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Archive for February, 2010

That Was The Weekend That Was…..

Posted by Caroline on February 22, 2010

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:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, FYROM, Malta, Slovenia | Leave a Comment »

Normal Service Has Been Resumed….

Posted by Caroline on February 19, 2010

Apologies for the lack of update when there were Armenian and Polish songs to be waxing lyrical about but your beloved editor has spent the past week looking after a poorly child (aka Junior Eurovision) only to be laid low by the same stomach bug. (Still, the Vampire Weekend gig we went to in the middle of all this was great, but anyway…..). We are indeed back with a vengeance and it’s time to play catch-up on what we’ve missed. Not a lot, as it happens, but we do have two more songs to report upon.

The first one comes from Armenia, and MAJOR kudos to them for coming up with possibly the first song this year that actually sounds contemporary, as opposed to a throwback to the days of old (unless of course you count the Glee School Musical antics of Denmark). The rhyme-tastically named Eva Rivas certainly has a cool tune on her hands here that brings a welcome splash of ethno-pop to the stage, although whether we could ever see a song called, er, Apricot Stone actually winning the contest is another matter entirely. Sounds uncomfortably to us like a character in a rubbish chick-lit novel. But anyway. Take a listen. Enjoy. And answer us just one question: that bloke in the hood at the start isn’t actually playing the recorder is he?

And so to Poland. And once again we are forced to ask ourselves, just how can a country so large that must clearly possess some kind of musical talent somewhere get it SO spectacularly wrong every single year? Honestly, we’d love to see Poland repeat the success of their 1994 debut or even replicate their Dance Contest victory from a couple of years back, but as long as they keep coming up with nonsense like this it just ain’t gonna happen. Sigh. For what it’s worth, here’s Marcin Mrozinski with Legenda. We’re going to go and hide:

Coming soon: Malta, Spain, Slovenia, Azerbaijan and  FYROM. No, we can barely stand the suspense either…..

Posted in Armenia, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Poland | 7 Comments »

The First Great Big Weekend Round-Up

Posted by Caroline on February 8, 2010

It’s official, the pre-contest season is in full swing, with no less than five – count ’em! five songs being chosen for Oslo over the weekend. Well actually, it’s four and a half given that one of them was the Netherlands but let’s not split hairs here. It’s all gone a bit Scandinavian round Eurovision way over the past couple of days, with only Sweden left in that part of the continent to choose their song (and with only about 4000 hours of Melodifestivalen to go we shouldn’t have too long to wait).

But anyway, where shall we start? The host nation, we think, and in keeping with recent tradition Norway are showing all the signs of a country that really doesn’t want to host the contest again next year. My Heart Is Yours is a competent but rather bland ballad performed by Didrik Solli-Tangen, a cute lad with a powerhouse voice and Jedward hair. Top ten, we think, but that’s about all:

Onwards and upwards to Denmark, who have chosen In A Moment Like This by uber-cute boy/girl duo Chanee and N’Evergreen (look, they hold hands and everything! What is not to love?????). We like this a LOT, albeit in a “we know we shouldn’t really because it’s actually cheesier than an entire plate of Wensleydale, but we just do OK?” kind of way.  Would be very surprised if this didn’t qualify, and we’ll even go so far to say that in a world dominated by this kind of stadium arm-waver nonsense (thank you very much High School Musical and Glee, you have a lot to answer for) this could do very well indeed in the final. So there:

Then we have the Cypriot entry, Life Looks Better In Spring, by Jon Lilygreen and the Islanders which, while not exactly floating our boat, has a kind of commercial mainstream quality that could help its chances. To us though it just sounds like an X Factor winner’s single waiting to happen:

And so to our favourite of the bunch, Iceland’s Hera Bjork with the song Je Ne Sais Quoi. A fabulous schlager stomper sung by a big, likeable diva(actually are we sure it isn’t Dawn French in disguise?)  in a superb frock. It even has a Eurovision-sounding title.  We will fall down in amazement if this doesn’t make the final:

And finally we come to the Netherlands. Now we’d already heard the demo version of Pierre Kartner’s song Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie) and as such had refrained from passing judgment until we’d heard the version that would ultimately go to Oslo. OK, so now we have. And, er, we’re speechless. C’mon folks, we thought Papa Smurf’s song was ridiculous and dated to begin with, so who on EARTH decided that a version featuring a Wurlitzer organ and some rock n’roll rhythms, thus turning it into something that wouldn’t be out of place at the Grand Ole Opry (and possibly giving us the closest thing we will get to a novelty entry this year?), would be the thing that would drag the Dutch out of their semi-final doldrums? Even its singer, Sieneke, looks faintly embarrassed. Had this been 1984 and it had benefitted from the addition of some Hot Eyes backing dancers in frilly bloomers it may well have rocketed to the top of the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Netherlands however, this is 2010. And if they get any points at all they can count themselves screamingly lucky. Still, kudos to the Dutch for acknowledging Pierre Kartner’s former triumph and actually voting for a singer who, for all intents and purposes, looks a little bit like a Smurf:

And on that note, we are off to stick our fingers in our ears and pretend it never happened…..

Posted in Cyprus, Denmark, Eurovision 2010, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway | 7 Comments »