Song Reviews – Montenegro and Israel
Posted by Caroline 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….
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?
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!