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Archive for December, 2009

OK, so we have 38 countries to beat……

Posted by DINRIL on December 31, 2009

After much speculation about who was pulling out, who was joining, who was staying and who hadn’t quite made their minds up yet, it has been confirmed that 39 countries will line up at the starting blocks for Eurovision 2010. And in no particular order (all right, alphabetical order) they are as follows:

ALBANIA

ARMENIA

AZERBAIJAN

BELARUS

BELGIUM

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

BULGARIA

CROATIA

CYPRUS

DENMARK

ESTONIA

FINLAND

FRANCE

FYR MACEDONIA

GEORGIA (yay! welcome back! Etc……)

GERMANY

GREECE

ICELAND

IRELAND

ISRAEL

LATVIA

LITHUANIA

MALTA

MOLDOVA

THE NETHERLANDS

NORWAY

POLAND

PORTUGAL

ROMANIA

RUSSIA

SERBIA

SLOVAKIA

SLOVENIA

SPAIN

SWEDEN

SWITZERLAND

TURKEY

UKRAINE

UNITED KINGDOM

So after all the kerfuffle we have only lost Hungary, Czech Republic and Andorra (with no sign either of Austria or Monaco returning…..). Bye for now chaps, you will be missed, and we promise to be very very nice to all of you if you do decide to come back……..

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Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News | 3 Comments »

Well, Looky What We Have Here…..

Posted by DINRIL on December 29, 2009

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Harel Skaat, the chap who has been chosen to represent Israel in Oslo. Well, do you see us complaining……??????

Posted in Israel | 4 Comments »

That Was The Eurovision Decade, That Was….(Part 1)

Posted by DINRIL on December 29, 2009

As the decade draws to a close (or does it? For every person who thinks 2010 is the start of the new decade there are plenty of people out there who will tell you it’s the last year of the old one. But anyway…..) it seems that a lot of sites have gotten all nostalgic over the last ten years in Eurovision history. And who are we to buck the trend? After much deliberating, cogitating and settling disputes outside by the bins, we are proud to present The Unofficial Eurovision Blog Awards Of The Noughties. And they go as follows……

BEST NEW COUNTRY OF THE PAST 10 YEARS

RUNNERS-UP

Moldova – had a smashing debut in 2005 with Zdob si Zdub and their granny but haven’t done quite so well since, although we did love their 2009 effort.

Serbia – had one of the best debuts ever with 2004’s Lane Moje, their Eurovision track record is a bit patchy but they deserve a mention for not only winning but putting on a damned good contest the next year.

Azerbaijan – this lot really do seem to have gotten the hang of things very quickly, but sadly haven’t been in the contest long enough to justify winning this. But at their current performance level we’ll be very surprised if they don’t win at some point in the next 10 years.

Armenia – solid rather than spectacular newcomers, we’ve liked everything they’ve done so far without it actually wowing us. Kudos to them however for bringing the dance routine back to Eurovision courtesy of Jan Jan.

And the winner is – UKRAINE!!

Well it couldn’t be anybody else really could it? The Ukrainians first appeared in 2003 and apart from a couple of dodgy years have had a smashing track record – not only did they win it at their second attempt but they’ve barely been out of the top ten since. And can you honestly think of another country who has come up with such consistently entertaining performances? Svetlana’s outlandish Be My Valentine in 2009 almost deserves an award of its own. In short they have, in just seven years, become one of the countries that we most look forward to seeing on the Eurovision stage. Can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2010.

BEST WINNING SONG

RUNNERS-UP

Molitva – Marija Serifovic (Serbia 2007). The song that made us all realise, after years of flamboyant performances, that it was OK to sing a ballad, in a foreign language without a flashy dance routine.

Every Way That I Can – Sertab Erener (Turkey, 2003). Because we won £250 betting on it when it was an outsider. And, er, it’s quite good too.

Fairytale – Alexander Rybak (Norway, 2009). The Marmite winner of the past 10 years. Love it or hate it, you can’t help but admire Pixie’s utter dominance of the 2009 contest.

Hard Rock Hallelujah – Lordi (Finland, 2006). Bet you all thought this would win. Nope.

And the winner is….You’re My Number One – Helena Paparizou

This one deserves the award for a number of reasons; because it gave Greece their long LONG overdue win, because it’s a blimmin’ brilliant pop song, because it’s slickly performed, and because unlike other winners you don’t listen to it years later and think ‘My God, what was I thinking??????’ ‘Tis a classic winner and will remain so.

WORST WINNING SONG

RUNNERS-UP

Believe – Dima Bilan (Russia, 2008) – oh come on. It’s dullsville and you know it.

Fly On The Wings Of Love (Denmark, 2000) – Er……

And the winner is…..Everybody (Estonia, 2001)

There’s a reason why the 2001 champion Everybody is regarded as a ‘shock winner’ – because that’s exactly what it was, and in fact to this day still is. While the 2001 contest was far from one of the best there were still some very decent songs in there – Greece’s Die For You, France’s All I Have Is My Soul and Sweden’s Listen To Your Heartbeat would all have been credible winners. Even Denmark’s second-placed song Never Ever Let You Go was good enough that a second consecutive win for the Danes wouldn’t have been out of the question. But in spite of all that this bumbling disco effort, which in other years would have struggled to make the top ten, somehow triumphed – and to this day we’re not sure how. We couldn’t even remember it about five minutes after the contest finished, and we can’t remember it now.

Ironically, the songs the Estonians entered in 2000 and 2002 would have made far better winners, but it was not to be – and their out of nowhere win didn’t exactly do a lot for their track record since after their home turf contest the following year they didn’t come within sniffing distance of the top ten again until Urban Symphony’s fabulous Randajad in 2009. Now that would have been a credible winner. Take note Estonians, should you want to win this thing again….

BEST DEBUT ENTRY

Runners-up

Bunica Bate Toba (Moldova, 2005) – was it the song or the added attraction of Granny? Actually it was the former. We liked this from the minute we heard it.

My Story (Georgia, 2007) – a barnstormer of a debut. Should have done a lot better.

Lane Moje (Serbia and Montenegro, 2004) – spine-tinglingly brilliant.

Image Of You (Albania, 2004) – a surprisingly good debut tune from the Albanians, which nobody – except us, natch – thought would do well. But it did.

And the winner is – My Star (Latvia, 2000)

What was it about Latvia’s debut effort which makes it so beloved? Was it Renars Kaupers’ slightly deranged performance, its Britpoppy sound, the fact that Latvia had taken us all by surprise and come up with something so fresh sounding, all of the above? Er, yes. There was something so simple and joyful about this song – and so non-Eurovision sounding, that it ended up being hugely appealing. And was it just us or did 2002’s Latvian victory feel like a bit of a consolation prize? Can’t help feeling this is the one that should have done it for them.

COUNTRY WE MISS THE MOST

RUNNERS UP

Austria – we do miss you actually. In spite of Alf Poier and Global Kryner.

Luxembourg – it’s been such a long time we’ve forgotten what you sound like. No matter, COME BACK!!

And the winner is – Italy

Well were you expecting it to be anybody else really?? Come on Italy, please stop sulking and get yourself back to Eurovision where you belong. We promise not to poke fun at Toto Cutugno’s presenting skills any more if you do. Honest.

Posted in Comment, Eurovision News | 1 Comment »

Good grief, it’s the first song of 2010……!

Posted by DINRIL on December 26, 2009

……a tad early, we venture to suggest – this is after all Eurovision 2010 we’re talking about and we’re still in 2009. Nonetheless it appears that Pierre Kartner, the ‘legendary’ songwriter that has been drafted in to compose the Netherlands’ entry for next year, is a quick worker, for he’s not only written the track but even unleashed a demo version of it on Dutch radio last week.

And having had a listen to it, we’re convinced that this is the song that will drag the contest kicking and screaming….all the way back to 1974. Because only Joy Fleming in a maxi-dress backed by a trio of tuba players could possibly make this sound more dated than it already is, from its jaunty backing track right down to the ‘sha la la’, ‘sha la lie’ chorus that signals a return to the dark days of nonsensical lyrics on the Eurovision stage.

To be fair, however, this is only the demo version of the song – and we’ll see exactly what form it takes following the Dutch national final on February 7, when six participants will each perform a different arrangement of the song, the winner taking their version to Oslo (we think, anyway, following a rather confusing conversation earlier along the lines of ‘so are they voting for their favourite singer? Or their favourite version of the song?????’ ‘And what if they don’t like the winning singer’s version? Will he or she have to sing a different version?????’ Enough already).

Either way we will reserve judgment until then – but if you want to hear the track for yourself you can do so here. Meanwhile, rumours that the final will feature a ‘Smurf’ version of the song sung by men in giant blue costumes who sound like they have inhaled one helium balloon too many in the Green Room have – been entirely made up by us for the sake of a cheap laugh. And on that note it is onwards and upwards to the impending Albanian final……

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