So, we’re midway through national finals season, and now the songs are coming in thick and fast, with another trio of, how shall we put this, varying quality chosen over the past 48 hours. Let’s get cracking with FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia), who last year were neck and neck with the Netherlands as our least favourite song in the contest. And guess what? This year they are in the exact same position! Jas Ja Imam Silata is by Gjoko Taneski featuring Billy Zver and Pejcin and confirms that our theory that in the rest of the world it may be 2010 but back in Skopje, in musical terms at least, it is still 1987. There’s an attempt to modernise it with a Linkin Park-esque rap bit in the middle but unfortunately for us this makes it even worse as it just smacks of someone who’s put his brother in the band and given him something to do because his mum told him he had to. It’s not quite as horrendous as last year’s effort but to be honest that’s not saying much. Watch, endure, and try and remember that this is the same country that just a few short years ago were coming up with the uber-cool likes of Ninananja:
And so to Malta, whose all-consuming passion for Eurovision appears to be alive and well, if their national final was anything to go by: we watched it on Saturday night, all 14 hours of it (well it felt that long at least: by contrast we expect the UK final to begin at 8pm on March 12 and be all done and dusted by 8.02….). Still, the winning song, My Dream by winsome Liza Minnelli lookalike Thea Garrett, was certainly worth all the effort as this is one of the better Maltese efforts of recent years, a simple, understated ballad that we suspect will get plenty of love from the juries. Quite why, however, Ms Garrett is mauled mid-performance by a man dressed as a giant seagull we have no idea. We saw him sitting nonchalantly, in costume, in the Green Room as the results came in, looking as though it was the most normal thing in the world to be sat at a table wearing a giant beak. Still there’s no doubt in our minds that with a good performance on the night this song could fly (that’s enough of that – Ed). Wonder if Birdman will be talking about it on Twitter (er, we’ll get our coats…….)?
Sunday evening brought us the Slovenian entry, possibly the first ever ‘mash-up’ in Eurovision history. Except Narodno Zabavni Rock by Anzambel Roka Zlindere and Kalamari appears to think that blending traditional accordion-based folk music with tacky 80s rock guitar appears to be a good thing. The resulting effort is kind of the musical equivalent of a tuna and banana sandwich, just wrong on so many levels. And yet, there is something strangely appealing about it – in its own way it is as awful as the Netherlands yet at least the band looks like they’re having fun and they give it their all. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and their song has stuck in our head. Actually we’re obsessed with it. And that tuna and banana buttie is beginning to sound like an enticing prospect. Help???????
Finally – and we’ll include it in the weekend since it happened on Monday – comes Spain’s entry, Algo Pequenito by Leo Sayer lookalike Daniel Diges. It would of course be all too easy to start poking fun at the ‘clockwork toy’-inspired backing dancers – but just for a change we’re not going to, since the song itself is so completely lovely we don’t want to: