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The Best Of The Rest – The Final!

Posted by DINRIL on May 23, 2008

And with the final looming, here are our views on the five remaining songs…

The first of the qualified finalists to grace the stage on Saturday will be our very own United Kingdom representative Andy Abraham – and the poor lad has the odds stacked against him. Andy is a very nice guy and would never actually admit it, but if we were him we would be getting a little fed up by now of all the negativity surrounding this year’s UK entry – he won’t win, he won’t get any points, why are the UK still doing this, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum. OK, we admit it, he probably won’t win, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like all those naysayers to just SHUT UP for a minute, rather than continue to fuel their self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact is, Andy may well have about as much chance of winning Eurovision as the Eurovision Blog editor has of being chosen for the next England World Cup Squad (and why shouldn’t I be, exactly????? – Ed)  but at the end of the day he is still representing the UK, and surely that’s good enough reason to actually give the guy a little support? Besides his song, Even If, isn’t half bad – OK, so perhaps it isn’t particularly a ‘Eurovision’ song (actually it reminds us a bit of Belgium’s Love Power from 2007) but it’s perfectly respectable, and perhaps more importantly you can guarantee Andy will give it his all on the night. The guy is used to singing to live arenas, after all (having been on The X Factor tour) and perhaps more importantly, he can sing, and isn’t relying on some silly gimmick to get his song noticed. Chances are we’ll end up in the bottom half of the scoreboard again but we still think Andy might do a little better than everybody is predicting. At the very least he will be able to leave Belgrade knowing he hasn’t made the UK look stupid. We think.

Hot on the heels of Andy comes Germany, another country whose fortunes in the contest of late have been patchy to say the least (hitting an all time low with the execrable Run And Hide in 2005). This year they’re relying on a girl group, No Angels, with a bright and breezy pop tune called Disappear – although to be honest that’s pretty much what’s likely to happen to this song since it’s about as unmemorable as they come. So much so that with less than 24 hours to go until the final we’re still struggling to remember what it sounds like. It’s all too easy to forget that Germany, for all their largeness and prominence within Europe, have only ever won Eurovision once and have done fairly well, if not brilliantly, since – and this certainly isn’t going to be the song to chance their fortunes. In fact we’d be inclined to say they’ll be finishing bottom of the heap again.

And so to France, who have already attracted a fair bit of attention this year after their performer, the ‘credible’ musician Sebastien Tellier (he has worked with Daft Punk, doncha know) announced his intention to sing his song Divine in English. Well sacre bleu and all that. Whatever language he happens to perform in on the night, there’s no getting away from the fact that Divine is about as offbeat and quirky a Eurovision entry as it’s possible to get (well let’s face it, we weren’t going to get anything conventional from Monsieur Tellier, now were we?) but it’s actually not a bad song. Whether it’s suitable for a Eurovision stage is another matter entirely, but it’s certainly a distinct improvement on the identikit ballads France has taken to sending in recent years. A complete no-hoper but one which promises to be entertaining nonetheless.

Over the past few years the Big Four – the countries which automatically earn their place in the final due to their efforts in bankrolling Eurovision – have struggled to make much of an impact on the scoreboard, but we think this could be the year that their fortunes change – and it’s all thanks to Spain. After some genuinely disastrous years in which even former chart-toppers Las Ketchup were unable to drag them from the bottom reaches of the scoreboard, the Spaniards are back with a vengeance – in the shape of funnyman turned reggaeton singer Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. Now to be fair, there is a whiff of the novelty song about his entry Baila a Chiki Chiki, from its lyrics inviting one to ‘dance the Michael Jackson’ and going on about his granny’s underwear, to Rodolfo himself, who strums a child’s pink guitar throughout the performance. Yet unlike those efforts from the likes of Estonia and Ireland it’s actually rather sweet (more Verka Serduchka than Dustin The Turkey) and we’re forced to admit, is also insanely catchy. So much so that we confidently predict wobbly-bellied sweaty tourists will be dancing to it on the beaches of Benidorm by July. Ridiculous? Yes, absolutely? Likely to leap up the scoreboard? Er, yes, we think it just might. Could this be the one to finally drag the Big Four out of the doldrums and back among the big guns? Let’s hope so.

