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Archive for January, 2011

It’s Blue, da da dee, da da da, da da dee….(Etc)

Posted by Caroline on January 30, 2011

So…….the question we’ve all been wondering for many many weeks now is, just who is going to represent the UK at Eurovision this year? Someone who finished seventh in The X Factor once? No. Some no-mark pantomime star singing a tune which was composed on the back of a napkin in the dressing room two minutes before showtime? No. Penry the mild mannered janitor? Could be…..except it’s none of those people. It is in fact that somewhat – we say somewhat as they’ve been off the scene for a few years – boy band Blue. Yup, not content with making their own solo bids to represent the UK (Anthony Costa in 2006), announcing the UK results in 2009  and acting as a judge on 2009’s Your Country Needs You (take a bow, Duncan James) this year the band themselves are actually flying the flag for le Royaume Uni in Dusseldorf.

But wait, there’s more! Not only do the public not have a say in choosing the artist for the first time since 1994 (when Frances Ruffelle was dispatched to Dublin by the BBC and came home with a 10th place for her troubles) but for the first time EVER we don’t have a say in choosing the song either. That’s right – it’s already been picked, and is a brand new Blue composition called I Can. No word yet on when we’ll hear it, but it’ll be featured on a documentary about the band’s preparation for the contest, to be screened in April.

And you know what? We have quite a good feeling about this. OK, so Blue have been pretty much off the scene since 2004 but the fact remains people still know who they are, the various members have remained pretty high-profile since the height of their teenage girl-screaming knicker-hurling fame, and perhaps crucially – THEY CAN SING LIVE. They’ve duetted with Elton John, don’t forget, and he doesn’t just sing with anyone. And let’s not forget the fact that they’re also pretty well known in Europe, having sold albums by the bucketload both there and at home. OK, so we can’t vouch for how many are now sitting in the 9 Euros bargain bin at record stores across the continent but at least they sold them.

As for the song already being selected, well that is bound to ruffle a few feathers, given that the UK public is so accustomed to choosing it themselves. But there is a part of us which thinks: well given what a bad job you’ve made of that in recent years, what’s the point? Part of the problem the UK has had with Eurovision recently, we feel, is that the vast majority of the country appears to still think it is some great big continental joke, and henceforth we can treat it as such. How else do you explain Scooch in 2007 for example? It is years since we have chosen a song that could truly be regarded as a seriously decent contender (in the years when we’ve had to choose a song rather than singer that is), and the voters going for some load of nonsense en masse then blaming it on neighbourly voting or the UK being hated on account of some decade-old war when it scores about four points only serves to highlight this. Basically people of the UK – you blew it, so now you don’t get to choose.

The point is, as we should have realised last year, is that there is no reason WHY the UK shouldn’t be able to win this contest – if Germany, who were in much the same position as us until last year, can do it then anybody can, regardless of political allegiance, wars, whatever other excuse you may care to drum up. Nobody is to blame for our recent failures at Eurovision but ourselves.  So why should you have the chance to screw things up again this year?

If we’re being honest, we do have a few reservations – namely the fact that Blue haven’t been around for a while, that they’re no longer at the height of their fame – but frankly these are quite small quibbles, because there’s also no reason why they can’t use this to make a successful comeback, given how popular they once were.  At least it’s a sign that the UK has finally realised we need to take this contest seriously if we’re ever going to stand a chance of winning again.  And whatever we may think of Blue’s song personally, you can guarantee we’ll be backing them all the way.

Now then, where’s that I Heart Duncan scarf from 2004 got to……?

Posted in United Kingdom | 3 Comments »

Wrong. Wrong. WRONG. Did we happen to mention it was WRONG……??

Posted by Caroline on January 14, 2011

We’ll be honest with you. When we watched The X Factor in 2009 we thought we’d got Jedward sussed – basically a couple of identical twin talent vacuums with silly hair whose career would doubtless last for as long as the novelty of all those routines they performed on the show. At which point they would retire, aged 21, absolutely loaded and spend the rest of their lives pointlessly frittering away their endless amounts of disposable income.

It appears however we were wrong. Not content with foisting their ridiculous album on the world, duetting with Vanilla Ice, advertising Nintendo, appearing on Big Brother 11 and generally hanging around like a bad smell, the act more commonly known as John and Edward Grimes now have Eurovision in their sights. The pair have announced their intention to bid for the Irish ticket to Dusseldorf, and are set to perform their potential entry  – the title of which has yet to be confirmed – on The Late Late Show on February 11. And despite being up against some stiff competition – including Niamh Kavanagh’s backing vocalist cousin Nikki – they’re tipped to win.

We’re actually not quite sure how to take this news, quite frankly. On the one hand it sounds like a stroke of genius, on the other hand we’re not entirely sure that anybody outside of the UK (who doubtless would reward the Irish teenagers with a boatload of points) has actually heard of them and would understand the post-modern irony of their performance.  At the very least, it would make for interesting viewing – although the backstage staff, in view of their wacky personalities and the way they rampaged through the Big Brother house prodding random people last summer, might want to consider nailing everything down before they make it into the green room.

Oh, and in case you live in Lithuania or somewhere and have absolutely NO idea who we’re talking about, here is one of the reasons why they went down in X Factor history…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Ireland | 1 Comment »

Introducing Romanian Dave…except he’s not really

Posted by Caroline on January 4, 2011

As 2010 came to a close, most of us might have been hugging random strangers at parties and entertaining everybody with drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne, but in Romania they were far too busy choosing their entry for Dusseldorf 2011 to worry about such matters. And we happen to think they chose rather well. OK, so Change by Hotel FM is cheesier than an entire consignment of Jarlsberg, but it’s so upbeat and jaunty that we can’t help but love it (even though we shouldn’t really because it stuck in our heads after just one listen and now we can’t get rid of it, to the extent it will probably drive us totally round the twist by May. But anyway….)

We were however surprised to discover that the song is actually performed by a bloke called Dave. Well that doesn’t sound very Romanian does it (and in fact there is a sad shortage of Daves in Eurovision, although the last one we can recall won the damn thing for the Estonians in 2001).  Turns out Romanian Dave, as we have now renamed him, is welder-turned-singer David Bryan, a Newcastle native who now lives with his girlfriend in Romania and was discovered by Hotel FM’s manager performing at a karaoke contest.

But it would seem he’s not the only Brit who is hoping for Eurovision success in Dusseldorf.  Scottish teacher Nicola Barclay is in the running to represent Azerbaijan after making it through their preliminary heats. The 26-year-old, who is a PE teacher at the International School of Azerbaijan in the capital, Baku, made it through as a wildcard after the judges declared they were “amazed” by her vocal skills. Meanwhile British singer Lisa Maffia, a former member of So Solid Crew (remember them? Frankly we’re struggling to……) is rumoured to be in the frame to represent Bulgaria with her latest song, Shut Your Mouth.

All of which beggars the question: if these people are so keen to sing for other countries, why can’t they do it for the UK????? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that the UK has become a byword for unspeakable naffness on the Eurovision stage thanks to songs which sound like they were composed on the back of a napkin two minutes before show time? Nah, course not. Anyway, here’s what to expect from Romanian Dave…..

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Romania, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »