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Archive for April, 2008

The Great Big Eurovision Experiment – Sweden!

Posted by DINRIL on April 30, 2008

And a great big thank you to the good people of the Swedish delegation for being the first to get back to us with answers to our questions in our mass Eurovision experiment. One down, 42 to go – over to you, Charlotte Perrelli….

How does it feel to be representing your country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?

It feels like an honor and I’m looking forward to it.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part?

It should be very nice to see the country and it’s a fantastic show to be a part of.

What can we expect from your performance?

I think it’s a good song and we have been working really hard on the stage number and it feels great!

Which of this year’s other songs do you rate?

Ukraine, Rumania and Albania.

Have you always been a fan of Eurovision?

Not always, when I were younger I prefered to watch only the Swedish competition.

Which is your favourite Eurovision song of all time, and which is your favourite from your home country?

My favorite international is “Halleluja” from Israel and my Swedish favorite is “Stad i ljus” with Tommy Körberg. 

What do you think about the debate over so-called ‘political’ voting? Do you think it exists or is it more a case of viewers in certain parts of the world voting for artists they are already familiar with?

I think it could be this way for example, Swedish people likes Scandinavian music and that one of the reasons that they might vote for example Denmark.

 How is Eurovision received in your country? Do people take it seriously there?

Very well, It’s the biggest music show in Sweden and 50% (4,5m) are watching the shows. We have four semi finals, a second chance and then the grand finale!

  Why do you think Eurovision is still so popular, even after all these years?

People love big shows, especially if they can be a part of it and when they can vote for their favorite to win.

 What do you think of this year’s UK entry? Do you think your country may give us some points (please?????? 😉 )

Actually I think that kind of a funny song could have a good chance. People always like new things and also like suprices so you will proberly get some points from us. Wiiieee! =) (Er, is she getting us confused with Ireland by any chance?????? – Ed)

Charlotte – you rock, lady! Who’s next?

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Can someone please explain…..

Posted by DINRIL on April 30, 2008

….why this morning we were gripped with a sudden urge to watch this?????? No, we’re not quite sure either……

 

 

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The Great Big Eurovision Experiment

Posted by DINRIL on April 28, 2008

So……we were thinking, what shall we do to mark this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (apart from sit here and poke fun at people’s promotional perfumes, singing moles and the like)? And then we thought – let’s see how many of the participants we can actually get to talk to us!

And so, what we have done is approach all of the 43 countries who’ll be gracing the Eurovision stage this year, with a set of standard Eurovision themed questions which they can answer by email. The question is – how many of them will get back to us with answers before May 20????? We’ll keep you posted – and of course we’ll give you the answers as we get them! Assuming we get some, that is……

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Song Reviews – Estonia and Moldova

Posted by DINRIL on April 25, 2008

ESTONIA

Song: Leto Svet

Artist: Kreisiraadio

In spite of producing one of the least memorable contest winners of all time, and having a less than successful track record since, we have a bit of a soft spot for Estonia in Eurovision terms. We love the fact that they swept to victory with a bloke called Dave, we think they put on a damned good show in Tallinn in 2002, and we’re even rather taken with the fact that even though they’re the only former Soviet nation not to make it out of the semi-final, they just keep on trying where other nations have flounced off in a huff, muttering something about political voting.

However, the simple fact is they haven’t done too well of late, narrowly missing out on a couple of semi-finals and even failing to qualify when they got a Swedish lady to represent them (the lovely Sandra Oxenryd in 2006). The closest they have gotten to a sniff of top ten success, in fact, was when the Swiss got a bunch of Estonians to represent them in Kiev, and let’s face it, that doesn’t really count. So in order to try and reverse their fortune, what have they done? Gone down the novelty route, that’s what. Thus we have comedy act Kreisiraadio – a bunch of middle-aged looking blokes with suspect facial hair and pastel coloured suits – singing a jaunty little number about chicken (or something), backed by scantily clad dancers in Bacofoil hotpants doing high kicks in the background. Sounds ghastly, doesn’t it? Well in a really odd way, it works – the song itself is an irritatingly catchy little number that you’ll struggle to get out of your head (and in a contest where much of the audience will be hearing the songs for the first time on the night itself, that’s a pretty crucial factor) and the whole thing is done in such a good-natured manner we can’t help but like it. It’s just a shame that the Estonians feel they have to resort to such gimmicky tactics in order to get a sniff of final action, since this probably gives them their best chance of qualifying in years. Still, if it worked for the Lithuanians, then why shouldn’t it work for them?

