all but ended what slim chance we had of a decent result.
But that’s to bypass the main issue here, which is to ponder what the BBC is playing at, exactly, when it comes to selecting such artists from the past to compete in a multinational singing competition populated, for the most part, by CURRENT singers. Having failed so spectacularly with Engelbert in 2012, you’d have thought the Beeb would have learned from its mistakes, taken a look at what the rest of Europe was up to and followed suit. Not so. Granted, Bonnie is younger than The Hump, but only by 15 years, which hardly makes her some fresh young talent out to wow the continent with her singing prowess. And the decision to field someone who, while well-known, hasn’t actually graced the charts since 1995, is for want of a better word baffling.
It may of course turn out that the BBC plumped for Bonnie after being turned down by other artists – but if that happens to be the case then they only have themselves to blame, given the number of acts who have expressed an interest in Eurovision or offered their services in recent years. Hurts, a firm fan favourite and creators of the ace new track Miracle (now wouldn’t that have been a good entry for Malmo?) have offered and were rejected, while rumour has it Pixie Lott was all set to sign last year until the decision was vetoed at the last minute. OK so she may well have mewled like a frightened kitten on stage and scored even less points than The Hump, but at least it would have shown we were making an effort to send someone more relevant to current audiences. Others who have hinted they would be interested have included the Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters (we have Ana Matronic commentating on the semi-finals this year but why isn’t she on stage for us instead??) and, on an almost annual basis, Mika. Meanwhile the great British public continues to show just how big a joke they regard the contest as by suggesting we should send Rylan Clark or Diva Fever. No we shouldn’t.
If on the other hand Bonnie was chosen over the plethora of available artists who have indicated that they would do Eurovision, then that’s a serious case of misjudgment – or failing to understand the evolution of the contest – on the part of the BBC. Not only is the whole business of sending a past-it artist or a sub-standard song and then blaming its failure on the fact that ‘Europe doesn’t like us’ getting very tiresome, but there is the danger that the more these established artists take on the Eurovision challenge and fail, the less chance the Beeb will have of persuading anybody newer or younger or fresher to step up to the plate. And if that happens then we’ll clearly be doomed to sending once-popular hitmakers from a long-gone era while Sweden continue to send acts like Loreen.
At the end of the day we have nothing personal against Ms Tyler. We know she’ll try and do the UK proud and you know that whatever happens we’ll be sat there on the night waving our Union Jacks and trying not to look too despondent. And if she does defy our expectations and end up on the left hand side of the scoreboard we will happily throw up our hands and admit we were wrong. But we’ll be honest, we’re not getting our hopes up.
Posted by Caroline on February 25, 2013
We figured that given the success of Loreen’s bangin’ dance anthem Euphoria in Baku last year (and indeed the very reason that your Eurovision contest is off to Malmo this year), that a brace of club floorfillers would find their way into the line-up of this year’s contest – and indeed we haven’t been disappointed. For while 2012’s performers couldn’t get enough of big ballads (off the back of Ell and Nikki’s Azeri victory), 2010’s hopefuls favoured post-Fairytale twiddly folk nonsense and the class of 2007 wanted to out-Lordi Lordi, so 2013’s crop seem to be hellbent on emulating our Swedish siren. Well some of them anyway. To kick off, here’s Slovenia’s Hannah Mancini going all Skrillex on Straight Into Love. We quite like this but we cannot envisage many people west of Bulgaria will:
And here’s Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, who snatched victory from under the nose of Aimee Fitzpatrick in this weekend’s national final with this little number, Only Love Survives. This reminds us of what Euphoria might have sounded like if it had had a few ethnic drum beats thrown in. And had been sung by a man. Or possibly it just sounds the kind of thing Malta might enter in a particularly average year. Your choice:
Not to be left out, Germany have also gotten in on the act with their effort from Cascada (you may remember them – adoptsTroy McClure voice – from such hits as Evacuate The Dancefloor and Every Time We Touch) with their much-hyped entry Glorious (much-hyped in that we’d actually heard of them as opposed to most of the other finalists). The song’s already whipped up a bit of controversy back home where it’s been accused of ‘copying’ Euphoria – but we can’t think what they’re on about. I mean they’re both upbeat dance tracks, they’re both sung by women, and they’re both in Eurovision – well, stands to reason doesn’t it? They must surely be the same song. Well they’re not really since Euphoria is a strong, powerful dance anthem while Glorious to us sounds like something Tulisa might pull out of the bag for an X Factor semi-final. You be the judge:
To finish, here’s the Greek entry, the wonderfully-titled Alcohol Is Free by Koza Mostra and Agathonas (i.e that bloke with the moustache). This isn’t really a dance anthem at all (unless you count the sort of dancing you do after partaking of much free alcohol) but since it is a) marvellous and b) sounds like nothing else in the competition we figured we’d include it anyway, if only to convince you it’s not all about drum machines and glowsticks this year:
Posted by Caroline on February 11, 2013
First up, apologies for the lack of posts in recent months. It appears your editor has gone and landed a job at this place, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging, or at least hasn’t of late. But fear not, we are aware that preparations are well underway for Malmo, and we shall endeavour to try and keep up with them even if we’re not quite as prolific as before.
Still, we shall try to play catch-up over the next few weeks as the contest rumbles ever closer, and what better way to start than by taking a look at some of the songs which have already been chosen. Our current personal favourite is the Maltese entry, from the simply adorable Gianluca Bezzina. Seems our man – who has a doctor’s degree and a penchant for snowflake sweaters – was a bit of a surprise choice over the more strongly fancied Kevin Borg (and just to keep it in the family his sister Dorothy squeezed a song into the national final too), but frankly we reckon it was well deserved – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a fair amount of Tom Dice-style love in Malmo come May. Because really, the only way this song could BE any cuter would be if it were sung by a basket of kittens….