And last but not least, we come to the host nation Serbia. Now having won Eurovision on their very first try as an independent nation (i.e separate from Montenegro) they have a lot to live up to this time around – but frankly we’re not sure that the contest will be coming back to Belgrade for a second go. While Oro by Jelena Tomasevic is certainly pleasant enough in that kind of haunting, Eastern European ethno-ballad kind of way, it lacks the wow factor of Molitva, and there are certainly far better ballads in the contest than this (take a bow Portugal and Albania, for example). Being the host nation and being right among the Eastern block it’ll probably pick up a fair sprinkling of points but to be honest they should make the most of their hosting gig – because it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting it again in 2009…..

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2 Responses to “The Best Of The Rest – The Final!”

  1. Yug said

    No predictions for the final? 🙂

    Many people have expressed praise for the new format. So far, so good, but I think it needs a little more use, at least, to call it a success. It does accomplish one useful thing, though – it eliminates weak songs from the final (except for the big four and the host) just because a country did well the prior year. I have also seen many people call this the strongest final in years. I agree with that, and have said all along that this seemed like a strong year (every year brings out a lot of “the songs are so bad this year” complaints, but I didn’t believe that at all about this year).

    As for what I think will happen:

    The song that LOOKS (meaning visual appeal only) the most like a Eurovision winner is Greece. It also matches the most common recent “type” of winner (solo female artist singing an uptempo song in English), and Greece can pull in votes from everywhere.

    I still think the contest remains Serbia’s to lose, but only with a best performance. This year’s final has only three ex-Yugoslavia countries in it, and I don’t rate Croatia as a serious contender, so this will only compete with Bosnia and Herzegovina for Balkan votes.

    No solo male artist has won Eurovision since 1990 (and before that, only Johnny Logan since 1966). I don’t think much of the song, but Russia came close last year, and has a better performer this year. I think they will fall just short again however, especially with strong Ukrainian and Armenian songs again getting votes in the eastern countries that normally vote heavily for Russia.

    Ukraine didn’t impress me in the semi-final. She looked nervous. Maybe she puts it together and wins the whole thing, but I don’t think so.

    I loved Bosnia and Herzegovina from the beginning. This stands out anywhere in the draw, and while I don’t think they have enough to win, they will easily finish in the top ten.

    Turkey finished second in the televoting among western countries last year with a weaker song, and despite the tougher competition this year, have a lock on another top ten slot.

    Sweden could have won the 1999 contest with this song, but it’s not good enough to win in 2008. They will repeat its 2003, 2004, and 2006 results – a good finish, but not near the top of the table.

    I didn’t think Armenia deserved to qualify based on its performance in the semi-final. I like the song, though, and assuming she gets her vocals together, they will make the top ten again.

    Spain has a funny joke song with a good draw. That should lead to the first top ten finish for a big four country since 2004.

    The big ballad still has a place in Eurovision. Portugal gave a great performance in the semi-final, but I don’t think the song has enough to push it up with the contenders, and singing first after the break means a big loss of points.

    The rest:
    Israel
    Georgia
    Romania
    Norway
    Latvia
    Finland
    Azerbaijan
    Albania
    Denmark
    Iceland
    United Kingdom
    Poland
    Croatia
    France
    Germany

  2. Thanks – interesting stuff. Sorry for lack of final predictions, was covering it for another website (who were actually paying me to do it!) and what with that and entertaining a small noisy two year old (whose version of Wheels On The Bus is far more tuneful than anything Azerbaijan had up there on stage), just didn’t have time!

    But watch out for some post-match analysis today…..

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