Reminds us of: Verka Serduchka’s Danzin’ – which is no bad thing.

Will it qualify: It certainly has a good chance, especially given that it sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of some very middle-of-the-road entries – but will the rest of Europe get the joke?

MOLDOVA

Song: A Century Of Love

Artist: Geta Berlacu

While Estonia seem to be taking their cue from what the Lithuanians did in 2006, the Moldovans seem to be more inspired by what they did in 2007, since A Century Of Love is so remarkably reminiscent of 4Fun’s Love Or Leave that you’d almost swear you were listening to the same song. And like that effort, it is every bit as insipid and forgettable. Moldova’s short Eurovision career has been a bit of a hit and miss one, veering from their fabulous debut (courtesy of Zdob si Zdub and their granny) to the not bad (Natalia Barbu’s Fight, which we didn’t really see the merits of until we actually saw it on the Eurovision stage) to the frankly rubbish (the Peter Andre-esque Loco, and the less said about that the better).

To their credit, they haven’t missed out on a final yet – but there is of course a first time for everything. And this effort is just so – how shall we put it – meh – that we can’t really see it doing much to improve Moldova’s status in the Eurovision hall of fame. We’ve even had trouble finding things to say about it. So we’ll stop now.

Reminds us of: Love Or Leave. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Will it qualify: Well they’ll get 12 points from Romania (since they’re botn in the same semi) but we can’t see them making much of an impact otherwise….

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Why We Love Eurovision: Part 962

Posted by DINRIL on April 25, 2008

It isn’t just because of the catchy tunes, the elaborate dance routines, the political voting or the people singing tenderly to live chickens. No, it’s on account of press releases like this one, from the Hungarian delegation about their entrant Czesy:

“The young singer and her fiancé live on the brink of a forest in Northern Hungary. When we asked Csézy about her pets, she started to talk about a bat. ’We have a domesticated bat. It could be a man – she laughs – a typical bachelor. He is a nice guy, because he has never brought his buddies home.’ There is a deer-family near their house and they have a mole in the garden. ‘Nobody believes me, but the mole listens to us and shakes itself when we talk to it.’”

Now call us a bit strange (and you may well do), but throughout all our travels to far flung locations, including some in Eastern Europe, we have never encountered a shaking mole. However, our editor does have a vibrating hamster on her Facebook profile. Does this count? Thought not…..
 

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Song Reviews – Montenegro and Israel

Posted by DINRIL on April 18, 2008

It’s that time again – when we cast our opinion over the songs that will be lining up on the Eurovision stage this year – and as per usual, we’ll be looking at them in the order in which they appear in the semi-final, followed by the finalists. So kicking off with semi-final number one song number one (help!), we have….

MONTENEGRO

Song: Zauvijek Volim Te

Artist: Stefan Filipovic

When the good people of Montenegro went to the ballot boxes to vote for independence from Serbia, just after Athens 2006 had been held, we can’t help thinking things might have been different if just a few voters had thought, “Well, I’m not sure about this whole independence malarkey. It could have a catastrophic effect on our fledgling Eurovision career.” Had they done so, things could have been very different. For when twinned with Serbia, Montenegro was a potentially strong force on the Eurovision stage, scoring two consecutive top ten placings and almost winning the contest with their Serbian colleagues on their very first attempt in 2004.

Fast forward to a time when the countries exist as separate entities and the Serbians have gone from strength to strength (after all folks, that is why we’re in Belgrade this year) while the Montenegrins, left to strike out alone, have been left floundering in semi-final hell. And so it’s likely to be the case again this year – for Stefan Filipovic here kicks off the 2008 tournament with a song about as bland and dull as you could possibly imagine. This rather dated (honestly, it’s as if the Montenegrins got stuck in a timewarp where every new year it’s 1989) soft-rock effort sounds for all the world as though it might have come from the East European equivalent of High School Musical – and while it’s certainly more palatable than Montenegro’s 2007 entry, that really isn’t saying much. Expect this to be the moment in the contest when a million casual viewers, who have just tuned in on the promise of seeing something good, change their minds and decide to switch over to Holby City instead.

Reminds us of: Last year’s Austrian entry. A little. And look what happened to that.

Will it qualify?: Doubtful. Granted, the first semi-final has the weaker selection of songs, meaning that anything is in with a chance, but we can still think of ten entries in that semi which are much more deserving than this. Better luck next year, perhaps?

 

ISRAEL

Song: The Fire In Your Eyes

Artist: Boaz Mauda

Israel may be one of our favourite Eurovision countries ever, but even we will admit they haven’t had much luck at the contest in recent years, what with Eddie Butler finishing second from bottom in 2006 and Teapacks crashing out of the contest at semi-final stage in 2007 with just 17 points (we actually loved their song Push The Button but perhaps it was a little too odd for Eurovision audience tastes).

Whether 2008 will see a change in their fortunes remains to be seen, since this is one of those entries which has really divided Team Eurovision, some loving it and others dismissing it as a load of old tosh. Since the editor has the last say, however (and favours the former option), we’re going to give this one a cautious thumbs-up, since there’s some definite promise here – the song itself has the feel of much of the rock music that comes from that part of the world (with a touch of ethnicity thrown in for good measure) while Boaz, winner of Israel’s equivalent of Pop Idol, has a very pleasant voice and gives it all he’s got. This one, we suspect, really will stand or fall on the night depending on the performance – a good one could actually see this one sneak into the final, while a bad one could spell disaster. We shall see.

Reminds us of: Any number of male Israeli singer songwriters (check out Omri Levy for starters…..)

Will it qualify?: Quite possibly. We shall just sit on the fence for now, and wait and see how it goes on the night!

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Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time…

Posted by DINRIL on April 15, 2008

Around this time every year we always find ourselves digging this clip out, but this year it seems more relevant than ever. Israel’s 1987 entry, by that wacky twosome Datner and Kushnir serves as a timely reminder that gimmicky entries are by no means a new innovation on the Eurovision stage (although admittedly in those days they were a little more few and far between) and as awful as it is, we just can’t resist it. Why? Well, apart from proving to us that they came up with the concept of high waisted trousers on international television long before Simon Cowell even thought of it, it’s the fact that the whole thing is just so wonderfully unpolished. While this year’s crop of ‘novelty’ funsters are relying on puppetry, singing to live chickens, flag-waving dance routines and oddness involving children’s guitars, Datner and Kushnir appear here to be making the whole thing up as they go along. Oh, and it’s worth remembering that this oddly amateur display actually did well enough to finish eighth on the night – far better than some of their more serious recent entries have done. Enjoy….

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The Eurovision Pong Contest?

Posted by DINRIL on April 9, 2008

Could this be the oddest story of the Eurovision season so far? According to ESC Nation (a site we like very much since it is the home of the shameless addictive Scoreboard Simulator) Georgian singer Diana Gurtskaya will be quite literally getting up the noses of fans and fellow performers in the run-up to Belgrade 2008 by launching her own perfume.

The eponymous fragrance was chosen by Gurtskaya from 20 different scents, each aiming to represent the blind singer’s personality. The eventual winner, which is said to smell of hyacinth, iris and pink pepper, apparently “leaves an inimitable trace,” like Gurtskaya herself (or something). We are also informed it will allow the audience to see Diana’s “inner world” as expressed in her song Peace Will Come.

Whatever next, we ask ourselves? Evdokia Kadi’s Femme Fatale Fragrance to promote Cyprus? Andy Abraham Cologne? Dustin’s Scent of Roast Turkey? (yum! – Ed) This one could run and run, we fear….

 

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It Appears….

Posted by DINRIL on April 7, 2008

….that the United Kingdom are announcing their votes first in this year’s final.

We wonder, does this mean that a) Ireland will take an early lead? and b) all the cynics will start grousing after it becomes apparent at the end of the first round of voting, that the UK don’t have any points? Just curious…..

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The reviews they are a-coming….

Posted by DINRIL on April 7, 2008

Apologies for the hiatus at this oh so busy time of the Eurovision season, have had deadlines to attend to. But now they’re done and dusted, we can press on and bring you our annual reviews of the songs that will be taking to the Eurovision stage this year. We’ll be starting them later this week and aim to offer a balanced, in-depth view of all of them. Even the Czech Republic, which we’ve only listened to once because we didn’t like it much. Promise…..

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